A Surry Hills facility set up to address the growing need for affordable and suitable aged care accommodation for people who had been rough sleeping, living in unstable housing, or lacked the financial resources and family support needed to access mainstream aged care facilities recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.
But Mission Australia, who established it, says the need is greater than ever.
For many of the 339 residents who’ve lived at Charles Chambers Court over the last quarter century, it was the first true home they’d had in years.
One of the residents, Kerry, described the crowd celebrating the anniversary, the calm and tranquillity of the facility, and the safety and relief she felt upon first arriving there.
“I felt someone was always going to watch over me, and I had my first real sleep in recent memory,” she said.
Kerry said she felt she had landed on her feet and shared her delight at having the opportunity to participate in “song, dance, movies and morning teas”.
Charles Chambers Court was built in 1998 in what was originally a heritage-listed church, and it is one of Mission Australia’s three aged care facilities in NSW.
Named after Charles Chambers, Mission Australia’s first chairperson, the Surry Hills facility enhances people’s lives with high-quality care and a place to call home. It offers various services, such as visiting therapy dogs and volunteers who pop in for a chat and take residents out into the community.
Mission Australia’s General Manager of Aged Care, Steve Brooker, said, “For 25 years, Charles Chamber Court has provided residents safety, security, and dignity and the sense of community that is so important to their mental health and wellbeing.
“Social interaction and community participation are built into its fabric.
“The team at Mission Australia have seen firsthand the transformation of the lives of residents many of whom were isolated before they came to live at Charles Chambers Court.
“The facility was established to address the growing need for affordable and suitable aged care accommodation for people who had been rough sleeping, living in unstable housing, or lacked the financial resources and family support needed to access mainstream aged care facilities.
“We all know that need has only grown more significant over the last 25 years.
“One in six or nearly 20,000 people who are homeless are aged over 55 years, and that number is growing.
“As the housing and homelessness crisis escalates, we must take action to reduce the number of people, including older people, pushed into homelessness.
“Facilities like Charles Chambers Court are now more vital than ever,” Mr Brooker said.