The Catholic Church in Tasmania has opened new affordable housing units as part of its continuing effort to relieve housing stress for Tasmanians, CatholicCare reports.
The South Hobart Parish community established a joint project with a view to transforming a vacant parish building into eight single bedroom affordable housing units. Capital grant funding from Housing Tasmania and expertise and a financial contribution from CatholicCare Tasmania has seen the project come to fruition.
“Given the crisis in housing due to extreme rental stress and homelessness, particularly amongst a cohort of women over 55, we decided to convert this building into eight affordable housing units,” said South Hobart Parish Priest, Fr Michael Tate.
“We think this is in total harmony with the needs of Tasmania and Pope Francis’ vision of what it means to be authentically Christian. It’s extremely important that the Church does things which are tangible, which give the stamp of authenticity to our claims.”
While the example of Pope Francis provided inspiration for the project, the name chosen for the apartment complex also has links to the Holy Father.
“Pope Francis was born in Buenos Aires and as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he showed particular concern for the poor and the marginalised, [so] we decided to call the apartments ‘Buenos Aires’.
“A fair translation [of Buenos Aires] would be a ‘fair breeze’, and after the storms and turmoils of life for some Tasmanians suffering rental stress, we decided to bring them the refreshing fair breezes of our concern for the poor and marginalised, as a project of the parishioners of South Hobart,” Said Fr Tate.
Seventy two year old pensioner Kay Dolman had been renting in Hobart until the property’s owner decided to sell and move interstate. Kay is the first resident to benefit from the new affordable housing units.
“I was just so grateful to receive a phone call, so grateful for lovely premises and people who treat me with respect. The parishioners were wonderful, they left a box of groceries and so I had the chocolate first!” said Kay.
The refurbished building was originally a Catholic primary school in the 1960s and early 1970s, and later housed commercial tenants until 2018.
“The whole parish is delighted…and we are very, very happy with the finish achieved by the various tradespeople who worked on the site,” Fr Tate said.
Catholiccare and South Hobart parish respond to housing stress (Catholic Care Tasmania)