Wesley Mission has lodged a development application (DA) with Sydney City Council to upgrade its key crisis accommodation service in Surry Hills.
The upgrade to Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge will put people’s needs at the forefront to deliver individualised care for some of the city’s most vulnerable adults.
Wesley Mission CEO, the Rev Keith V Garner AM said it was an achievement to have operated this service in the heart of the city for more than 40 years.
“Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge was one of the first services to provide private rooms in the same building for women and men experiencing homelessness and this upgrade, which includes individual ensuite rooms (two of which are designed to accessible standards), continues this evolution of care.
“We are delighted to demonstrate that we not only have the commitment but the capacity to plan for many more years to come. This upgrade will allow us the operational flexibility to better manage the complex needs around homelessness, to deliver improved outcomes for the people we support.”
Wesley Mission expects the improved privacy, security and level of individualised care in the new model will lead to shorter stays as people are able to address crisis needs more quickly. Plans also include a second lift, improved support facilities and a café giving the entrance a more inviting welcome not only to clients but also the broader community.
Many clients who come to Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge may have been experiencing homelessness for some considerable time and bring with them a range of needs, including mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, acquired brain injury and the cumulative impact of multiple traumatic events.
“Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge is not generally the first stop for someone who has just found themselves without a safe place to live,” said Mr Garner. “It is often more complicated than that. To address these multiple needs we must take a whole-person approach.
“First and foremost it’s about dignity and hope. The accommodation we provide speaks of the value we see in each person we meet. If the environment is right and we add tailored clinical and professional expertise and collaboration with other services to identify longer-term housing solutions, we are giving every individual the quality of care they deserve.”
The Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge building has remained largely unchanged since the 1847 Wesleyan Chapel on the site was redeveloped into a homeless shelter in 1979.
The refurbishment has been designed by architects Scott Carver and integrates conservative changes to the heritage-listed façade and chapel with innovations in crisis accommodation to vastly improve how this essential service is provided. The addition of ensuites means there will be 40 large, self-contained bedrooms, rather than the current smaller, more basic rooms.
The upgrade is part of Wesley Mission’s overarching strategy to review its property portfolio and enhance how the organisation provides integrated solutions and support across its broad network of services.
“In Surry Hills, the upgrade will allow us to focus on providing individualised, comprehensive support to help each person break the cycle of homelessness and to reconnect into society,” said Mr Garner.
“This is a real opportunity to strengthen our place in the vibrant community which has grown around us and ultimately support our intent to help people imagine a better future and leave homelessness for good.”
For further information about the planned upgrade, click here
To view a short video of the history of Wesley Edward Eagar Lodge click here (1 min 30 sec)
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