Major upgrade commences to Surry Hills crisis accommodation to improve wellbeing and outcomes for people experiencing homelessness
Wesley Edward Eagar Centre has been at the forefront of support for people experiencing homelessness since the 1970s with the complete refurbishment of the facility to ensure the building matches the innovative service delivered there.
“Wesley Mission was one of the first to provide single, lockable rooms in crisis accommodation. It said a lot about the dignity and respect we wanted each person to experience, an approach that will be expanded on when the building works are complete,” said Wesley Mission CEO, the Rev Keith V Garner AM.
The upgrade will give greater operational flexibility to better manage the complex needs around homelessness, providing tailored clinical and professional expertise to improve outcomes for each person.
The design is optimised to create a sense of wellbeing, with increased privacy and larger bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, several of which are designed to accessible standards.
“Providing more personal space will also allow residents to appropriately distance. The COVID-19 pandemic was another reason for us to urgently begin this work, to ensure our accommodation would allow us to provide support in conditions like we are experiencing at present,” Mr Garner explains.
Wesley Mission has appointed Lipman to complete the upgrade to the iconic building, including restoration of the heritage sandstone façade, in a program of works anticipated to take 10 months.
Rob MacKee, CEO of Lipman said, “We share Wesley Mission’s commitment to deliver a building that communicates their vision that ‘every life matters’. It is important that this vital work continues and has its place amongst the vibrant Surry Hills community. Over more than 50 years we have regularly partnered with client in the not-for-profit sector to deliver outstanding facilities like this for the communities they support.”
The works will consist of demolition, construction of a new lift shaft, major services upgrade, alterations to the ground and first floors to incorporate additional counselling rooms, commercial kitchen and community café along with the complete refit of the residential rooms on the upper levels.
While the upgrade is underway, Wesley Mission is currently supporting people in need at two alternate locations, one in inner-city Sydney and other in the Inner West.
Mr Garner stresses the urgency of the project, “The building has supported people for decades, but in the current crisis when the demand for homeless services is likely to reach unprecedented levels, we must invest to continue to help Sydney’s most vulnerable men and women.”
To learn more about the upgrade to Wesley Edward Eagar Centre or to contribute to the project, visit wesleymission.org.au/weec2020