Safe, affordable housing is supporting creativity and community at an accommodation facility in the heart of Hobart.
The Goulburn St facility, managed by Anglicare, features 47 self-contained units – all fully-tenanted.
“This is a place where someone can really transform their life,” said tenant Melissa. “I’m learning to live in the present and to take responsibility for choices. I didn’t know about those things before. When I came here I was an alcoholic and everything had fallen apart. Now I don’t drink, I’m vegetarian, I’m breaking habits that are not beneficial”.
Anglicare manages 10 housing facilities state-wide, with significant experience in providing supported housing to Tasmanians.
Melissa, who has lived at Goulburn St for four years, is studying a fine arts degree at the University of Tasmania. “I’m interested in print-making, sculpting and drawing,” she said. “The art room is brilliant here (at Goulburn St)…we have coffee and chats…and we’re excited because now there is another big room that’s going to be turned into an art area too”.
Melissa said tenants also went on regular nature walks, exploring bush tracks and beaches.
“I do feel that this is home,” she said. “It is a very supportive environment with the staff, support workers and the community. It seems to be on the whole a very tolerant place, accepting of differences,” Melissa said. “There is a lot of positive interaction and gathering in the common areas”.
“There is a multitude of people at different stages in their journey and I think that’s really important. It appears to me that Anglicare is generating the idea of self-empowerment and self-responsibility. I think that’s absolutely fantastic”.
Melissa said she would like to organise an art exhibition, as well as an extension of the community garden. “I expressed an interest in learning to write grants and Anglicare got someone in to teach me about that”.
“Gratitude can shift your world,” she said. “I think it’s all working so well”.
Jill, another long-term tenant, said she appreciated the affordable accommodation and sense of community at Goulburn St.
“I’ve seen changes but they are for the better,” she said. ““To me it’s my home. It’s where I live. It’s family. I go out and potter in the garden and always cook extra food and share it with others. There’s no discrimination. You’ve got people from all walks of life. The variety is amazing”.
Jill was one of the first organisers of regular community meals at Goulburn St, but more recently has turned her attention to the garden. “I am a motivator,” she said. “I’m a kookaburra – loud and laughing. Having meals together airs a lot of things. People can talk and see the funny side of things. Other people do that now but it’s just lovely and they put on a beautiful meal at Christmas time.” Other tenant activities have included sailing, bowling, and barbecues.
“My next big project is to organise a trip to Maria Island,” said Jill.
As units at Goulburn St become vacant, Anglicare accepts new tenants from the social housing waiting list through Housing Connect.