Tiny house St Helens

New purpose-built crisis accommodation on the east coast is helping Anglicare respond to local need.

The tiny house – complete with a sleeping area, kitchen-dining area and wet area with shower, toilet and washing machine – has been cleverly designed to make the most of its small footprint. It is connected to mains electricity, water and sewerage, and has a heat pump.

The tiny house can accommodate either a single person or a couple in need of emergency housing for short term stays of up to six weeks. It provides guests with breathing space while they are supported to look for more permanent accommodation.

Building the tiny house was a joint project between TasTAFE and St Helens Neighbourhood House. As part of their studies, students from TasTAFE significantly modified a shipping container to create the tiny house. Seed funding was obtained from the State Government.

There are few crisis accommodation options in the St Helens area. The unexpected chance to buy the completed tiny house was identified by Anglicare as an opportunity worth pursuing.

“Homelessness has been becoming more visible in St Helens over the years,” said Anglicare community support worker Thom Ryan. “There are people about the town who you can see are sleeping rough.  There are more and more people sleeping in their cars down at the beaches.”

The tiny house is located at the back of the carpark of St Paul’s Anglican Church. “The parish people have both a strong social conscience and practical application,” said Thom. “Putting the tiny house there was well supported by the parish. The church already operates a furniture shed and has an arrangement with the local bakery to distribute bread two nights each week”.

Parish of Break O’Day minister Alexander Withers said parishioners were eager to be part of offering a practical response. “Since Anglicare first moved into the building next to the church, the awareness of homelessness and people in need has skyrocketed.” said Reverend Withers. “The health and wellbeing of the wider community is now right up there as one of our top concerns.”

“We say g’day walking past and often stop and chat with people staying in the accommodation. If they’re interested, we include these people as volunteers. They often offer to help move furniture as it’s dropped off or picked up,” he said.

The Break O’Day Council has been supportive of the tiny house project and the State Government provided funding for the utilities connections.

The possibility of staying in the tiny house depends on assessed need and availability.  Enquiries can be made through Housing Connect.

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