20.7 C
Byron Shire
November 27, 2022

Homeless service reopens in Byron

Latest News

A treasured community asset

The Bowlo, a treasured community asset in Bangalow very popular with young families, is now destined to be part...

Other News

Ballina water supply

A recent Echo article regarding Rous County Council’s plans to access Alstonville ground water through bores for its Future...

Vale Dave Howard ‘builder extraordinaire’

Local identity Dave Howard passed away in the arms of his wife Libby and surrounded by the six children they share on Monday 14 November.

Where is the love?

Driving past our new-ish Hollywood-inspired ‘LOVE’ sign on the way into Mullum had me reflect on the reality that...

What is the value of a DCP ask Kingscliff residents

Locals 'disappointed' after Tweed Shire Councillors approve the change of use development application for eight flats at the Paradiso tourist accommodation facility in Kingscliff from ‘tourist’ to ‘residential’ accommodation. 

From Margaret River to Byron to save veterans

William ‘Will’ Burnett served in the RAAF for ten years in logistics and ended his career as a well-established physical training Instructor. After his discharge, on his return from the Middle East, his mental health declined and he struggled through the clinical health system.

The need to elaborate

While we certainly share the concerns of Christopher Wright (Echo 9 Nov, 2022), as long time anti-war, peace activists,...

Fletcher St Cottage staff Jenny Ryan, Dayna Suchoparek, Kristina Oddestad, Chris O’Neill, Izzy Durbin and Ianna Murray. Photo Jeff Dawson.

Fletcher Street cottage has risen again.

It’s hard to believe that the light-filled building that was reopened last week is the same drab, run-down structure that sat gathering dust in the centre of Byron Bay for five years.

The building – bright, timber-lined and well-equipped – will provide local people experiencing homelessness with a place to shower, get a decent breakfast, and access a range of support and services.

It couldn’t have come at a more critical time.

‘Homelessness was a huge problem before COVID, and now, as well as the pandemic, we’ve got floods which have displaced 15,000 people,’ said Louise O’Connell, General Manager of the Byron Community Centre, who will manage the facility.

‘So the fact that we’re opening this today is so timely and so important.’

The cottage was forced to close because of funding shortfalls, and then kept that way by a sea of red tape, until a plan to resurrect the ailing centre was devised by the Community Centre, and the team behind the Habitat housing development – Creative Capital.

They put the call out for donations from the community, and despite the crowdfunding campaign being launched on the first day of the first local COVID lockdown, locals gave more than $400,000 to the cause.

Scores of tradies also donated their time and expertise, transforming the run-down Council-owned building into a welcoming space that has been specially designed to help those experiencing homelessness feel safe.

‘We had north of 200 donors – not all of them rich by the way,’ the founder of Creative Capital, Brandon Saul said.

‘That’s one of the things I love about Byron. People come to support good things irrespective of wealth.’

Community donations have also funded a highly-skilled team of staff to undertake the centre’s day-to-day operations, led by Jenny Ryan, the Community Centre’s Homelessness Projects Manager.

Complex issues

‘People in our community who are sleeping rough are examples of where our structures and systems fail,’ she said.

‘These vulnerable people often face complex issues and are in need of basic care and support. Fletcher Street Cottage will provide these basic relief opportunities and be a safe haven where people can connect with supporting staff to meet their immediate needs.’

With the region’s housing crisis reaching desperate levels, the staff are likely to have their work cut out.

Damning statistic

Byron Mayor Michael Lyon said, ‘Byron Shire has the highest population of people sleeping rough outside of the City of Sydney – that’s on the numbers, not per capita, and it’s a damning statistic’.

‘This recent flood event has put a much more intense spotlight on the issues we face in this Shire and in this region.

‘Having no secure housing and having nowhere to live is unfortunately a daunting reality for a lot of people.’

Fletcher Street Cottage will be open from Monday to Friday, with a breakfast service from 7am to 9am, access to showers and laundry from 7am to 12pm, and additional office support from 9am – 12pm.

For more information, visit www.fletcherstreetcottage.com.au.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Curious statements on Assange

The couple of letters under the headline of ‘In Defence of Julian Assange’ contained some curious statements in an attempt to justify the unjustifiable.  Marc...

Emergency radio tower

An emergency radio tower is proposed for Teales Lookout, Koonyum Range. It is proposed by the telco authority via Catalyst One Pty Ltd, via Amalgamotion...

Ballina water supply

A recent Echo article regarding Rous County Council’s plans to access Alstonville ground water through bores for its Future Water Project 2060 via an...

For the record

Since early January 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic started, when the world population started to be informed of the new health danger facing everybody,...