Reid’s Guest House: Adjournment Matter

Ms ADDISON (Wendouree) (19:02): My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Housing, and the action that I seek is for the minister to provide me with an update about the temporary closure of Reid’s Guest House in Ballarat and what steps have been taken to support displaced guests.

Reid’s Guest House is one of Ballarat’s largest accommodation facilities for people who are experiencing homelessness. Reid’s is owned and operated by Uniting Vic.Tas, with guests typically offered an initial stay of up to 60 nights while staff provide support to find long-term housing during their stay.

On the evening of 10 February this year a fire broke out in the lower floor of the facility and caused significant structural and electrical damage to the residence hall of the building. This led to the evacuation of 50 guests and staff from the building to Uniting’s BreezeWay facility. This very important facility and team of dedicated staff usually provide meals to Ballarat’s most vulnerable people. On the night of the fire at Reid’s Guest House, BreezeWay again stepped up for these people and provided emergency relief accommodation for those 50 displaced guests.

I would like to acknowledge the devoted staff at Uniting for their tremendous work in supporting these guests through the challenges of relocation while the facility is being repaired and made safe. I would like to recognise the advocacy of Abbey Cutler and the team from CatholicCare Ballarat in providing information about this acute issue to my office. Many other providers, such as Anglicare, have also been supportive by providing meals for displaced guests.

Reid’s Guest House is such an important refuge for the most vulnerable members of our community. This was acknowledged with an extensive $1.2 million renovation funded through the state government’s Living Heritage program. This investment was allocated for works on both the inside and the outside of the building. I would again like to thank the minister for his strong and compassionate leadership in Victoria’s largest ever investment in social and affordable housing. At least $80 million has been allocated specifically to Ballarat as a part of the transformative Big Housing Build, which will not only create housing for vulnerable community members but boost employment in construction.

I look forward to hearing from the minister and receiving an update about this very important issue to the people of Ballarat.

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