The official opening of the Sidney Myer Haven education centre today marked a major milestone for Haven; Home, Safe’s world-first program to break the cycle of homelessness in Bendigo.

Recently completed renovations have turned a run-down Victorian-era weatherboard into the showpiece of the $7.5M Sidney Myer Haven, a 23-unit affordable housing development, which has been operational since October 2015.

Construction was funded by a $4M investment from the Victorian Government through the Victorian Property Fund and generous philanthropic and community donations.

Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz said the development will provide a safe and stable environment for residents to learn new skills that will increase their long-term employment prospects.

“It’s also a testament to the willingness of the Bendigo community to help those battling through a tough times,” Ms Kairouz said.

Unlike any other affordable housing project of its kind, the residents of Sidney Myer Haven are supported 24/7 and participate in specialised social curriculum to plan and make informed decisions for their future.

Haven; Home, Safe Chair Sue Clarke said the social curriculum was the real star of the Sidney Myer Haven.

“The social curriculum ties together the absolute intent of HHS to provide not only a home, but also a supportive community,” she said.

Today’s event also celebrated the completion of the final four units in Keck Street.  These units will be made available to St John of God’s Horizon House social outreach program for youth taking the next step on their journey towards independence.

CEO St John of God Hospital Bendigo, Darren Rogers said the partnership with Haven; Home, Safe and St John of God Health Care would play a key role in expanding the Horizon House program.

“The addition of the four units at the Sidney Myer Haven Complex will expand the Horizon House program to a total of six properties in Bendigo. The service will now be able to support 12 young people across our three tier program,” he said.