No room at the Inn

THE trial program that provides short-term emergency accommodation at the Bounty Motor Inn in Bomaderry to homeless people comes to an end today.

Last night Shoalhaven City Council’s Development Committee was expected to make a decision on whether or not to extend the facility’s arrangement.

Many things have changed at the inn since Shoalhaven City Council received numerous complaints about the motel’s clients.

In June 2013 council gave consent for the Bounty motel in Bomaderry to offer limited short-term accommodation.

The consent conditions specified only nine of the motel’s 20 units could be used for short-term accommodation and that it was only for a trial of nine months.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics there were 226 homeless people in the Shoalhaven last year.

Among them were Sarah Rowcroft and Dean Scicluna who live at the Bounty with their young children.

If the Bounty is not granted an extension to provide short-term accommodation the family said they would be out on the street.

“At this stage we are taking each day as it comes,” Ms Rowcroft said.

“I will be looking at another house to rent this week. But I’m not getting my hopes up.

“When Shane, the manager here, came and told us council was discussing whether to stop emergency accommodation here and that we should prepare for the worst I started to freak out. My son just started school in Bomaderry. I don’t want to have to unsettle our family again,” she said.

In the room next door a couple with their young toddler told of their recent month living in a tent.

The couple came to the Shoalhaven from Victoria but said they were told by Housing NSW there was nothing they could do to help until they had lived in the state for six weeks.

“They gave us the phone number for the Bounty,” the partner and father said.

Shoalhaven City Council received a number of complaints about the motel tenants from police and residents in the area.

Shane Clark took over the management of Bounty Motor Inn half way through last year. He admitted some of the complaints at the time were founded.

“In the past it was poorly run. There were people dealing drugs in the rooms, anything and everything was on offer up here. Hence the regular police presence,” he said.

“I’ve closed down all the drug dealings and have cleaned the place up.

“I walked into this with open eyes.

“I’ve been involved with youth and disability for many years, helping and supporting the community.

“I can see great potential at the Bounty. This place could be used as a stepping stone for a better life.

“I would like to see counselling services here. This place could be turned around and used as an example to other areas.

“I’ve got big plans but I need an extension on our short-term accommodation consent.”

Mr Clark, who worked at the Shoalhaven Youth Centre about 20 years ago, said he saw people caught in a cycle of homelessness. 

He believed the majority of Nowra’s welfare industry was burnt out.

“Giving homeless people the option for long-term accommodation gives them a chance to get on their feet, get references for housing, get their finances in order and break the cycle.

“It might take some people three months while it might take others a year to get on their feet.”

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