‘WE CAN HOUSE YOU’

Nowra motel offers to take Bounty Inn’s tenants

LIKE the Bounty Inn the River Haven Motel takes in people who don’t have a home and each week the sheer numbers mean they have to turn people away.

“I turned two couples away today because we don’t have the room,” co-manager Sandy Smith said yesterday.

“We are pretty full at the moment but if people come from the Bounty we will help them if we can,” Ms Smith said.

The motel has five rooms set aside for what they call people needing temporary accommodation (TA) or homeless people.

Motel manager Graeme Hartland said the pressure to take on more people was always there.

“Housing NSW calls us all the time and if we can take more people we do,” he said.

“Generally TA clients stay for any time between a few days to a few months. It just depends how long they take to get things together.”

Mr Hartland has been running the motel since December last year and understood what a lot of his TA clients were going through.

“Part of having TA clients is that they come with baggage and problems, and that is fine.

“As long as we can help we will.

“I’ve walked that side of the tracks in my past, I know what’s going on and that’s why I’m willing to help.

“Something that works for us is a zero tolerance policy for drugs, alcohol and arguments. People get one chance. If they blow it, they are out,” he said.

Earlier this week the Bounty Motor Inn’s capability to take people seeking emergency accommodation was the subject of debate in council.

Councillors voted to support recommendations by staff that the continuation of emergency accommodation beyond March 5 would be unauthorised.

Cr Andrew Guile put the motion to support the recommendations which were voted through.

Cr Jemma Tribe requested a grace period of about four weeks be offered to the residents while council staff determined an application by the inn’s owner for an extension.

However, her proposal did not get through.

Cr Guile said the Bounty had a 12-month conditional approval to run emergency accommodation and only applied for an extension at the last minute.

“Across that time we had no end of complaints from all sorts of people,” Cr Guile said.

“Admittedly they did improve, but we had an agreement and they got to the end of that time and then asked for an extension.

“We can’t do that.

“Council can’t break its own rules. This is a matter for the state government because housing is not a local matter. 

“Should we be betraying the trust of our community?

“When I moved that motion I swung the meeting; they couldn’t really argue with the principles I was putting forward.”

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