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Attorney General; Minister for Health; Electoral Affairs
Work starts on $1.1million Mt Claremont mental health homes
18/01/2008 9:38 AM
The State Government’s $42.1million commitment to create more community-based accommodation and support for people with mental illnesses has taken another step forward with construction under way on two new homes in Mt Claremont.
Health Minister Jim McGinty said the $1.1million Community Options homes would help seven people with a manageable mental illness live more independently and with greater interaction with the community.
“Similar duplex-style homes are nearing completion in Kelmscott and construction is under way in Osborne Park. Community Options homes are also planned for Bentley,” Mr McGinty said.
“Residents will be supported by 24-hour, seven day a week on-site staff, who will encourage them to participate in the community by engaging in recreational activities and skill-building programs.
“The Government is in the process of creating 400 additional beds or supported places in the community for people with mental illnesses.
“The level of care people require will see them matched to one of four styles of accommodation and support, with these Community Options homes being for people who are able to live within the community but still need quite a high level of assistance.
"These homes will be a far better accommodation alternative for people who would otherwise have to live unnecessarily in hospital due to lack of more suitable housing.”
The other three styles of accommodation and support being developed are:
Community Supported Residential Units - clusters of self-contained homes supported by on-site staff which cater for people with low to medium support needs. Residents moved into the first of these homes last year when units in Albany and Geraldton opened. Units in Busselton and Bunbury will be completed over the coming months and in Bentley and Osborne Park later this year. Planning is approved and design work is continuing for units in Middle Swan, Kalamunda and Armadale, with further units throughout the metropolitan area at the planning stage;
transitional accommodation facilities for homeless people with a mental illness which are being developed in Perth and Fremantle. Both projects have received planning approval and detailed design work is progressing; and
an extra 120 people will be offered the assistance they require to live independently in their own homes.
“When people with a mental illness are provided with accommodation support in the community, not only does their mental health improve - meaning fewer hospital stays - but their physical health, community involvement and independence also improves,” Mr McGinty said.
“One in five Australians will suffer from a mental illness at some time in their lives.”
North Metropolitan MLC Ken Travers said the Mt Claremont homes were a step forward in mental health accommodation.
“The development is great news for people with a manageable mental illness and will give them the best opportunity to lead a fulfilling and active life,” Mr Travers said.
“I have been heartened by the co-operation of the Mt Claremont community. Their feedback has been important and, as a result, new screening walls and measures to reduce traffic impact were included in the building designs.”
The daughter of 78-year-old Charles Brookes has a mental illness and will move into the new Community Options housing in Stirling once it is completed.
"Since moving out of Graylands three years ago, my daughter has lived in an overly large hostel, lacking in privacy, adequate amenities and support. In all these areas a Community Options home will be much better,” Mr Brookes said.
"My hope is that it will provide a real and stable home for my daughter and other residents and the local community will welcome this long-awaited initiative, which is a much needed shift away from institutions.”
The Mt Claremont homes are expected to open in early 2009.
Minister's Office - 9422 3000