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  • Read time: 2 min. read


  • Foundation
  • 15 December 2022
  • Blog

HammondCare Darlinghurst – caring for those who others can’t or won’t

  • Read time: 2 min. read

Musician and poet Gordon lived a life on the streets in and out of temporary accommodation, playing his guitar, until his health took a turn and he was referred to HammondCare Darlinghurst.

Facing his final days in September 2022, Gordon asked not to be transferred to a hospital for further treatment. His choice was to see out his life at HammondCare Darlinghurst in the company of staff and residents.

Some of his last words to the staff were of thanks before he passed away. “Thank you all for letting me stay here with me friends."

Opened in 2020, HammondCare Darlinghurst is quickly proving that it is positively impacting the lives of its residents – including improving their physical health, social connection, general wellbeing and quality of life.

HammondCare Darlinghurst is an innovative home for older people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. It has provided a place to call home for around 100 disadvantaged people with complex care needs at its site on Darlinghurst Rd since opening.

Built at a cost of $25 million - including $9 million in donated funds – on land provided by St John’s Anglican Church, the home has filled a gap in existing homelessness services by providing permanent accommodation and high-level healthcare in the location where services are needed most – inner Sydney.

It’s estimated that there are around 800 older Australians sleeping rough in inner Sydney every night.

An independent assessment by Social Ventures Australia (SVA), released in early 2022, has confirmed the value of HammondCare Darlinghurst. For every $1 invested in care for its residents, there is $2.28 created in social value.

Among the range of benefits confirmed by SVA is that residents have less hospitalisations and earlier hospital discharge than if they were experiencing homelessness or living alone in social housing.

SVA found that there were savings created for the community from residents having greater access to clinical support, allowing health needs to be identified and addressed earlier.
Residents are likely to experience less social isolation, greater stability and access to mental health and spiritual support, leading to improved quality of life and wellbeing.

SVA found access to safe, permanent housing can also reduce the cost of crime and policing as well as reducing the pressure on other services that support people who are homeless.

Darlinghurst residential manager Chantel Evans said the ongoing success of the home required close community links. Her team were working closely with referral agencies, including local hospitals and Kings Cross Police.

There was a referral pathway with other providers catering for the homeless, including Mission Australia and Matthew Talbot Hostel.

Ms Evans expresses pride about what has been achieved already at Darlinghurst, including living the HammondCare Mission.

“We will take people that others can’t or won’t care for,” Ms Evans said. “If I have got one vacancy and two referrals, I will offer the bed to the resident that no other organisation will take.”

She said there was enormous satisfaction in seeing the residents have a place to call home. “They know where they are getting their next meal,” she said. “They know they are getting cared for. They don’t have to worry any more about what will happen to them. They have a safe place to call home and a permanent bed."

The General Manager for homelessnes,s Michael Cooney, said HammondCare Darlinghurst is unique in NSW. “HammondCare Darlinghurst offers unparalleled residential care for older people who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness, with complex care needs.

“Demand for our services remains high and we know we would be able to support many more older Australians if we had the capacity. The need is significant.”

The multi-level home has 42 beds in private rooms with ensuite bathrooms in four apartments, named Bondi, Bronte, Clovelly and Tamarama, built around the cottage model design with kitchens at their heart.

Care staff are rostered to each apartment and stay in that apartment to build relationships with residents.

Residents are never locked out, they have an access code to ensure they can come and go as they choose.

Median age of residents is 75 years. About 37% of residents were previously homeless and another 22% were at risk of homelessness. About 57% were living in social housing prior to admission.

More than half the residents were referred to HammondCare Darlinghurst because of their high health needs. 

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