New housing complex opened for Dads with kids

DYI Dads

New affordable housing for Dads with kids was opened by the Minister for Human Services, Jacqui Petrusma and John Stubley, CEO of Hobart City Mission.

The housing complex of 8 two bedroom units in Moonah accommodates eight dads with their children. It provides an opportunity for dads to have custody of their children in a supported environment.

The complex includes a play area, a large common area for dads to get together, individual garages and storage, an outdoor barbecue area, and a woodwork shop. Cooking lessons are also planned with a qualified chef. The complex is the first supported, transitional housing for dads with kids in Tasmania.

It also helps dads have custody of their children if accommodation had been a problem for them. Housing Tasmania purchased the property with $2.5 million in funding provided to upgrade and refurbish the property.

Hobart City Mission will provide support services to the fathers and their children which includes a coordinator who is on site full time.

Min Petrusma said the facility allowed not only fathers to have full custody of their children, but it also provided a supportive environment and access to other services. The Minister said the facility also acted as an early intervention, as it provided a place for dads to have custody of their children if needed, such as in child protection matters.

If the facility continued to be successful, she said it was possible to consider expanding into the north and northwest of Tasmania.

18-year-old Dad Torrin Bennett said he was very pleased to get a fresh start with his son, where he could access help and support.

It’s really good to have that experience with my son, bonding, playing together and learning to be a father,” he said.

He also appreciated the contact with other dads in similar situations. “It’s really good to have that support when you need it,” he said and would recommend it to other young fathers.

He said if he had not been able to move to the housing facility, he doubted he would have been able to keep custody of his son. Torrin also plans to gain some skills at TAFE to help get a job.

Hobart City Mission CEO John Stubley said there was a need for the facility to provide accommodation and support for fathers. He said the Affordable Housing Action Plan provided the opportunity for Hobart City Mission to work with the DHHS to develop it.

Mr Stubley said he believed the support the fathers could offer each other was very important to the success of the project.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for fathers to live with their children whereas previously they may not have been able to,” he said.

“It is a good opportunity for dads to meet other dads and share stories and learn together.”

DYI Dads

From left: Young dad Torrin Bennett, Minister Jacquie Petrusma and Hobart City Mission CEO John Stubley at the opening of the accommodation yesterday.