SOUTH HOBART, TASMANIA

In 2018, Tasmanian Archbishop Julius Porteous called out to the Tasmanian community to look to how it could work together to address homelessness.

CatholicCare Tasmania, along with the South Hobart Catholic Parish and Centrecare Evolve Housing answered the call, converting an unused Parish building into an eight unit housing complex.

Called Buenos Aires to reflect the birthplace of Pope Francis, the development offers affordable accommodation for women over the age of 55 years.

For this cohort, accessing the traditional housing marketing can sometimes be challenging. Time out of the workforce caring for others, the death of a spouse, diminishing social networks or embarrassment about reaching out for help can all present as risks for homelessness.

Buenos Aires is a social housing facility that aims to provide more than bricks and mortar and a roof over one’s head. In fact, in addressing disadvantage CatholicCare Tasmania provides a range of wrap around services to support the women throughout this period of their lives. And social connection, particularly amongst a group where social isolation can be prevalent, is fundamental.

A new communal garden, completed with a small grant from Highways and Byways, now features predominately at Buenos Aires. Replacing an unused and unsightly car park, the garden provides a beautiful spot for residents to come together for contemplation and socialisation. Being adjacent to the church, parishioners can join in too.

The garden has been planted out with flowers, herbs and olive trees and the produce is available for residents to take and use.

South Hobart Parish’s Fr Michael Tate is amazed by the garden and notes the cleverly erected garden edging which can be used as seating. “The work done is of the highest standard and far exceeds my expectations” Fr Michael said.

This can perhaps be attributed to the comprehensive process of planning and designing the garden where over 40 locals came together for various planning meetings. Through this, and other events, such as those to raise additional resources for the garden, the women of Buenos Aires have been highly engaged and connected up with the wider community. And this is a plus for tackling long term disadvantage.

For now though, this community in southern Tasmania is looking formally launching the garden in October. That, and the changes and growth in the garden that come with the warmer Springtime months.