St Bart’s psyched for $1.5m upgrade

Homelessness minister John Carey and St Bart’s CEO Sam Drury at East Perth’s Lime Street house on January 7.

ST BART’S homeless accommodation at Lime Street will be refurbished, incorporating psychology-driven architecture aimed at helping residents with complex needs. 

Perth MP John Carey announced the $1.575 million state funding for the refurb and said “the grant will help St Bart‚Äôs make big improvements to the design and layout of the accommodation complex, as well as upgrade outdoor amenities available to residents.”

Mr Carey, who was allocated the homelessness portfolio in December, said “while there is a significant focus on expanding services through major projects such as our two Common Ground facilities, it’s absolutely critical we maintain the existing infrastructure we have available.”

The Lime Street facility in East Perth specialises in supporting people who’ve experienced chronic homelessness, mental health and substance problems. Some areas will be changed to boost privacy and security, while some areas will be made more open.

The changes incorporate new research into “Psychologically Informed Environment” design, a similar ethos used in the architecture at the upcoming Common Ground facilities. 

PIE design is intended to bolster emotional wellbeing and aid recovery. Noise, light, comfort, temperature and aesthetics are taken into account to make a place feel safe and welcoming, and to avoid resembling an imposing institution that could spark bad memories. 

The changes will include new shared work and social spaces in hopes of encouraging more sense of community among residents, staff and visitors, and floorplans will be rejigged so external agencies can run support clinics on site.

St Bart’s CEO Sam Drury said in her announcement of the works: “Our planned refurbishments will strengthen our ability to deliver Trauma Informed Care and Recovery services and will assist with enhancing psychological and emotional wellbeing outcomes for our consumers and staff.”

The refurbishment is expected to be completed mid-2022, working so as to not interrupt normal services or affect the bed capacity. 

by DAVID BELL

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