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Bushfire impacted families at home with new housing pods

25 June 2020

Bushfire impacted families at home with new housing pods

The Salvation Army has entered into an initiative with the New South Wales Government and the Minderoo Foundation to provide bushfire-affected families with a temporary home while they rebuild after the ‘Black Summer’ bushfire disaster.

Under the initiative, to which The Salvation Army contributed $1.5 million, temporary accommodation ‘pods’, with built-in electricity, water and sewer systems, will be set up on people’s properties for a period of up to two years. The pods are different sizes, depending on the needs of the property owner or size of the family being assisted.

The Salvation Army Secretary for Mission (Lieutenant-Colonel) Lyn Edge said The Salvation Army assisted more than 8000 NSW households during the bushfire response.

“We are providing ongoing support for thousands, including the residents of 2475 houses destroyed. We know those who lost their homes will face a particularly hard road to recovery and that having the stability of a recovery pod will make the journey more manageable.

“We are pleased to be working with the NSW Government and Minderoo Foundation and look forward to stepping further into the provision of additional long-term recovery accommodation in the weeks ahead.”

Dr Andrew Forrest AO, Minderoo Foundation Chairman, said the foundation was humbled to play a role in assisting NSW communities devastated by bushfire.

“When our Fire Fund team visited impacted communities across northern and southern NSW shortly after the fires, many people on the ground told us their number-one priority was to be able to stay on their land while they rebuilt. This message drove the innovative thinking that led us to the design of the Minderoo recovery pods.” 

More than 100 pods have already been allocated to families across NSW. Another 60 to 70 are in the process of being constructed.

Once a pod is delivered, The Salvation Army outreach workers will continue to journey with individuals and families, providing wrap-around services through its Doorways and Moneycare counselling and relief services, referrals to other agencies for mental health and other support.

“There are people still living under tarps, living in all sorts of displacement,” said Martin Boyle, leader of The Salvation Army Bushfire Recovery Workers team, which has been on the ground working in local communities remotely since February.

“We will be on the ground for the next two years. Lots of people are suffering, there is lots of displacement, loss of livelihood, mental health is suffering. We are still helping people with clothes, food, electricity, internet connections, as well as meeting their immediate needs we are there for the long run.”

Story first appeared in The Salvation Army’s online magazine Others.org.au

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