Community Rallies to House Homeless

Taking their cue from reality TV, the no-nonsense citizens of Heidelberg West, and supporters from Rotary Clubs in the area including Heidelberg, Rosanna & Ivanhoe, have staged their own renovation rescue of four houses earmarked for demolition.

The ringmaster is Brother Harry Prout, a community worker for 18 years who has built such goodwill that the reply to his calls for help most often was: ‘‘No worries, I’ll be there’’.

A 24 year old single mother and her 20 months old daughter, moved into a two-bedroom house, with central heating and backyard, after spending all of her baby’s life in a women’s refuge and then at a friend’s house.

Two other houses are going to single mothers with children, and the fourth will house five asylum seeker and homeless adults.

More than 60 volunteers worked on the houses, or donated goods.

Philanthropists Irene and Robert Gilbert, who grew up in Heidelberg West,  donated $40,000 and community group 3081 Angels gave baby clothes, kitchen goods and furniture.

Builder Bill Anderson, from Transbuild, was unpaid project manager and he and his staff installed two donated Kaboodle Kitchens, fixed doors, tiled bathrooms, and installed shower screens.

Tony Bowlen, Rotary Club of Heidelberg, has been instrumental in securing some quality white goods and furniture from a deceased estate.

Over six weeks, carpenter Tess Elliott, and two of her students at Olympic Adult Education, hung doors, installed locks, and repaired plaster.

Glenda Coswello from the Rotary Club of Rosanna worked in one of the houses over a 4 week period painting the entire house. Another Rotarian Bill O’Halloran from the club assisted as well.