The Member for South Perth, John McGrath MLA, says he is delighted the State Government has provided a new home for the not-for-profit organisation, The Esther Foundation.
Within 18 months the Esther Foundation will move its headquarters from seven rented houses in South Perth to the picturesque former St Emilie’s Convent in Kalamunda.
The State Government recently purchased the convent for $3.9 million and has leased the property to Esther for 45 years.
Housing Minister Bill Marmion handed over the keys to Esther Foundation director Rod Lavatar at a ceremony on the property yesterday. Esther hopes to raise $3.5 million over the next 12 to 18 months to undertake a significant refurbishment of the old building. In the meantime it will continue to operate from South Perth.
Mr McGrath, who attended the handing over ceremony said he felt especially pleased at the outcome as he had advocated at the highest level of government on behalf of Esther.
“The Esther Foundation has achieved some amazing results with young women in need of support from all kinds of issues, including domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse,” he said. “It does this by operating a residential health, development and leadership program for participants aged 13 to 33.
“I was personally involved with the committee of the Foundation for some years and have strongly advocated the case for funding of new premises to provide its most important services.”
Mr McGrath said the purchase of the former St Emilie’s Convent had been funded from the State’s Crisis Accommodation Program, which allows the Department of Housing to acquire properties for lease to not-for-profit community and welfare organisations.
Mr Marmion said the Esther Foundation has been based in seven individual dwellings in South Perth but the move to St Emilie’s would allow its operations to be housed together. “Programs such as those run by The Esther Foundation assist young women to live independently and gain skills so they do not have to rely on the public housing system,” he said.
The Esther Foundation currently houses 41 program participants and three children and anticipates this number will increase by 40% once it is located at St Emilie’s.
To see more photos of the new location for the Esther foundation, click here.