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Broad support for South Australian Elders village

Callan Morse -

Housing and Aboriginal organisations have thrown their support behind an Aboriginal Elders village in South Australia, which is set to be built in Adelaide's south.

Known as Purrkanaitya, Kaurna for "for all Elders", the facility, comprised of 40 modern and culturally appropriate homes at 'Warriparinga', or Bedford Park near the Sturt River, is set to be built and managed by Aboriginal people.

The facility has been designed for Elders to live independently on country in affordable, safe and secure community housing.

Signed on Wednesday, contracts for the $12.17 million project will see construction commence in August, with residents expected to move in by the end of 2025.

The village is a collaboration between not-for-profit housing provider Aboriginal Community Housing (ACHL), Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC), Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation (KYAC), SA Housing Authority and Housing Australia.

SA Housing Authority Head of Aboriginal Housing, Cheryl Axleby-Keeffe, congratulated KYAC in achieving their goal of creating a safe and supportive independent living environment for Elders to live together on country.

"This significant milestone proves how great outcomes can be achieved by working in a collaborative partnership approach with Aboriginal communities and through applying the principles of the SA Aboriginal Housing Strategy of, self-determination, place-based approach in decision making, co-design, inclusivity, and transparency," Ms Axleby-Keeffe said.

Accessible and inclusive design features included in the facilities design include stepless and bathroom grabrails to enable residents with mobility issues to 'age in place', along with communal areas and culturally significant outdoor firepits.

Aboriginal Community Housing Limited National Manager, Stacey Broadbent, said ACHL is pleased the project has received federal and state support, as well as a contribution of land from the ILSC.

"ACHL is proud to be a part of this innovative project to support a culturally appropriate 'ageing in place' opportunity for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people," Ms Broadbent said.

"It is wonderful to see that Aboriginal organisations are leading this project and working in partnership to deliver positive social outcomes for their own people."

The facility will be built on a 1.5 hectare site, land donated by the ILSC.

ILSC Group Chief Executive Officer, Joe Morrison, applauded the contributions made by multiple organisations to see the project come to fruition.

"The ILSC's investment in the purpose-built village for the Elders on Kaurna Country, through the purchase of the property, exemplifies our commitment to the people we serve, First Nations peoples," Mr Morrison said.

"We welcome today's additional funding boost to this project that is a genuine partnership between organisations with a mutual goal in mind – deliver a culturally appropriate housing solution for the Elders."

Purrkanaitya tenants will be aged over 50 and include Elders at risk of homelessness and those already living in social housing who will move from their existing homes. ACHL will manage the properties and tenancies.

Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation Chair, Tim Agius, said Kaurna Elders have needed a place like Purrkanaitya "for a long time".

"Their needs can't be met at a typical aged-care facility, and this village starts to fill the gap," Mr Agius said.

"KYAC is proud to be involved in the development that will include homes and shared spaces that are culturally appropriate and close to an important Dreaming story. Our Elders deserve nothing less."

The Purrkanaitya project has been made possible through a $4 million contribution from the South Australian Government, a $3 million contribution by the Federal Government and $5.17 million contribution from the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation.


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