Past and current residents, Mission Australia staff and local community members recently gathered under a leafy mango tree in the backyard of Ebbs House, to celebrate its official opening.

Ebbs House is our newest crisis and transitional accommodation facility on Sydney's Northern Beaches and will give 26 people at risk of or experiencing homelessness a safe and supportive place to call home. The facility is named after Reverend Arthur Rowley Ebbs, rector of Manly’s St Matthew’s Church from 1924 to 1948. Area Manager Rachelle Elphick said the team is proud and humbled by the support received to open the facility's doors.

"We've only just opened and already have been assisting people to move in. We know that there is acute need for housing and homelessness services on the Northern Beaches and so it's great to see the community get behind us and support the opening of such an important facility," Rachelle said.

The facility will operate across two neighbouring properties and is viable thanks to generous support from a local, anonymous benefactor who decided to act upon the need they saw in their community. In September 2017, we farewelled the Fairlight Centre which had been operational for 33 years. Upon entry to Ebbs House, the Fairlight Centre is pictured alongside iconic photos of Manly, an appropriate symbol of our continuing work with the Northern Beaches community.

The properties are in a central location close to public transport, within walking distance to the Brookvale Community Health Centre as well as employment and community services, hospitals, jobs, shopping centre and the local TAFE. The house itself is modern and inviting, with many guests on the day commenting on how "comfortable and high quality" the rooms are.

Staff members at Ebbs House worked hard during the weeks leading up to the opening, holding working bees to make the place sparkling clean from top to toe.

The team were joined at their working bees by Eugene, a former tenant at the Fairlight Centre –Mission Australia’s former crisis and transitional accommodation on Sydney’s Northern Beaches –who became homeless at 64 years old. Before becoming homeless, he had a stable life, marriage, children and good jobs. He had even held a role as a mental health nurse at Royal North Shore Hospital. He had kept up an image that everything was fine with his life, but he later realised he had dealt with depression for quite some time. Even so, his family was unaware of his struggles. An overdose later caused his life to take a turn for the worst and he ended up in hospital. When he left hospital and no longer had a place to call home, he found refuge at Fairlight. Eugene's experience with our service led him to want to give back.

"When I became homeless, I was frightened, scared and completely in shock. But the Fairlight team provided support in any area I needed. It was a very safe, stable environment and it gave me the opportunity to get my mind set again," Eugene shared.

Program Manager Kevin Kingsbeer hopes that the team's effort to create a welcoming space will help people feel at home.

"We know that people respond to their environment and we hope that by providing a clean, modern and safe place, people will be able to grow in their own independence, skills and confidence. Ultimately we are here to support people with dignity and give them a helping hand to connect with the community around them, helping each person take their own steps towards independence," Kevin explained.

Services offered at Ebbs House will include crisis and transitional accommodation, outreach support, case management, counselling, information, advice and advocacy.

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