A $2.6m upgrade of a Salvation Army Social Housing village in Mosgiel is improving the lives of the 61 residents with warmer, drier homes and improved social space.
The Salvation Army originally built the 60-unit complex—59 one-bedroom units and one two-bedroom unit, plus a community hall—in the mid-1980s as affordable rentals for people aged 55 and over. The community has developed increasingly into social housing, with newer residents coming from the country’s Housing Register.
Salvation Army Social Housing’s National Housing Operations Manager Fiona Matthews says the project was a timely upgrade in accordance with modern standards and building materials that would extend the life of the properties.
The work, conducted mainly during 2022, included removing the original exterior cladding of the units and community hall, adding insulation and moisture barriers in the walls, and recladding with a more hardwearing and attractive material. In addition, all the original windows were replaced with double glazing. The community centre was completely refurbished, including a new kitchen and bathrooms, along with the addition of French doors, a patio and pergola.
‘The upgrade will result in warmer, dryer homes that will also reduce power costs in winter, while the refurbished community centre provides a more welcoming social space for residents to mingle,’ says Fiona.
About 50 people, including residents and Salvation Army staff, packed into the upgraded community centre on 9 February to celebrate the project and to thank residents for putting up with associated disruption.
‘In my work, I am involved with homelessness across the country,’ Lt-Colonel Lynette Hutson, assistant secretary for Mission, told the audience.
‘So, it’s such a pleasure for The Salvation Army to assist you to be in your homes. We are committed to keeping these places up to standard and I hope you will enjoy living here,’ said Lynette.
Salvation Army Social Housing National Director Greg Foster, who lived in Mosgiel as a child, said: ‘We’re really proud of what we are doing here and all our older units around the country will get the same treatment.’
Several social housing residents spoke at the event, including Megan Christie, who said she was looking forward to the coming winter. ‘The work done such as double glazing has made a real difference. Thanks for listening to what we wanted and to our concerns. I have a wonderful home.’
Upcoming work planned for the village include the installation of a television, wifi in the community centre and adding heat pumps to all the units.
The Mosgiel site is the largest Salvation Army social housing village in the country. A part-time tenancy manager is regularly on site, while The Salvation Army Mosgiel Corps provides ongoing pastoral care.
Nationwide, The Salvation Army manages 430 social housing units with between 1-3 bedrooms each.