A new lounge facility for the homeless opens in Katoomba

A new lounge facility in Katoomba gives homeless people somewhere to go during the day.

Earth Recovery director, Rosa Del Ponte, calls it “a safe comfy lounge setting where people can read, watch TV or just hang out”.

Just lounging about for the homeless: Lucian Keegel (Rotary), Betty Allen (Uniting Church Primary Learning Centre), Susan Templeman MP, Rosa Del Ponte, Ahlei Bliss (coordinator) and volunteer Leera Saha.

Just lounging about for the homeless: Lucian Keegel (Rotary), Betty Allen (Uniting Church Primary Learning Centre), Susan Templeman MP, Rosa Del Ponte, Ahlei Bliss (coordinator) and volunteer Leera Saha.

The lounge was opened on Friday November 23 by MP for Macquarie Susan Templeman.

It caters for up to ten people and is the latest addition to Junction 142 in Katoomba’s main street, which is operated by not-for-profit company Earth Recovery in partnership with the Uniting Church.

“The lounge adds to the laundry and bathroom facilities for homeless people that we opened here last October.”

The lounge is located in the Manse, the historic minister’s residence behind the church hall that continues to be steadily restored by volunteer coordinator Ray Buffrey and his team.

Ms Templeman helped secure a $4000 grant for the project under the Stronger Communities Program. Other support came from a Uniting Church Outreach grant, which paid for flooring in both the church and the residence, and the Combined Upper Mountains Rotary Team, who supplied materials and volunteers for ongoing restoration work to the outside of the building.

“Community feedback on the project has been nothing but positive, especially as more and more people are finding out just how easy it is to become homeless,” Ms Del Ponte said.

“A huge personal thank you to all volunteers who have been involved with the Manse over the years. It would simply not have been possible without all of the community support and hard work.”

The lounge adds another dimension to Junction 142 which hosts the Soul Kitchen Sunday lunch each week for up to 50 people, a food recovery service saving over 150 tonnes of fresh food annually, a pop-up op shop, weekly street markets and a live music venue.