IT WAS a day of celebration at the formal opening of the new social housing for the Ginda Barri Centre at Kempsey, with parents as young as 16 being provided a place to live while they complete their schooling.
Located across the road from the Macleay Vocational College (MVC), the NSW Government's Land and Housing Corporation purchased a complex of 22 new two-bedroom units, with at least six of these dedicated to the 'Mums and Bubs Hub' for mothers attending the Ginda Barri Centre.
This is a part of the NSW Government's $5.5 million investment in social housing in Kempsey, and local State Member Melinda Pavey and mayor Liz Campbell were on hand for the landmark reveal.
Mark Morrison, who started the program for young parents and was the principal of the MVC for nine years, was over the moon about the new housing program.
"This is unreal, let's put it in a nutshell, this is actually unbelievable. To think that everyone can come together for the one purpose to help these kids get an education and housing is amazing," Mr Morrison said.
"Rather than pushing education as a front for success, just pushing the whole concept that being a mum is a really special time and that the bond that's formed between the children and the parents is essential."
Kymeka,18, a resident of the new units, has a young boy and has just graduated from MVC.
"I've been here for about two months and I really like it, I'm very happy to have my own little house and environment, and to have a roof over my head," Kymeka said.
A current student at MVC, Jimmy Byrnes, who has two young boys, said "when I started here I wasn't in a good headspace, and it's been great to have had this support and accommodation".
Mrs Pavey said "this is one of those special moments where you have the opportunity to deliver what your community was asking for, this is a solution that came from Kempsey, not from Sydney. It's about trying to keep kids in education, empower them, and let them know that people have their backs."
The new principal for MVC, Ryan Martin, believes the best part of this program is it has started a conversation.
"A lot of kids are now reaching out and asking for help, it's a priority to get roofs over these kids' heads," Mr Martin said.
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