A MILLION dollar renovation is breathing new life into the Seiffert Centre and improved the facilities for its 34 residents.
In 2010, Housing NSW provided $1.2 million to repair roofs, gutters and down pipes and internal bathroom upgrades.
The money was also used to replace all fences, improve signage and landscape the entire social housing complex.
The landscaping part of the project included the construction of a pergola and an outdoor communal area.
There is now a grass area and garden beds with more 700 camellias, azaleas, blossoms and native varieties planted. With the project now complete, residents were able to hold an official opening and christen the new outdoor area with a celebratory barbecue on Monday, October 8.
Social Housing Tenant Group coordinator Allan Turner said the changes have really lifted the feel of the 62-year-old complex and improved the 33 units for its tenants. The Seiffert Centre's tenant makeup is comprised of aged, disability, mental health and low income residents.
"[The outdoor area] gives a place for everyone to get together and gives us a social point," he said. "It's improved the outlook of the property…the tenants really love the fact we have grass here and a nice garden. It used to be very bare and rundown.
"Now people want to come out because we have a nice area. This really improves the social interaction and community feel, rather than just feeling like you live in a building.
"Prior to the new outdoor area Mr Turner said there was no specific place to congregate. "We didn't have any outdoor areas with protection so if it rained then everyone would have to go back inside," he said.
Mr Turner praised Housing NSW for involving the tenants in the decision-making process."They would consult with us about what we would like to see around the place, the type of landscaping and re-fencing we wanted, prior to the re-fencing we were fairly open and that would cause problems," Mr Turner said.
"We could suggest to them what we wanted and where we wanted them, because we live here we have that extra knowledge."
Area director of South East Housing NSW Steve Shanahan said the team effort between the two groups resulted in a successful outcome.
"It's a fantastic result…the units will now go the distance and they have longevity," he said.
"There's strength when you use a network…it works out well for everyone. For the people who live here and it's easier for us to manage the tenants and program."