56 Recreation Street in Tweed Heads.
56 Recreation Street in Tweed Heads. Supplied

Mystery donor gives $1.5m property to homeless service

AN anonymous donor has gifted a $1.5 million property to a homeless service at Tweed Heads in an extraordinary act of generosity.

Agape Outreach founder Theresa Mitchell said the donor had purchased the site at 56 Recreation Street earlier this month before transferring the ownership of the property to the service.

According to RP Data, the site was purchased for a whopping $1.5 million on July 2 and is now owned by Agape Outreach.

Ms Mitchell said the donation was a "miracle" for the not-for-profit group, which had previously gone through multiple location changes and struggled to pay rent at its op shop in Enterprise Avenue.

 

56 Recreation Street in Tweed Heads.
56 Recreation Street in Tweed Heads. Supplied

"This donation was completely unexpected and I am so excited about the possibilities it presents to us", Ms Mitchell said.

"It's just incredible, we can now focus on what we want to do and not play musical chairs all the time to help people."

Founded in 2009, Agape Outreach provides shower facilities, laundry facilities, training courses and assistance with life skills and court cases to the homeless.

It also delivers four separate meal services each week and provides sleeping bags, blankets, clothes, and toiletries to anyone going through hardship.

The centre will now be able to expand its services in a facility three times bigger than before.

"We went from 210 square metres which we were struggling to pay for, to just under 600 square metres," Ms Mitchell said.

"The new centre will have all of our services but in a bigger way, we have an op shop, we have case management, before we all had to share the same office. If someone was having a mental breakdown, we'd have to kick everyone else out.

"Now we all have an office each."

Ms Mitchell said neighbours and business owners had previously complained about the sight of homeless people visiting the service.

"Now that we have a freestanding building and one that we own, it gives us a lot of security," she said.

"We're able to increase the size of everything, we have two showers now, we can have two washing machines, a kitchen instead of cooking meals on the street, we're going to open a psychology department because we have a training room now."

Ms Mitchell said the service was now seeking a psychologist looking for experience with people in need.

 

Founder of Agape Outreach Theresa Mitchell, has received numerous awards for her service to the community, including Tweed's 2015 Woman of the Year.
Founder of Agape Outreach Theresa Mitchell, has received numerous awards for her service to the community, including Tweed's 2015 Woman of the Year. Scott Powick

Homelessness in the Tweed has been a major issue over the past few years.

In February, Tweed MP Geoff Provest and NSW Social Housing Minister Pru Goward announced the State Government would build 50 units made up of private, social and affordable housing that would support up to 115 homeless people.

In the most recent budget, the State Government announced a $5.1 million investment to expand assertive outreach homelessness services into Tweed Heads and surrounding areas.

The Tweed Shire Council has previously hit out at Mr Provest for not providing a solution to the homeless issue.

Last month, the council voted to spend $80,000 on a radical concept plan for 100 tiny homes to address the problem, which was put forth by councillor Ron Cooper.



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