There’s a new push to use the now vacant Tomaree Lodge as crisis accommodation for local families in need of a home.

The former disability care centre has been empty since the last residents left last month. 

Port Stephens MP Kate Washington says she’d like to see Tomaree Lodge put to good use while the Government sorts out the future of the site.

“The people that are really struggling are those that are vulnerable, there are people sleeping rough, there are families sleeping in tents,” Ms Washington said. 

“This is my proposal for the Government that we utilise the vacant homes sitting at the Tomaree Lodge site just as a short-term solution to help us through.”

The Yacaaba Centre and Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood Service has backed the idea, while the Shoal Bay Community Association says they’ll support the proposal if logistical issues are ironed out.

It’s understood there’s also concern about the Government’s plans ahead of community consultation. 

“Going forward, we need to ensure that the future of the site is determined by community with the support of Government,” Ms Washington. 

“So far, Government has not advised any of us of its plans for the site, and the community’s very concerned about the future and the security of the site.”

Ms Washington says the proposal would be a great outcome for the heritage site.

“It seems like a sensible solution to offer emergency housing for families that are struggling at Tomaree Lodge to assist in this crisis,” Ms Washington said. 

“We want the Government to come on board with community to ensure that decisions are being made with us to get the best outcome for that really special site.”

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