Student Apartment Block Turns into Crisis Housing


Students in an inner-city Brisbane apartment block have relocated in a move to offer self-contained apartments as temporary crisis accommodation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Up to 285 university students relocated from the Atira apartments in Toowong to alternative accommodation in a bid to provide space for those at risk of homelessness.

Apartment operator Scape was approached by the state government to secure self-contained apartments for up to 300 people considered at risk.

Scape executive Craig Carracher said that the short-term use by government would go to the end of the year, and takes advantage of the student accomodation giant's capacity.

“Atira and our students here, know this transition is for the greater good, if we can assist in flattening the curve, the whole community will benefit,” Carracher said.

A spokesperson confirmed that as of Thursday the entire Atira Glen Road building would be vacant, with the transition of the building's new residents to soon begin.

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In late March, Scape told The Urban Developer it had been approached by multiple government departments for potential use of their buildings as isolation facilities due to their location, close to city centres and hospitals.

Purpose-built student accommodation is an alternative to the hotel sector, with some providers lately accomodating coronavirus patients or used as enforced 14-day quarantine accomodation for returning travellers.

Scape has five student living apartment buildings across Brisbane, and 23 buildings across its portfolio of brands in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni described the students decision to relocate would “absolutely save lives”.

“In fact it could save thousands of lives,” de Brenni said.

“I want to thank the students, who heeded our call for help and relocated to nearby, alternative accommodation.”

De Brenni said the transition of the Atira building's new residents will take place under the guidance of Queensland Health.

“The new residents will have around-the-clock security and support, with meals and laundry service available too,” de Brenni said.

The move to provide homes is also in collaboration with Bric Housing, St Vincent de Paul, Mission Australia, and the Salvation Army.

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