Hobart’s northern suburbs have opened a special haven for single dads and their children.
Resident Torrin Bennett said he probably would not have custody of his son if it were not for the DIY Dad program, which is the first of its kind in Tasmania.
The re-developed accommodation currently holds seven men and their children in individual apartments. There is one vacancy and several men are on a waiting list, reports ABC news.
Mr Bennett has moved to the complex with his 15-month-old son.
“A mate of mine got me onto the program, and a couple of months later it couldn’t be easier,” Mr Bennett said.
“The dads here are really nice and willing to help when you need a hand — it’s really good to have that support. Basically I probably would not have had my son at all and would have been hanging around with the wrong crowd of people.”
Mr Bennett plans to go to TAFE and enter the workforce.
“I want to start off with teaching [my son] right from wrong, I want him to start picking up good things in life,” he said.
The Hobart City Mission’s John Stubley said there was a lack of accommodation for men and children in the capital.
“The City Mission saw the need for such an accommodation facility to provide fathers with the support to parent their children where they haven’t otherwise been able to do so,” he said.
“The men are from a range of circumstances, a lot of them are by definition are homeless, not sleeping rough but couch-surfing or living in temporary accommodation.”
Mr Stubley said there were huge benefits for the men to live near each other.
“The idea around the play area here and the common room is that it creates a space for dads to come,” he said.
“They can share war stories, experiences, and it will help them all grow.”
Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma said it would stop fathers losing their children to the child protection system.
“It enables them to have full custody and for them to learn skills and how to become a great dad and a great role model.”
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