In 1989 Housing SA approached the Adelaide Sisters of Mercy (an order of Catholic Religious that ran several not-for-profit agencies in Adelaide for people in social and economic difficulties) to take over the Carrington Street boarding house. Sr Betty Schonfeldt OAM was appointed Administrator, and a public association with an independent board of management was created under the SA Associations Act to be responsible for Carrington Cottages.
Sr. Betty remained as Administrator for twenty-five years, retiring in 2014. Over this long period of selfless service, Sr Betty provided accommodation and practical support for many hundreds of men in difficult economic circumstances. She became an icon in the homelessness industry in Adelaide, widely recognised as a compassionate but tough-minded negotiator for her tenants in their dealings with the welfare bureaucracy, and as someone who provided safe and secure lodging for men in times of need.
It is worth noting that, as a Catholic Religious Sister, Sr Betty received no personal salary or other reward for her work at Carrington Cottages – the Board paid the Sisters of Mercy a modest stipend to assist with Sr Betty’s living expenses.
In the 2017 Australian Queen’s Birthday Honours List,Sister Betty (Schonfeldt),was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.
Sr Betty’s award recognised her outstanding work in the community, including over 25 years as the founding Administrator of Carrington Cottages. Sr. Betty remains in close touch with Carrington Cottages, running a range of social activities for our tenants.
Carrington Cottages Today
The Carrington Cottages are two 19th century heritage listed terrace houses (132-140 and 154-160 Carrington Street) owned by the SA Housing Trust and leased to Carrington Cottages Limited(CCL), a not-for-profit organisation. CCL has successfully provided boarding house accommodation for men on low incomes for the past twenty-five years. CCL is managed by a Board of volunteer Directors who employ two staff: a part-time Manager and a full-time Assistant Manager.
In addition to the 60 single rooms we currently provide, the facilities at Carrington Cottages will be progressively upgraded over 2016/2017 to accommodate an additional 10 homeless men. Most commonly, our tenants are men in their 40’s and 50’s who stay with us for periods up to two or three years. Almost all receive a government pension, usually a Disability Support Pension.
CCL receives no direct government funding. Housing SA charges us a community housing rent for the two buildings, and is also responsible for routine repairs and maintenance. CCL is responsible for all staff costs and for all furniture and equipment and other facilities, resources and basic services provided for residents. CCL also pays the energy bills and carries appropriate insurances.