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 two Carrington Street 19th century heritage listed terrace houses (132-140 and 154-160 Carrington Street) owned by the SA Housing Trust, which were being used as a boarding house. Sr Betty Schonfeldt OAM was appointed Administrator 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. 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 .In the 2017 Australian Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Sister Betty (Schonfeldt) was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.
In recent years it has been recognised that boarding house accommodation, with shared kitchens and bathrooms is not an acceptable long term housing solution, but that there are some people who are not ready for to go straight from rough sleeping into fully independent living. They need a safe, secure place in a supportive environment where they can be helped to overcome the problems which had made them homeless in the first place and ready themselves for fully independent living. Carrington Cottages now provides the transitional housing for 60 homeless men in our original Carrington Street houses and for 20 men, women and couples in a new facility in Waymouth Street. The Waymouth Street accommodation provides the only opportunity in Adelaide for rough sleepers to be accommodated with their comfort pets. Our tenants are supported by social workers from several organisations (See ‘Our Partners’ section of the website) and specialist drug, alcohol, mental health and other services. Our residents pay a rental, which is similar to that which they will pay when they move into a place of their own. This enables them to establish a track record of paying rent and to reduce any financial barrier to the moving on. This model also allow us to operate without any operational subsidy, apart from a reduced rent, from the South Australian Government. We do fundraise and seek specific grants to provide extra facilities for our residents, such as free Wifi, transport and sporting and recreational facilities. One of our biggest expenses is furnishing the new homes for our residents who move on to independent living. Through generous discounts and scouring Op shops, we can furnish and equip a unit for around $3000. Any donations towards buying this furniture and equipment would be gratefully appreciated by our residents. They come to us with nothing and we want them to be properly equipped to make a successful new start. Carrington Cottages Ltd is a not-for-profit organisation and a registered Community Housing Provider. It is governed by a Board of volunteer directors for details and currently employs three full time and three part time staff.