ONE or Sunraysia's largest accommo­dation complexes will be built by the charitable foundation that supports Mildura Base Public Hospital.
The MBPH Foundation is planning a building of up to 150 rooms for patients and their families, and for use as short-­term accommodation for new hospital staff who have travelled to the area to work.
The hospital spends millions of dol­lars a year on short-term accommoda­tion across various Mildura sites, mainly for patients and family members who must travel up to 200km from across the northern Mallee, south-west NSW and eastern South Australia to use the region's only major health facility.
The foundation is today launching a community fundraising drive to sup­port the project. It hopes to raise $1 million from the sale of "virtual bricks" at $100 each, and individuals and businesses can also sponsor individual rooms.

EVERY year, millions of taxpayer dollars are spent on short-term accommoda­tion for Mildura Base Public Hospital patients, and family members, who often must travel hundreds of kilometres for treatment.
Many new hospital staff also must travel from afar, even overseas, to work in a community that desperately needs them, but they arrive in a city where rental properties are scarce and home prices are high.
And that rental crisis is almost certainly exacerbated by the hospital's accommodation needs.
The MBPH Foundation, created to be the hospital's community fundraising support, has a plan to change all that.
Foundation House, a dedicated accommodation complex of up to 150 rooms, including self-contained apart­ments, is to be built near the hospital site over the next four years.
That site has not yet been finalised and building plans remain at an early stage, as does the budget. But the project has begun with the launch of a fundrais­ing drive that asks the community to become a key part of it.
That community support fill be vital to its success, says hospital chief execu­tive Terry Welch.
"Clearly, we want to raise a significant amount of the cost ourselves ... and that enables the community to really engage in what I think will be one of the most incredible projects we will see in the next decade," Mr Welch told Sunraysia Daily this week.
He explained that every day, more than 100 hotel, motel, apartment and house beds around Mildura were occ­upied by patients and their families, or new slaff still in the process of finding permanent homes here.
"We've probably partly caused the rental crisis in Mildura, because we're taking up every room in town," Mr Welch said.
"But the reality is that we have nowhere to accommodale patienls and families who have to travel, who have to stay overnight to receive care."
These included more than 100 fam­ilies a year who came to Mildura from remote areas to give birth.
Mr Welch said it was important that the complex was built close to the hospi­tal's Ontario Avenue site, not just for the purpose of patient care, but for the many new staff who arrive in Mildura without a place to stay.
"We are very much aiming to bring that community of staff together as well, to support each other," Mr Welch said. 

"We also have a lot of people patients) who come from places like Quyen and the Mallee Track and Robin­vale, and there's been family members who have come here and didn't have a place to stay, and we didn't know about it so they've ended up sleeping in their cars. That's what will change."
Mr Welch said the Foundation would seek some support from government, but wanted the community to take as much ownership of the project as possi­ble. It would most likely be built by a dev­eloper who would lease the site back to the Foundation, which would be handed the keys in late 2026 or early 2027.
"We see this as something that, once we can give the green light, can happen very quickly," Mr Welch said.
The community is being asked to help build Foundation House through a donations program called Home Away From Home. It includes the sale of $1 million worth of "virtual bricks" at $ 100 each.
Individuals and business can also become major partners through dona­tions of $25 or more, and individual rooms can be sponsored, with naming rights, for $2000 each.