Shepparton News - - FRONT PAGE - By JAMES BEN­NETT

Up to 45 houses will be built in the Goul­burn and Ovens val­leys for peo­ple strug­gling with hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity.

In what has been hailed as one of Beyond­Hous­ing’s ‘‘great­est’’ phil­an­thropic achieve­ments, the Peter and Lyndy White Foun­da­tion is putting up $10 mil­lion for the one- and twobed­room dwellings.

Beyond­Hous­ing will own and man­age the homes, which will pro­vide hous­ing for about 100 peo­ple.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Celia Adams said the hous­ing must be de­liv­ered swiftly and ef­fi­ciently.

Ms Adams said it was a ‘‘mas­sive’’ project to ad­dress Shep­par­ton’s home­less­ness cri­sis.

‘‘We know sin­gles and peo­ple who re­quire two-bed­room ac­com­mo­da­tion are on the largest wait­ing lists,’’ she said.

‘‘If you’re on New­start or a youth al­lowance, you sim­ply can’t af­ford what’s avail­able right now, so some­one has to de­velop it.

‘‘For an in­vestor, there’s not a lot of in­come to be made for rent­ing a one-bed­room dwelling; but we’re not in­vestors, we’re a not-for-profit.

‘‘We need to make sure the money that’s avail­able in the part­ner­ship is de­liv­er­ing as much hous­ing as we can; that’s sus­tain­able, af­ford­able and close to ameni­ties.’’

Ms Adams said the houses were not cri­sis ac­com­mo­da­tion, but ‘‘safe, se­cure long-term hous­ing’’.

The one-bed­room homes will in­clude a spa­cious kitchen, Euro­pean laun­dry, walk-in robes and one off-street car park.

As a bonus for the Goul­burn Val­ley, Ms Adams said the houses would be built us­ing re­gional trades.

‘‘We have re­ally good re­la­tion­ships with lo­cal builders and we’ll al­ways look for more if they can de­liver an af­ford­able qual­ity prod­uct,’’ she said.

Ms Adams said the best de­fence against home­less­ness was em­ploy­ment.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant for us as part of this com­mu­nity to make sure we’re sup­port­ing the com­mu­nity and our con­trac­tors and builders in that process,’’ she said.

The Peter and Lyndy White Foun­da­tion and Beyond­Hous­ing have pre­vi­ously part­nered to build smaller dwellings in Wan­garatta.

‘‘The Peter and Lyndy White Foun­da­tion is proud of our sig­nif­i­cant part­ner­ship with Beyond­Hous­ing to de­liver safe, af­ford­able and ef­fi­cient hous­ing for vul­ner­a­ble Vic­to­ri­ans,’’ Mr White said.

‘‘We are com­mit­ted to in­creas­ing the sup­ply of af­ford­able hous­ing in Vic­to­ria, and we look for­ward to work­ing with Beyond­Hous­ing, to make a pos­i­tive im­pact in re­gional Vic­to­ria by in­creas­ing the avail­abil­ity of so­cial hous­ing.’’

Beyond­Hous­ing will also pro­vide a fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion to the new homes.

Two sites in Shep­par­ton have been se­cured for the houses and work is ex­pected to start soon.

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