Shepparton News

Roof over heads


- By Rosa Ritchie

The Victorian Government has unveiled a $2.25 million project to deliver 25 new social housing homes in the City of Greater Shepparton as part of the statewide Big Housing Build.

The project, led by BeyondHous­ing, will create more than 70 local jobs and is part of a $45 million minimum investment in the Shepparton area, according to the announceme­nt made on Friday.

BeyondHous­ing chief executive Celia Adams said the project would include funding from the Victorian Government, the Peter and Lyndy White Foundation, as well as from BeyondHous­ing.

‘‘BeyondHous­ing is delighted with the allocation of funding to Shepparton as the first stage of the government’s Big Housing Build,’’ she said.

‘‘We’re constructi­ng 25 homes that are well designed, with excellent amenity, using local trades, that will provide safe, secure and affordable housing.’’

Ms Adams said the government’s commitment to spend $45 million in greater Shepparton was huge and would be life-changing for the people who received the housing at the other end.

‘‘Because I think that the houses are not the point, but the people in the houses is the desired outcome,’’ she said.

Ms Adams said BeyondHous­ing was working to ensure the developmen­ts blended into the landscape.

‘‘Hopefully, it’s an engaging, warm, inviting style of housing that anyone who drove past would love to live in — that’s the aim,’’ she said.

‘‘The people that we’re talking about housing . . . are people who already live in our communitie­s, their children already go to school in our communitie­s, they already shop at the same supermarke­ts that everybody else shops at.

‘‘It’s about housing our community members who we should value and take care of.’’

This latest investment follows a project to build 62 supported independen­t living homes for people living with mental illness, to be built across four Victorian sites, including in Mooroopna.

Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp said the Big Housing Build projects would stimulate the local economy while providing the stability and security of a home to those who needed it most.

‘‘The projects will create around 70 local jobs right here in the Shepparton region — with constructi­on expected to get under way this year,’’ he said.

At a total of $5.3 billion, the Big Housing Build is Victoria’s largest-ever investment in social and affordable housing.

It involves a record $740 million investment from the Victorian Government for 89 community housing projects across regional and metropolit­an areas.

The homes would be available to those in the most need of housing, including people living with mental illness or disability, people escaping family violence, First Nations communitie­s and individual­s experienci­ng homelessne­ss.

A minimum of 10 per cent of the Big Housing Spend was geared toward housing for First Nations people, and Ms Adams said this was ‘‘really critical’’ given Indigenous people were over-represente­d in homelessne­ss data in the Goulburn Valley.

Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell, a former housing minister, said regional Victoria wasn’t getting its fair share of the social housing investment.

Ms Lovell called for more than the minimum allocation of $45 million to be directed to the greater Shepparton area.

‘‘The Andrews Labor Government has failed to adequately invest in social housing which has seen the waiting list in greater Shepparton skyrocket by over 150 per cent to reach 1521 families under Labor,’’ she said.

Ms Lovell pointed to the fact the housing waitlist had grown by more than 153.5 per cent during the term of the Andrews Government, including an extra 34 families that joined the list in the June 2021 quarter.

Of greatest concern to Ms Lovell were the 798 families that are on the priority access waiting list for housing.

 ??  ?? Creating homes: BeyondHous­ing chief executive Celia Adams looks forward to the day 25 soonto-be constructe­d homes are inhabited by people who need them most.
Creating homes: BeyondHous­ing chief executive Celia Adams looks forward to the day 25 soonto-be constructe­d homes are inhabited by people who need them most.

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