In being selected to develop the 79-dwelling Ferntree Gully affordable housing development – the largest community housing project to date in Victoria – Community Housing Limited (CHL) has comprehensively demonstrated its capability to manage a project of this size of successfully delivering comparable but smaller projects around the State.
Throughout Victoria, suburbs from Ferntree Gully to Inverloch, and from Caroline Springs to Beechworth are under increasing housing pressure due to a lack in the supply of affordable homes.
This is compounded by the growth in property values through the net inflow of people moving into Melbourne and to towns and suburbs across Victoria. With this increased prices comes new stresses on the local community which include issues such as local people being priced out of the private rental market, or selling their properties to a sea or tree-change household but then having to move out of town.
“The Ferntree Gully Project announcement is the latest in a range of projects that CHL has designed and constructed, then managed for the long term,” says Steve Bevington, CHL’s Managing Director. “The key to our success in moving into these communities is to have support for the project at the local level. In the case of Ferntree Gully we have strong support from the council, as well as support for social service providers who are dealing on a daily basis with the lack of affordable housing in the area.”
The Bass Coast Shire has one of the largest aging populations per capita in the country. Property prices and increasing rentals are pricing some of the older locals out of the market and out of town.
As part of an 18-property development spearheaded by a local interest group who donated the land to CHL as a community resource (valued before construction at more than $850,000) the vision was to create an ongoing community resource that could house local families, older couples and singles for the very long term.
“One of the major objectives for our group was to have the housing designed so that residents could live there for as long as possible, even if their health declines,” said the group’s representative, Jill Steer. “Most have come from private rental where they had no long term tenure, which is very concerning for an older person. Now with the security of knowing their home is always available to them, they don’t feel vulnerable.”
Mrs. Steer says the outcome has been beyond the expectations of everyone associated with the development, including Inverloch’s general public.
“The residents have developed a close knit community and really support each other. Everyone there is very happy. One comment we received was that some of the residents had never lived in a brick veneer home before, let alone a new home,” she says.
Mrs. Steer says the key to the success of the project was CHL’s consultative approach which included local people contributing to the concept and design elements, as well as ensuring local people are given the priority to live there.
“It makes the development a part of the community and not separate from it,” she says.
As opposed to Inverloch, there was not a ready-made group of tenants waiting to move in, but using CHL’s approach to tenancy management, the eight-dwelling development on Hawthorn Way in Caroline Springs has been a successful project for CHL and the tenants who live there.
The development consists of two-story townhouses built around a cul-de-sac. The eight homes are two and three-bedroom quality built dwellings that are attractively designed and finished, and have landscaped front and backyards.
The Hawthorn Way project has a good mix of older and younger tenants, single parents and couples. There are another 27 homes in the immediate area where the community of tenants are connecting with the wider neighbourhood.
“This is a wonderful neighbourhood, and the quality of our property is so much better than the apartment we were renting,” says Adeline, who has a husband and one year-old daughter.
“Community Housing Limited (CHL) is a national and international provider of affordable housing that was founded in 1994 with a $63,000 grant. Its mission is ‘to provide affordable and sustainable housing for all’. CHL is a registered Housing organisation in Victoria and an approved growth provider in NSW, Tasmania, WA and SA.
CHL is a vertically integrated operation that manages the entire housing lifecycle. This includes securing funding, locating suitable land, project managing, designing and constructing, then managing the tenancy for the long term which includes collecting rents and maintaining the property.
By the end of 2009-10 financial year, CHL will have more than 3000 properties in its national portfolio.
For more information on this project or on CHL, contact:
Media and Communications Coordinator
Community Housing Limited
t 03 9856 0021
m 0430 555 241