“It’s a beautiful dream come true,” says 55 year-old Alma Cenandez, one of the residents of the new community housing project in St. Albans, Victoria that was officially opened this week. The housing is attractive, built to a five-star rating, and for ten older Spanish-speakers is the place they are pleased to call home.
The development was designed and constructed by Community Housing Limited, an organisation that manages 750 community homes across Victoria. The new residents will pay income-adjusted rent to CHL, which in real terms will be around 75% of the market rent on the property.
“This is the first community housing project for the Spanish-speaking community in Victoria. Working with Community Housing Limited has been very positive for us,” says Rafaela Lopez, Coordinator for the Foundation for Older Spanish Speaking People who focus on the housing and special accommodation needs of Spanish-speaking seniors. “It’s a good beginning, and we have had a lot of people express interest in more community housing in our western and south-eastern communities.”
Lopez says the residents were chosen based on a needs-based criteria defined by the State Government.
The community housing sector in Australia is relatively unknown (currently about 1% of housing stock in Australia are community homes) however, it is a fast growing sector that fits between public housing and private rental. Community homes look like any other home in a suburban neighborhood, and provide long-term affordable housing for people in housing need.
In regards to the St.Albans project, Community Housing Limited focused on designing homes that can be modified over time to incorporate special needs for the individual should their health status change.
“Properties for aged care are geared towards individuals that are 55 and over, which one wouldn’t regard as aged, however, our focus is on creating stability for the long term,” says Steve Bevington, Managing Director of Community Housing Limited. “From the initial properties built for older residents eight to nine years ago, we have had no movement at all, which I think is testimony to the attention paid to flexible design.”
Bevington says a growing proportion of CHL stock – now around 33% – is geared towards the expanding aged population in the community.
Lopez predicts an increasing housing demand amongst aging Spanish-speakers, and lists the establishment of a Nursing Home as the next major goal of the Foundation.
For more information on CHL, contact:
Media and Communications Coordinator
Community Housing Limited
t 03 9856 0021
m 0430 555 241