|Amélie Housing wins bid for new homes||Living in a caravan park is no holiday||Style Sessions at Vinnies Sutherland|
Amélie Housing, the community housing company of the Trustees of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (NSW), has been selected by the NSW Government as a partner in its Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF), a key initiative of Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW.
Under the SAHF, Amélie Housing will be building 305 new properties and acquiring 195 properties across the state. They will be a mix of social (70 per cent) and affordable (30 per cent) dwellings, helping those locked out of the expensive rental market to access homes that are affordable.
Future Directions is a ten year plan to reform the NSW social housing system so it can better meet the housing needs of our most vulnerable and break the cycle of disadvantage.
The SAHF is a key component of the NSW Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW strategy that will result in more social and affordable housing dwellings linked to tailored support, to help households gain independence.
Brian Murnane, CEO of Amélie Housing, said: “We’re very excited about what this will mean for low-income earners and people experiencing disadvantage because we can now offer them more housing options. The opportunities now opened up for our Society and those we assist are huge.
“These buildings will be built to 7-star energy efficiency ratings, helping keep utility costs down for residents and reducing environmental impacts.”
Denis Walsh, Chairman of the Amélie Housing Board and NSW State President of the Society, said the flow-on effects would be significant.
“The real strength of our proposal is that not only will Amélie Housing be providing affordable housing stock, but also that the Society will be assisting tenants with wrap-around support services. This is where the Society excels and what our members, volunteers and employees have been doing across the state for many decades–supporting residents to connect with local communities and assisting them, using established case management capabilities and other support networks within the Society,” he said.
“We know that maintaining a tenancy can be really tough for people who have experienced disadvantage, homelessness and trauma. Our members, volunteers and employees will be supporting people to enable them to overcome their difficulties so they can live in comfort and with dignity. Everyone has the right to a home.
“We reach out through financial assistance, budget counselling and other training programs, as well as just providing a friendly ear.”
The Trustees of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (NSW) have long been advocating for more affordable housing such as the Right to Home Campaign and welcomes this new housing fund and the precident it is setting for future housing plans.
“Our Trustees have given their full endorsement for this initiative by investing substantial funds and land into the SAHF 25-year program. It aligns perfectly with our long term vision,” said Mr Walsh.
Residents of caravan parks are often the poorest and most vulnerable people in the community. John Hakes OAM was recognised recently for his work as a Vincentian in assisting the residents at Maitland’s Coachstop Caravan Park but recent poor health has forced him to cut back his involvement.
“John’s contribution in creating an atmosphere of companionship and friendship at the Park over the last 15 years has been outstanding,” said Peter Fishlock, Maitland/Newcastle Central Council President.
In 2000 the local Community Health Service initiated a project at the Park to provide support to some 150 disadvantaged residents who were living in poverty and isolation. John stepped in in 2002 and by offering the Society’s support, a flourishing partnership began.
John has been tireless in improving the residents’ lives and is highly regarded by all.
He regularly brought in fresh produce and telephone cards so the residents could call home.
He gave the children swimming pool season passes and even arranged holidays for families, for whom a vacation had been an impossible dream.
He connected the residents with services in town, set up an arrangement with a local pharmacy and obtained a grant so residents had access to free dental care.
“John’s ongoing efforts have earned him the friendship, trust and deep gratitude of the residents. In recognition of his contribution, he was awarded Life Membership of the Society and an Order of Australia Medal in 2016,” said Peter.
But John doesn’t work alone, so thanks go to everyone like you whose generosity makes the “good works” of the Society possible.
Late last year Vinnies launched a petition seeking 10,000 signatures. The response has been overwhelming, with over 15,000 people across the state supporting our call for a change to state planning laws, seeking at least 15 per cent of new residential developments be set aside for affordable housing.
Vinnies members, volunteers and employees rose to the challenge and approached friends, families and networks in their towns, suburbs and parishes to add their names.
The petition will soon be delivered to the NSW Parliament Legislative Assembly where it will be debated.
Denis Walsh believes the endorsement from people across the state sends a resounding message to all politicians.
“There is clearly a need to change our planning laws so that inclusionary zoning of 15 per cent becomes part of all new residential developments. Developers must be required to set aside dwellings for affordable housing–where rent is less than 30 per cent of income,” says Denis.
“We believe this matter must be debated in Parliament because there is no mention of a target in the proposed amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
“It is obvious this is an issue of concern to everyone. We are urging the Government and all political parties to support the implementation of a 15 per cent affordable housing target.”
At Vinnies, we see every day the impact of the shortage of affordable housing on families and individuals. Research shows the need for 100,000 new social and affordable homes in NSW over the next 20 years to combat the current 10-year waiting list for social and affordable housing.
CEO Jack de Groot said that Commonwealth, state and local governments must work together with institutional investors and the not-for-profit sector to address this massive shortfall.
“We hear a lot about how Australian cities are ranked among the least affordable in the world for purchasing a home. The flow-on effect is the lack of affordable housing and rent costs for those who will never be able to buy a property,” says Jack.
“With the cost of housing rising at twice the rate of inflation over the last 10 years, housing is the largest area of expenditure for Australian households. Housing stress occurs when over 30 per cent of income goes towards accommodation. It is estimated 875,000 households in Australia are experiencing housing stress now.
“The State Government has shown its commitment by establishing the Social and Affordable Housing Fund, a $1 billion fund set up to provide an ongoing revenue stream for the purchase of social and affordable housing services. And we are delighted to be one of the successful partners in delivering 500 of the 3000 houses.
“But this isn’t enough. The petition is a clear sign to the NSW Government that we care and we want action to reduce waiting lists and housing stress and increase the pool of affordable housing. Safe and stable housing is a fundamental right for all Australians.”
First up will be our Sutherland Stylist night on Wednesday 22 March at 6pm. Come along for a fashion parade, nibbles and drinks, plenty of in-store shopping and the chance to meet fellow Vinnies devotees.
Stylist Tara Castellan will be on hand to let you in on trade secrets and help you unlock the mystery of inspired op-shopping.
Every guest will receive a goodie bag, which includes a copy of The Vinnies Styling Guide – a how-to on maximising your Vinnies shopping experience every time.
You can also enter a Styling Sessions Instagram competition on the night to win a one-year subscription to Vogue magazine.
Get caught up in the wonderful guilt-free shopping experience, knowing that all the money you spend on the night will be going directly to local Vinnies services that assist people experiencing disadvantage. It really is a win-win.
Grab yourself (and some friends) a free spot here.
Places are limited so make sure you RSVP ASAP!