The Victorian Property Grant Developments Housing Choices has been awarded a $4.9 million grant from the Victorian Property Fund (VPF) to provide much-needed, additional low-income housing in Dandenong and Newport.
The VPF is administered by Consumer Affairs Victoria with funds from the license fees of estate agents and conveyancers, together with the interest that is paid on their trust accounts.
We will use the grant to rebuild and expand accommodation opportunities at two properties that we own, both of which are close to shops, school and public transport. One property will be transformed into a five-storey, architect-designed apartment building, thereby increasing the capacity of the site from seven to 19 dwellings. The other will become five new architect-designed apartments.
Commencing in the second half of the year, Housing Choices began work on what we consider to be a small, yet highly significant project, comprising two three-bedroom double- storey townhouses in Box Hill, costing $1.12 million and fully funded by Housing Choices.
Aligned with our organisational mission to provide long-term housing solutions for people with disability, the development will be specifically targeted to NDIS residents. Each unit will include resources to accommodate one full-time carer.
The design phase has been a close collaborative project with four families, all of whom have a family member living with disability. Their lived experience has informed the project design from the outset, providing valuable and practical insight and input.
Housing Choices received $2.81 million in funding, comprising $1.245 million land and $1.565 million cash, from DHHS to construct nine double-storey townhouses in MIRVAC’s Harcrest Estate in Wantirna South. The settlement on the land and the receipt of funding are expected to take place in late 2017, with construction commencing in early 2018. Two of the nine townhouses will be modified to accommodate NDIS residents.
In addition to the nine new dwellings, Housing Choices will also fund the purchase of four, two-bedroom dwellings in the City of Knox at a cost of $1.7 million, comprising $0.85 million cash and $0.85 million debt.
Housing Choices was successful in two government tenders – the Community Stock Leverage Program and the Regional Supply of Social Housing Program: Expression of Interest. Together these projects will deliver 36 additional dwellings in north-west Tasmania.
The dwellings will specifically support ageing residents and provide NDIS-compliant housing for people living with disability. They will be delivered in conjunction with a number of development partners, including Wilson Homes, Hutchinson Builders and the Latrobe Council.
Housing Choices will also commence planning for a further 16 dwellings to be completed under the Residential Management Agreement for the North West portfolio. This means that over the coming year there will be a pipeline of 52 new dwellings well underway in the region.
In May of 2017 the Victorian Minister for Housing, the Hon. Martin Foley, visited one of Housing Choices’ 69 newly acquired and refurbished Rapid Housing apartments, which provide much-needed accommodation relief to victims of family violence across Melbourne.
In 2016 Housing Choices was awarded a $17.9 million co-investment contract under the Victorian Government’s Rapid Housing Assistance Program, which is part of the government’s $152 million investment in innovative housing initiatives in response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
Our Rapid Housing procurement team worked tirelessly to fulfil this contract, which was completed five weeks ahead of schedule and under budget.
Housing Choices completed the refurbishment of eight, two-bedroom units at its Ormond Road property in East Geelong. This redevelopment highlights how general community housing can be upgraded to provide housing solutions for people with disability. Of the eight units, four are fully accessible. All are wired for on-call services to provide additional support if required and there is a communal garden space that is shared by all residents. Each unit is ideal for a person with disability to live with a family member, or for a person who requires 24-hour support. The units also offer a housing solution for people with disability who want to share a home.
In February of 2017 Housing Choices added a further four double-storey townhouses to its portfolio. They comprised two three-bedroom dwellings, one dwelling with two bedrooms plus study, and one dwelling with two bedrooms.
In line with our asset management strategy, these four new homes replaced two existing dwellings that were at the end of their useful life.
The townhouses were designed by our design partner, BENT Architecture, who utilised the large site and access to a rear laneway to provide four on-site carparks for residents. Each townhouse was furnished with a front garden, private rear courtyard with garden, solar hot water, stone benchtops in the kitchens and bathrooms, and tasteful finishes and fittings. The development was fully funded by Housing Choices through its asset divestment program.