HousingFirst residents and management were pleased to welcome the Hon Michael Sukkar MP, Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer, during a visit to their residential housing development in St Kilda.
Minister Sukkar met with HousingFirst residents Jan and Roxane and heard, first-hand, about the positive impact that good social housing has had on their lives.
Jan has been a HousingFirst tenant for over 25 years. She is an active volunteer and a giving member of her community. She has been foster Mum to over 40 children. Over the years, depending on her needs, Jan has been housed in various HousingFirst properties, and due to health and mobility issues (and her foster son Luke moving out of home) she moved to her current Chapel Street apartment seven years ago.
HousingFirst CEO Haleh Homaei and Chair Frank O’Connor were delighted to show the Minister over the award-winning, modern, social housing development in Chapel Street, St Kilda. Completed in 2012, the development was built by HousingFirst with support from the Victorian Government and is home to 81 tenants and their families, who have created a supportive and vibrant community with the help of HousingFirst.
The development is typical of the 276, high-quality new and refurbished homes that HousingFirst and the Port Phillip Housing Trust will now build in St Kilda, Preston, Box Hill and Rowville, thanks to the $72 million of low cost finance they were awarded in the second round of National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) funding, announced by Minister Sukkar. (View the Minister’s statement here).
In welcoming Minister Sukkar to the property, CEO Haleh Homaei acknowledged the vital role played by NHFIC, that operates the Australian Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator and provides cheaper and longer-term secured finance for community housing providers by issuing bonds in Australia’s debt capital markets.
‘There are just too many people struggling to find good, safe housing that they can afford. The awful consequences of this shortage are only too visible on our streets; with the rising numbers of homeless, and the impact of unstable or unsuitable housing on them and on the community. Not for profit housing providers like HousingFirst are ready and willing to build new homes for vulnerable people in need, and help them re-build their lives. Having access to low cost finance through NHFIC will jump-start our projects and enable us to build homes that will take people off the streets and into homes, where they can be safe and plan for the future,’ Ms Homaei said.
HousingFIrst Chair Mr Frank O’Connor thanked the Minister for his commitment to HousingFirst and its tenants, and to the community housing sector. ‘With practical support from both Federal and State governments, the community housing sector can genuinely help to resolve the housing crisis that has badly affected so many vulnerable Victorians,’ he said.