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Council contributes $50,000 to support affordable housing
05 February 2014
A not-for-profit real estate agency, providing support to people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, has received a $35,000 grant from Council.
The real estate agency, the first of its kind in Australia, is being established by community housing organisation HomeGround Services. The commission earned from properties managed by the agency will be used to fund housing for disadvantaged members of the community, with landlords also given the option to rent their properties at a discounted rent or for free.
Funding was provided under Council’s Yarra Affordable Housing Fund Grants, which offer between $5000 and $50,000 each year to projects that improve local housing affordability.
The grants, offered for the first time in late 2013, aim to support disadvantaged and low-income residents and ensure Yarra can remain an accessible and diverse municipality as the cost of housing continues to climb.
An additional grant of $15,000 was given to Yarra Community Housing for a project to improve the high turnover of community housing properties in Yarra.
Yarra Mayor, Cr Jackie Fristacky said Council was pleased to fund two projects that adopt an innovative and forward-think approach to tackling housing affordability.
“These two projects offer creative and community-driven solutions to make housing more accessible in Yarra, which is fast becoming one of the most expensive municipalities in inner-Melbourne,” Cr Fristacky said.
“The not-for-profit real estate agency to be operated by HomeGround is a practical model that empowers the wider community to actively contribute to providing housing for people in need,” she said.
“Funding provided to Yarra Community Housing will support vital research to improve the long-term stability of community housing in Yarra, reducing the risk of homelessness and easing the pressure on local organisations to provide services and crisis accommodation.
“Yarra has become an increasingly desirable place to live. This has had many positive benefits for our community, but has also raised the cost of living, severely limiting housing options for people on low-incomes.
“The median rent in Yarra is almost $100 more per week than the Victorian median, which forces many residents out of Yarra to seek accommodation elsewhere.
“This not only separates low-income earners from essential services located in the city, but also threatens to homogenise Yarra and erode the diversity and unique urban identity that attracts so many people to our city.
“The funding provided by Council through the Yarra Affordable Housing Fund Grants contributes to maintaining that diversity and ensuring Yarra remains a supportive and welcoming place for people from all walks of life, with varying levels of wealth.”
HomeGround Services’ not-for-profit real estate agency is expected to operate from March 2014. The organisation last year received a $9000 annual grant from Council to help develop the initiative.
Yarra Community Housing is expected to complete its research in early 2015.
Acting Senior Communications Officer
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