Seventy-one social housing dwellings to be upgraded in Shepparton

By James Bennett

Seventy-one social housing dwellings will be upgraded across Greater Shepparton during the next two years to help tackle Shepparton's homelessness crisis.

According to Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed, there will also be public and private investment in new housing stock.

Ms Sheed said she had received notice from Housing Minister Richard Wynne that an original proposal of 33 property upgrades would have an extra 38 added to the list.

A bulk of the funding will be provided as a coronavirus pandemic response through the Building Works program, plus 10 new homes through the Social Housing Growth Fund.

“This is a very worthwhile investment, particularly in the current context,” Ms Sheed said.

“Upgrades not only improve the quality of life for those relying on social housing but inject funds into the local building industry.”

Ms Sheed said she had previously told Mr Wynne of 29 unused government-held properties in Shepparton.

“We have too many unused housing units in my electorate. It is unfortunate that people are going homeless while properties sit empty,” Ms Sheed said.

“We’re seeing quite a bit of badly needed investment in new social housing funded both by the public and private sectors.”

Ms Sheed said a partnership between the Peter & Lyndy White Foundation and BeyondHousing to build 45 new homes each year was to be commended.

She said there was also the upcoming Haven Mooroopna and Winteringham developments that would deliver more than 60 homes across Greater Shepparton.

“My office has identified our region needs around 50 new social housing units per year to combat homelessness and lower housing affordability for low income earners, and this investment goes a long way to meeting that goal.”

BeyondHousing chief executive Celia Adams said the government funding was timely and would enable the creation of valuable assets for the community.

“It is important that all social housing is maintained and remains available to house those in need now,” she said.

“The increased funding available to community housing providers to upgrade their existing stock under the Building Works program is vital assistance and we will know more as we go through the expression of interest process.

“There needs to be continued growth in the number of social housing properties available to meet the demand for housing that already exists across the catchment, and to ensure the many households at risk of housing crisis because of the ongoing effect of the pandemic will also have long-term housing options available to them.”