Sheed, Sali call for more housing across Shepparton to combat crisis

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Housing push: Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed in Parliament. Picture: Paul Bovolos Photo by PAULBOVOLOS

State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed says while some social housing developments are bringing hope to those sleeping rough during the homelessness crisis, more needs to be done.

Meanwhile, interested parties will meet in Shepparton next week to try to make progress on creating more social housing, following renewed interest in the crisis after Greater Shepparton City Council’s June meeting.

During that meeting, a proposed social housing development above a car park in Maude St was voted down.

Ms Sheed said it was frustrating to see housing projects of all stripes stuck in bureaucratic limbo at both state and local level despite a $45 million fund for social housing in Shepparton.

“We were really pleased to get the $45 million out of the housing fund, and it’s delivered developments in Mooroopna, in Wintringham on Wyndham St and Graham St,” she said.

“The problem we face is no matter how fast you build it, it’s immediately filled.”

She said more diversity was needed in the social housing build, with more options such as the Education First Youth Foyer for young people or something similar to the St Vincent de Paul shelter in Melbourne.

"At a local level I know so many projects which have sat for some time with no progression.“ — Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed

"The housing shortage is causing so much pressure on rentals and pushing rental prices back up, and that stress and shortage is critical across the state,” Ms Sheed said.

“Surely we have the capability to speed up development.”

Ms Sheed said it would “behove” planners to make a push to tick off more projects, and she was trying to get new Victorian Planning Minister Lizzie Blandthorn to visit the region.

"At a local level I know so many projects which have sat for some time with no progression,” she said.

Mayor Shane Sali said council’s responsibility was to work with support organisations to ensure they could get applications before a meeting.

He was hoping next week’s round table would help provide solutions, with local service providers and real estate agents among those set to attend.

However, Cr Sali said councillors’ involvement would be limited, to prevent any conflict of interests arising should any developments make it to a vote.

“Came from that June meeting, a lot of people came up to me and said they wanted to do something about the issue,” he said.

“We’ll be supporting organisations who want backing approving social housing development.”

He said council was always working to free up for more developments across the city.