Low-income families and individuals continue to be ‘priced out’ of Darebin due to urgent lack of affordable housing. Rental and housing subsidies by the State and Federal Government have not kept up with escalating housing costs. Public housing is being sold as waiting lists for public housing get longer.
Council often sees firsthand, the increasing urgency of individuals, family and communities in ‘housing stress’ - who are being forced to ‘trade off’ between housing costs and costs for food, education and health.
In response, Council is seeking to increase the level of affordable ‘bricks and mortar’ accommodation across the city. Our advocacy actions includes:
- Engaging in an active partnership with the State Government to protect and increase public housing, include affordable housing in all private and public property development opportunities and develop social and affordable housing on Council owned land.
- Increasing the level of safe and affordable rooming houses by being an active member of the Melbourne Metropolitan Rooming House Working Group.
- Exploring innovative financial models such as Superannuation funds for building affordable housing by using the collective influence of Local Government Mayors.
- Advocating for public policy and structural change such as making a formal submission to Australian Senate’s Inquiry into Affordable Housing.
- Contributing to improving local government practice around Homelessness research and policy through quarterly magazine ‘Parity’.
- Being an active member on the Housing and Local Government Network to develop collective advocacy campaigns.
- Continuing to convene Darebin Housing Advisory Committee to provide Council with an accurate barometer of current housing issues and emerging trends.
For further information visit the Community Support and Wellbeing page and read the Social and Affordable Housing Action Plan, or contact the Darebin Community Planner, Monday to Thursday on 8470 8635 or email Nick.Matteo@darebin.vic.gov.au.
An Open Letter about Public Housing in Darebin
Council views public housing as a serious community issue and believes politics should never get in the way of genuine solutions to the current supply crisis.
Research from around the world shows quality housing delivers significant social and economic benefits and we believe disadvantaged public housing tenants deserve the best accommodation possible.
That’s why, with more than 7000 local families and individuals on an ever growing waiting list for public housing, improving quality and supply is a big priority for Council.
You may be aware that Council, together with local residents, had a number of concerns about plans for a poorly designed public housing development at the Stokes/Penola site in Preston that would result in substandard living conditions.
The planning application from the Department of Health and Human Services was rejected by Council on this basis and I subsequently met with the Minister for Housing to discuss these concerns. At the meeting I reaffirmed our commitment to public housing and it was agreed that we would work with the Department to develop a master plan for the entire site in consultation with the community.
We are pleased that through the subsequent VCAT process, the Department agreed to amend their plans and redesign the buildings to a better quality standard, having taken on board feedback from both residents and Council.
The fact is the Stokes/Penola site has plenty of land available to build many more units than what’s currently proposed by the Department. We agree with the Ministers’ position that the site is ideally situated for public housing and call on him to use much more of the site for public housing, rather than selling off the rest of the land to private developers. We encourage the local Federal Member, David Feeney, to back our call.
With the Department confirming it has identified another public housing site for redevelopment in Walker Street Northcote, it is absolutely crucial we continue to set the bar high to secure the best outcome for existing residents and future public housing tenants.
We will keep you updated as new information comes to hand.