Victoria's affordable housing project kicks off with $740m worth of projects to build 2,300 homes
The first funds have been allocated for a multi-million dollar spend on social housing in Victoria.
Dubbed the Big Housing Build, the first round of funding will see $738 million invested in 89 projects.
More than 2,300 new homes will be built, with the bulk to be ready for tenants by next year.
About 50,000 people are currently on a waiting list for social housing across the state.
The new homes will be accessible for people with disabilities, and there will be dedicated properties for people in need suffering mental health issues, escaping domestic violence, experiencing homelessness and Victoria’s First Peoples.
Housing Minister Richard Wynne said the projects would be designed for long-term affordable housing.
Simone Davison, 50, had to live in a caravan in the north-west Victorian town of Warracknabeal for several months this year due to a lack of affordable housing.
The change in her circumstance came when the owners of the house she was renting sold this year.
Though she had advance notice of the owners' plans, there were no homes available to rent on her budget
At that point, she had been on the housing waiting list for three years.
"You try not to look at caravan parks as trashy, but you do feel a bit on the lower end of the society," she said.
"There's also the loss of privacy, and I had to give up a house full of furniture to move.
Ms Davison said today's announcement would help many people.
She has since been accepted into a one-bedroom unit at an over-55s community in Warracknbeal.
"Life's a lot easier now, knowing I've got neighbours and shops close by," she said.
"Once we get to a COVID-normal level, looking for a job is my next priority."
The state government said this build would create more than 9,000 jobs.
Of the 1,720 dwellings to be built in Melbourne, the single largest project is a 152-home development which HousingFirst has been given $48.9m to construct in Brighton East.
In regional Victoria, a further 583 houses were set to be built, with $41m spent in Bendigo.
Wintringham Housing has committed to building a 35-unit social housing development specifically for older people.
Deputy chief executive Michael Deschepper said the welfare company was donating the land.
"The Big Build announcement is brilliant," he said.
“This will provide housing and safe, secure outcomes for many people across Victoria."
Mr Deschepper said the units would be available to all clients who meet the state government community and social housing criteria.
He said the project will aim to use local construction business and was expected to be completed by late-2022.
Haven, Home, Safe has been awarded $47m to build 155 new homes across Werribee (34), Bendigo and Horsham (31 each), Ballarat (28), Tarneit (17) and Preston (14).
HHS was contributing $12m of its own money to construction, with building works in Tarneit already underway.
The wider problem
The Big Housing Build was first announced in the 2020 November state budget.
The state government pledged $5.3 billion to deliver more than 12,000 new homes -- boosting Victoria's social housing supply by 10 per cent over four years.
$1.25 billion of this was set to be spent in regional areas.
The location of 49 houses, announced as part of today’s allocation, was yet to be confirmed.
Historically, Victoria has had the lowest proportion of public housing per capita compared to other Australian states.
Public housing makes up just 1.9 per cent of Victoria's total housing stock, compared to a 4.6 per cent average across the OECD.