City of Melbourne has committed to increasing the supply of affordable housing as part of a ten year strategy.
Under the proposed Affordable Housing Strategy 2030, which was endorsed by Council on Tuesday, up to 25 per cent of all future residential development on land owned by the City of Melbourne would be dedicated to affordable housing.
It also proposes leasing a council-owned site to a community housing provider and commiting another site for a supported housing project.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp says Melbourne had a shortfall of at least 5500 affordable rental homes in 2019 and that’s expected to hit 23,200 by 2036.
More than 1700 people are currently experiencing homelessness.
“We recognise that a vibrant and inclusive city relies on a diverse community and a range of housing options,” Cr Capp said.
“It’s expected that the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to an even greater demand for affordable homes in the short term.”
Priorities to increase supply
The strategy contains a number of priorities for increasing the supply of affordable rental housing in the municipality, which can be developed and managed by registered community housing organisations.
It says up to 150 affordable rental homes could be built on City-owned land, while more than 1,600 could be built via mandatory inclusion zoning and value capture in urban renewal areas.
The strategy also proposes considering an affordable housing levy for all businesses and houses in Victoria, similar to the fire services levy, which it says could provide 1,350 homes.
The City of Melbourne is currently working in collaboration with property developer PDG Corporation to deliver 48 affordable housing units at the Munro development alongside the Queen Victoria Market, and on plans for 40 affordable housing units at the Boyd development in Southbank.
Cr Capp said the City of Melbourne welcomed the state government’s recent $5.3 billion commitment to construct more than 12,000 new social and affordable homes.
“We look forward to working closely with the Victorian Government and industry to deliver affordable housing in the municipality as part of Victoria’s Big Housing Build,” she said.
Building more affordable housing would bring benefits residents and the economy, Cr Capp said.
“For every $1 spent on affordable housing, more than $3 in benefits for our community would be created,” she said.
“Building more affordable housing gives people a safe and stable place to live and provides benefits for our business community.”
Council, community groups join forces
Meanwhile, Frankston City Council, in Melbourne’s southern suburbs, is also tackling homelessness via an alliance of 14 community groups representing housing and homelessness operations, health and legal services and emergency relief providers.
Dr Gillian Kay, Chair of the Frankstown City Strategic Housing and Homelessness Alliance, says homelessness in the City increased by more than 14 per cent between 2011-16 and Frankston was identified in 2017 as a Victorian ‘rough sleeper hot spot’ by a government taskforce.
Dr Kay said while the Big Housing Build was welcome, housing alone wasn’t the solution and the alliance is committed to understanding the causes of homelessness and identifying people at risk.
“Women over 55 are an increasingly vulnerable group,” she said.
Frankston is one of 13 councils from Melbourne’s East and South East who have signed the Regional Local Government Homelessness and Social Housing Charter 2020.
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