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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Social, affordable housing reaches new heights in Wickham

Newcastle’s latest social and affordable apartment block is set to open its doors within months in Wickham.

Construction of the Station Street complex celebrated another milestone on Thursday 22 April, with a “topping out” ceremony.

The project, a partnership between the NSW Government, City of Newcastle and Compass Housing, will offer eight affordable housing units, as well as eight for social housing tenants.

Chief corporate services officer Lyndall Robertshaw said Compass was delivering nearly 500 properties across 19 Hunter and Central Coast sites.

It’s part of the government’s Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF).

“Rents have been rising sharply across the region over the past 12 months and the need for properties that are affordable to key workers and people on low incomes is greater than ever,” she said. 

“Projects like this one show what’s possible when different levels of government work together.

“We’re building modern community housing that meets today’s household demographics, not just family sized homes on city fringes. 

“The affordable housing is for key workers – such as nurses, firefighters, tradespeople and teachers – who need accommodation close to where they work.

“Rents are typically capped at 30% of household income.”

Ms Robertshaw said Compass Housing had engaged a range of local builders for the SAHF projects.

“This creates local jobs and a boost to the local economy,” she told the Newcastle Weekly.

“Building more social and affordable housing is an effective economic stimulus that also brings many social and community benefits.

“Central Coast and Hunter-based firm, North Construction & Building, is building this development.

“We’ll also provide ongoing property management and tenant support when the tenants start to move in around September.”

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said the project would provide safe and secure housing for people on low incomes.

“These new homes will not only deliver people with a roof over their head, but access to support to help them improve their health and general wellbeing,” he explained.

“Thursday’s milestone brings the completion of this important project one step closer, with the first tenants expected to get the keys to their new homes later this year.”

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the initiative would help alleviate housing stress and provide more options for vulnerable people.

“This joint venture means more homes close to transport, jobs and other amenities and will ensure greater diversity of residents in our inner-city community,” she added.

Council’s contribution came from the Building Better Cities program.

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