High-rise homes for those in need in Footscray

St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria state president Michael Quinn, chief executive Julia Cambage and Homes Victoria chief executive Ben Rimmer marked the beginning of construction on a new 18-storey residential building in Footscray, which is set to house 92 new homes from early 2024. (Matthew Sims) 293789_01

By Matthew Sims

St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria’s housing provider VincentCare Community Housing [VCCH] has taken the first step towards welcoming 92 new community housing opportunities in Footscray for individuals and families in need in early 2024.

Vinnies representatives joined with Homes Victoria representatives and construction company L.U. Simon Builders representatives on Wednesday, August 10 to officially turn the first sod at the new Wightman Street site and mark the start of construction of the 18-storey residential building.

As part of a $78 million commitment from the state government via Homes Victoria’s Social Housing Growth funding program, the project would comprise of 28 one-bedroom, 58 two-bedroom and six three-bedroom homes across the 18-storey high-rise building.

VCCH has contributed a further $20 million towards the project, which would deliver similar developments in Epping and Bendigo.

Vinnies Victoria chief executive Julia Cambage said it was “deeply satisfying and exciting” to mark the first milestone in the project.

“We know this project will go some way to easing the housing stress across the state and are delighted to be working with the Victorian government and L.U. Simon on this project that is not only creating jobs but will deliver high-quality sustainable social housing for generations to come.”

Designated properties in the building would be allocated to singles, couples and families currently receiving aged, disability, Jobseeker or parenting payments or those earning low wages, with 10 per cent of these designated to First Nations Victorians.

Units would also be available to eligible people on the Victorian Housing Register and those currently living in unaffordable private rental or inadequate accommodation or those experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.

Vinnies Victoria state president Michael Quinn said that the new housing opportunities would provide individuals and families struggling financially with some optimism for the future.

“Homelessness is not something you can anticipate,” he said.

“Today, what we are offering is hope.”