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Community housing for older people in Victoria gets financial boost from Commonwealth Government

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m in is t e r fo r h o u s in g AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT BRIAN HOWE

BM095/96 26 February 1996


An Innovative low cost community housing scheme for older people In North Melbourne received a $676,000 boost from the Federal Minister for Housing and Regional Development, Brian Howe, today.

" This Innovative project Involves the renovation of an old disused historic church in North Melbourne, into a community house for ten older people," Mr Howe said.

Note to media: Mr Howe, more than twenty years ago, was a lay preacher at this now disused Methodist church.

" The old church, formerly the Brougham St Methodist Church, will have ten bed­ sitting rooms with ensuites, a guest room, and 8 flat for the llve-in housekeeper. Residents will also be able to share the communal sitting room, dining room, kitchen and laundry.

" The guest room will mean that residents will be able to invite friends and relatives to stay," Mr Howe said

" The Federal Labor Government has committed itself to supporting community housing projects, as a real alternative for people on low incomes.

" Community housing should be viewed as the third sector in our housing market, an alternative to both private and public sector housing.

" Community housing can often respond more sensitively to the needs of local people. In other cases it offers choices which are quite different from public housing - or It can offer additional services to people with particular needs.

" The $200 million Community Housing Program was established by the Federal Labor Government In 1992 with a commitment to funding 25,000 community housing units around Australia by the Year 2000.

" Three years later we are well on our way to achieving this goal, as to date we have a stock of around 20,000 community houses "

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" l believe that community housing should provide a real alternative choice for low- Incomo people representing about ten per cent of the total public housing stock by the Year 2005

" This particular project Is run by The Abbeyfield Society - a national community housing organisation which specialises in providing housing for older people.

" The Abbeyfield Society offers specialised community housing services, such as its live-in housekeeper, making It particularly attractive for older people.

" The beauty of this Abbeyfield project in North Melbourne Is that older people have" been able to move into more appropriate accommodation, but at the same time they can stay within their neighbourhood, close to their social networks and community supports.

" This type of community housing helps older people who need quality low-cost housing but with a high level of independence which respects their dignity.

" With an ageing population, this project Is further evidence of how we can Imaginatively go about meeting the need for new forms of housing for older people.

" This is just one of numerous Abbeyfield Society community housing projects for older people. So far seven Abbeyfield Society Projects have been funded in Victoria and Tasmania at a total cost of $3.7 million, providing community housing

for around 200 older people."

Mr Howe said that another $100,000 grant would also be provided to Abbeyfield Australia to expand its role in initiating and managing community housing projects for older people in all States and Territories.

The Chief Executive Officer of Abbeyfield Australia. Ms Judith O'Neill, welcomed the Federal Labor Government's commitment to provide additional funding for housing older people in the community.

" This funding will help us to continue our efforts to house older people with limited assets and low Incomes," Ms O'Neill said.

" It will help us offer more choice to older people who are seeking security and companionship.

" As a result of this national funding we will be able to put together more innovative community housing projects like the one In North Melbourne, right across Australia," Ms O'Neill said.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Andrew Casey, Brian Howe's office, phone: (06) 277 7660; 018 487 581 Judith O'Neill, The Abbeyfield Society: (03) 9419 8222