Breaking ground at Vinnies Victoria’s first Big Housing Build project

St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria (Vinnies Victoria) have announced they are moving into the build phase of their first major community housing project. They’re set to deliver 92 new safe, secure and affordable homes in Footscray in partnership with the Victorian Government’s Big Housing Build and construction company LU Simon Builders.

Wightman street view: Images courtesy CHT Architects

Ground has been broken at the Wightman Street site as work on the 18-storey residential building begins under the auspices of Vinnies Victoria’s designated housing provider, VincentCare Community Housing (VCCH).

The project will comprise 28 one-bedroom, 58 two-bedroom and six three-bedroom homes and ground floor office space, along with parking for around 60 vehicles.

“VCCH’s collaboration with the Victorian Government’s Big Housing Build project is a commitment to responding to the needs of vulnerable Victorians. VincentCare Victoria was successful, in part, due to our highly regarded track record of supporting people on pathways to sustainable housing,” says VCCH board chair Alyssa Caplan.

Footscray is the first of three projects that VCCH, in partnership with the Victorian Government and construction partners, are set to deliver followed by Bendigo and Epping. The project will provide 164 new homes in total. VCCH currently manages a range of properties and tenancies across Victoria, and in 2021 secured $78 million worth of funding via the Social Housing Growth Fund for the new homes, of which VCCH has contributed $20 million.

VCCH is well-placed to successfully deliver the project and provide ongoing support and benefit to the community as part of its broader organisation, whose members and volunteers deliver welfare assistance to the most marginal, vulnerable and disadvantaged Victorians in need.

The development will meet all contemporary design requirements and aim to achieve 7-star energy ratings so that people living in the homes will have the lowest energy bills possible.

The units will be available to eligible people on the Victorian Housing Register and for people who are living in unaffordable private rental or in inadequate accommodation – and for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. All apartments will be owned by VCCH and leased to renters at an affordable rent.

Designated properties in the Footscray build will be allocated to singles, couples and families reliant on Aged, Disability, Jobseeker or parenting payments or those earning low wages. Of this, 10% of designated properties will be allocated to First Nations Victorians.

“Hitting the first milestone in our three-year commitment to provide 164 much-needed new homes for hundreds of people waiting on Victoria’s social housing register is a deeply satisfying and exciting occasion,” says Vinnies Victoria Group CEO Julia Cambage.

“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 LU Simon on this project that is not only creating jobs but will deliver high-quality sustainable social housing for generations to come.”

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