NATIONAL affordable housing provider Community Housing Limited has pledged to improve the service and maintenance of 273 state-owned dwellings in the East Kimberley, and ultimately provide permanent employment for indigenous locals through the expansion o
NATIONAL affordable housing provider Community Housing Limited has pledged to improve the service and maintenance of 273 state-owned dwellings in the East Kimberley, and ultimately provide permanent employment for indigenous locals through the expansion of its housing stock.
CHL announced last week it would work with 23 communities throughout the Kimberley region, ranging in size from a single home to 74 houses at Kalumburu, the largest community in the East Kimberley.
CHL managing director Steve Bevington said the maintenance and service of community housing in the East Kimberley had been hit and miss.
He said CHL would draw upon its experience of managing, servicing and expanding Aboriginal communities in Victoria and New South Wales, where the company has been active for more than five years, managing more than 260 tenancies.
“We can introduce the model of service delivery we have run elsewhere, which provides for strong asset management and recovers the problems of maintenance, which is often patchy in remote areas,” Mr Bevington told WA Business News.
“The other aspect of it is that we employ a community development worker, and that is really to start to attend to some of the long-standing issues which they may not have had addressed in a coordinated fashion over the years.
“With lots of different remote communities there is an extremely varied picture over issues such as water, power and general essential services.
“There is a lot that can occur in this area and if we can address these problems it can improve the situation for the Kimberley as a whole.”
Along with increasing general amenity and providing a responsive maintenance program at remote communities, Mr Bevington said CHL would seek to expand its housing stock in Western Australia.
CHL has expanded its stock at its remote communities in New South Wales and Victoria by 20 to 25 per cent during the past five years, and has introduced initiatives aimed at providing employment opportunities for locals in housing maintenance and construction.
“We ran a partnership with a local Tafe where a maintenance program was developed and taught to the local people, and now we employ a number of the local indigenous people to maintain the stock. And we also have constructed altogether around about 15 houses with a large proportion of indigenous labour,” Mr Bevington said.
“Altogether about 28 indigenous people have been put through construction apprenticeship programs and have been able to retain work through our subcontractors.
“These people have been able to retain their jobs even after the properties have been built.”
Meanwhile, Housing Minister Bill Marmion has announced the state government will be bringing 1,000 new social housing properties to market before Christmas, as part of its plan to deliver 20,000 new affordable houses by 2020.
A total of $550 million will be spent in WA to construct 2,068 new homes across the first two stages of the Nation Building Economic Stimulus plan.