19/09/2006 - 22:00

Homeswest makes inner-city moves

19/09/2006 - 22:00

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Perth’s inner-city is at the heart of a policy push by the state government to include more affordable public housing.

Perth’s inner-city is at the heart of a policy push by the state government to include more affordable public housing.

Goderich Street in East Perth is the latest site for a Homeswest complex, with two lots on Pier Street in Perth and one lot in Campbell Street West Perth earmarked for development.

In East Perth, the former Nevarda shirt factory site on Goderich Street has been redeveloped into a $14.9 million, 69-unit complex comprising 41 aged persons units, 26 two-bedroom units and two one-bedroom units.

Named after former chief executive of the Department of Housing and Works, Greg Joyce, the complex is in keeping with Mr Joyce’s philosophy of establishing well-designed public housing complexes in sought-after suburbs in order to reduce the stigma associated with the sector.

Shelter WA policy officer Jim Anthony said the government had put a lot of money into public infrastructure, and those on low incomes should be able to share in the benefits.

“Providing public housing in the city is good news for a lot of low-income people who work there, as they can use the free public transport and be close to shops and community services,” he said.

Aside from East Perth, the government is constructing 72 Homeswest apartments on Pier Street, Perth, in addition to 86 apartments plus three commercial units on the corner of Pier and Aberdeen streets in Northbridge.

Plans for Campbell Street in West Perth are still under wraps but are understood to include 71 apartments with a cafe, incorporating environ-mentally sustainable design features.

The housing policy watchdog believes the demand for public housing is on the rise in WA due to soaring property prices, rent hikes and demographic change.

“We don’t think there’s enough available public housing at the moment to cater to the demand created by demographic change. The population is ageing, women in particular are living longer and we’ve got a lot of single parent families and middle-aged men living on their own that need affordable housing,” Mr Anthony said.

Shelter WA estimates that social housing under the Commonwealth-state housing agreement has fallen 32 per cent in real terms since 1996, resulting in an 11 per cent fall in stock between 1996 and 2005 from 381,322 dwellings to 338,834 dwellings.

Mr Anthony said the fall in stock was due in part to both the federal and state governments wishing to push more public housing tenants into home ownership.

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