|Increase in affordable housing for Peel region||1/07/2011|
Two recently-completed Department of Housing developments at Meadow Springs and Lakelands have provided 151 more affordable housing options in the Peel region.
Housing Minister Troy Buswell said the new developments had been delivered as part of the $497million Stage Two of the Federal Government’s Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan.
“Completed in June, the developments consist of one, two and three-bedroom homes providing 151 new homes for seniors, singles and families,” Mr Buswell said.
“The WA Government has worked hard to manage a range of construction programs under the stimulus program, and the new developments are part of 287 new affordable housing options for the Peel region, with other developments located at Coodanup, Greenfields and Mandurah.
“These developments play an important part in increasing social housing and the availability of affordable rental options for low to moderate income households.”
Tenancy management for these new dwellings will be undertaken by community housing organisation Stella Living Limited.
The Minister said the new developments were a great example of how Government could leverage partnerships with private developers and non-government organisations to create more affordable housing options.
“For this project we have partnered with Mirvac as the main contractor and were able to combine the resources of Government with the expertise and experience of the private sector to achieve an excellent outcome,” he said.
“Such partnerships are essential to the success of the State’s new Affordable Housing Strategy, and our goal is to deliver at least 20,000 affordable homes by 2020 through innovative projects like these.”
The new developments are turnkey projects that have been built to high universal design standards and have an energy rating of six stars and above.
The development in Lakelands consists of 40 one-bedroom, 39 two-bedroom and seven three-bedroom dwellings, and the Meadow Springs development comprises 18 one-bedroom, 37 two-bedroom and 10 three-bedroom dwellings.
Minister's office - 9213 6900
|300th GROH home completed under Royalties for Regions scheme||16/07/2011|
A house in Karratha is the 300th Government Regional Officer Housing (GROH) to be completed under the State Government’s Royalties for Regions ‘400 Program’.
Housing Minister Troy Buswell said the program, which will see 400 properties built to house key workers, had been extremely successful in delivering much-needed accommodation to regional areas.
“This program is providing affordable housing for crucial workers such as police, teachers and health workers in regional areas in keeping with the recently released State Affordable Housing Strategy.
“Suitable and affordable housing for these workers is essential to ensure the Government can continue to attract and retain people to take up positions in regional areas.”
Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said $200million of Royalties for Regions funds had been dedicated to the 400 Program.
“The completion of the 300th GROH property demonstrates that Royalties for Regions is delivering direct benefits to country people,” Mr Grylls said.
“The program has had additional benefits, including increasing employment in the local building and construction industry across WA. More than two-thirds of the contractors who worked on the properties in Karratha were from the Pilbara.”
The 300th GROH property is one of 11 houses completed in Karratha as part of the program, with $7.5million spent on land and construction.
The new properties will house workers from the departments of Child Protection, Corrective Services; Education and Training; and Environment and Conservation, as well as Pilbara TAFE, WA Police and the Water Corporation.
The program is on target to complete the 400 new homes by December 2011.
Office of the Minister for Housing: 9213 6900
Office of the Minister for Regional Development: 9213 700
|Indigenous seniors return to Sister Kate’s||27/07/2011|
More than 50 years after they left, former residents of Sister Kate’s Children’s Home in Queens Park will return to live in redeveloped seniors’ accommodation at the site.
Housing Minister Troy Buswell said a partnership between the Department of Housing, Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) and Sister Kate’s Children 1934-1953 Aboriginal Corporation had enabled the construction of 10 units and a six-bedroom group home.
“Following the ILC’s purchase of the site, the State Government has spent $1.9million on the construction of specialised accommodation for indigenous seniors who lived at Sister Kate’s as children,” Mr Buswell said.
“Sister Kate’s Children’s Home holds lasting memories for many former residents, most of whom were orphaned or removed from their parents’ care under the Government policy of the day.
“This accommodation will allow those seniors, who formed strong and lasting bonds while living together from 1934 until 1953, to live out their later years together.”
In 1988 former residents formed the Sister Kate’s Children 1934-1953 Aboriginal Corporation, and have since been working to establish a seniors’ complex on the site.
The Minister commended the work of the group and said it was a good example of the collaboration encouraged in the State Affordable Housing Strategy.
“The Government released the strategy with an aim to provide 20,000 affordable housing options for West Australians by 2020, and seniors are one group who will continue to need affordable housing options,” he said.
“As a result of the Government working together with the ILC and Sister Kate’s, several indigenous seniors will now have access to affordable housing.”
Each of the units has two bedrooms, allowing tenants to have a live-in carer if needed. The six-bedroom group home will house five residents and a live-in carer.
Community housing provider Foundation Housing Ltd will provide property and tenant management services at the facility.
Minister's office - 9213 6900
|Return to Warmun celebrations|
Warmun residents celebrated their return home on Tuesday only three months after their community was declared a disaster area and evacuated due to flooding.
Deputy Premier Kim Hames and Minister for Regional Development Brendon Grylls were on hand to welcome the community back home. Both Ministers praised the combined State Government effort to rebuild the community and re-house the evacuees.
"The Warmun Re-Establishment Taskforce coordinated this effort, overseeing the Department of Housing's creation of 17 new homes, fully refurbishing another eight and building a temporary accommodation facility to house 200," Dr Hames said.
"Temporary schooling and health clinic facilities have been built, in addition to the refurbishment of the community store and office, to support the residents' return home.
"To do this in three months is testament to what can be achieved and all involved deserve congratulating because more than 90 per cent of the community's homes had been damaged or destroyed by the flood."
Former West Coast Eagle David Wirrpanda was present to deliver the results of a blanket and clothing drive that his foundation had run in conjunction with the Department.
The WA Football Commission, West Coast Eagles and Netball WA also donated sporting equipment for the children of Warmun.
|Department wins at Master Builders Association Awards|
The Department's Stella Apartments project was named Best Multi-Unit Development Under $50 million in the 2011 Master Builders–Bankwest Excellence in Construction Awards.
Built in partnership with Goodland Properties and funded under Stage 2 of the Commonwealth's Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan, Stella Apartments is a master-planned residential project consisting of multiple stages. Stage One and Two are complete, and Stage Three was launched to the market in May.
This Award recognises the high-quality projects that the Department has developed as a result of Stimulus funding.
The units of Stella Apartments vary in design, height and elevation, with buildings ranging from townhouses, two- and three-level walk-up apartments and future buildings of up 12 levels. When complete, they will have more than 900 residential apartments of one-, two- or three-bedroom configurations, with recreational facilities.
Construction featured the Architectural Framing System (AFS), a wall and suspended concrete slab system of modular panels. The reinforced panels are a composite, which are filled with concrete once they are in place. Custom-made to size, the panels have the advantage of also being the finished wall internally and externally without needing further plastering. The modular system also guarantees virtually no error in measurement, which makes building and installation faster and minimises wastage.
The development is in the southern suburb of Success. It has easy access to rail and bus transport and is close to the Cockburn Central transit station and the Gateway Shopping Centre.
Stella Apartments offers affordable and very attractive housing options for the market, and is an excellent example of the way forward for the Department to deliver at least 20,000 affordable homes by 2020.
|Strong interest in creating affordable housing opportunities|
The Department recently held a briefing for industry on a new “Call for Submissions” procurement process to increase affordable and social housing in the State. The briefing was very well received with more than 300 people attending the session.
The strong interest from the building and construction industry in this new initiative will benefit both the building and construction industries and Western Australians on low-to-moderate incomes.
A wide range of organisations have been invited to submit proposals, including developers, contractors, land owners, not-for-profit groups and property funds.
The Department has requested proposals from industry that have a strong focus on one- and two-bedroom properties with a cost target of $250,000 to cater to the developing needs of home owners and tenants in Western Australia.
Industry organisations can lodge proposals under three areas—social housing for rent, regional key workers housing and affordable housing for sale. The Department is seeking innovative ideas that will meet the needs of those who need affordable housing.
This procurement process will deliver new housing products across a range of Department of Housing programs, including public housing, Government Regional Officers Housing (GROH) and Keystart.
The “Call for Submissions” process will close on 30 May 2012.
|Big boost for social housing in Busselton|
A new development of 12 one-bedroom units in Busselton is the largest social housing group site completed by the Department of Housing in the area since 2009.
Funded under Stage Two of the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Program, the Dorset Street units were handed over to community housing organisation Access Housing Australia Limited (AHA Ltd) to manage in March 2011.
The new units are an impressive addition to the social housing options available in the area.
The Department has built the units to very high universal and adaptable design standards with a six-star energy rating. As the majority of the tenants living in the units are seniors, the universal and adaptable design features are very practical and important, as it enables the Department to cater to tenants' needs over the long term.
In order to ensure the units blend in well with surrounding dwellings, the units were also designed with a unique coastal look.
AHA Ltd will fully manage the units on behalf of the Department, an arrangement that is a first for the Busselton area.
Engaging community housing providers such as AHA Ltd is one way that the Department is pursuing more affordable housing options.
The Department is working towards reducing pressure on the public housing waiting list and providing alternative affordable housing options. An important aspect of this is to work effectively with community housing providers.
These smaller one-bedroom units allow the Department to free up larger dwellings for families in the area, and also provide affordable housing options for people who are no longer eligible for public housing.
The Department has been able to house several families by transferring seniors who were under-occupying multiple-bedroom properties to new homes in the Dorset Street development.
The new homes in West Busselton are the first of 111 new social housing dwellings that will be built in Busselton by 2012. Seventy-six homes have already been completed.
|Housing Services Officers get specialist training|
The first specialist internal training course to prepare the Department of Housing’s housing services officers (HSOs) for frontline roles was held recently.
The Department developed the course to better prepare officers for their roles.
The role of a housing services officer is complex and effective operational training is beneficial in ensuring officers can confidently undertake their work.
Content experts explained specialised aspects of the HSO role including the tenancy sign-up process, tenancy compliance, homelessness, home ownership, disruptive behaviour, Housing Direct and Aboriginal cultural awareness.
Training also covered internal business systems, policies and online procedures.
Officers can rely on the Department’s wiki pages for ongoing support and information in their roles.
|Kalgoorlie project makes progress|
The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Indigenous Visitors Accommodation Project is a step closer to fruition when two key milestones were recently reached.
The first took place when the management order for the transfer of the land from the Boulder Golf Course to the Department of Housing had been signed.
Twenty-two sites were investigated for the location of the centre and after extensive community consultation the golf course site was selected.
The next milestone was achieved when the first phase of construction commenced.
Local Kalgoorlie construction company RWE Robinson and Sons Pty Ltd has been awarded the contract to undertake all site works and have mobilised to site.
The Kalgoorlie-Boulder facility will provide up to 51 people a safe place to sleep and access to amenities while they are visiting the town.
A partnership agreement between the Department of Housing and the Department of Corrective Services for the provision of minor facility maintenance, meals and laundry services at the facility is also under negotiation.
The Department of Housing is also working to construct a similar visitors’ hostel in Broome with site allocations still being negotiated.
The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Indigenous Visitors Accommodation Project is due to open in July 2012.
|Department working with Office of Energy|
The Department of Housing is working with the Office of Energy (OOE) to fund projects relating to energy efficiency in the Department's properties.
These projects form part of OOE’s Hardship Efficiency Program (HEP), which helps customers in hardship to increase energy efficiency within their home through a combination of energy smart advice, education, and appliance upgrades.
The Department has appointed a full-time project coordinator to work closely with OOE. The coordinator will oversee the projects and ensure that the intended outcomes of each project are met.
Initial plans are to draft a scope of works and select a range of energy-efficient appliances that will assist in the reduction of energy costs to tenants.
The Public and Community Housing Sub-program of HEP involves the implementation of energy-efficiency measures in public and community housing throughout WA.
The primary focus of the sub-program will be the installation of ceiling insulation in housing where it is currently insufficient or absent, and replacement of inefficient electrical storage hot-water systems with energy-efficient water-heating appliances.
The Office of Energy currently has two HEP special projects that aim to increase energy efficiency in regional Western Australia, one of which is the Special Hardship Esperance Efficiency Project (SHEEP).
SHEEP involves connecting the homes of LPG-dependent customers in hardship to the reticulated natural gas network in Esperance, including upgrading old energy-inefficient gas appliances. Other initiatives under the project include insulation in public housing and installation of efficient hot-water systems in the largest households being connected to the network.
One of the projects involves LPG upgrades to more efficient energy systems in regions solely dependent on bottled gas. Properties will be identified and each project will be undertaken using criteria beneficial to both the tenant and the Department.
|Land released for affordable housing at Wungong Reach||10/08/2011|
A joint venture development between the State Government and Stockland will deliver 2,700 housing lots in the next 10 years at Wungong Reach, in the city of Armadale.
Housing Minister Troy Buswell today announced that the first 18 lots would be sold from Saturday August 20 as part of the State Affordable Housing Strategy aimed at providing more affordable housing options for all West Australians.
“The vision for Wungong Reach is to build a master planned community around the area’s natural landscape and waterways, which includes the Wungong River,” Mr Buswell said.
“The development of 311 hectares of combined landholdings is expected to yield 2,700 lots across the next 10 years and include a town centre, high school, primary school and significant open space, parklands and recreational areas.
“Many of the lots at this development will be priced within the reach of first homebuyers to allow them to enter the housing market.
“Public Private Partnerships are an important element of the State’s strategy and the joint venture at Wungong Reach is a great example of its practical application.”
Wungong Reach is about 27 kilometres south-east of the Perth CBD, with the joint venture landholdings located in the suburbs of Haynes and Hilbert.
The Minister said the south-east metropolitan area was a key growth region for WA.
“Due to Wungong Reach’s location in a key growth corridor, affordable housing opportunities will be increasingly important,” he said.
“We are looking at innovative ways to meet this increased demand including developing smaller block sizes and smaller units.”
The first 18 lots range in size from 300 sqm to 627 sqm. Further releases will occur as lots become available.
For further information please visit Stockland
Minister's office - 9213 6900
|Affordable NGO housing to benefit North-West communities||17/08/2011|
Communities in the North-West will benefit from State Government funding of $35million to provide affordable housing for non-government organisation (NGOs) employees delivering critical services.
Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said the Royalties for Regions funding would deliver 58 houses in priority Pilbara and Kimberley locations, including Karratha, Newman, South Hedland, Kununurra, Derby, Roebourne, Halls Creek and Broome.
“Affordability is a key issue in the North-West of the State, with those outside the resources industry finding it difficult to afford housing,” Mr Grylls said.
“Suitable housing is critical to ensure that community services such as education, health, drug and alcohol counselling, Aboriginal community health care and legal services can continue to operate.
“These 58 houses will provide employees of NGOs delivering these critical State Government-funded services in the North-West with much-needed affordable rental options.”
Housing Minister Troy Buswell said the locations were chosen to ensure delivery of NGO services was not compromised as a result of a lack of affordable housing.
“These new homes will be leased to NGOs at a discounted rate to support the social wellbeing and sustainability of regional communities by ensuring that NGOs can continue to provide their important services,” Mr Buswell said.
“This is one of several initiatives the Department of Housing is undertaking to increase the supply of affordable housing in the State, in line with the State Affordable Housing Strategy launched earlier this year.”
The Department of Housing has been working in partnership with the Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS) to identify the housing needs of NGO employees.
Applications for the NGO housing will open this week and be assessed by an independent panel chaired by the Department of Housing with panel members from the Pilbara and Kimberley Development Commissions and an independent academic nominated by WACOSS.
Applications close on September 9, 2011.
Regional Development Minister’s office - 9213 7000
Housing Minister’s office - 9213 6900
|Foyer Oxford to assist youth at risk of homelessness||16/08/2011|
The Department of Housing is involved in an exciting new development in Leederville that will house young people at risk of homelessness.
Homelessness is a big issue in Australia with the 2006 Census estimating that on any given night, approximately 105,000 people will be homeless across Australia. Of these, 44,000 or forty three percent are considered to be young people under the age of 25. The Foyer Oxford development will provide secure housing and support services for up to 98 people between 15 and 25, including 35 people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. Eleven per cent of people assisted will be Indigenous.
The Foyer Oxford development is a partnership between Anglicare WA, Foundation Housing and the Central Institute of Technology who have formed a consortium to run the project. The Department of Housing is providing capital of over $9 million for the development and the Commonwealth just over $10 million. Support services will be funded through the joint Commonwealth/State National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, as part of the A Place to Call Home initiative. Additional funding of approximately $700,000 per annum will be provided through the Department for Child Protection for other support services. The construction and fit out of the Foyer is expected to cost $23 million.
Peter Lonsdale, Director Housing Programs, says that the origins of the Foyer movement date back to post-war France, when the founders of the trade union movement established job centres to provide education and training for travelling workers.
“Alongside these centres, various religious groups were also establishing hostels for young people,” he said.
“Following World War Two, the various providers of hostel accommodation for young people came together in a voluntary group. Worsening conditions for French young people led the government to modernise the Foyer program for young people, promoting social inclusion and induction into the adult world and labour market.”
The United Kingdom Foyer movement came into being in 1992 with the establishment of The Foyer Federation and five pilot schemes based in existing YMCAs. The UK scheme differs from the French, in that it services a more disadvantaged client group, with an even greater focus on employment and training.
Peter said that the Foyer concept has since swept across Europe, from Spain to Denmark to Romania, with the Foyer Oxford the first in Australia.
“The Foyer model is specifically designed for young people who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless,” he said.
“The aim of the model is to provide supported housing with a focus on developing life skills that may lead young people towards meaningful employment.
“The Department continues to focus on projects where a holistic approach is taken to ensuring tenancies can be maintained. While we are opening doors for tenants in the first instance, the added support may mean that in the future, these are tenants who might be able to open doors for themselves.”
Construction is underway of a four-storey residential building consisting of 98 units at the Central Institute of Technology’s Leederville campus. The land is owned by Training and Workforce Development, who have granted the consortium a 50-year peppercorn lease.
Forty eight of the rooms will feature an ensuite with shared laundries and common areas. The remaining rooms will also have ensuites but will include a second small bedroom or sitting room or a lounge area. The larger accommodation will be suitable for single parents as there will be space for their children.
The development will also include a retail area and cafe, as well as staff offices and meeting rooms for the management of the facility.
Peter says that there are now over 100 Foyers operating in the United Kingdom and over 500 in France.
“Hopefully the Foyer Oxford will be the first of many in Australia that will help youth at risk of homelessness,” he said.
The Foyer Oxford is expected to be completed in spring 2012.
|Department cleans up at 2011 UDIA Awards|
Four Department of Housing projects were recognised for excellence in the 2011 Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) Western Australia’s Awards for Excellence held on Saturday.
The winning projects were Malvern Springs in Ellenbrook in the Affordable Development category, Bethanie Peel Community Housing in the Seniors Living category, Stella Orion Apartments in Success in the Medium Density Development category and for the Rising Star Award, and South Hedland New Living which won the Judges’ Awards for the second year running.
The UDIA Awards for Excellence is one of WA’s most respect and valued industry award, and these awards recognised the commitment of the Department in working with its partners to deliver outstanding developments to the market.
The winning developments are an excellent example of how the Department leverages partnerships with private developers and non-government organisations to create attractive and affordable housing options of the highest quality.
Malvern Springs is one of the stages of the Department’s Ellenbrook joint venture project with Morella Pty Ltd. Ellenbrook was the first large-scale joint venture undertaken by the Department and remains one of the most successful master planned developments in Australia.
Stella Orion is a part of the larger Stella Apartments project - a master planned residential project located in Success that will eventuate in 850 to 900 units. A partnership between the Department of Housing and Goodland Properties, it consists of 130 one and two bedroom apartments offering modern living in a convenient location at an affordable price. This project was funded through the Commonwealth’s Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan.
Bethanie Peel Community Housing in Coodanup represents the first of a new style of affordable housing for seniors by the Department of Housing and Bethanie Housing Ltd. This development consists of 96 units constructed in two, two-storey blocks. It provides a high quality and well designed village environment for seniors who need a low cost rental housing solution. The project was funded through the Commonwealth’s Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan.
South Hedland New Living is an urban renewal project being undertaken by the Department of Housing and Jaxon Pty Ltd located 1,700km from Perth on the north-west coast of WA. The project will revitalise South Hedland and see the refurbishment of over 480 houses, planned development of 1,000 residential lots and improved public infrastructure.
|Work starts on accommodation for homeless men|
Housing Minister Troy Buswell recently visited the site of the Lentara Mens Hostel to see the start of a $20million development in Northbridge which will provide accommodation for more than 100 homeless men. The current Lentara Mens Hostel, which was built in the 1970s, is being demolished to make way for the new facility.
“The new $20million facility will nearly double the existing capacity of the hostel and provide much needed housing for 102 homeless men in the city,” Mr Buswell said.
“By doubling the number of units available, we can ensure more people have an opportunity to start on the path towards accessing better housing solutions in the future.”
More than $18million for the project has been provided by the Federal Government’s stimulus program, and will be administered by the Department of Housing.
The Salvation Army is providing the remaining funds and is managing the redevelopment of the facility with assistance from the Department of Housing.
The Minister said the Department of Housing continued to work in partnership with not-for-profit and private sector organisations to deliver improved affordable housing outcomes.
“Partnerships with the private and community sectors are an important element of the State Affordable Housing Strategy and this Northbridge development is another great example of the strategy at work,” he said.
This development is in addition to a number of other projects that the Department is currently involved in which will help homeless people or those at risk of homelessness. Construction has recently started on 98 units in Leederville as part of the Foyer Oxford project for youth at risk of homelessness. Work is also being undertaken with St Bart’s to provide 148 beds for homeless men in Lime Street East Perth.
The four storey development will consist of three levels of accommodation with reception, kitchen and administration areas on the ground floor. Each unit will be one bedroom and will include universal access elements such as wider doorways, wider passages and hob less showers.
The construction works, including the construction of a basement car park, will commence immediately after the completion of the demolition.
Construction is expected to be completed in late 2012.
|New shared equity loan to provide affordable home ownership opportunities||7/09/2011|
A new shared equity loan scheme through the State Government’s lending provider Keystart will provide 2,000 affordable home ownership opportunities for West Australians on low to moderate incomes.
Housing Minister Troy Buswell said the SharedStart program would give singles on incomes of less than $70,000 and couples on less than $90,000 (up to $110,000 in the North-West) the opportunity to purchase a range of new properties though the Department of Housing (DoH).
“This is a key initiative coming from the State Government’s Affordable HIHousing Strategy and will allow more low to moderate income-earning West Australians achieve their dream of home ownership,” Mr Buswell said.
“The SharedStart scheme will see Government providing a targeted, entry-level home ownership product offering 2,000 people a first step on the property ladder when they could not normally afford to buy a home of their own.
“SharedStart will provide two joint ownership loan options for eligible applicants, under either a fixed or flexible equity option, with the flexible equity option offering incentives for borrowers to increase their equity to full ownership of the property over time.”
The Minister said SharedStart was linked to the Department of Housing’s recently announced Expressions of Interest (EOI) program and would include recently completed or soon to be completed dwellings as well as off-the-plan opportunities.
“By linking SharedStart with the EOI Program, the Government is able to provide much needed entry level affordable home ownership opportunities while also stimulating activity in the West Australian building industry,” he said.
“The EOI program is focused on delivering new homes that are innovative in design, respond to a changing Western Australian housing market and meet the affordable housing needs of one and two-person households as well as families.
“The Department of Housing has already received an enthusiastic response with more than 80 proposals submitted for projects across the State.
“Through SharedStart and the EOI Program, the Government is working effectively with industry to address housing availability and affordability in WA with the goal of providing at least 20,000 additional affordable homes by 2020.”
Public housing tenants may also have the option to buy their existing DoH properties.
SharedStart properties will initially be available in Northbridge, Mirrabooka, East Perth, Subiaco and Meadow Springs, with future properties being identified through the EOI Program.
Keystart is currently assessing and approving applications for SharedStart. People interested in the SharedStart scheme can check their eligibility and obtain pre-approval by contacting Keystart on 1300KSTART or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on the SharedStart loan can be obtained by visiting http://www.keystart.com.au
Properties offered under the SharedStart scheme can be viewed from Wednesday September 14 through the SharedStart page on the Department of Housing’s website.
Minister's office - 9213 6900
|Going the extra distance for Mandurah senior||21/09/2011|
Tenant John Stewart recently benefitted from the persistence of Department of Housing staff who helped him out of a desperate situation when he was faced with losing his home.
The Department was alerted to the pending closure of Aqua Caravan Park in Furnissdale, where Mr Stewart lived, last December. As a long-stay resident, he received a 180-day notice to vacate.
The Department helped in the transition process by coordinating with the park owners and the Peel Development Commission to interview long-stay residents to determine their intentions towards securing alternate accommodation. Many residents had no idea of the different housing options available to them and they were quite distressed at losing the place they had come to know as home.
The Department discovered that Mr Stewart was not happy at being moved out of his home, especially as he has no family. He also knew of the long wait for public housing after caring for his partner who was a previous Department tenant.
The Department’s Mandurah Area Manager spoke with Mr Stewart to explain the different options available to him outside of public housing. She explained the option of community housing and what could be expected in senior complexes.
The Area Manager took Mr Stewart to view the new accommodation she was able to secure for him as it was too hard for him to commit to something sight unseen. Even though complex was not finished yet, Mr Stewart was pleasantly surprised with what he saw.
The Department also assisted Mr Stewart to apply to Anglicare on his behalf for seniors’ assistance funding to pay for his removal costs.
Mr Stewart is now happily settled in his new one-bedroom unit in the recently opened complex run by Bethanie Housing Ltd in Coodanup. He is very grateful at the Department’s efforts in securing him a new home and has thanked the Area Manager for all the help she was able to provide over the course of the transition and removal process.
“I can sum up living in this place with one word – magic!” Mr Stewart said.
“It’s cheaper than living in the caravan park yet the quality of my home is higher than some of the motels around the place. The people here are friendly and the common facilities mean that there is a strong sense of community.
“I know I took some convincing but I can’t tell you how happy I am to be living here.”
|More affordable housing options for West Australians||7/10/2011|
2,300 homes for WA funded from Round 4 of the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS)
Affordable rental options in Western Australia will increase substantially with the announcement of 2,300 new properties to be funded under Round 4 of the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS).
Housing Minister Troy Buswell said the latest allocation brought the total NRAS allocation in the State to 5,000 properties.
“These 2,300 properties will provide a much-needed boost to the supply of affordable rental housing in WA,” Mr Buswell said.
“An additional benefit is the stimulus it will provide to the building and construction industry, during a downturn in new homes being built across the State.”
The State Government will provide a cash incentive of $2,285 annually, indexed per year for the next 10 years, to property owners under the NRAS scheme, in addition to the incentive provided by the Federal Government.
“This is more than $11.4million per year over the next 10 years to increase affordable housing options in the State,” the Minister said.
Properties eligible for the NRAS program must be either newly-constructed or recently completed, and will be located in areas of most need, particularly those with employment, transport, schools and other services nearby.
Mr Buswell said the properties would be constructed across the State, including 920 in the North-West.
“Areas such as Broome, Derby, South Hedland and Tom Price in the north, Kalgoorlie to the east and Margaret River, Bunbury and Bridgetown to the south are some of the towns that will benefit from NRAS,” he said.
“We have been very successful in delivering NRAS in WA, and it continues to be an important element among our innovative initiatives to deliver affordable housing options to low and middle income earners.”
Minister's office - 9213 6900
|Mental Health Week marks start of construction of sub-acute facility||12/10/2011|
- Work under way on $3.8million facility to provide transitional housing for 22 mental health clients
- 22 one-bedroom, self-contained units, with a combined community and administration building which will allow residents to cook, eat, relax and socialise
Construction of a 22-bed, 24-hour sub-acute care facility for people with mental illness to help them recover after hospital treatment started today in Joondalup.
The first of its kind in Western Australia, the $3.8million facility will accommodate patients for up to 90 days to receive supportive care and participate in individualised programs aimed at helping them live successfully and independently in the community.
Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said the facility would allow people with mental illness to be discharged from hospital earlier, after an acute illness and receive the care they need as they settle back into the community.
“Alternatively, for people who are becoming unwell, it allows them to receive the support they need to stay out of hospital,” Mrs Morton said.
“This type of accommodation is essential to give people the best chance of recovery and living successfully in our community.”
Housing Minister Troy Buswell said funding for the sub acute facility was from the State Government’s 2011-12 Budget commitment of more than $70million for housing and support services for mental health clients.
“The significant budget allocation for mental health housing and services this year acknowledged that there are people with special needs all over WA and the Liberal-National Government is progressing several innovative projects to meet these needs,” Mr Buswell said.
The Department of Housing is managing construction of the facility, which is expected to be completed in mid-2012.
10-year vision for mental health
2011-12 mental health budget information
Mental Health Minister’s office - 9213 7250
Housing Minister’s office - 9213 6900
|Lotterywest funds for homeless facility||13/10/2011|
- $2.8m funding for fit-out of St Bart’s Lime Street facility for homeless men
- 148-bed facility to be completed in 2012
A $30million homeless shelter project under way in East Perth has received a major boost today, receiving a State Government-supported Lotterywest grant for more than $2.8million.
Housing Minister Troy Buswell said the funds, for the fit-out of the facility, were in addition to the $22million the Government had already provided to the St Bartholomew’s Lime Street project.
“St Bart’s Lime Street project, which will provide 148 beds for homeless and aged persons, is a fantastic example of a project being delivered through a partnership between Government and the community sector,” Mr Buswell said.
“Partnerships like this, along with partnerships with the private sector, are an important element of the State Affordable Housing Strategy, which aims to provide an additional 20,000 affordable housing options by 2020.”
The seven-storey building at 152 Lime Street, East Perth will comprise 54 one-bedroom residential units to meet social housing needs; 12 one-bedroom crisis units; 42 transitional lodging beds for homeless men; and a 40-bed aged care facility.
Construction on the project commenced in January 2011 and is due to be completed in 2012.
Funding for the project is being provided by the State ($22.3million plus $2.8million from Lotterywest), the Commonwealth ($7.3million) and St Bart’s ($1million).
The Minister said the Department of Housing had worked successfully with St Bart’s since 1992 through its Community Housing programs.
“St Bart’s target people at greatest risk in the community, such as the aged, ill and homeless, showing them compassion and care and, most importantly, giving them a sense of hope.”
Since its establishment in 1933, Lotterywest has provided more than $3billion to the Western Australian community.
- $22million State Government funding announcement
- Lime Street building updates
Minister's office - 9213 6900
|Another step forward for Kalgoorlie-Boulder Indigenous Visitors’ Centre||11/10/2011|
- Murray River North Pty Ltd awarded design and construct tender for $3million project
- Facility to house 51 indigenous people on short stays in Kalgoorlie-Boulder
The construction of a centre to provide transit accommodation for Aboriginal people visiting Kalgoorlie-Boulder has reached a key milestone with the tender awarded for design and construction of the $3million project.
Housing Minister Troy Buswell said Murray River North Pty Ltd was awarded tender for the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Indigenous Visitors’ Centre.
“This is a complex project and I am pleased to see the visitors’ centre progress to this key stage,” Mr Buswell said.
"Aboriginal people from remote towns and communities who need to travel to Kalgoorlie-Boulder for family, health, business or cultural purposes will have a safe and comfortable place to stay during their short visits.”
Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said the Liberal-National Government was spending $13million through the Royalties for Regions program to establish indigenous visitor hostels in major regional centres across Western Australia.
“The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Indigenous Visitors’ Centre will be the first of its kind in Western Australia, and will house up to 51 guests,” Mr Grylls said.
"It will lessen the hardship experienced by short-term visitors and lead to a reduction inpeople sleeping rough and the associated risks to those visitors.”
The facility is expected to open in July 2012.
Negotiations for the site of the Broome Indigenous Visitors’ Centre are under way.
- Announcement of site and first tender
Housing Minister’s office - 9213 6900
Regional Development Minister’s office - 9213 7000
|Families benefit from affordable housing||24/10/2011|
- 450 new house and land packages
- Packages priced between $280,000 and $380,000 in 15 suburbs
- Made available through Project 450 Consortium
A new public-private partnership will provide 450 new affordable home ownership opportunities for low to moderate income earning West Australians through the State Government’s SharedStart scheme.
Housing Minister Troy Buswell said the Government had entered into an agreement with a consortium of builders and land developers, the Project 450 Consortium, to deliver off-the-plan affordable properties across the Perth metropolitan area.
“These new home ownership opportunities substantially boost affordable housing options, providing an excellent entry point to home ownership for low to moderate income earners,” Mr Buswell said.
“This agreement also comes at the right time to stimulate the housing industry during a downturn in new home construction.”
While the majority of the opportunities will be offered under SharedStart - a key initiative under the State’s Affordable Housing Strategy - some will be available for sale directly to the public or be considered for use under the department’s housing programs.
The 450 off-the-plan house and land packages will become available from December, with the majority of dwellings expected to be three or four bedroom family homes. Construction is scheduled to start in January 2012 and be completed by June 2012.
Homes will be priced from $280,000 to $380,000 and available in Bertram, Girrawheen, Balga, Brookdale, Seville Grove, Golden Bay, Banksia Grove, Ellenbrook, Wellard, Wungong, Aveley, Baldivis, Lakelands, Byford and Alkimos.
Minister Buswell said the public response to the SharedStart scheme since its launch in early September had been very positive, and the new opportunities would be a welcome addition to the properties already on offer.
“These new houses will increase the variety of dwellings offered through SharedStart and complement those available through the Expressions of Interest (EOI) Program,” he said.
“The predominately three and four bedroom homes will be appropriate for the needs of Perth families looking for affordable homes.”
The Project 450 Consortium brings a broad range of house designs and involves a number of different builders including: Commodore Homes, WA Housing Centre, Impressions, Perceptions, Ventura Homes, Aussie Living and 6 Seasons. Fact File
Information on the SharedStart scheme offered through the Government’s lending provider Keystart can be found here
Information on the Department of Housing’s affordable house sales can be found here
Minister's office - 9213 6900
|Innovative new social housing||9/11/2011|
The first of the Department’s two Innovative Housing Projects using Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) was completed in late September in Nollamara. The development comprises four one-bedroom units for singles.
SIPs construction is widely used in the United States but a relatively new product to Australia. The Department's Director of Built Form and Civil Construction, Will Carroll said the SIPs projects have allowed the Department to take an innovative approach to future construction activity.
“The SIPs pilot projects have allowed us to focus on innovation and to trial a method that has potential significant benefits over conventional construction,” Mr Carroll said.
“Although there were a few challenges along the way, the projects have shown us that this method could be a way forward for a more sustainable, cost-effective housing alternative.
“SIPs are just one of the innovative methods we are exploring to ensure better outcomes for the Department’s construction activities in the long run.”
The SIPs projects arose from the Department's Alternative Housing Solution Program, which focused on construction solutions with proven and enhanced properties in product performance, quality, build time, and cost benefits.
Project Manager for the SIPs projects, Lesley Richardson, said collaboration with and support from industry was an important aspect of overcoming challenges.
“The limited use of SIPs systems in Australia resulted in some complex issues which had to be addressed during the construction and planning period,” Ms Richardson said.
“One of the major issues was the limited availability of off-shelf products that were compatible for use with the systems, such as roof cladding and window frames. We needed some creative thinking and the strong involvement of product manufacturers to find suitable solutions.
“Support from the industry in this regard has been fantastic and the motivation from manufacturers to get on board with the SIPs system has been very encouraging.”
The highly insulative SIPs development is 10 times more energy efficient than traditionally built dwellings and boasts a seven-star rating.
The pilot SIPs projects have enabled the Department to showcase the system to interested parties. It is hoped that a plant will be built in New South Wales to manufacture the panels.
“With time, the availability of SIP’s compatible products will increase and industry will be more on board with this system and the benefits it offers.”
|Cockburn development set to impress||21/12/2011|
A much-anticipated development at Signal Terrace in Cockburn Central, located next to the train station and close to Gateway Shopping City, is making good progress and is expected to impress on a number of levels.
A partnership between the Department of Housing and Probuild Constructions (Australia), the development has been funded through Stage Two of the Commonwealth’s Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan.
It consists of 67 one-bedroom, 56 two-bedroom and seven three-bedroom residential apartments and six commercial units spread across five buildings ranging in height from three to five stories.
The Department’s Social Housing Coordinator, Laurie McGill, described the development as impressive on a number of levels.
“It boasts a futuristic design, unique landscaping, and the ability to incorporate universal and adaptable design across the majority of the units on top of a range of energy efficient features,” Mr McGill said.
“It will also be the first multi-storey residential building in WA to be linked to the National Broadband Network.”
All 130 residential apartments in the complex will have a six-star energy rating based on the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (Nathers), believed to be a first for WA on this scale.
“The development will be one of the largest six-star energy rated buildings in the State,” he said.
“Such a high energy rating for the development is the result of orientation, insulation, glazing, and other features that contribute towards low energy costs in usage,” Mr McGill said.
“It also includes other energy efficient features like lighting, water fittings and heating arrangements.”
Apartments have special features to provide improved access for those with restricted mobility, as well as being easily adapted for when life circumstances change.
Unique landscaping is also another interesting feature of the development, including an internal courtyard showcasing trees actually planted in the basement below.
The complex will deliver a mix of private dwellings, shared equity and social housing and is scheduled for completion in mid-2012.
|Affordable housing for North-West NGOs||9/11/2011|
- 58 houses for 29 NGOs in eight Pilbara and Kimberley communities
- $35million from Royalties for Regions
Staff of non-government organisations (NGOs) delivering critical services in the Pilbara and Kimberley will benefit from 58 houses funded by the State Government.
Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said $35million in Royalties for Regions funding had delivered affordable housing to 29 NGOs in Karratha, Newman, South Hedland, Kununurra, Derby, Roebourne, Halls Creek and Broome.
“The Government provided this funding as a strategic intervention to ensure the delivery of NGO services in the North-West of the State is not compromised due to a lack of affordable housing,” Mr Grylls said.
“The allocation committee aimed to provide housing to a wide range of organisations and the excellent outcome is that 58 properties have been allocated to 29 NGOs in eight towns.
“The program will also support the social wellbeing and sustainability of these regional communities by keeping vital services in these towns.”
Housing Minister Troy Buswell said affordability was a key issue in the North-West and this initiative would see the Government lease properties to NGOs at a discounted rate.
“Suitable housing is critical to ensure community services such as education; health; drug and alcohol counselling; Aboriginal community health care; and legal services can continue to operate,” Mr Buswell said.
“These 58 houses will provide employees of NGOs delivering these critical State Government-funded services in the North-West with much-needed affordable rental options.
“We recognise that affordability is an issue across the State, and have introduced a number of initiatives as part of the State Affordable Housing Strategy launched earlier this year.
NGO staff will move into most of the properties this month, with the remainder to be occupied early in 2012.
- The 58 NGO properties are located at: Broome (eight); Derby (six); Halls Creek (six); Kununurra (six); Karratha (nine); Roebourne (eight); Newman (one); and South Hedland (14)
- Department of Housing worked in partnership with the Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS) to identify the housing needs of NGO employees
- Applications were assessed by an independent panel chaired by the Department of Housing with members from the Pilbara and Kimberley development commissions and Winthrop Professor Paul Flatau from UWA’s Centre for Economic Impact
Regional Development Minister’s office - 9213 7000
Housing Minister’s office - 9213 6900
|Margaret River townhouses turning heads||11/11/2011|
A new Department of Housing development of townhouses completed in Margaret River is attracting positive comment in the community with its impressive design and quality.
The development is built on a long, thin strip of land where an old fibro house once stood. As the site had been re-zoned, a higher yield of housing was required. Site conditions, reactive clay soil, economy of construction, council limitations, and the configuration of the dwellings on the site were all factors that challenged the Department’s Country Housing team in completing this project successfully.
The Department worked with Broadhurst & Bott Architects and builders Ietto West Developments on the project.Through creative design and working closely and effectively with the architects and builders, the Department has delivered four one-bedroom and one two-bedroom townhouses on the small site.
Numerous people who live in the area have asked the builder if the homes were for sale and what they cost to build, a credit to the architectural design and the builder’s workmanship.
The townhouses were orientated with the living room and bedroom windows, veranda and courtyard to the north side of the block to maximise natural lighting and give consideration to energy efficient housing design principles. The design has helped the development achieve a five star energy rating in a difficult climate zone.
Site contours required the units to be stepped down the site with level access to carports and front entries, and special consideration was also required for ecological disposal of stormwater into the council drainage system.
The development is being managed by the Department’s Bussleton office and tenants were selected from both the waiting and priority lists.
|Stimulus programs claim Premiers Award||11/01/2012|
The Department of Housing’s achievements in managing the State and Federal Stimulus Programs have been rewarded in the 2011 Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Public Sector Management. The Department was announced as the winner of the “Developing the Economy” category at a ceremony hosted by the Premier on 14 November.
The 'Developing the Economy' category is one of six in the 2011 Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Public Sector Management.
In accepting the award, Director General Grahame Searle praised the hard work of Department staff in achieving an outstanding outcome.
“The State and Federal Stimulus Programs managed by the Department have successfully stimulated the economy and supported employment and growth in Western Australia, and it is very fitting that the Programs have been recognised in this way,” Mr Searle said.
“Since the start of the programs in early 2009, a lot of intense hard work has gone into ensuring both primary and secondary targets have not only been met but exceeded on this large scale project, in addition to maintaining the Department’s normal construction program.
Congratulations to all Department staff who have made this excellent outcome possible."
Social Housing Coordinator, Laurie McGill, said a lot of team work went into ensuring all Stimulus projects were successfully delivered.
“Working on the Stimulus projects was not always smooth sailing and there were a number of challenges along the way, but I am proud to say that this has not stopped us from achieving our objectives,” Mr McGill said.
“Our success is due to the project managers' and team members' commitment to getting the job done and doing it well.
With combined funding of $810 million, the Stimulus Programs will have delivered 1,376 refurbishments to existing properties and construction of 2,815 new social housing dwellings across metropolitan and regional WA by 30 June 2012.
The Stimulus Programs commenced at a fortuitous time and brought both economic and social benefits for WA.
“The Stimulus Programs came at time when the building and construction industry was not doing well, and the increased construction activity helped keep many companies in business,” Mr McGill said.
“The new construction and refurbishments have also helped increase the supply of social housing for those most in need, and affordable housing for prospective low to moderate income home buyers.”
|Website enhances consultation on the Community Disability Housing Program||16/11/2011|
The Department of Housing’s recently revamped website has allowed for better engagement with non government organisations (NGOs) in the area of policy development.
At a recent public forum that was held for NGOs to discuss the Department’s Community Disability Housing Program (CDHP), many participants expressed that they would like to have better opportunities to provide input into policies under development at the Department.
In response to this, the Department will be using the website to consult with NGOs for the first time.
The Department’s revamped website provides a new consultation option that can assist organisations, especially indigenous NGOs and those located in rural and remote WA, to be more directly involved in policy development.
The draft CDHP policy has been placed on the Department’s new website along with an online questionnaire for agencies to provide their input. Once completed and submitted, the responses to the questionnaire will be sent to a secure Department email that can only be accessed by relevant staff.
Traditionally the only way for NGOs to provide input to the Department was through public forums, and often NGOs located in rural and regional WA may not have the budget or resources to send staff to Perth to attend these.
While this form of engagement will not replace public forums, it is hoped that using the website and the online form will make a big difference for NGOs and allow more of them to provide input on policies.
In relation to the CDHP, NGOs will still have the opportunity for the more traditional face-to-face consultation which is scheduled for 28 November 2011. The final policy document is expected to be available in early 2012.
The CDHP policy and online form can be accessed here
|Department prepares for record heat wave in Perth||24/01/2012|
With the Weather Bureau predicting record high temperatures for Perth during the Australia Day period, the Department is taking precautions to assist at-risk tenants cope with the heat wave.
Extra staff have been deployed to operate the Department’s contact centre, Housing Direct, during the public holiday and throughout this weekend to deal with any property-related emergencies and provide an initial point of contact for our tenants.
The Department has identified tenants in those at-risk categories and has commenced telephone or face-to-face welfare contacts. In the first instance the Department is contacting those at-risk tenants who have no family, or next of kin, who would normally be able to help them cope with the high temperatures.
The Department is coordinating with other government and non-government agencies to be prepared to upgrade our safety response if it is required.
Health Department advice on how to cope during a heat wave has also been placed on the Department's website
for the benefit of tenants as well.
The Department advises tenants, family members and neighbours to take extra care and drink lots of water, and if unwell seek medical help.
If people are feeling unwell they can call healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222, call their doctor or if it is an emergency call 000.
Tenants, family members, neighbours or other members of the public are encouraged to make contact with, and to check on the elderly, the unwell, and the very young.
Housing Direct can be reached on 1300 137 677.
|Department of Housing turns 100||22/02/2012|
The Department of Housing celebrates a significant milestone in its history today – 100 years of providing affordable housing for Western Australians.
Director General Grahame Searle said the Workers’ Homes Board, which was established on 20 February 1912, was the forerunner of today's Department.
“At the time rents and building materials were expensive and this, coupled with 9,562 government-assisted British immigrants arriving in 1911, resulted in a lack of affordable housing,” Mr Searle said.
"In response Parliament established the Board along with a scheme to reduce the cost of housing for those who had jobs but who still struggled to afford to buy or rent a house.”
The Workers' Homes board was later replaced by the State Housing Commission after World War Two, and later became known as Homeswest before the current Department was formed in 2001.
Mr Searle said that during the last 100 years the agency had made an enormous contribution to the development of Western Australia and ensuring that those most in need have a roof over their heads.
“We’ve built thousands of houses across Western Australia for both home ownership and public rental,” he said.
“Housing affordability still remains a real problem for those on low to medium incomes and will only increase with the State’s rapid population growth.
“In 2011 the State Affordable Housing Strategy was launched where at least 20,000 additional affordable rental and home ownership opportunities will be provided to people on low to moderate incomes by 2020.
“We are also partnering with builders and developers to lower the cost of home ownership.
“The Department is currently selling high-quality houses for less than $300,000 in the Perth metro area, with generous options for those on low to medium incomes who might otherwise not be able to finance an outright home purchase.”
Mr Searle today visited the first house built by the Workers’ Homes Board in 1913, a property on Forrest Street in Fremantle.
“The property was built through a ‘lease-hold’ agreement where the owner rented the land from the Government and built a property on the land,” he said.
“The owner paid 11 pence for the land and 11 shillings per week to repay the housing, an equivalent of $285 in today’s money – a similar cost to renting at the time.”
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