The rental market has locked out up to 40 per cent of Australian renters due to soaring rental prices, recent statistics show.
Affordable housing programs represent the only way that many vulnerable people like pensioners and low-income earners can find safe and comfortable housing close to important services.
Catholic not-for-profit organisation Villa Maria Catholic Homes has eased the problem in Mentone by opening 14 new units, as part of its affordable housing program. The homes are next to 21 existing units it operates in Mitchell Street.
Pensioners, Ewald and Cheril Seidel, recently moved into one of the homes. They had been renting for many years when recently their circumstances changed quickly.
“The last 10 years we were very fortunate because we rented from friends. But they had to sell,” Ewald said.
“We’re 78, so it’s not an easy project to start looking afresh. There is a lot of uncertainty in the rental market.”
They moved into their new Mentone two-bedroom unit in late February, and are relieved the uncertainty of house hunting is over for them.
“We’re very, very happy with the unit. It’s more compact, but I think by the time we have finished sorting things out we will be very, very comfortable,’ he said.
VMCH provides affordable and comfortable accommodation at 21 locations throughout Melbourne and at Bacchus Marsh.
VMCH Residential Services General Manager Geraldine Webster says VMCH aims to locate the units close to shopping facilities, public transport and other community amenities and the local parish church.
“Our organisation has a long history of offering affordable accommodation to vulnerable and disadvantaged people,” she said.
“This new project continues this important work at a time when finding affordable housing is a huge problem.”
The program is open to people aged over 55 years and they must meet certain asset and health requirements.