28 November 2023

Housing Trust holds information sessions for proposed Dapto development

| Zoe Cartwright
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An artist-generated image of gum trees and apartment buildings in front of a blue sky.

An artist’s impression of what the Housing Trust development on Byamee Street in Dapto could look like. Photo: Illawarra Housing Trust.

The Illawarra Housing Trust has a vision for Dapto, and they’re sharing it with the community on Tuesday, 5 December.

The trust bought land on Byamee Street more than a decade ago, but due to planning hurdles, it hasn’t been able to put it to use.

CEO Michele Adair hopes that will change soon and that the trust will provide affordable homes for more than 160 Illawarra residents.

“Our community desperately needs more affordable rental housing,” she said.

“We have a growing number of people becoming homeless in an absolute housing crisis, and it is our vision and our mission for everyone to have a decent home.

“We cannot and will not walk away from our responsibility and our obligation to our community.”

READ ALSO Soil turned on safe haven for older women and mums at risk of homelessness in the Illawarra

Unlike social housing, affordable housing is targeted at people earning a wage who can still not afford to keep a roof over their heads.

Housing is considered affordable if 30 per cent, or less, of a person’s income goes to rent or mortgage payments.

The median rent for a two-bedroom unit in the Wollongong area is hovering just under $500, but according to the ABS, the median income for the region is $1286 a week, after tax. That leaves plenty of families having to make tough decisions about where their money goes each week.

A development like the one put forward by the trust would go a long way towards easing some of that stress.

“Many key workers, like nurses and teachers, are priced out of the rental and home purchase markets because their incomes don’t allow them to keep under that affordable threshold,” Ms Adair said.

“For single parents, especially, it’s tough. We know that rental housing for people on low to moderate incomes is a need in our community. We have less than one per cent rental vacancies and that isn’t going to change any time soon.

“Because we aren’t a commercial developer, maximising profit isn’t a priority for us.

“We also want to be able to offer a number of the homes for affordable purchase, so people will be able to buy in at a discount to market so we can help people who are lucky enough to be able to buy a home to do that too.”

READ ALSO Illawarra has one of the tightest rental markets in regional NSW

The trust proposes a development of 160 units, including a small number of duplex townhouses, and would include balconies, gardens and a community park which would be open to the public.

The homes in the development will be targeted at people who have been priced out of the rental market, with some available to purchase for those trying to buy their first home or looking to downsize.

Ms Adair said she envisions the development as a beautiful space that adds to the Dapto streetscape.

“The plan is for predominantly brick and timber buildings of three-to-four storeys, so lower than the supermarket over the road,” she said.

“The townhouses will be a mixture of duplexes, and there will be lots of trees and gardens and a public park, as well as plenty of nice balconies, private open spaces and private gardens.

“When we’re planning a development, we always ask ourselves, ‘Would I be happy for my mum to live there?’

“We want our neighbours to know they’re going to be beautiful, quality buildings filled with people who will make wonderful contributions to the community.”

The information sessions at the Dapto Anglican Church Cafe, 100 Moombarra Street, will have the plans for the development on display, and feature a panel who are happy to answer any questions about the proposal.

There will be two information sessions on Tuesday, 5 December, at 10:30 am and 6:30 pm.

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