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Vulnerable to benefit from housing funding

Wednesday, 14th May, 2014

(From left) Compass Housing Manager Michael Westley, Maintenance Coordinator Peter Whitford, Branch Manager Chelsea Morris and Customer Services Officer Jordan Tonkin.PICTURE: Nick Gibbs (From left) Compass Housing Manager Michael Westley, Maintenance Coordinator Peter Whitford, Branch Manager Chelsea Morris and Customer Services Officer Jordan Tonkin.PICTURE: Nick Gibbs

By Nick Gibbs

Local low income earners are likely to be among the final tenants to benefit from Labor’s National Rental Affordability Scheme after the Commission of Audit report recommended scrapping the final round of funding.

Twenty new properties at the Broken Hill Lifestyle Village will be specifically allocated for community housing with financial support coming from the fourth round of the program.

The new homes will be managed by Compass Housing and according to Branch Manager Chelsea Morris, help to address the issue of underemployment in the city.

“They will make a difference to people working a few hours a week,” she said.

To be eligible for the housing, prospective occupants must have some level of employment and meet an income and asset test to certify they are in need of rental subsidy.

Ms Morris said waiting lists for public housing were down compared to the levels reached in the city a couple of years ago.

According to Anglicare’s Rental Affordability Snapshot, none of the 48 properties assessed in the region were suitable for singles on Youth Allowance or Newstart payments.

The report detailed public housing waiting lists ranged from two years for one or two bedroom properties to 10 years for four bedrooms, however

Ms Morris felt this wasn’t necessarily reflected by Compass’s local data.

“Based on our figures, we don’t have a huge waiting list,” she said.

Compass Marketing and Business Development Manager Adam Lavelle said applications for the last of the National Rental Affordability Scheme funding were due mid last year, but the Federal Government had failed to announce any successful bids.

Speaking to the BDT yesterday, he said nothing had been confirmed and more information was due in last night’s Federal Budget.

“Thousands of applications went in and the announcement has just been on hold, on hold, on hold,” he said.

“We’ll know more in about 12 hours.”

The organisation had applied for funding to build roughly 1200 new properties across NSW.

Mr Lavelle said that by cancelling the final round of the scheme, the government would save around $1.2 billion over 10 years.

Operations Project Manager Rebecca Barnes shared Mr Lavelle’s concerns, but felt confident Compass would receive a share if the final round went ahead.

“We had been successful in previous rounds and there was nothing to suggest we wouldn’t have been again,” she said.

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