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Photo: Housing Trust CEO, Michele Adair, Affordable Housing Tenant Annemarie Sorenson and Wollongong City Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbury

Housing Trust has been awarded a $4.3 million grant to deliver new homes focusing on older women and single women with children through the Wollongong City Council Affordable Housing Program.

The program uses funds originally provided to Wollongong City Council as part of $13.9 million Federal Government Building Better Regional Cities Program. It aims to increase affordable housing in the region for low to moderate income earners with the emphasis on women over 50 who are at higher risk of homelessness.

Housing Trust is now in the process of acquiring two sites in the Wollongong LGA on which to build an expected 17 new homes. It is anticipated the dwellings will be ready for occupation by early 2022.

CEO Michele Adair said Housing Trust was delighted to be awarded the tender with the projects demonstrating how collaboration and commitment can change lives.

“Focusing on a cohort of single women over 50 and single women with children, we will proudly deliver 17 homes so these women and their families can live, work, educate their children and connect to their community in safety and security,” she said.

“Older women have emerged as one of the most vulnerable groups in relation to housing insecurity in Australia in recent years with a 31 percent increase in the number of older women experiencing homelessness according to the 2016 census. For some women, a single crisis or change in circumstances can result in homelessness with little or no warning.

“Single women with children are particularly vulnerable to homelessness as they spend the most on housing as a percentage of their weekly gross income.

“These developments will also deliver much needed economic stimulus for local trades and suppliers in the Wollongong area. We congratulate Wollongong City Council for their leadership and look forward to working with them to deliver these projects.

“We also call on levels of government to contribute to solving the affordability crisis by providing land, reducing fees and introducing inclusionary zoning.’’

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery AM congratulated Housing Trust on its application, saying “When considering the tender applications council was particularly interested in proposals that included a focus on women aged over 50.

“We were also keen to see proposals that were self-sustaining, so that the program can be continued or expanded beyond the initial funding.”