Golden Plains Shire Council will work to increase social housing stock in the region in response to high rates of rental stress and a lack of housing supply to meet demand.
Council adopted the Golden Plains Social Housing Plan 2021-2024 at its July 27 meeting setting out actions and information to leverage off the Victorian Government's Big Housing Build.
There will be a guaranteed minimum $15 million spend in the shire as part of its $5.3 billion statewide social housing boost.
Council research found there were only eight social housing properties in Golden Plains Shire and a need for an additional 113.
There is a startling gap between the current supply and demand for social housing in our shire.Helena Kirby, Golden Plains Shire mayor
Golden Plans Shire mayor Helena Kirby said data showed there were high rates of rental stress in and around Smythesdale and Bannockburn.
"There is a startling gap between the current supply and demand for social housing in our shire," she said.
Data shows almost 200 people in Golden Plains Shire were living in rent stress, paying more than 30 per cent of their income on rent and 17 were homeless, according to 2016 Census data.
In the 12 months to June 2020, 0.4 per cent of all rental listings would have been affordable to a household on a very low income.
The median house rental in Golden Plains was nearly $400 per week in that time period.
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One parent families were the most predominant family type experiencing housing stress.
"The overall figures, even if they are conservative, relay a challenging story: there is an urgent need to build additional social housing in our region," the council plan says.
"The absence of local, affordable housing also acts as a drag on economic prosperity as workforce vacancies become harder and thus more expensive to fill.
"This is particularly the case for low to moderate income positions for whom local home ownership or expensive and very limited rental properties are already out of reach."
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The social housing plan provides local information and perspectives to help shape the Victorian Government's $15 million investment.
Council has committed to working on identifying, assessing and developing underutilised state and council-owned land and where developers could include provision for social housing in greenfield sites.
The plan states dispersing social housing properties with private dwellings in developments is the preferred approach.
Council will maintain a public register of opportunities.
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Limited state government or council land suitable for social housing has been identified as a barrier.
The plan states using Big Housing Build funding to purchase land or homes could be one approach to develop new social housing.
Smythesdale and Bannockburn have been identified as the towns most viable for consideration of additional social housing due to high rates of rental stress and high numbers of people on low or moderate incomes.
The council plan states there must be a consideration of access to services when planning social housing.
Council identified a lack of services in the community for those struggling as a concern.
Golden Plains Shire will work with the Geelong Regional Alliance to share information and collaborate in advocacy.
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