Shaw Cameron, a tenant of SGCH's Ultimo affordable housing complex. PHOTO: St George Community Housing

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Surplus Sydney City land has been sold in an effort to boost community housing for disadvantaged families, new reports indicate.

The City of Sydney recently completed the sale of land on 338 Botany Road, Alexandria, to St George Community Housing (SGCH), a non-profit dedicated to building and improve affordable housing in Sydney.
Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover More, says that the sale will be instrumental in protecting disadvantaged Australian families from experiencing poor living conditions or homelessness.
“The City is now on track to deliver among the largest concentrations of affordable housing in the state at Green Square,” she said.
“Housing affordability is at crisis point in Sydney, which is why we’re doing everything we can to spur the creation of more affordable housing.”

This transaction is the second of its kind in the Green Square area, following the sale of a parcel of land along 338 Botany Road to community housing organisation City West Housing.
The land, located in property development hotbed Green Square, was reportedly offered solely to community housing organisations as part of a City of Sydney initiative to cut down on homelessness.
Third-year university student, Shaw Cameron, pictured, is a tenant of community housing provided by SGCH, and said in a recent statement that affordable housing provided by the organisation allowed him to study and work to support himself.
“Having access to subsidised rent means that I can focus on my studies,” he said. “Being close to the city is great for getting casual work to pay for my tuition, bills and groceries.”

A spokesperson for SGCH says the land will be invaluable for providing improved community housing for individuals and families in need, and that the organisation endeavours to only provide housing that meets its high organisational standards.
“SGCH plans to build over 80 new social and affordable energy efficient units to a 7-star NaTHERS rating.
“The proposed development contains a mix of 1, 2 and 3-bedroom units which will assist over 80 households, including dedicated units to support rough sleepers, Aboriginal people and people escaping family and domestic violence.”

The sale comes in the wake of renewed Coalition efforts in parliament to pass their controversial Welfare Reform package, which peak homelessness bodies warn could greatly increase the amount of homeless on the streets of Australia’s major cities.
The latest City of Sydney homeless street count, undertaken in August of 2017, showed approximately 386 Australians per night are living rough in Sydney.
Approximately 600 more per night are forced to occupy either crisis or temporary accommodation, a significant increase from counts undertaken in February earlier the same year.

The Lord Mayor says that, while the City of Sydney is doing what it can, the primary obstacle in continuing to improve the quality and quantity of community housing in Sydney is the NSW Government.
“The City is using every mechanism available to provide affordable housing in our area and reach our target of 15% by 2030,” she said. “If the State Government would allow the City to expand its proven model of levying developers to finance affordable housing, we could deliver so much more.”