A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the NSW Government and the City of Newcastle is set to increase social housing in the Newcastle Local Government Area as well as support more than 100 local jobs.
This week the MoU was formally endorsed by the Minister for Water, Property and Housing, Melinda Pavey, and Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, following Council's unanimous endorsement of the MoU at the October Ordinary Council meeting.
The objective of the MoU is to deliver improved outcomes in social and affordable housing for the people of Newcastle. To help achieve this the City of Newcastle will work closely with the NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) to identify priority areas in need of social housing and fast track projects.
An important feature of the MOU will see the City of Newcastle supporting LAHC’s redevelopment program through the provision of an annual payment equivalent to the rates paid by LAHC in the Newcastle LGA for the next three years.
The payment, which will be matched by LAHC, will be reinvested into funding new social housing in the region during the same period.
Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the MoU built on the Housing Supply Strategy, which identified strong collaboration between the State Government, community housing providers, developers and Councils, as pivotal to meeting social and affordable housing needs.
“Over the past two years, we have delivered 44 new social homes across the City of Newcastle. I am pleased to advise that over the next two years we are set to deliver 59 further new social homes located in Shortland, Waratah West, Wallsend and
Lambton,” Mrs Pavey said.
“I am excited about the opportunity to work in partnership with council and deliver on our shared desire for more and better social and affordable housing in the City of Newcastle.
“These projects are expected to deliver more than $25 million in construction activity and create around 125 jobs, with a focus to use apprentices, tradespeople and supplies from Newcastle and the Lower Hunter region in their construction.
“This mutual commitment to keeping money in Newcastle to build more and better social housing for the community, is a cornerstone of this partnership and will inevitably lead to more jobs and investment in the region as well.
Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Alister Henskens said the MoU builds on the work the NSW Government is doing to increase housing options for vulnerable people.
“We are working hard to create a pipeline of new housing across the Hunter to support those most in need,” Mr Henskens said.
“This is an excellent example of partnership between State and Local Government that will result in tangible outcomes and create stronger communities.”
Cr Nelmes said the MoU takes a significant step towards providing improved housing outcomes for those most at risk in the Newcastle community.
“This landmark memorandum of understanding between City of Newcastle and the NSW Government is the first of its kind, representing a commitment between the two levels of government to address the urgent need for affordable and social housing in
our community," Cr Nelmes said.
"Through this collaborative partnership our organisations will lead the way to deliver better outcomes for the community, with a commitment from the NSW Government to match dollar for dollar, City of Newcastle's contribution of approximately $2 million annually for three years, which will be reinvested in Newcastle to fast track the delivery of new social and affordable housing and the renewal of existing properties.
"We will also explore opportunities to deliver a 'Make Room Project' in Newcastle to provide short-term supported accommodation for people experiencing homelessness.
"I look forward to working with the NSW Government on this important partnership, which will increase the range and supply of housing to meet the needs of our community while also supporting investment and creating more jobs in Newcastle."
Both the NSW Government and City of Newcastle have identified the need for new fit for purpose housing in Newcastle such as the recently completed 14-unit development at Richard Street, Adamstown.
Located close to public transport and within walking distance to Adamstown town centre, this $3.98 million development, designed to the highest standards, will provide up to 22 new social housing residents a safe place to call home.