Housing for homeless

Yarra Ranges Council will further look into providing affordable housing in Lilydale following community engagement last year.

It will invite housing associations and providers to take part in an expression of interest (EOI) process in the feasibility stage for 67-69 Anderson Street.

At its 9 October meeting, the council decided the proposed density for the site would be reduced from 32 to 12-20 units.

Yarra Ranges Mayor Len Cox said the housing would most likely be directed to people with disability and older single women at risk of homelessness.

“These are two groups in our community who are at high risk of housing stress and insecure housing locally,” he said.

“We are committed to increasing housing affordability by utilising council-owned land for suitable housing developments and advocating for reforms to state planning policy to include mandatory affordable housing in new large-scale developments.

“After the study, we would develop detailed plans for the site that include a reduced scale of development and address parking requirements.”

Billanook Ward Cr Tim Heenan said there would be further opportunities for people to gain more understanding about the proposal, social housing and potential resident groups, and the housing issues in the Yarra Ranges affecting many community members.

“A number of views were raised by the community in response to the council’s 2017 survey, including concerns about existing conditions including traffic and parking issues including a dangerous intersection, density of the proposed units and loss of the small pocket park,” he said.

“During the engagement process many residents indicated greater support for housing for people with disability and older single women was needed.”

About 20 per cent of residents who responded to the council last year expressed concerns about the need for more affordable housing.

Cr Heenan said the selection of a housing association or provider did not necessarily mean the council would proceed beyond the feasibility stage.

“After the feasibility stage, the outcome will be subject to a future council decision, statutory process and further community engagement,” he said.

“As a council, we believe it is vital to take the next steps in the process by completing the study.

“We will continue to advocate for affordable, safe and secure housing for all, as one of goals to advance the health and wellbeing of the Yarra Ranges community.”