Friday, 9 October 2020

Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation has strengthened its commitment to increasing the supply of affordable housing by announcing five grants as part of its second Affordable Housing Challenge.

A combined total of $700,000 has been allocated. A significant grant of $500,000 was provided to McAuley Community Services for Women and four grants of $50,000 for feasibility studies to four other not-for-profit organisations.

The 2020 Challenge invited eligible not-for-profits, including faith-based organisations, to consider how they could use their land holdings, including vacant land, strata or redevelop existing buildings, to increase affordable housing.

The Challenge encourages not-for-profits to demonstrate a scalable and replicable solution to providing affordable housing.

The Foundation’s first Affordable Housing Challenge, which was supported by a $1 million grant, funded Housing Choices to develop affordable housing on a site provided by the City of Darebin.

As part of this Affordable Housing Challenge, McAuley Community Services for Women received a grant of $500,000 to support the construction of 12 self-contained apartments, with 26 beds for women and children in Maribyrnong. 

The development includes demolishing the existing, outdated units.  The land is owned by the Sisters of Mercy, who will provide a 20-year peppercorn lease to McAuley. 

The development includes a car space for each apartment, communal gardens, and flexible configurations for different family sizes.

Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation Chief Executive Officer Dr Catherine Brown OAM said, “We are delighted to provide this grant to McAuley Community Services for Women to enable them to provide urgent housing needed for women and children.

“McAuley has a unique model aimed at helping women and children experiencing homelessness, particularly those who have escaped from family violence.  The McAuley model offers not just housing, but extended case management that recognises the importance of wrap around support to both access and maintain housing.”

A further four not-for-profit organisations have been selected to undertake feasibility studies for housing developments and have been provided a $50,000 grant each to support this process. These studies will provide a kick start to well-conceived and well-located future affordable housing projects.


Brotherhood of St Laurence, Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

This is a redevelopment of Brotherhood of St Laurence’s head office. It is a large site covering several titles. The feasibility study will investigate viability and types of affordable housing suited to the inner-city site. It will focus on new opportunities that maximise location and work with local partners in health and education.


Northern Community CareWorks Ltd, High Street, Preston

This site is owned by the Northern Community Church of Christ and comprises a generous allotment with the potential for high yield of apartments.  This feasibility will consider a broad range of housing types, from studio apartments through to large family or ‘cluster apartments’ for complex living arrangements.


Unison Housing, Hoddle Street, Collingwood

This inner-city site has easy access to amenities and is a partnership between Unison and cohealth.  The ground floor will remain a community health service and the strata will deliver affordable housing.   The feasibility will investigate how to get the highest yield of apartments, with consideration for quality design. 


Uniting (Victoria and Tasmania) Limited, Pitt Street, Ringwood

This feasibility study will investigate the demolition of an existing built form to build new social and affordable for a yield of affordable apartments across three buildings.  This is a large site, in the outer ring of Melbourne that is close to amenities.