Olympic–Sized Affordable Housing Partnership
Thursday, 10th March 2016 at 9:08 am
The Sydney Olympic Park Authority has partnered with community housing association Bridge Housing in a project to help athletes, park workers and others in the local community to afford to live close to their work in western Sydney.
The park authority (SOPA) is developing up to 50 apartments for affordable rental housing and said it would consider more in future housing developments in the park which was purpose built for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
SOPA said the apartments were integrated into multi-unit developments among the apartments that have also been sold to private investors.
Bridge Housing, a developer and tenancy manager of affordable homes, won the right to manage the tenancies on behalf of SOPA.
“Our commitment to providing affordable housing in the park means we can support athletes who come to train and compete here and also the essential workers who ensure the park operates as a world-class facility,” SOPA General Manager of Corporate Nick Hubble said.
“We have built these sustainable homes in accordance with the original ‘Green Games’ philosophy for the park, and residents have easy access to public transport, cafes, services and a vibrant precinct.
“This partnership with Bridge Housing is a win-win because we are each doing what we do best to build a community at Sydney Olympic Park that is inclusive and affordable for a wide range of residents.”
Bridge Housing CEO John Nicolades said that area in Sydney had become “increasingly unaffordable” over the past few years and property prices would “no doubt continue to rise” once the proposed new light rail is completed.
“It is vital that we not only increase the supply of affordable housing across Sydney generally but that homes are located in places where people can find jobs, travel to work, have access to local amenities, it is safe for their families and they can participate in their community. These homes we are managing at Sydney Olympic Park tick all those boxes,” Nicolades said.
He said the new partnership model for the development and management of affordable housing provided a blueprint for other developers and community organisations.
Bridge Housing develops affordable housing for people on moderate-to-low incomes across 18 local government areas in greater Sydney. It manages more than 1,700 properties, housing 2,800 people, and is set to deliver an extra 350 affordable homes by 2018.
Sydney Olympic Park Authority is responsible for managing and developing the 640 hectares that comprise Sydney Olympic Park.
A spokesperson for Bridge Housing said they began the project quietly last year, tenanting some of the houses.
“We have got about half tenanted now and I think SOPA is receptive to extending the affordable component of future development,” they said.
“Residential development of the Olympic Park didn’t happen in 2000 and that’s really something that’s been a second phase. It’s long time since the games themselves and there is still lot of residential development on that site.”
The spokesperson said that there is an income requirement for affordable housing that you can’t charge more than 74.9 per cent of market rent.
“So finding the right people that want to live in that area and meet those requirements takes a while to get the right people,” they said.
Executive Officer of Community Housing Federation of Victoria, Lesley Dredge, said partnerships for affordable housing were an obvious solution, providing accommodation for people close to their work, that keeps the city moving.
“There are sound economic reasons why this model works,” Dredge said.
“Governments focus on the most disadvantaged but this type of development is really important in creating a diverse and livable city where workers can live close to their work.
“Planners are increasingly aware of the economic importance or putting housing close to cities and transport so that low paid workers can get to work.
“I would love to see creative responses to this problem in Victoria.”
Dredge said one example was the empty apartments at Docklands where figures show that more than 1,000 apartments are vacant.
“There are great possibilities there,” she said.
In Victoria, Prosper Australia’s 2015 Speculative Vacancies Report found that 82,724 properties lie vacant and unoccupied across Greater Melbourne.