Norlane celebrates opening of affordable housing development

Jamie Felsch, who is a single dad, is one of 52 new affordable housing tenants that will call the Baptcare Norlane Integrated Community home.

“This unit has made a huge difference in my life and the lives of my three kids. They now know this is home and we are not going anywhere," Jamie said

Baptcare officially opened its latest Affordable Housing Development in Norlane on Tuesday 18 July. Baptcare Affordable Housing (BAH), a subsidiary company of Baptcare, will manage the units as part of Baptcare’s commitment to the Norlane community.

The units provide low income families, older people and people with disabilities a home in which they can feel safe and supported, while accessing a range of services including education, training and employment. Units are available to those who find it difficult to manage in the private rental market.

Federal Member for Corangamite, Sarah Henderson MP, welcomed the much-needed housing in Geelong.

“The Turnbull Government is proud to be contributing $7.25m to the wonderful project which delivers much needed affordable housing to Norlane.

“The 52 affordable rental houses can accommodate up to 91 people and include purpose built housing for people with disabilities.

“Combatting homelessness is an important priority for our government. We are delighted to partner with Baptcare to provide this much-needed support which will transform lives,” Ms Henderson said.

Baptcare Acting Chief Executive, Kate Barber said this development realised Baptcare’s vision of providing housing that is well located, of quality build and affordable to lower income households.

“The housing shortage in Victoria is extreme. The State has only 3.4 per cent of social housing – the lowest in Australia. On any given night in Australia 1 in 200 people are homeless. The chronic shortage of affordable rental housing is a leading cause of this homelessness.

“Our goal with these units is to improve access to affordable integrated communities for disadvantaged people, as well as creating a community where residents can participate fully in life and live independently, with rent adjusted to tenants’ income.

“Baptcare is excited to become part of the Norlane community, to evoke community spirit, encourage community engagement and help create positive memories for all who reside here,” Ms Barber said.

Twenty of the units have been completed and tenanted with the remaining to be finished by the end of the year. Tenants come from varying backgrounds including single parents who are unable to afford private rent, families who were living in refuge, families escaping family violence, families with no previous rental history which hindered their rental options, and families who have sought asylum in Australia.

Jamie added that the Baptcare affordable housing units have given him and his kids hope for the future.

“Being a single father all I want to do is put a roof over their heads and keep them safe. We were living in a caravan park and then sharing one room at friends before we moved in here. I will be forever grateful," he said.

The affordable housing development is part of the larger $43.5 million Baptcare Norlane Integrated Community Project, of which $7.5 million was contributed by the Federal Government’s National Stronger Regions Fund and will also provide:

  • 90 residential aged care beds including concessional beds for existing public housing tenants and older people on a lower income.
  • A community hub and well-being centre - café, playground, gym and open space all accessible to the local community.

Continue reading Jamie's story, which was featured in the Geelong Advertiser.

Contact: Amanda Boshier

Phone: 0412 224 729