Council Pursues Partnership for Purnell Road Social Housing Development

The Greater Geelong Council is taking steps to address the need for more social and affordable housing in the region, as it works towards the goals of its 21-year social housing plan.

During its April meeting, the Council voted to seek a Registered Housing Association to partner in the development of social housing on Council-owned land at 120 Purnell Road, Corio.

This site was identified as a potential location for social housing during an audit of all Council-owned land in 2021.

Community engagement early the following year found that 78 per cent of respondents were in favour of social housing being developed at the location.

Councillors specified that any partnership must see the land remain in Council ownership, and must 'consist entirely of social housing and/or community assets/infrastructure'.

Deputy Mayor Anthony Aitken:

Housing is the biggest issue facing communities around Australia, including Geelong.

We developed a strong plan in 2020, but sadly progress has been challenging and the need for social housing is getting greater.

This site in isolation won't solve the housing issue in Geelong, but it represents progress and signals that this Council does want to contribute to the solution and be a direct provider.

Building social housing on the land in Purnell Road will hopefully be the first in multiple new developments of this type across our region in the coming years.

In addition to exploring options for social housing on Council-owned land, the City has been negotiating with developers to deliver social and affordable housing on private land.

This work has resulted in agreements for social and affordable housing outcomes within two residential developments, with other negotiations ongoing.

The City has also secured a commitment for a minimum of 5 per cent social and affordable housing in the development of the Saleyards Precinct (former site of the Geelong Saleyards) in North Geelong.

The Council's Social Housing Plan 2020-2041 identified a need for 13,500 extra social housing dwellings in the region over the next 20 years.

Councillor Sarah Hathway, chair of the Inclusion and Care portfolio:

Greater Geelong is facing a housing crisis.

We know the importance of having social housing and/or wrap-around services for people experiencing family violence, or living with mental health conditions, disability, other chronic health issues, or substance and addiction issues.

It is a huge issue and unfortunately we don't have a magic wand to fix the whole problem, but anything we can do is a step in the right direction.

The future of the two other sites identified during the 2021 Council land audit is still to be decided.

The Council will receive a future report outlining options for 5a Dean Street, Belmont and 2-6 Rollins Road, Bell Post Hill.

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