Low cost housing option opens in Bunbury

CLARE NEGUSSouth Western Times

People struggling to pay for a private rental will have another option after Housing Minister Bill Marmion yesterday opened a $9 million lodging house in Bunbury.

The State Government-owned building, named 25 Victoria Street, will be run by not for profit company Access Housing Australia and cater for low to moderate income earners.

The three-storey facility will boost affordable housing in the city, slashing waiting times for those in need, but it will not be used as a drop-in centre or for crisis accommodation.

The striking contemporary building replaces Yanget House, the city’s old lodging house for homeless men, which was built in the 1960s and demolished in 2010.

Bunbury Mayor David Smith said he was “extremely pleased” with the new facility.

“Compared to the old Yanget House, which was basically a bed and small cupboard and otherwise shared facilities, it’s a much improved set up,” he said.

The Mayor said he was glad some of the potential residents had been invited to the opening.

“There was one woman who has been an approved tenant who was almost in tears at the beneficial changes it would mean for her lifestyle,” he said.

Mr Marmion said the building was part of the State Government’s commitment to provide 20,000 affordable housing options by 2020.

“The redevelopment has provided the opportunity to almost double the accommodation from 19 to 37 rooms,” he said.

“The lodging house is in the heart of Bunbury’s business district and will provide a high degree of amenity to allow its residents to engage positively with the wider community.”

Mr Marmion said the lodging house would offer well-appointed rooms with ensuite facilities for lodgers, including two with mobility access for people with disabilities and a unit for a live-in caretaker.

The Mayor said Bunbury needed separate crisis accommodation, particularly for families.

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