By June 2016 approximately 170 new public housing properties will have been built through the Olympia Housing Initiative, established in August 2012. This includes an 18 property development currently under construction at Perth St, Heidelberg West.
Beyond June, there is a pipeline of work in the planning or design phase.
Olympia is a self-funded project to replace outdated and unsuitable housing in Heidelberg West, Heidelberg Heights and Bellfield.
The project allows re-tenanting, sale or redevelopment of vacated properties, with sales being redirected towards the costs of developing new homes in the area.
More than half of the 870 tenant households contacted have chosen to take part in the project. This in large part is due to the strong level of tenant participation and the involvement of an active resident’s group, ‘Project 3081’. The tenant participation continues the work begun by the Neighbourhood Renewal program in 2006.
The results of this decade long commitment by the community and successive Governments are there for all to see. Tenants have been able to trade up to modern and appropriate public housing. Vacant land that had been a blight on the community has been converted in a productive community asset and job opportunities have been created.
Many of the properties being replaced are more than 60 years old. The new homes are energy efficient and have universal design features such as doorways to accommodate a wheelchair and a hobless shower.
The lessons learned through the Olympia Housing Initiative could, and should, be applied in other areas, especially those that participated in the Neighbourhood Renewal program. Olympia has demonstrated that a self-funded highly inclusive model can deliver real results on the ground for public housing tenants and the broader community.