Affordable living development meeting vital need in community

On Saturday 16th June this year, Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Allan Sutherland officially opened a new affordable living development, Kurrajong Townhouses. Churches of Christ in Queensland developed the 50-townhouse complex on Duffield Road, Kallangur, on land gifted by local philanthropists Ian and Neva Handy.

The $10.6 million development had been completed in November 2017, with the first tenants enjoying their new homes in time for Christmas.

Churches of Christ in Queensland Acting Chief Executive Officer, Gary Edwards, says the 91 residents of these townhouses are now settled, and enjoying the sense of community and standard of living such high quality accommodation as the Kurrajong Townhouses provides.

“We are proud to officially open our first privately-funded affordable living development that represents a new way of delivering affordable housing options in communities,” says Gary. “Affordable housing is essential for social and economic infrastructure, and we understand the importance of increasing the right supply in the right locations.”

“There are many challenges facing affordable housing developers, one of which is finding appropriate and reasonably priced land,” continues Gary. “Thanks to the generous donation of land by the Handy family, we have delivered a positive social outcome for the Kallangur community.”

The 9,000 square-metre site was donated by Ian and Neva Handy, Moreton Bay locals, who were involved throughout the project, including working on the design of the townhouses and even landscaping the site.

“We partnered with Churches of Christ in Queensland as they are highly regarded for their affordable housing programs,” says Ian Handy.

Ian also says, by donating the land, it enabled a reduction in the overall project costs, which then allowed the not-for-profit to provide affordable housing for reduced rent.

“We are very supportive of their program to supply affordable housing to those in need, and are very pleased with the newly completed development.”

Moreton Bay Regional Council supported the development and welcomed the increase in supply of quality, affordable housing options for the area. The project created local employment, generating a number of local construction jobs throughout the building stage.

Mayor Allan Sutherland toured one resident’s home, along with local Councillor, Denise Sims, showing their support on the day. For many Kurrajong Townhouses residents, they have moved from inappropriate living situations to a new home where they can now experience independence, security, safety and comfort.

Meryl was one of the first people to express interest in securing a townhouse, moving from her one-bedroom unit in Mango Hill to a two-bedroom townhouse: “My friend had found out about them at her local church and let me know,” admits Meryl. “I am very happy here.”

Since moving into the townhouses, Aidan, aged 34, has found independence for the first time. Living with cerebral palsy means he requires a home that is both accessible and is easy to navigate.

“I reached a point where I felt it was definitely time I found a place of my own,” says Aidan. “I like that I can learn new skills and start to grow up. The townhouse is the perfect size, and easy to keep clean and take care of. Finding my own place was at the top of my list, so now I can look at setting some new goals.”

Graham and Robyn also now call Kurrajong Townhouses home, and the vibrant couple is over the moon with this new home, which came after a time of great adversity. Says Robyn, “We are so grateful to have a roof over our heads.”

The townhouses are providing vital housing for lower income earners, key workers, individuals and families who struggle to afford rents in the private market. Churches of Christ Housing Services manages the properties by offering a range of lease options to suit individual needs. Fixed and periodic terms mean tenants can renew their lease for up to three years or continue indefinitely.

General Manager of Churches of Christ Housing Services, Frances Paterson-Fleider, says, “Our vision is to empower communities through high quality housing solutions and enhance people’s lives by providing safe, secure and affordable homes that people want to live in.”

As a nation, we are faced with the issue of providing enough affordable housing in a market that is consistently decreasing in affordability, particularly around our major cities,” she continues. “As a leading provider of social housing, including affordable living properties is a key step in meeting market demand in a price range that people can afford. This development fills a vital gap between social housing and the soaring cost of the private rental market.”

For more information regarding Kurrajong Townhouses, visit cofc.com.au/housing or email housingservices@cofcqld.com.au