FUNDING BOOST FOR GCHC
22 January 2010,
AMID predictions by the demographer Bernard Salt regarding an affordability crisis on the Gold Coast, the region’s largest affordable housing provider has secured more than $110 million in federal, state and local government funding.
High demand for affordable housing has led to Gold Coast Housing Company (GCHC) forecasting a five-fold growth in properties under management.
The not-for profit organisation will build around 430 properties on the Gold Coast, with major developments in Palm Beach, Ashmore, Coombabah and Southport in the pipeline or already underway.
GCHC chief executive Jason Cubit, says there is a ‘massive’ demand for affordable housing from low-income workers on the Gold Coast, particularly in the hospitality and retail industries.
“Our main purpose is to provide and manage affordable housing appropriate for low-income earners as they need to live close to where they work,” he says.
“We have around 15 initiatives we use. The Federal Government’s National Rental Affordability Scheme involves houses rented at 75 per cent of the market value whereas another takes 25 per cent of the base income as rent.
“We also develop houses for sale through various subsidies which we then keep 25 percent of the equity.
“This means first home buyers only need 75 per cent of a normal deposit and only have 75 per cent of the standard repayments.”
While the large forecasted growth of the company is largely due to the economic downturn and a decrease in affordable living, Cubit emphasises that it will have a significantly positive impact on the building industry.
“We are licensed to build but we still use local builders and all the profits go back into the community,” he says.
“The houses are no different in quality or design to the average homes in the areas. For instance we have a very good relationship with Devine homes. They are standard-looking houses of good quality and nobody would pick them from other homes.”
GCHC was formed in 2007 following the merger of Gold Coast Community Housing Association and Gold Coast Vision Housing and has since built 260 homes state-wide with that figure expected to rise to almost 1000 in 18 months.
“We have seen a wider variety of people from all walks of life seeking assistance – from business people who have lost the lot, to seniors with diminished super funds who are finding themselves priced out of the market,” says Cubit.
“Last year we helped over 700 people that would have otherwise been homeless and this year we have been even busier.”