We build affordable housing for retired people, experiencing rental stress in Western Sydney. Our housing has community in mind with ground floor health and fitness program and a cafe open to the local community. It is a setting where people can live independently but be quickly connected to health and wellbeing supports they might need.
The Need for Affordable Housing
The need for affordable housing for retired people on low incomes is very clear. Independent research has estimated that only 6% of Australian rentals are affordable and appropriate for couples on the age pension; this goes down to 1.5% for single pensioners.
Our Lady of Consolation has a longstanding concern for older people on low incomes. In 2012 we commissioned a research project on the number of older people on low incomes and struggling to be able to afford private rental accommodation (incomes at or below the level of the aged pension). The research project focused on the Local Government Areas of Blacktown, Holroyd, Parramatta, and the Hills Shire and showed that there were 4,789 older people on low incomes and struggling to pay rent in the private rental market.
Our Lady of Consolation Housing
In May 2018 we commenced construction of the first of two buildings in our Toongabbie housing project. In late 2019 we opened stage one. Stage two is currently under construction, expected to open in October 2021. When complete the Toongabbie housing project will house 98 people across 74 apartments.
The development at Toongabbie gives Our Lady of Consolation a broader range of services and aligns neatly with our seniors’ strength and fitness programs now operating from the commercial space in the same building.
A Healthy Community
In a main street, shop front setting, we have been able to establish a Health and Wellbeing Centre and a café which are both open to the public. This is vital in creating a sense of community. As our clients are more likely to spend time in their homes and local neighbourhoods than at any other period in their lives and tend to rely on these settings for social outlets.