The City of Melbourne Council’s Make Room project is another step closer to providing rough sleepers a pathway out of homelessness, with the signing of a lease agreement with Unison Housing, Council has announced.
It says the agreement will enable Unison to start design and construction work at 602 Little Bourke Street, converting the Council-owned property into safe and supported accommodation for some of Melbourne’s most vulnerable residents.
Make Room is set to deliver 50 studio apartments, communal living areas, housing and homelessness services and other support for residents, as they transition into social and affordable housing.
“This project will make a real and life-long difference for those who need it most and create a pathway for Melburnians to access social and affordable housing,” said Lord Mayor, Sally Capp.
“We’re so proud to lead this project in partnership with Unison and in turn, help people break the cycle of homelessness and take the first crucial step to securing long-term housing.
Construction is expected to begin later this year, with accommodation and services to open in late 2023.
“Access to safe and affordable housing is a human right and we’re leaving no stone unturned to deliver on our promise,” said Health, Wellbeing and Belonging portfolio lead, Councillor Dr Olivia Ball.
“We want to make sure that Melburnians experiencing homelessness have a pathway to stable housing, as the basis for health and wellbeing and the first step to turning things around.”
In another boost for the project, Council has recently secured nearly $1 million in additional philanthropic funding, with generous donations from the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, the William Buckland Foundation and the Loti and Victor Smorgon Family Foundation.
“The Make Room project once complete will house some of Melbourne’s most vulnerable rough sleepers. As a result and with agreements being executed, Unison will now focus on accelerating progress to ensure completion is achieved as soon as possible,” said Unison CEO, James King.
“It is truly amazing to see the support this project has generated from Homes Victoria and philanthropic donors. We firmly believe this project will change the lives of many and feel privileged to deliver it in partnership with the City of Melbourne.”
Council and project partners have now secured more than $13.7 million for the $20 million project with the Andrews Labor Government investing $9 million in the project and further funding commitments from The Ian Potter Foundation, Gandel Foundation and Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.
“We want to sincerely thank and recognise our philanthropic partners for their generous donations – we are a step closer to putting shovels in the ground and truly making room for those who need it most,” said Lord Mayor Capp.