We’ve been part of this community since 1983
What is community housing?
Community housing is secure, affordable, long term, rental housing managed by not-for-profit organisations for people on low income or people with special needs.
Community housing and homelessness services are jointly funded by the Commonwealth and State Governments through partnership agreements.
Rents are broadly based on 25% of income, plus rent assistance where a tenant is in receipt of a Government pension or benefit. Where apartments are not separately metered, rent includes a charge for electricity, gas and water.
Community housing tenants have the same rights under the Victorian Residential Tenancies Act 1997 as public housing tenants and private tenants.
Community housing organisations rely on rent collected to fund most of their operational costs. Many target their housing to people with special needs.
People are commonly confused about the difference between community housing and public housing.
- Community housing and public housing both provide long term, secure housing at an affordable rent based on individual tenant income.
- Community housing has more options for single person households.
- Community housing organisations are generally able to provide more individual support to tenants.
- Community housing tenants on Pensions or Benefits, unlike public housing tenants, are eligible for Commonwealth Rent Assistance. But they pay a correspondingly higher rent.
- Any surplus income generated in community housing is used to build or purchase new community housing.
‘The community housing sector is highly regulated by government, with 8 Housing Associations and 34 Housing Providers currently registered under the Housing Act 1983.’
Community Housing Federation website, July 2017
South Port’s community housing
Housing people most in need
Housing managed by South Port Community Housing Group is targeted to single people on low income facing difficulties in obtaining housing in the private rental market: generally people who are homeless or in a period of crisis in their lives where they do not have a safe or reliable place to sleep at night.
Most of our housing is in blocks of studio apartments and one-bedroom apartments in South Melbourne, Port Melbourne and Albert Park- for single person households.
We take referrals from key local and inner Melbourne homelessness agencies but an equally important part of what we do is to assist local people to stay in the local area.
We are registered as a Housing Provider with the Victorian Housing Registrar and are annually assessed against State Government Performance Standards.
Making the best of all this amazing location offers
Our location allows access by foot or by tram, to the best things about the South Port area and the city: the markets, the beach, Albert Park, MSAC, Gasworks Art Park, sports and entertainment venues, and a comprehensive range of health and community services.
Through newsletters, new tenant kits, word of mouth, resident meetings, and the website we provide people with information to assist them to connect to community services and facilities.
Other features of South Port
- We obtain the support of different funders and regularly resource and run group activities and events
- We encourage tenants to participate on our committees.
Helping people facing disadvantage to sustain long term tenancies
Our tenancy management workers are community workers and social workers, not just administrators. We work closely with our tenants to help when issues or problems arise and to help them access other relevant services.
When new tenants come to us following a period of crisis in their lives, and don’t own household equipment, we provide a ‘starter kit’: cooking equipment, crockery, bedding, toiletries, and a voucher to get some basic food supplies.
Working to expand community housing numbers locally
Through sound financial management, and actively pursuing opportunities, South Port Community Housing Group has purchased/constructed 71 new units in the last three years.
‘From the beginning of my time, there has always been a service available for the unloved and the unlovely and that was South Port Community Housing as part of the local social infrastructure… I’ve told Janet a hundred times, they were probably sent by God…but don’t tell them that!’
Father Bob Magurie, 2015
How to apply
Please contact us directly to apply.
Drop in to 259 Dorcas Street, South Melbourne
Or phone 9696 1128.
Eligibility rules for our housing are the same as for General Public Housing. Income and asset tests apply. Most of our housing is in studio and one-bedroom apartments, suitable only for single adults, not families.
We require all applicants to attend a short assessment meeting. This is to help both parties to be sure that this housing option is the right one. Community housing tenants must have capacity to live independently. If extra support services are required, we can help to organise that.
Because some of our housing is targeted to particular ages and genders, we keep three short waiting lists:
- Men’s housing, all age groups
- Women’s housing, all age groups
- Over 55 age group housing.
Note: later in 2017 we will be joining in the Victorian Housing Register and all applicants will need to be registered on that list. Updated procedures will be posted here.
‘I like it because it’s 50 square meters in a prime location and affordable.’
‘Community’ can be particularly important to people recovering from a period of crisis with their housing situation, especially those who no longer have connections with family. Countering social exclusion is an important part of what we do.
- Run group programs including an arts group, women’s group
- Involve tenants and clients in our planning of services
- Have a structure that allows tenants to participate on our Committee of Management
- Hold street barbecues on special days such as Grand Final, Easter
- Have a large Christmas party at a local bowls club
- Hold an annual Street Party to mark Homelessness Prevention Week
- Put out a newsletter including news from the local community
- Invite tenants to contribute to the newsletter
- Encourage tenant participation on our committees
- Partner with City of Port Phillip in running a social meals program in which tenants participate in preparing, cooking and sharing a communal meal once a week
- Have free tea and coffee and community information at our office
- Staff readily provide advice, referral to people who drop in, or are up for a chat
And we inform our tenants and clients about new and interesting things happening in the South Port area.