THE waiting list for public housing in Bendigo is growing and will continue to rise due to a lack of affordable rental options, housing support services say.
In the recent December quarter, the waiting list for the Loddon Mallee Region rose by 215 applications to 2160.
About half of those were processed through the Bendigo office, which grew by 8.7 per cent to 1243 applicants.
Haven Bendigo spokeswoman Sue Masters said the service had seen a rise in people seeking assistance and that it was not surprising waiting list figures had gone up.
“It’s indicative of the fact that there’s a high demand in a region where there’s low vacancy rates,” she said.
“In Bendigo it’s below one per cent vacancy, so it is hard to find rent. People are looking for more affordable options. They’re looking for tenure.”
Housing minister Wendy Lovell said there had been an increase across the state of people seeking public housing and it was partly due to “pressure on vulnerable families”.
She said there were ongoing concerns in the Loddon Mallee region that stretched back to when the floods hit in January 2011.
Victorian Public Tenants Association manager Mark Feenane said it was clear more investment was needed to reduce the public housing wait list.
“New construction is required to meet Victoria’s desperate need for suitable, affordable housing for its most vulnerable citizens,” he said.
Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said the government should be ashamed of the latest figures.
“This government just doesn’t care about people in Bendigo who are desperately waiting for public housing,” she said.
Ms Lovell said work was continuing on a new Housing Framework to be delivered in 2013.
She said that already this year 328 applicants from the waiting list had accepted offers to move into public housing properties.