Bendigo public housing complex in sight

HAVEN Home Safe has released designs for a gated community with 23 public housing units in Bendigo.

ON SITE: Haven Home Safe's Ken Marchingo. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

ON SITE: Haven Home Safe's Ken Marchingo. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

ON SITE: Haven Home Safe's Ken Marchingo. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

ON SITE: Haven Home Safe's Ken Marchingo. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

The housing complex in Somerville Street will provide medium-term accommodation for homeless people.

Construction will begin next month and is planned to be open before the end of 2014.

In a design that's the first of its kind in Victoria the one and two-bedroom units will be fully contained, but part of a shared space. 

Haven Home Safe chief executive Ken Marchingo said the housing development would help foster a sense of community.

He said the aim of the site was to act as a "go between" helping people move from unstructured accommodation toward more stable work and life conditions.

Occupants will come from Haven Home Safe's existing client base and will include a mix of families, couples and single residents. 

Mr Marchingo said residents would be able to stay in their unit for a maximum of two years.

He said the short-to-medium tenure encouraged people to get motivated to break a cycle of disadvantage.

"We want to see change, aspiration and growth," he said.

"We don't want a housing model that is all about giving. It is reciprocal."

Mr Marchingo said there would be assessments and programs to help residents improve their training and employment prospects.

"They must be assessed to have the drive, motivation and commitment to meet the program's goals and be willing to identify and confront the factos that have contributed to their current circumstances.

Rent will be paid by each tenant in order to limit ongoing costs for government.

Funding for the project has been the result of philanthropic donations. 

It will be named after Sidney Myer, whose foundation, along with the Yulgilbar Foundation put forward $1.4 million toward the project.

Mr Marchingo said that million-dollar offer in March 2012 got the ball rolling.

"We've been furiously planning since then," he said.

"And we thought why not do something completely innovative."

The state government has allocated $4 million towards the project as part of the 2013-2014 state budget. Bendigo for Homeless Youth contributed $100,000, on top $97,000 from the Community Foundation for Central Victoria and $50,000 from Horizon House.