A second chance for homeless families

STATE Housing Minister Wendy Lovell was in Bendigo Wednesday morning to mark the start of construction on the $6 million Sidney Myer Haven.

The residential housing complex will provide 23 one- and two-bedroom units for people aged 18 to 35 who are at risk of homelessness.

It will be owned and managed by Bendigo's not-for-profit housing agency Haven; Home, Safe, who will provide staff onsite to manage activities and provide support.

"This project will significantly assist the Bendigo community to address the underlying causes of disadvantage and homelessness and is committed to achieving great outcomes for both the area and residents," Ms Lovell said.

She said the adjoining services would help vulnerable people develop independent living skills.

"People are homeless for a reason," she said.

"Staff will help them stabilise their lives."

The Victorian government is providing $4 million to the project while the Yulgilbar Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund have donated $1.4 million.

Additional funds have been donated by Bendigo for Homeless Youth, the Community Foundation for Central Victoria and Horizon House.

Ms Lovell said the government was committed to helping people break the cycle of poverty and homelessness. 

She said the building would include a children's playground and recreational area.

"One of the things we know about children's outcomes in life ... is that a vital aspect is a stable home," she said.

Baillieu Myer, son of entrepreneur Sidney, said his father would be proud of the building named in his honour.

He said his father experienced homelessness as a young man, both in his native Russia and in Bendigo when he first arrived.

"This is a great day for Victoria," Mr Myer said.

"It will give vulnerable families a new chance.

"It will also provide jobs, jobs, jobs."

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