DONALD Watson couldn't believe his luck when he was assigned a home to live in after being left homeless.
The Eaglehawk resident found social housing through the Winter Night Program and will now see the neighbourhood upgraded through the state government's $47 million Virginia Hill project.
Mr Watson welcomed the project that will see the constructions of 120 social, affordable and private homes in the Eaglehawk neighbourhood.
"Most definitely, people will be happy with this," he said. "I want to be an advocate for solar panels and renewable energy so we can generate our own electricity and keep costs down.
"These (houses) can help people save money but (we have to spend it on) utility companies."
Mr Watson ended up homeless after moving interstate for work. he arrived back in Bendigo six years ago.
"I went through dramas where was put out on street," he said. "But Bendigo has been good to me. I started here years ago before I moved to another state for work.
"I ended up basically homeless and got into my housing with Winter Night Program. Every night I would go to different church before they got me into housing.
"This has been great and I can't believe it. Everywhere else I applied for housing (I missed) and all of sudden I'm here and can keep it."
Mr Watson said he has taken care of the house he was given and will be among the residents able to live in the new housing being constructed through the $5.3 billion Big Housing Build project.
"My place is good, no scratches or marks in wall and a new stove," he said. "When COVID hit, I was after one house on my own. I have only got clothes on my back and have just been snuggled up trying to save money."
Bendigo council to consider report on affordable housing demands
On Monday night, City of Greater Bendigo councillors will also consider a report on affordable housing stocks and future demands. The report states that across Australia and in Greater Bendigo there is a significant growing affordable housing problem.
Greater Bendigo already has a high number of households within the very low income range (42 per cent), low income range (25 per cent), and moderate income range (20 per cent).
Council data shows there are 2,632 people waiting for public housing in Greater Bendigo, and that the current social housing supply in Bendigo (2,404 occupied homes) cannot meet this need.
The Action Plan to be considered by councillors proposes to increase social housing supply from current levels of 4.6 per cent, to meet demand of 10 per cent by 2036.
Alarmingly, the city's social housing wait list has doubled over four years, from 1315 in 2016 to 2632 in 2020.
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