Housing concept could be a game changer

Josh Vrsaljko from Sustain Community Housing

A year in the making, the slab for Sustain Community Housing’s first social housing project in Colyton has been laid.

As the region’s newest not-for-profit social housing organisation, Sustain is testing out a new model for delivering affordable homes to those in need.

Sustain’s Director, Josh Vrsaljko, said the way they build community housing enables the organisation to continue without government contributions.

Sustain funds, builds and develops a multi-dwelling site, sells two thirds privately and then uses the profits of that sale to fund the community housing portion of the development.

“The profit you make off the sales of the first two thirds would pay for the final third, making it fully unencumbered, so there’s no debt left on it,” he said.

The first development, in Francis St, Colyton, consists of four, four bedroom two-storey duplexes that were sold privately, funding the construction of two more social housing duplexes next door.

The four privately sold duplexes have started construction, and the two community housing duplexes will begin construction in eight weeks.

The project is expected to be finished by March, and available to those in need through Wentworth Community Housing, who will manage the property.

“Sustain develops the asset, such as the house, but we don’t provide any services, we partner with service providers like Wentworth,” he said.

“Through them, one house will be affordable housing, and the other will be transitional.”
Mr Vrsaljko said he started Sustain after building a house for Thorndale Foundation in Kingswood.

“Belinda, their CEO, said their biggest issue is that they needed more accommodation, and I thought, well I can do that,” he said.

Mr Vrsaljko hopes to continue the concept if the test model is successful.

– Dale Drinkwater