St Vincent de Paul Housing has received approval to build 26 affordable housing units in Katoomba. The $16.7m project is expected to begin later this year or early 2019, with completion in 2020.

A spokeswoman for St Vincent de Paul, Felicity Moody, said there would be eight one-bedroom units and 18 two-bedroom units over eight levels (two levels will be basement parking).

‘All units are to be used for social housing tenants aged 55 and over,’ Ms Moody says.

The development will be built just south of the heart of Katoomba on a site currently being used as an unofficial car park.
Ms Moody said St Vincent de Paul Housing ‘intends to use the development to deliver services under NSW Government’s Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF)’.

The move follows repeated public comments by St Vincent de Paul’s former National Council CEO Dr John Falzon on the increasing rate of homelessness.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data by Homelessness Australia from 2017 has shown a significant increase in the numbers of young people and older women experiencing homelessness. Women and children escaping family violence is still the biggest driver of homelessness in the country.

Dr Falzon says, ‘It is painfully clear the rate of homelessness in Australia is rising with a nine per cent increase in the number of people seeking help from homelessness agencies over the 2015-16 financial year compared to the previous year.’

‘There are 200,000 people on the waiting list for social housing and at the same time Australia has a shortfall of housing supply, estimated at over 500,000 rental dwellings, which are both affordable and available to the lowest income households.’