WIMMERA experts are hopeful long waiting lists for social housing could soon be a thing of the past, after a funding boost announced this week.
At least $15 million is allocated to the Horsham Rural City for social housing as part of a $5.3 billion state government package.
The money will go toward building and repairing public housing in the region.
Uniting Wimmera executive officer Josh Koenig said the funding boost was the most significant in recent memory.
He said there had been a social housing "crisis" for years.
"We've still got 40 to 50 singles and families on a list waiting for more permanent accommodation right now - that's not good enough," he said.
"We help where we can, but a lot of what we can do at the moment is just short-term options.
"To have more available affordable housing options to help transition into the future, it's very exciting.
"Hopefully we can one day get rid of wait lists all together."
Mr Koenig said he was pleased to see regional Victoria allocated a quarter of the $5.3 billion.
"I've been in the community services for a number of years now and I can't remember a larger funding announcement in regard to affordable and social housing," he said.
"It's really significant for our community."
Uniting Vic.Tas also committed $20 million to social and affordable housing across Victoria and Tasmania earlier this month.
The Wimmera Development Agency found a high demand for housing across the Wimmera in a recent study.
WDA's Mark Fletcher said the demand for emergency housing remained so high that agencies would utilise caravan parks and motels to assist those in need.
He said people could wait many months, and up to more than a year, to access ongoing housing solutions.
"Caravan parks would often be used for emergency housing - but during the COVID response and with shared amenities, this became an issue," Mr Fletcher said.
"Other times, people are living in homes that are not suited to their individual circumstance, adding pressure to the bigger picture demands."
In addition, Mr Fletcher said there was a significant strain on private housing.
September statistics showed the rental vacancy rate in the Horsham region to be at a nine-year low.
"This leads to constraints for employers wanting to attract and retain staff, due to a lack of affordable and fit-for-purpose accommodation in the region," Mr Fletcher said.
"Our region is experiencing significant shortages when it comes to housing access and availability, and this funding is a step in the right direction to ease those stressors."
Mr Fletcher said the initiative would create an average of 10,000 jobs statewide across a four-year period.
The homes will meet a seven-star energy efficiency rating.
"WDA is looking forward to potential opportunities for local trades to become involved in this project - whether for new builds or maintenance work as standards are raised," he said.
"There is a lot of movement from the Victorian government in relation to housing this week."
The $5.3 billion package, to be included in Victoria's 2020-21 budget released on November 24, will deliver 9,300 new homes, as well as the replacement of 1,100 existing public housing units.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said 2,000 of the new homes would be for people living with mental illness, while 2,900 new affordable and low-cost homes would be built to help low-to-moderate income earners live closer to work.
There would also be 1,000 dwellings to support Indigenous Victorians and another 1,000 to support victims of family violence, the Victorian premier said.
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