Journalist: Sierra Haigh.
A new social housing complex is set to rebuild community confidence and marks an encouraging shift away from traditional public housing models.
The first two housing towers in John Stokes Square opened on Thursday, boasting 60 modern units.
NT Shelter chief executive Peter McMillan said the Territory’s public housing efforts often suffered from poor design, maintenance, and support in recent decades.
“The redevelopment of the John Stokes Square precinct, with the oversight of a registered Community Housing Provider, now provides an important opportunity to rebuild community confidence in the way that social housing is delivered, managed and maintained,” Mr McMillan said.
He said for-purpose community housing providers – such as Venture Housing – ensured social and affordable housing for low-income tenants.
“They partner with support services to make sure that tenants receive the assistance they need,” Mr McMillan said.
“We have already seen in other states how new social housing precincts, managed by professional CHPs, can enhance local communities.
“This is why it’s important that we get this right in Nightcliff and show that social housing can not only provide much-needed housing for those on public housing waitlists but can blend in well and enhance our neighbourhoods.”
Venture Housing chief executive Karen Walsh said the company signed a 20-year lease with the NT government to manage and support the John Stokes precinct and its residents.
“It will be a place that they’ll feel safe, they’ll feel connected, they’ll feel supported, and our team will work with them to ensure that they have a really good housing experience,” Ms Walsh said.
“For some of our tenants, who are families and younger people, they’ll be able to achieve their life aspirations, move on to other forms of housing once they’ve settled.”
Ms Walsh said the community housing model was the current and future model for delivering quality social housing with excellence in tenancy and asset management.
“We’ve engaged with our future tenants to let them know that their homes are good to go and the excitement and joy they are showing has been so uplifting,” she said.
The two completed complexes boast 30 units each and have been designed with accessibility in mind, including wider doorframes, fewer steps, and bathroom handrails.
A third complex is expected to be completed early next year.
The additional tower will include 18 units, many of which will feature low benchtops and wheelchair ramps.
Housing Minister Selena Uibo said the project supported more than 140 construction jobs.
“It’s great news for Territorians in the project building sites, it’s also been great news for Territorians who have been looking forward to moving into a new home just before Christmas this year,” she said.
“In regards to our public housing waitlist, that’s why projects like John Stokes were so important, because we can really focus on the needs of Territorians who are on those waitlists, the needs of Territorians who are currently in transitional accommodation.”
Chief Minister and Nightcliff MLA Natasha Fyles said the project has transformed the area.
“It is just so special to be able to start welcoming Territorians into their new homes in the fantastic Nightcliff community,” she said.
“From the new year, some Territory seniors and people with a disability will have a new place to call home.
“This is a project built by Territorians, for Territorians.”