Women over the age of 55 across the western suburbs would soon have safer and more secure housing thanks to the upcoming redevelopment of the Footscray Lions Elderly Citizens Village in West Footscray.

Launched on Wednesday, February 15 alongside Maribyrnong councillors, Housing Minister Colin Brooks and Footscray MP Katie Hall, the United Housing Co-operative (UHC) Footscray Lions Co-op would involve 49 one and two-bedroom apartments to be built over three stories.

The state government has allocated a $17.3 million grant through Homes Victoria’s Big Housing Build Social Housing Growth Fund towards the project.

Partnering with the Lions Club of Footscray, UHC would jointly own the site and manage the tenancies using a housing co-operative model, where residents would be empowered to help run and maintain the properties.

UHC chief executive Peter Sibly said tenant members would have the opportunity to be directly involved in all levels of operational decision making.

“This development will be a model for future low income housing for older renters for this municipality and for the broader nation,” he said.

The design would develop further on the pre-existing village, with the apartments set to congregate around a central courtyard, with additional features set to include a community garden, a community facility, an orchard and solar power.

UHC chairperson Paris Wojniak said the development would focus on sustainability, adaptability and allowing for its tenants to make a long-term home.

The development would also allow for the opportunity to expand the tenant cohort to include the concept of intergenerational housing, where women may like to live with younger family members or a carer

Mr Brooks said everyone deserved to have a roof over their head.

“This development will provide women at risk of or experiencing homelessness with the shelter, dignity and support they need when they need it most,” he said.

“Our record investment in social housing and homelessness services is providing a life-changing helping hand to those at risk.”

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