Affordable houses

Affordable housing. Photo: BEND (Click to enlarge)

Jenny Spinks, Bega Eco Neighbourhood Developers Inc.

Bega Eco-Neighbourhood Developers (BEND) is going really well. Vegies, a few chooks, many children and 15 (out of a future total of 30) sun drenched winter homes now occupied by committed and positive people. Ten of the households are the renters – such a vibrant bunch of people!

So the affordable housing aspect of our project is almost completed!

The tenants are forming a housing co-op to own one out of the 10 units, pay back a loan, co-manage all ten units with Community Housing Ltd (CHL), and take responsibility for tenant selection. CHL are in the process of subdividing to enable the tenants co-op to purchase (with money raised by BEND) the one unit which will be the 10% equity contribution that BEND committed to our partnership with CHL. We still have approximately (depends on the value of the unit) $65,000 to raise out of some $250,000. We have a long term interest free loan to make up the difference. The tenants co-op are evolving ways of raising funds to pay back the loan – ways which will support and be supported by the whole BEND Neighbourhood Association. Obviously the less they have to pay back the better for them and for the lender.

Tax deductibility will be available on donations to the BEND Housing Fund up until the purchase of the unit, as CHL will provide tax deductibility receipts until then. So it is time for us to get the word out again.

BEND the developer is still plodding along finishing infrastructure and supporting the formation of the tenants’ co-op. There are only four of us left managing this and we are all looking forward to when we can wind up – hopefully this year. Fortunately we have sold all the lots and have the money available to finish these tasks. ($110,000 from sale of lots is going towards paying CHL for the unit) Once the tenants’ co-op is formed and the unit purchased we can tick that off the list of things to do. We have built the Neighbourhood House and are installing solar hot water and a 5kw PV system in the next month.

There is also a waste and re-cycling depot, disabled car park, and some water security infrastructure – possibly irrigation licence and pipes from the river – to complete. So nearly there!

Friends have contributed significantly to the over $90,000 raised in donations for the affordable housing. We are very grateful.

Bega Eco Neighbourhood Developers Inc,
PO Box 715, Bega NSW 2550
Phone 02 6492 5901

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