Statement from our Chair, Frank O'Connor

I want to update you on recent funding announcements involving HousingFirst, with news of some exciting new construction projects for our organisation.

Despite the challenges of working in the current COVID-19 environment, our team has been hard at work completing complex negotiations on three key building projects.

I am delighted to inform you that over the last week we have been advised that HousingFirst has been successful in securing funding agreements for three projects, through various funding arrangements delivered by the State Government.

As a result, work will start soon on building a total of 270 new homes for vulnerable Victorians in three Melbourne locations: 73 new homes in Box Hill, 151 new homes in Parkville, and 46 hew homes in Balaclava. These 270 architect-designed, safe, affordable dwellings will be delivered by 2023 and will be made available to people from the Victorian Housing Register: primarily older people, those living with a disability, and those escaping family violence.

Our project in Box Hill is to be funded through the Social Housing Growth Fund, which has also approved funding for 86 units at our Parkville project. This funding has, in turn, triggered our capacity to build an additional 65 homes at the Parkville site. Our Balaclava project will be funded through the State Government’s recently announced Building Works package, an exciting initiative to stimulate the Victorian economy post COVID-19, through building and construction. 

The combined market value of these three HousingFirst projects is over $100 million. Their value-add contribution to the Victorian economy and workforce, as we recover from the economic trauma inflicted by the COVID-19 shutdown, is estimated to be over $49 million and more than 2000 jobs (1).

The true value of these projects will of course be measured in human terms, over time; through the transformative, positive impact these dwellings will have on the life opportunities and wellbeing of the tenants who come to live there, in safety, with dignity, and who will be supported all the way by HousingFirst. 

Our thanks go to the State Government of Victoria, the Social Housing Growth Fund, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Director of Housing.  We also acknowledge the support of the Housing Minister Richard Wynne, Treasurer Tim Pallas, Premier Daniel Andrews, the Hon. Martin Foley MP, and the Cities of Melbourne, Whitehorse, and Port Phillip.

We also thank our staff who, together with our development, construction, planning and design partners, have committed their expertise, intellect, energy, time and passion to get these life-changing social housing projects to the starting line.


We are very proud of this organisation and its people.


Frank O’Connor

2117 BoxHillProject 1
The Box Hill Project - image courtesy of Hayball architects
  (1) Calculated as per the approach developed by the Housing Industry Association in 2011, based on ABS input-output economic modelling in the 2000s.The ABS total multiplier for output and employment in the construction industry is estimated by the ABS to be 2.866. In terms of employment, an extra $1 million of construction expenditure generates 9 construction jobs. In addition to this initial effect there are also are production induced effects generating 7 jobs across those businesses manufacturing the materials needed for the additional construction.