HOME OF MY OWN: Eight people move in to new affordable housing units

ABOVE: Sharnee Van Mourik and Portia Bienke are thrilled to move into the affordable housing units in South Casino. Photos: Susanna Freymark

Susanna Freymark

There were 120 applicants for the eight new affordable housing units in Casino.

Eight people now have a home to call their own.

Momentum Collective with support from the State Government opened the $2 million affordable housing building in South Casino today, May 6.

The completed affordable housing building in South Casino.

Portia Bienke, 21, is one of the new tenants.

”My circumstances changed so I applied,” Portia said.

Having lived in share houses this is her first home of her own.

Chloe cried when she got the phone call from Momentum Collective’s house cadet Melanie Knights telling her one of the units was hers.

”You have no idea how much this means to me,” Chloe told Melanie at the time.

Chloe works as a ward clerk at Casino and Lismore hospitals.

”I work five to seven days a week,” the 19 year old said.

Chloe had been through some stressful experiences and without a rental history was finding it difficult to find a home.

New tenant Chloe with house cadet Melanie Knights.

The units cost $270 a week plus $5 a week towards water bills

Momentum Collective’s Mark Edwards said the units were built sustainably. The units have solar panels with a back-up Tesla battery.

”It’s the first time we’ve built housing from scratch in Casino,” he said.

There are eight units of about 60 square metres each. There is one disability unit that has been modified to be fully accessible. There is parking for four cars only.

Richmond Valley Council’s general manager Vaughan Macdonald, Momentum Collective’s Mark Edwards and mayor Robert Mustow inside one of the units.

It has taken two years for this affordable housing project to get off the ground.

Richmond Valley Council did everything to support the project, Mark said.

Momentum Collective doesn’t have another affordable housing project yet but staff were clearly proud of this achievement.

”I know what it means to a young person,” Mark said.

“This is a chance to change the trajectory of someone’s life. For them to have safety, stability and independence.

”I know what that means.”

Momentum Collective’s Fiona Miller, Minister for Families and Communities and Disability Services Natasha Maclaren-Jones and mayor Robert Mustow.

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