Below are excerpts from Shepparton News
BeyondHousing has officially opened its latest social housing development in Shepparton, a $6.1 million project in Graham St.
BeyondHousing chief executive Celia Adams said the 13 one-bedroom and seven two-bedroom units would provide hope, stability and the opportunity of a better tomorrow for the residents who lived there.
“Today, we celebrate not only the bricks and mortar, but also the many lives that will be transformed within these walls,” Ms Adams said.
One of the people to benefit from the project is Jason.
His homelessness journey of parking his car in truck stops and car parks to sleep at night, while also gravely ill, ended when he recently received the keys to his two-bedroom unit.
“I broke down and started crying,” he said of the moment he was told he had a unit.
“I was overwhelmed, it was excellent to have a home. It’s beautiful not having to think I have to hop in the car and leave now.”
A $4.5 million philanthropic contribution from the Peter and Lyndy White Foundation was the difference between the development progressing or not.
Mr White built wealth restoring the profitability of failed companies, but his start in life was more humble.
With his mother and younger brother, his family fell on hard times after his father was killed a day after D-Day in World War II.
In the aftermath of that tragedy, the family moved in with his grandmother.
“That was a two-bedroom house and my mother and myself and my brother slept in a double bed in that house,” he said.
Mr White paused to gather his emotions as he tried to explain his motivation for giving so much of his and wife Lyndy’s money to social housing projects.
“Sorry, I still get emotional about this … My father’s boss gave my mother a house out in Ashburton and I think that’s what really is the answer,” he said.
“I’ve been fortunate. I’ve had to work hard, but I’ve made a lot of money and I thought what about putting something back into the community while I’m alive, not leave something for when you’re dead.”
Ms Adams said the project would not have been possible without the contribution from the Whites’ foundation, but lamented it would hardly make a dent in Greater Shepparton’s housing crisis.
“I wish it was a bigger dent than what it is,” she said.
“BeyondHousing sees about 5500 people a year. We’ve got 20 places (in this project).
“Now there are so many more to come in our pipeline. We’ve got about 300 more dwellings under construction or in planning, and that’s super exciting, but the numbers don’t add up.”
BeyondHousing’s partnership with the Peter and Lyndy White Foundation aims to see 50 houses a year built, with the foundation providing 90 per cent of the funding and BeyondHousing 10 per cent.
Mr White urged communities to support such social housing projects rather than protest against them, saying their residents just needed a chance to live their lives.
“They’re citizens, they’ve had problems in life and they need a support, and you can’t really have a life until you have a house and a safe house and an affordable house,” Mr White said.