Hopes to fix housing shortage

Colac Community Housing Working Group has started talks to help solve Colac and district’s short-term housing shortage. Pictured from left are CODA’s Monica Provan, Rotary’s Serge Beani, the Salvation Army’s Aaron Coombes, St Mary’s parish’s Helen Paatsch, Richard Riordan, Housing Choices Australia’s Brian Motz and St Mary’s parish’s Jan Healey.

A working group will begin investigating avenues to increase the amount of short-term affordable housing in Colac after initial meetings this week.

The Colac Community Housing Working Group, comprised of members of Colac Otway Disability Accommodation, the Rotary Club of Colac, the Salvation Army and St Mary’s parish met with Polwarth MP Richard Riordan on Tuesday to discuss ways to bring more short-term housing to Colac.

Rotary Club of Colac president Veronica Levay said the group was “in its infancy”, and emerged from the club’s concern at a lack of affordable temporary accommodation in the region.

She said the Rotary club would help facilitate the group and its works, but didn’t have the resources to fully manage the project which had led to the formation of the working group.

“The Rotary Club looked around and became aware that there are homeless people in Colac,” Ms Levay said.

“We just see that there’s a need in Colac for short-term housing, and that’s the germination of the idea, we’re trying to support the people of Colac and area.

“We didn’t want something that was temporary and just a band-aid fix for the situation, we wanted to provide something that actually changes people’s lives for the better.”

The Rotary Club of Colac’s Serge Beani said that although the club could not manage the project alone, it was committed to seeing it progress with the help of other community organisations.

“We could never as a Rotary Club do it all on our own, so we went to have meetings with various groups around our area like the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul, people who work in that area, and we also had a meeting with Richard to see how this thing could progress,” Mr Beani said.

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