A community housing project in Southern Tasmania is delivering on a commitment to revitalise the Bridgewater and Gagebrook communities, through the construction of seventy- five new homes under the State Government’s Better Housing Futures strategy, and the provision of a range of social services to local residents.

Centacare Evolve Housing is developing three housing sites in Bridgewater and building brand-new, two and three bedroom, brick veneer, energy efficient units that will positively impact the State’s social housing waiting list. The investment across the three sites in Bridgewater by Centacare Evolve Housing is valued at $13 million, and construction has seen in excess of 100 new positions being created.

Centacare Evolve Housing Executive Director Tim Gourlay, said the three sites under development in Bridgewater forms a mini economic stimulus for the State, and more importantly directly impacts the priority end of the State’s social housing waiting list.

“In the past two or three decades there has been very little new residential development in the Bridgewater area, and this development is not only helping to stimulate the economy but help to transform the neighbourhood of Bridgewater and Gagebrook.

“Tenants will have access to brand new residential accommodation and in some cases this will be a life-changing experience for them. It will be a transformational opportunity given the quality and environmental rating of the homes, combined with low recurrent maintenance costs,” Mr Gourlay said.

Premier of Tasmania Mr Will Hodgman, and Minister for Human Services Ms Jacquie Petrusma toured two of the construction sites at Bridgewater in January.

“Collaboration between Government and community housing providers across the state is vital in ensuring we can provide Tasmanians with a successful affordable housing system,” said Ms Petrusma.

“These developments on unused land will provide many Tasmanians with new opportunities for safe and secure housing, as well as creating employment opportunities with more than 100 new jobs created across three sites currently being developed by Centacare Evolve Housing,” she said.

Mr Gourlay added that in addition to the construction of new dwellings by Centacare Evolve Housing, project partner CatholicCare Tasmania is delivering a range of social services to Bridgewater, Gagebrook, and Herdsmans Cove community members including:

·         Language, numeracy and digital adult literacy courses;

·         A childcare centre operating from St Paul’s Catholic School;

·         Parenting programs for people with young children, or who are in the final stages of pregnancy.

·         A course on nutrition is being planned for the future.

“We are facilitating a lot of activities that engage with people and add value to the community. We recently established the position of a community development officer, who has established a community reference group to ensure the activities we are delivering are responding to the needs of the community.

“We are a lot more than a community housing provider,” Mr Gourlay said.