Church land deal for housing


The Catholic Church will offer up property worth hundreds of millions of dollars throughout Victoria in a radical plan to provide cheap rental properties for the state’s most needy.

The proposal – which is also backed by Uniting Church charities and the Salvation Army – aims to combat the worsening home affordability crisis and comes as the Reserve Bank is expected to announce another interest rate rise this week.

The Age reports Church run charities say some of the prime land has sat idle under church governance for more than a century.

St Vincent de Paul Society, UnitingCare Victoria  and the Salvation Army will seek State Government approval to operate housing associations and become developers.

Vinnies Community Services General Manager Netty Horton said the charity, which has land and property in Victoria worth at least $57 million, hoped it could negotiate with the Catholic Church, one of the state's largest land holders, and others, for surplus land.

Latest research into the housing crisis shows up to 300,000 Australians are at risk of losing their homes this year by defaulting on their mortgages. An estimated 750,000 households will struggle to pay food and essential services bills.

 Churches' radical plan for cheap rental housing (The Age 03/02/08)

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