Up to 10,000 construction jobs will be created whilst more than 12,000 social and affordable homes will be built over the next four years after the Victorian Government announced a multi-billion dollar investment that will boost the state’s social housing supply by 10 percent.

In its latest announcement, the Victorian Government said it will spend $5.3 billion to build 12,200 new homes throughout metro and regional Victoria in the upcoming state budget.

The investment will deliver 9,300 social homes along with 2,900 low cost and affordable homes to help low to moderate income earners live closer to social and employment opportunities.

Of the social homes, 2,000 will be reserved for those with mental illness whilst the remainder will be available to indigenous Victorians, pensioners, people with disability, family violence victims and single parent families.

This will include replacement of 1,100 older dwellings.

One quarter of the homes will be allocated to regional Victoria.

To help occupants maintain affordability on their power bills and to make homes more comfortable, the new homes will be built to 7-star NatHERS energy efficiency standards.

The program will be delivered by a new agency known as Homes Victoria.

Combined with housing from existing investments such as the Public Housing Renewal Program and the Social Housing Growth Fund, more than 15,800 new social and affordable homes will be delivered over the next four years.

The new investment comes at a time when Victoria faces a growing homelessness challenge.

According to the Victorian Housing Register, the number of households on social housing waiting lists rose from 33,073 in September 2016 to 48,529 as of September this year – with only a small part of this being COVID related.

This equates to more than 100,000 people on waiting lists all up.

Victoria also has the lowest proportion of social housing in Australia, with social housing accounting for only 3.2 percent of the state’s overall housing stock compared with 4.3 percent nationwide.

Property and social service groups welcomed the announcement.

“This colossal investment will mean fewer people cold, hungry and homeless, and more people in work. It’s that simple,” Victorian Council of Social Service CEO Emma King said.

“A single investment of this scale has not been seen in many decades, if ever. It’s a gamechanger.”

King said the importance of housing should not be underestimated.

“Housing is a springboard to a good life, a life of wellbeing.

“With a roof over your head, you can overcome all the other challenges more easily.”