Worthy build

Construction of Fremantle housing for at-risk women has begun.

CONSTRUCTION of 18 prefabricated houses for women at risk of homelessness is underway in North Fremantle, more than two years after it was first announced. 

Foundation Housing director and architect Michelle Blakeley said the delays to the My Home project weren’t unexpected. 

“This model has never been done in the state so there was a lot of checks and risk mitigation,” Ms Blakely said. 

Mandatory soil testing in the early phases of the project caused major delays after revealing asbestos in the soil. 

“We had to have that remediated,” Ms Blakely said. 

“That meant people coming in and removing a lot of the soil and sending it off for testing, before it was fine to go ahead with construction. All that takes a lot of time.” 

The completion date has been pushed back to some time within the next six months, Ms Blakely said. “If you were constructing it traditionally it would take anywhere from 9 to 12 months.

“The beauty of using a prefabricated structural panel is that you can fast track construction. Each house can have that panel structure erected in three hours.”

The construction comes as St Patrick’s Support Centre, which will manage the homes, says the public housing waiting list now has a shortfall of 25,000 homes after a number of projects stalled because of the over-heated housing market.

“That’s why the My Home project is so important,” St Pat’s CEO Michael Piu said. “Not only will it provide long-term homes for the most vulnerable people in our community, we also hope it will provide a model for affordable and sustainable social housing solutions across WA.”

Mr Piu said older women were amongst the fastest-growing groups experiencing homelessness.

“For the first time in St Pat’s 50-year history, more women are accessing many of our services and supports than men,”  he says.

“This is particularly concerning due to the increased dangers we know women face while sleeping rough.”


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