The first social housing properties with eight-star energy ratings in the Ovens-Murray will soon be built in Wodonga.
Four homes, two of which will be for women and children experiencing family violence, will be submitted for council approval after BeyondHousing received a $950,000 grant through the Victorian Property Fund.
Land has been secured in three sites across the city and BeyondHousing is contributing just over $400,000.
It's hoped work will begin before the end of the year with tenants to move into the long-term housing by June 2020.
Client services manager Catherine Jefferies said additional housing was important with high rates of disconnection and Wodonga rating within the top 17 per cent of Victoria for incidence of family violence.
"That demonstrates to me there is a real need to help reduce the cost of living for people, particularly people who are on low incomes," she said.
"We recognise there is a need for women ... if you're fleeing family violence, you already have a financial burden.
"Eight-star means we have solar panels on the roof and they are solar-passive, so the orientation of the property is important, we have double-glazing and window furnishing, and we also design them to minimise water-usage with appropriate appliances," she said.
BeyondHousing's Wodonga office sees clients with the highest rate of family violence contributing to client homelessness in the Ovens-Murray and Goulburn regions, with 22 per cent of clients seeking support due to family violence.
Chief executive Celia Adams said 913 people who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless sought assistance at BeyondHousing's Wodonga office last financial year.
"In 2018-19 BeyondHousing saw more than 430 families and groups in Wodonga who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, representing 48 per cent of all people seen," she said.
"Single parents on low incomes made up the largest sub-group."
Centre Against Violence chief executive Kerry Burns said her organisation and BeyondHousing had worked closely together for many years.
"They understand the role that housing plays in ensuring that women and children fleeing family violence gain safety in their community," she said.
"High quality, low cost of living, sustainable long-term properties are elusive for in the Ovens-Murray region, particularly for our clients who have a rapid change in their safety needs."
Taking more of a sustainable focus has been a strategic objective for BeyondHousing, the largest community housing organisation in the region.
This week with Renewable Albury-Wodonga Energy, the switching-on of 10 solar systems on the agency's properties was celebrated.
The grant application was submitted last year for this $1.3 million eight-star homes project.
North East Water has supported BeyondHousing in developing the plans, building on the organisation's employees' support over two years through the Workplace Giving program which will help fit-out the new two- and three-bedroom houses.
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"We are proud to partner with BeyondHousing," managing director Craig Heiner said.
"BeyondHousing has carefully considered not just the positive impact on the future tenants of the property through reduction in energy costs, but the broader environmental impact.
"The Workplace Giving initiative is a simple process to set-up and gives us and our staff an opportunity to raise awareness of homelessness and contribute to a solution that increases affordable housing levels in our region."
Alatalo Bros general manager Tony Moyle said he was proud to work on the designs.
"A lot of people don't realise an eight-star house is predicted to require half as much energy for heating and cooling as that of a six-star," he said.
Victorian Consumer Affairs Minister Marlene Kairouz said; "Giving people secure and affordable shelter reduces the stress that can often come with finding appropriate housing - allowing for more time and energy to work, learn, nurture their families and prosper."
- If you or anyone you know is experiencing or at risk of homelessness, call 1800 825 955.