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$28 million housing boost for Redfern

RUN-DOWN Redfern units will be knocked down and replaced with new, family-friendly, environmentally sustainable homes after a $28 million development was announced last week reports Courier Central of 16 January 2007.

Housing Minister Matt Brown said the new public and private housing will replace 88 units in the block bounded by Walker, Phillip, Moorhead and Kettle Streets. More than 100 dwellings -- 40 terrace houses with backyards and 66 homes for the elderly -- will be built in their place, with the private housing site to front Elizabeth Street.

The development could be complimented by an Aboriginal Housing Company proposal to knock down and rebuild notorious community housing on Eveleigh Street, known as The Block.

While in early planning stages, the proposal would see a multi-unit development built on Eveleigh Street as well as an elders spiritual centre and art gallery.

Redfern Waterloo Chamber of Commerce president Anthony Larkings said the community welcomed the changing face of Redfern.

"We have always argued we need to have action in regard to these things and we think this project looks fine," Mr Larkings said.

"From our point of view, we need to make sure the community are housed in the best way we can.

"This also allows new people to come into the area, as long as we make sure people that were here have the right to come back, because they are part of the community."

Mr Larkings said the developments, along with other projects like the Channel Seven Technical Park project, would help change people's perceptions of the area.

"I'm quite excited about that, and I think it will be good for perception rather than anything else," he said.

"People see graffiti in Redfern and it's a problem, but they see it in Mosman and it's not.

"We have always argued something needs to be done. Rhetoric, or talk, achieves nothing."

Housing Minister Matt Brown said the funding announcement would rejuvenate an important part of Redfern by providing attractive homes for tenants and opening up the area for new private development.

"There are currently 88 units on the site in 10 separate buildings, each two to four storeys high," he said.

"These units, built in the 1950s, are no longer suitable housing for our tenants and are also very expensive to maintain."

Heffron MP Christine Keneally said the new housing would be better suited to local people in need, like the frail and aged, people with a disability and small families.

"There will be a mix of small, multistorey buildings, with homes for elderly tenants and terrace houses with backyards for families," Ms Keneally said.

"What is also great about this project is that it is the most environmentally sustainable Housing NSW development to date."

The work to demolish the buildings and prepare the site is expected to take four months, with construction to start in August.

The housing is due for completion in December 2009, with tenants moving in around February 2010.