Social housing boost for Sydney’s Waterloo Estate

Almost 500 additional social and affordable homes will be added to Waterloo Estate, under revised plans for the rejuvenations of one of the nation’s largest social housing estates.

Home to almost 2500 people, Waterloo Estate has been earmarked for redevelopment with plans including the demolition of the area’s single-storey cottages, terraces and towers.

Originally the NSW Coalition said the site would comprise 3000 new homes, of which up to 34 per cent would be for social and affordable housing.

But now the Minns Labor Government has boosted that to 50 per cent, which would mean an extra 500 homes. 

“Everyone deserves access to safe and secure shelter,” NSW Premier Chris Minns said.

“The Waterloo Estate will be a huge boost to the area and to the communities who live there, particularly for social and affordable housing.

“We have a housing crisis in NSW and it is on all of us to work together to address the challenges.

“Part of that challenge is the lack of supply.

“Delivering more housing is crucial and we’ve introduced a suite of planning reforms and commitments to deliver more social and affordable housing as a start, but there is so much more to do.”

The government also plans to increase engagement with Waterloo tenants, including opening an on-site Waterloo Connect Office and boost the delivery of project updates to tenants using phone, text, letterbox drops and community events in the estate.

A minimum of at least 15 per cent of the new social and affordable homes will be for Aboriginal people.

“The Minns Labor Government is committed to working together to close the gap and create better opportunities for Aboriginal communities,” Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty David Harris said.

“Direct investment in Aboriginal infrastructure will help to ensure the security and longevity of key programs that deliver real benefits to our communities.”

The Waterloo Estate redevelopment is a major urban renewal project that will see the estate renewed over time into a modern, sustainable and vibrant community with a mix of social, affordable and private housing, as well as retail, community facilities and public open spaces.

The next step for the project will be the appointment of a renewal partner consortium to deliver the project, which is expected to be announced next year.

To support the redevelopment, 70 new social housing homes at the Waterloo Metro Quarter, and over 100 social homes at Elizabeth Street, Redfern will provide an opportunity for Waterloo South tenants to be relocated in the local area.

Existing Waterloo South tenants will be relocated in small stages with the process starting in mid-2024 and will be given the right to return once the renewal is complete.

Minister for Housing and Homelessness Rose Jackson said Waterloo Estate was one of the largest social housing renewals in the state and the current government wanted to undo the damage their predecessors had caused when managing the project.

“Throughout this project tenants have been left in the dark about their future,” she said.

“Along with increasing the number of social and affordable housing at Waterloo, we want to take tenants with us every step of the journey.”

Member for Heffron Ron Hoenig said he had long been fighting to improve living standards for Waterloo residents.

“When I was elected as the member for Heffron 11 years ago, I found my Waterloo public housing constituents living in terrible conditions,” he said.

“A lifetime spent in the criminal justice system did not prepare me for what I found.

“We need to improve the standard of living for residents and this renewal is part of that work.

“The renewal of Waterloo South Estate will help ensure constituents have a far better quality of life than they could possibly have in the current state of the area.”

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