GRATEFUL TENANT: Jessica Garnett has recently moved into a new social housing unit in Coffs Harbour.
GRATEFUL TENANT: Jessica Garnett has recently moved into a new social housing unit in Coffs Harbour. Rachel Vercoe

Right for a roof over her head

SITTING on the verandah of her very own unit, Jessica Garnett has been given her independence back having moved from living in her grandfather's garage into a newly-built Coffs Harbour social housing complex.

The 33-year-old leukemia survivor, who has suffered a lifetime of serious health concerns, came off the lengthy NSW public housing waiting list in December.

"I lived with my father, who is my grandfather's carer, my sister and my nephew, so the only room left for me was in the garage ... no the tools didn't worry me,” Jessica said.

"I feel blessed to have this unit, my independence is definitely a big thing. I'm really thankful for that, and I'm also really thankful to my grandfather for finding room for me under his roof.”

New social housing constructions, such as the seven-unit complex Jessica lives in have been constructed by Family and Community Services, using funds the State Government recouped under the Miller's Point Program, which aims to fund 1500 new social housing properties in NSW.

In March, 2014 Social Housing Minister Pru Goward announced 293 public housing apartments in Sydney built for public housing in the 1970s around Millers Point would be sold-off to expand social housing investment across NSW.

Under the program, the government says it has now built more than 750 social housing properties and a further 348 homes are currently under construction.

"Proceeds from the sale of one Millers Point property are enabling between four and five new social housing dwellings to be built in greater Sydney and regional NSW,” Ms Goward said.

"The sale of properties at Millers Point simply means more homes for more people in the areas where they are needed most."

In Coffs Harbour, public housing tenants have often told the Advocate the waiting list for properties, on a needs basis, can be anywhere up to seven years.

Social Housing snapshot

In Coffs Harbour, NSW Government figures show there are 1,344 social housing properties, including 371 one bedroom homes, 350 two bedroom homes, 522 three bedroom homes and 101 homes with four bedrooms or more.



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