BEND's vision for 'eco-housing accessible to all' came a step closer in December 2008 when our community partner CHL gained funding for our combined project.
BEND aims to create a neighbourhood where people of all ages, cultural backgrounds and economic status can live in harmony with the environment and each other.
To achieve this we intend a mix of housing, by offering blocks for public sale but also stipulating that some blocks be reserved for sale to housing providers that offer rental accommodation. BEND's Not For Profit Rental Housing team is actively working towards this ambitious goal.
Reflecting the mix of owned/rented housing in the wider Bega market, BEND planned for one-third of housing to be for rental purposes, and is working towards six blocks being taken up by suitable providers. As most blocks allow dual occupancy development (subject to council approval of particular site plans), this can provide a useful amount of housing, of benefit to all.
In 2005, the initial stages of an Eco Housing Co-operative formed (to be a separate group from Bega Eco Neighbourhood Developers), and publicly launched an affordable housing prospectus.
In early 2007 it was decided that BEND, as developers, would be better placed to secure grant money or a suitable partnership to finance the project, which after being built ideally would be managed by the Housing Co-operative. BEND continues to be open to working in partnership with community housing providers to advance the project.
We reached an in-principle partnership agreement with Community Housing Ltd (CHL) to build 10 houses on five lots, and a funding application for this was submitted. In December 2008 we learnt that CHL won funding for this housing, and so BEND is redoubling its efforts to raise its proportion of the necessary money. We ask for your help in this, by way of financial contribution.
The BEND Not For Profit Rental Housing team met regularly to guide BEND's vision into a reality. In the principle of self-determination, some tasks previously handled by the BEND team moved over to a new group - the 'formation group' of a Bend housing tenants' body. BEND worked with prospective tenants and ARCH (the Association to Resource Cooperative Housing, now called Common Equity NSW) to create clear guidance and policy through this phase. Membership of the group was open to intending residents of the 10 affordable housing homes at Bend, who set up some guidelines and advertised for further tenants when the housing became available in February 2011. This group is now called Bega Eco Neighbourhood Co-opertive Housing (BENCH). Occasionally vacancies occur and new members are selected. Check the eligibility criteria and information on our resources page.
BEND set up a dedicated bank account to receive financial contributions towards our Affordable Housing goals, with donations fully tax-deductible through our partnership with CHL.
We thank all those who helped us raise the considerable funds needed - we were able to fund the full purchase of one of the 10 housing units by the tenants' cooperative, BENCH.
BEND accounts are now closed, so anyone wishing to support BENCH financially or in any other way should approach that group directly.