Stable One takes a step to providing affordable long-term rentals

An artist’s impression of ‘The Village’ which will be located at 203 Bayswater Road, Bayswater North. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Callum Ludwig

Stable One is set to realise a long-term goal in the near future with a new project to help quell homelessness in the Outer East.

Announced on 9 February, ‘The Village’ will provide 11 long-term rental homes in Bayswater North for people experiencing homelessness.

Stable One is partnering with the Emmaus Christian Community, Habitat for Humanity Victoria and Servants Community Housing to make a safe and stable home a reality for more people.

Woori Yallock resident and founder of Stable One Jenny Willetts OAM said it’s been a two-year journey to this point and they still have a long way to go.

“We’ve had a relationship with Servants, Habitat and Emmaus and we’ve all bought into this project to help build some homes, which is a vision that we’ve had since we began seven years ago, it’s been in the back of our minds as what we would love to do,” she said.

“We developed the model, based on a supportive housing model and we’re on our way, we are about to sign a long-term lease with Emmaus to lease the land from them,”

“We’re going to build 11 homes, six two-bedroom and five one-bedroom homes, which will be long-term affordable rentals for those who are homeless or might be at risk of being homeless.”

As well as leasing the land net to the South Croydon Anglican Church for The Village, the Emmaus Christian Community will also be selling the land behind it to Habitat for Humanity Victoria to contribute to the fundraising effort, bringing the estimated $3 million cost down, though Ms Willetts estimates about $2.5 million is still needed.

Ms Willetts said Habitat for Humanity will bring the house-building skills and Servants Community Housing already has boarding houses in the Boroondara area.

“We’ve worked quite closely with them over the years when we’ve been running a winter shelter, a number of our guests at the shelter have ended up being accommodated in their boarding houses, which are unusually well-run boarding houses with live-in managers, we know when people go there they go into a good environment,” she said.

“We’ve been able to provide a crisis response up until now but the hardest thing is always knowing that people have got no good options of places to go afterwards where they actually can feel safe and not just that, people need communities,”

“So many people that we meet don’t really have other people in their lives, it’s never been just about housing, our vision is for more than a place to stay, it’s not just building a bunch of houses and walking away, it’s about building houses and then building community for the people that live there.”

One of the 11 houses will be reserved for the ‘Placemakers’. Supported by Stable One, will live in the community and help transition new residents into their life in The Village.

Ms Willetts said the Placemakers are an integral part of the model, especially as residents may be transitioning from a difficult or dramatic life to a life lived well in The Village.

“This might mean helping them connect with other people in the community, it might mean referring them to local services or finding local services that will come and visit The Village and provide on-site services or might be helping them learn to be good neighbours,” she said.

“There might be some training activities that go on there, and there will be a community garden but it will just be about walking alongside and supporting them to take responsibility for their neighbourhood and be good neighbours.”

As part of the plight to make the rentals affordable, the rent to live in The Village will remain at least 25 per cent below market value.

Ms Willetts said for people who are insecure in their housing, it’s really hard for them to do anything else in their lives other than think about housing.

“They might need to grow in all sorts of ways but to think about getting skills to get a job or improve their life, it’s extremely difficult when you don’t know if you can stay where you’re living for the next week or month or year,” she said.

“Our goal with this village is the same as it was the winter shelters, we never set out in the beginning to do more than just run our local winter shelter, but that has developed into a network of other shelters across the country that’s growing all the time,”

“We’d love to see these little villages just cropping up all over the country next to churches on vacant land that they’ve never known quite what to do with.”

While a number of businesses and services have offered their services pro bono or at discounted rates to support The Village project, the fundraising effort has already begun.

The dedicated fundraising page where anyone can make a tax-deductible donation or start their own fundraising event can be found at

Anyone interested in providing an interest-free or low-interest loan, has a connection with any foundations or philanthropists who might be interested, has skills to help the build they’d like to volunteer or would like to donate cans and bottles to Stable One that can raise money through the Container Deposit Scheme can contact Stable One at 0466 565 866 or