Frontline healthcare workers in Sydney will benefit from a range of affordable housing options being offered by leading Australian property developer Third.i and joint venture partner, Phoenix Property Investors (PPI) at their Crows Nest Metro over station development in the lower north shore.

The Hume Place project is located on one of two over station development sites acquired by the developers earlier this year. As part of an amended plan for the mixed use site, Third.i and PPI have partnered with leading Australian community housing provider, Evolve Housing to designate 15% of the development valued at over $130 million to nurses, midwives, health professionals and services staff working at the nearby Royal North Shore Hospital and other local health facilities in perpetuity. This will allow health workers, who are unable to find affordable rental apartments within the Local Government Area, to live close to their workplaces.

A study commissioned by Third.i and PPI revealed how local health workers and services staff had to travel 30-50 kilometres each day to get to work, while workers from Royal North Shore Hospital spent up to 58% of their salary for a studio in the local area.

“We have a housing crisis that is becoming a health crisis. Essential health workers are already making the tough decision to leave the sector in search of work closer to home,” notes Health Services Union secretary, Gerard Hayes. “A hospital cleaner, a physiotherapist, a wardsperson, these workers shouldn’t have to travel for hours each day, coming to work already exhausted. We need solutions that mean these workers can afford to live in the communities they serve.”

Observing that the lack of affordable housing was causing stress and anxiety for many healthcare workers, NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association general secretary, Shaye Candish says, “Many nurses and midwives in NSW struggle to secure affordable housing. 76% of respondents to our member survey said a lack of affordable housing was a problem, and over half indicated they were insecure in their current accommodation or didn’t have a steady place to live.”

“Proximity to work is particularly relevant because of nurses and midwives’ work patterns, including shift work. 90% want to live near their workplace and access to affordable housing influences their employment decisions. 69% of respondents said they were experiencing rental stress,” she adds.

The availability of affordable rental apartments in the area will help local hospitals and other health facilities with staff retention and recruitment.

“With the crippling cost-of-living pressures, the harsh reality is that the overwhelming majority of healthcare workers simply cannot find, let alone afford, to live near RNS, The Mater or other health facilities on the lower north shore. The fact is, the demand for affordable housing far outstrips the current supply on to the market,” Evolve CEO, Lyall Gorman says.

The Hume Place development could help address the chronic shortage of quality, affordable housing on Sydney’s lower north shore, Third.i director and co-founder, Robert Huxley says.

“We want to give frontline healthcare workers, like nurses, midwives, paramedics, and health professional and services staff, the chance to finally find quality, affordable housing options, close to Royal North Shore Hospital, The Mater Hospital and other local health facilities,” Huxley says.

“The strategic location of the development, right above the Crows Nest Metro, will allow healthcare workers to easily access Royal North Shore Hospital, RPA, Sydney and St Vincent’s Hospitals, within just a few minutes.”

Hume Place

While Third.i and PPI had already received Stage 1 approval for the Metro Precinct (Site A and B) development, the reduced demand for office space, the urgent need for additional residential density in the LGA, and the Minns Government’s commitment to increasing the low supply of affordable housing, were key factors driving their decision to amend the concept SSD for Site A for mixed use, encompassing affordable housing, private residential, retail, and commercial floor spaces.

Once approved, Third.i and PPI will deliver a turnkey-ready asset to Evolve, who will then work with the State’s two major health unions, the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSW NMA) and the Health Services Union (HSU), to offer their members a range of apartments and associated amenities, including a wellness centre.

“Should the project be approved, it will offer frontline workers a new benchmark of affordable and convenient inner city living; close to transport hubs, amenities and major hospitals in the Northern Sydney Local Health District. Frontline health workers, cleaning and catering staff working at local hospitals will all benefit from the affordable housing options, greatly-reduced travel times and improved work-life balance,” Huxley explains.

“These new residents will shop and spend locally, which will be an added bonus for the local business community.”

The proposed precinct is set to launch to market on 15 October 2023 at the local community event, Crows Nest Fest. Third.i has partnered with over 40 local businesses to offer attendees the chance to win one of three $10,000 voucher packs, to be used throughout Crows Nest.

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