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Community & Business

12 May, 2022

Difficult dream of creating local affordable housing

David McElveney has ambitions of creating afford- able housing for those who need it most, but his dreams are proving difficult.

By Emily Middleton

Mr McElveney is looking at purchasing an existing property in Gilgandra, and repurposing it into a space that is suitable for people looking to avoid homeless- ness.

“A lot of the time these people don’t have a rental history, or maybe their rental history is jaded, or maybe they’ve had something go on in their life that’s caused them to not be able to pay rent, so they have a bad track record, and ultimately can’t get into the rental property,” said Mr McElveney.

“The supply of rental properties these days are quite tight, so it locks people with the bad histories, or no rental history at all out. I’m looking to house those peo- ple. The goal is to give them in six to nine months a track record and a rental history, and help them into the general rental market, with the help of the local agents.”

With a background in finance and real estate, Mr McElveney is looking at doing this right throughout the regions, starting with Gilgandra. However, Mr McElveney’s luck is growing small as he struggles to find an investor.

“One of the things I’ve found really difficult is to get this project funded from your normal course of lenders. We have half the money, but getting the other half is not as easy as I would have thought,” said Mr McElveney.

“It’s all well and good to have the drive and the strat- egy and the vision to create this thing, and I know how to do it, and administrate it, and manage it, but getting the funding is not easy either.” Mr McElveney puts it

down to Gilgandra being far from big cities, and Gilgandra being just too far from Dubbo to be viable. But he is determined, and can see the need for this kind of housing in town.

“To buy an existing property that’s going to be able to house 12-13 different groups, I can manage to get one in the 500,000s, which isn’t a lot of money when you think about the amount of housing it can create.

“The idea is that if there’s 12 lots of lodging there, whether it be a mother and a child, or an elderly lady, or a fella getting himself back on his feet, if we can get them in and onto the next property inside nine months, we can probably help 20 people in Gilgandra per year.”

The idea for the housing came from Mr McElveney’s own experience of helping his ex-wife into the rental market.

“When I was separating from my own partner, we had three little boys, she went out to try find accommo- dation. And even with me paying rent, and it being secu- ritised by someone saying I have a balance sheet of four million dollars, they still wouldn’t take in a single moth- er of three boys,” said Mr McElveney.

“I thought, bloody hell, how many people out there, how many people and how many kids are being impact- ed by this. If someone with four million dollars of assets behind them and their rent paid for, can’t find housing? I just thought that’s bloody criminal, what sort of soci- ety do we live in? One where the people that are most in need are shunted from society and there’s nothing we can do about it?”

Mr McElveney claims that the system is set up to fail the people who need it most, and wants to see a change. 

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