VMCH’s Trinity Lane housing development in the Melbourne suburb of Ivanhoe was awarded highly commended in the Property & Design category of the 2023 Future of Ageing Awards.
Launched on March 31, 2023, this affordable housing development addresses critical social needs for older individuals and people with disabilities, providing them with secure and comfortable homes for life.
Trinity Lane emerged in response to the growing housing crisis in Australia, particularly affecting older individuals and those with disabilities. VMCH identified a significant demand for affordable housing, especially within the local catchment area, and observed an increasing supply gap. Recognising the importance of ageing in place, the project aimed to create a community-centric, accessible, and sustainable housing solution.
Key Features of Trinity Lane:
- Accessibility and Inclusivity:
- Trinity Lane consists of 39 modern apartments, with 31 units meeting the ‘Gold Standard’ accessibility criteria under Livable Housing Australia’s guidelines.
- The project prioritises inclusivity, addressing the needs of older individuals and people with disabilities.
- Community and Connection:
- A strong emphasis on communal spaces fosters social interaction and community building, countering the loneliness and social isolation often experienced by older individuals.
- VMCH’s commitment to creating attractive communal areas sets Trinity Lane apart from traditional affordable housing developments.
- Sustainability and Longevity:
- The development achieves an impressive average energy rating of 7.5 stars, exceeding the minimum requirement.
- Sustainable features include water-efficient landscaping, rainwater collection, electric vehicle infrastructure, and a 10kw Solar PV system, contributing to a low environmental footprint.
- Affordability and Long-Term Commitment:
- Trinity Lane operates on a rent model similar to social housing, ensuring affordability for residents.
- Residents benefit from a forever tenancy, providing security and a sense of permanence.
Addressing Critical Social Needs:
- Housing for Vulnerable Demographics:
- Trinity Lane addresses the needs of older women facing homelessness, a demographic described as the “missing middle” by the Retirement Living Council.
- The development contributes to the State Government’s Ageing Well in Victoria Action Plan, aligning with the desire of older people to age in place within their local community.
- Accessibility for People with Disabilities:
- Studies, including a Melbourne Disability Institute report, stress the importance of accessible housing for people with disabilities, as it significantly impacts their social life and overall well-being.
- Strategic Planning and Collaboration:
- VMCH engaged expert teams, including renowned town planners and architects, to ensure the project’s success.
- Collaboration with disability access consultants and sustainability experts contributed to the development’s high accessibility standards and eco-friendly features.
- Transparent Communication and Relocation Support:
- VMCH prioritised transparent communication with future residents, providing regular updates on construction milestones and facilitating site tours.
- The smooth relocation of Trinity Lane’s residents from outdated VMCH residences was achieved through comprehensive communication, financial coverage, and a focus on minimising stress.
Testimonial from a resident of Trinity Lane:
Despite an affluent start to her married life, 40 years ago (name withheld for privacy reasons) found herself divorced and homeless following a string of bad business decisions made by her ex-husband. Decades of instability and financial strain followed until she found VMCH in recent years.
“The opportunity I’ve been given to move into this beautiful place is extraordinary,” she says. “When I first saw this place, I was overwhelmed, it’s such a beautiful building. As soon as I got here, I thought ‘How lucky are we?’ I mean, I lost everything, and now I’m here, I feel so fortunate.”
This lady says Trinity Lane has inspired her to connect with others and rediscover old hobbies.
“I was sitting in my apartment last night and I started singing. I realised how much I love to sing, and I’d love to start a singing group maybe once a fortnight. Maybe a walking group, or an exercise class too. It will be a great use of the communal space here at Trinity Lane.”
She says easy accessibility to her ground-floor apartment will help with her mobility issues, including neuropathy in her feet.
“It means I won’t have to move out of this place in the future. I can be here for the rest of my life. As far as I’m concerned, this is my final home.”
- Positive Resident Experiences:
- Supplied testimonials from Trinity Lane residents highlight the extraordinary impact of the project on their lives.
- Residents express gratitude for the opportunity to live in a beautiful and accessible environment, fostering a sense of community and independence.
- Addressing Mental Health and Well-being:
- A resident with a disability, emphasises the positive impact of Trinity Lane on his mental health, providing a safe and secure environment.
- Preserving Independence and Community Connection:
- A resident with vision impairment, appreciates the communal spaces and the opportunity to connect with new people, reinforcing the project’s success in creating a vibrant community.
Trinity Lane stands as a testament to VMCH’s commitment to addressing critical social needs through innovative, accessible, and sustainable housing solutions. The project not only provides secure and affordable homes for vulnerable demographics but also fosters a sense of community and connection, contributing to the overall well-being of its residents.
The 2023 Future of Ageing Award is pleased to recognise Trinity Lane as a model for future developments that prioritise dignity, inclusivity, and sustainability in the realm of affordable housing.