Construction has started on three one-bedroom units in Wodonga to help meet the increasing demand for singles accommodation.

BeyondHousing CEO, Celia Adams, said nearly 50% of the 3600 people who sought help from BeyondHousing’s homelessness services last year were single.

“People who are living alone, on a low income or Newstart allowance find it almost impossible to pay market rent and still have money to live on,” Ms Adams said.

The Department of Health and Human Services March quarter 2018 Rental Report shows that in regional Victoria, the proportion of affordable rental lettings reached their lowest levels since March 2000 (when the Report began).

The report shows that the availability of affordable housing has “generally declined from a high of 82.7 per cent in the September quarter 2002”. In the March quarter last year, it reached a new low of 54.3 per cent of dwellings affordable and has now dropped even further, to 50.5 per cent.

Ms Adams said the report finds that singles on Newstart receive $273 per week and with affordable weekly rent considered to be $150, there were only 163 one-bedroom properties in regional Victoria that met this benchmark and only 32 of these were available in the Goulburn-Ovens-Murray region in the March quarter.

“Our aim is to continue to add to the available singles housing throughout our region and we are pleased to be making a start,” she said.

The Victorian government has contributed $1.2million towards the cost of the units through a Victorian Property Fund grant awarded by the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming & Liquor Regulation. Ms Adams said local company, Alatalo Bros proposed a design with good use of space that will ensure these units feel like a home.

Mike Alatalo, Operations Manager said Alatalo Bros is pleased to be contributing to building more housing stock in the region.

“We focus on energy efficient homes and that is especially important for people looking for affordable housing as it reduces the operating costs of a home. We believe housing that is appropriate, secure and affordable is key to good outcomes,” Mr Alatalo said.

Ms Adams said: “We believe having a home is a human right and good design is important.”