Partnerships & events | 24 May 2024

Building a brighter future: Partnering again with Habitat for Humanity

We’re passionate about creating places that live our purpose to ‘inspire better living.’ This extends far beyond timber frames and bricks; it’s about building a better future for our communities.  

That’s why we’re proud to once again partner with HFHV, a non-profit organisation working to ‘empower through shelter’ and provide safe, affordable housing to families. This latest project is a collaboration between 4 not-for-profit organisations, providing an exciting pilot project for similar opportunities 

Habitat for Humanity Victoria’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat Victoria alone has built 71 homes for families in need. Their unique model empowers families to break the cycle of poverty, offering interest-free mortgages on homes. Partner families contribute ‘sweat equity’ through helping with construction, which further fosters a sense of ownership and pride in their new homes.  

Partnering with HFHV, both previously and on this upcoming project, allows us to live out our value of ‘building integrated communities through meaningful relationships.’ This focus on connection goes beyond HFHV, and shapes how we approach every project.  

Our past project with HFHV 

Millar Merrigan’s partnership with HFHV isn’t new. In fact, it began in 2019 with Prospect Rise in Yea. We provided planning and design services, working on a re-subdivision for two lots. 

The Yea subdivision project, these homes were created with Millar Merrigan’s involvement. 

Prospect Rise as a development created secure homes for 21 partner families. In these families, there are 42 children spread across the homes, aged between toddlers and students finishing their university studies. Now, a diverse community live in this area.  

Delivering more than homes: 203 Bayswater Road 

Building on our success, we’re excited to announce our continued collaboration with Habitat for Humanity on their upcoming Bayswater Road development. This project will provide some long-term, secure and affordable housing in a village-style accommodation and create some home-ownership opportunities. 

The development will include four 3-bedroom and two 2-bedroom townhouses for families to purchase under Habitat for Humanity’s buying method. There will also be eleven 1 and 2-bedroom units available as long-term rentals. 

The townhouses available for purchase will provide supportive accommodation and ownership opportunities. The remaining units, look to provide secure and affordable housing for lower-income people who struggle to live on their own. One home will be lived in by a community-maker, acting as a glue for the area. Social spaces have been built into the design plan, to help foster a sense of community and connection in the area.  

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

With community spaces and greenery near public transport hubs, the village looks to preserve Bayswater North’s family-friendly neighbourhood character while supporting low-income people facing housing insecurity 

Our helping hands 

We’re proud to be donating our expertise in several key areas for this new project. In collaboration with external architects, we’re providing a range of services to deliver on the promising vision for HFHV. 

Our involvement includes: 

  • Development advisory: Providing early input on the development phase, ensuring the project is feasible, cost-effective, and meets the needs of the future residents. 
  • Landscape design: Creating a thoughtful landscape design, incorporating sustainable practices while fostering a sense of community within the development.  
  • Stormwater management: Designing a system that effectively manages stormwater runoff and minimises a negative environmental impact. 
  • Planning report and council submission: Navigating the planning process and ensuring the project adheres to all regulations and receives the necessary approvals.  

Led by our Managing Director, Simon Merrigan, and former Director (retired), Jamie Kenyon, our team is ready for success with qualified and esteemed team leaders.  

Through this project, we are collaborating with several not-for-profit community groups. Emmaus Christian Community is a provider of affordable housing, and currently owns the land being developed. Servants Community Housing is a registered community housing provider and will provide an on-site manager to help transition people to the village and forge a sense of belonging within the community. Stable One supports churches to provide accommodation to people in need and are the project lead.  

By providing these complimentary services to HFHV and working within the larger team, Millar Merrigan is committed to contributing to the 203 Bayswater Road development.  

We are proud to be working with Habitat for Humanity Victoria on this project. It gives us a unique opportunity to lead by example and act on our mission, to ‘inspire better living,’ in a practical way. 

Given the current housing crisis and pressures, we believe a project such as this is even more important. This project helps to pilot a model for collaboration between like-minded organisations to create positive change, with a focus on community building.  

We see a lot of housing opportunities available in smaller sites – where not-for-profit organisations are well-placed to work to enact change. Community integration is important for the success of these spaces, so it’s best to place social and affordable housing into existing communities. Projects like 203 Bayswater Road ensures residents can reap the positive benefits of living in a well-serviced area.  

Building purpose: How community involvement inspires a team 

These projects don’t just provide the community with much-needed housing, they also give our employees a chance to feel fulfilled through their work, too.  

Lisa Reynolds is a landscape architect at Millar Merrigan and is volunteering her time and expertise to the 203 Bayswater Road project. She became involved after attending the HFHV’s annual fundraising dinner last year. Having briefly heard of the organisation before, the dinner provided a deeper insight into their work, and showcased the impact they create.  

One of the families that Habitat for Humanity Victoria previously lent a ‘hand up’ spoke at the dinner. It was great to hear their story, and how their life was changed by having a secure, stable home.  
So, when an expression of interest for the new project was put out, I immediately thought ‘yes’! 

With the project so local to our Croydon office, Lisa expresses her excitement to see the project come to life. Being able to see the benefits this project will provide to the community gives members of the project an even greater sense of reward.  

For Lisa, the landscaping is the most anticipated element. Much of the existing trees are being kept, to keep the established character in the area. She shared that ‘This is going to be people’s homes, so creating this community space and curating it has been a great project to work on!’ 

With part of the project being more transient than the permanent housing, it will be great to see the landscaping help to build a community and create a communal space. With landscaping elements like vegetable gardens, we’re creating homes in this space, not just houses!  

Once the project is closer to completion, she looks forward to visiting the site with the project team and seeing the work they’ve been able to complete. When bringing it back to the wider company, it will be good to share how the project went overall, and the positive outcomes it produced 

By working alongside HFHV, we aren’t just building houses, we’re building hope. We believe everyone deserves a safe place to call home – and we’re committed to using our skills and experience to make that dream a reality.  

Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram to keep up to date with the Bayswater Road development, and our ongoing projects and initiatives!  

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