About Safe Place

Established in 2017 in response to the declining stock of social and affordable housing
in the Hepburn Shire, Safe Place advocates for appropriate housing because every member of our community needs a safe place to live.

Our Story

Safe Place is a passionate group of community citizens who want to make positive change. We believe that by leveraging the creativity and skills in our community we can make a substantial impact now, toward a safe, more inclusive future.

While the specific data on housing may change,
the situation is still one of great need:

  • Hepburn Shire faces a housing crisis for a significant number of its citizens: 51 locals were homeless in 2020; 277 additional social housing rental units are needed to meet the need across the Shire; and nearly 500 households in the Shire are currently in housing stress because they have to pay more than 30% of their household income on housing costs. Businesses can’t find staff because there are very few affordable rentals in the Shire.
  • Access to affordable housing is a basic human right and a significant determinant of community health and well-being. Every member of our community deserves a safe and appropriate place to live – everyone needs a home.
  • Safe Place is a small group of concerned Hepburn Shire citizens who came together in 2017 to help address homelessness and the affordable housing shortage in the Shire. Safe Place is now an incorporated association with the purpose to help relieve homelessness and housing stress by increasing the stock of homes that are affordable, available and suitable for those who are physically, mentally, socially or financially.

Safe Place believes that to increase the stock of social and affordable housing in the Shire Hepburn Shire Council must develop a specific strategy for social and affordable housing. The Councillors have adopted a high level policy and have now commissioned a strategy and action plan to be completed by December 2023

  • Safe Place is developing a menu of approaches to increase social and affordable housing in the Shire, including working with community housing providers such as Haven Home Safe, encouraging and assisting Hepburn Shire Council in its work to develop a housing strategy, researching home sharing opportunities, lobbying government for State housing funding to be allocated to the Shire, reaching out to developers to encourage the inclusion of social housing opportunities in their projects, encouraging opportunities for secondary dwellings on existing properties, seeking suitable sites for future housing including land owned by Council and the Crown, finding incentives to help homeowners consider long term rentals rather than only short term tourist accommodation, exploring the housing needs of young people, and others.
  • Safe Place was instigated by David Hall, and its present officers include David Hall, Peter Duncan, Mary-Faeth Chenery, Kate Redwood, and Margot Tasca. At present there are about 10 members.
  • Input is welcome from any community members, and we look forward to connecting with other groups that are working on the matter of affordable housing in Hepburn Shire.