While admitting it will only make a "small dent" in the Illawarra's rental affordability crisis, a community housing provider has kicked off a new project at Flinders.
The Housing Trust has begun construction of a new $2.4 million affordable housing development.
It's expected to house its first residents in mid-2020.
The Willinga Road development will feature two three-bedroom villas and five two-bedroom villas to meet the needs of people on low incomes.
One of the two-bedroom villas will incorporate disabled access in its design.
The latter element was praised by John Brooks, 68, who lives with wife Pat in the Housing Trust's Central Gardens in Shellharbour.
Mr Brooks has been wheelchair-bound for more than a decade, and said it can be "extremely difficult" to find affordable housing that accommodates his needs.
Mr Brooks had polio as a child, and in recent years post-polio syndrome, which occurs years after the initial bout.
Mr Brooks said as a result they had to sell their house as they couldn't sufficiently maintain the property, and ended up renting for a period prior to moving into Central Gardens.
The couple will remain in their current residence, but Mr Brooks was enthused about the Flinders project.
"Unfortunately, when people pull a house down and put units up, they don't think about people in wheelchairs or who are disabled," he said.
"But the Housing Trust are building units specifically for someone in a wheelchair, and units for disabled people, whether it's a mental disability or physical."
Late last year, a Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute study by RMIT and UNSW researchers said that in the Illawarra there was a shortfall of 5000 social housing properties as of 2017, with 6900 new homes needed by 2036 to meet demand.
Housing Trust CEO Michele Adair said the Flinders project would only make a "small dent" in the Illawarra's rental affordability crisis.
She said the burden of finding a safe and affordable home for people on low to moderate incomes demanded a concerted but well-planned strategy to increase housing stock.
"It is imperative for strong social outcomes within the region that the community has access to more affordable rental homes, therefore we will continue to develop suitable properties where appropriate," she said.
"During the past year we have started construction on a site in Corrimal as well as renovating an existing site in Bulli.
"These developments are all small but inherently needed within this region, so we will continue to invest in our community in coming years."