A leading provider has cut the ribbon on a new affordable housing development in Flinders.
Little more than a year after the first sod was turned, community housing provider the Housing Trust on Wednesday announced the completion of the $3.5 million development.
The Willinga Road property includes two three-bedroom villas, four two-bedroom villas and a one-bedroom villa.
It will provide accommodation to people on low incomes.
Sandra Biggs, 57, is a Housing Trust client living at Gwynneville.
Although she won't be residing at the new Flinders homes, she attended Wednesday's launch, and was impressed by the finished homes.
"This is clean, it's neat, it's tidy... And low maintenance too, which is really important," she said.
"Affordability is key. If you're looking to have affordable housing in an area that you want to live, often it's way out west or far away.
"To able to live in the community where you can access services... Because a lot of people who are in public housing have mental health issues, medical issues, I have a son who has a disability.
"So you need to be able to be in a community where you can access those public services, and often that isn't affordable."
Housing Trust CEO Michele Adair said with many families doing it tough, the new development offers valuable support.
"Before the COVID-19 outbreak there were already more than 2000 families in the Shellharbour LGA and over 10,000 families across the Illawarra in housing stress," she said.
Housing or rental stress occurs when more than 30 per cent of a household's income is spent on rent.
"While it is too soon to know how much those figures will change as a result of the pandemic, our industry and government need to prepare for the likelihood of more families struggling on low or unreliable income," Ms Adair said.
"Developments such as Willinga Street are a small but important step forward."
Ms Adair said the tenants of the new properties will be a mix of families and singles.
Tenants will be moving in from next Thursday.
Ms Adair said small developments within larger communities provided strong social benefits for tenants, and each new property was a welcome step in the right direction.
"We cannot solve the housing crisis overnight, but by championing strong community connections and working with our partners to deliver quality homes, we will continue to make a difference in people's lives," she said.
"For these seven households, it's not just life-changing for the adults, but where we've got children coming into them, it means we've got another generation of children who will not be raised in poverty because they're living in affordable rental homes."
Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba welcomed the new housing development as affordable rental housing continued to be an issue for the city.
"Housing stress affects a significant number of individuals and families in our city," she said.
"Developments such as this one will provide welcome to relief to those who need it most, especially now with COVID-19 causing additional economic stress."