• Social and affordable housing

Renewal of Emerald Hill Court Estate

Published 5 May 2022

Social housing in South Melbourne

Funding major improvement of the Emerald Hill Court Estate in the heart of South Melbourne.

The contents of this page have been archived. This represents Council’s advocacy position prior to the 2022 State and Federal elections.

For updated information on any of these projects, please contact Council.

Secure and affordable housing presents an issue for many residents in the City of Port Phillip. Six per cent of the population lives in social (public and community) housing.

What is the ask?

Council is requesting the Victorian Government to commit to funding the major improvement of the Emerald Hill Court Estate, either through a long-term development pipeline or the Big Housing Build.

What is the issue this initiative will address?

Secure and affordable housing presents an issue for many residents in the City of Port Phillip. Six per cent of the population lives in social (public and community) housing. With a growing population, the demand on our public housing is increasing.

Emerald Hill is a key public housing site, that requires major improvement of its walk-up buildings, as they are in poor condition and are no longer fit for purpose. The buildings are old, with inadequate heating, cooling, waste disposal and poor levels of comfort and amenity for residents.

The site is also large, and there is an opportunity to significantly increase the level of social housing, and the housing mix.

What is Council proposing?

Council is advocating for major improvement of the Emerald Hill Court Estate, either through a long-term development pipeline for renewal or under the Big Housing Build.

The project is subject to work being undertaken with Homes Victoria on opportunities for the site. 

The site has great potential, including the opportunity for exploring broader public open space benefits for the community through the integration of the adjoining council spaces, the potential for street closures, the co-location of community facilities or spaces and the potential for a social enterprise or space for not-for-profit services for residents.  

Council is willing to play a role and assist with community engagement, due to our understanding of the local community, to ensure that the engagement is fully effective.

Council requests the Victorian Government make a commitment to allocate future capital funds for the estate.

The project has the potential to achieve the following benefits:

  • Yield - significant increase in affordable and social (public and community) housing units and net new beds
  • Housing mix – potential for a range of housing types, options include public, community, affordable and private (market) housing
  • Design - exemplar built form, inclusive design and sustainability strategies for the wellbeing of residents and community
  • Neighbourhood integration - integration of the housing mix within estates, and integration of the estate with surrounding communities from a contextual response and broader public benefits
  • Broader public benefit - integration and delivery of community spaces and facilities (including the potential for social enterprises or not-for-profit support services to residents), and public open space to benefit the wider community, including disadvantaged households and increase support from the local community.

How does this initiative align with the Council Plan and Victorian Government priorities?


Council Plan 2021-31: Inclusive Port Phillip - a City that is a place for all members of our community, where people feel supported and comfortable being themselves and expressing their identities.

  • We will advocate for the Victorian Government, community housing organisations, and the philanthropic and private development sectors to facilitate new affordable and social housing within the municipality, including the renewal of existing social housing sites to achieve the outcomes identified in Council’s In Our Backyard Strategy.

In Our Backyard- Growing Affordable Housing in Port Phillip 2015 - 2025: support for partnering with the Victorian Government to facilitate redevelopment of public housing estates.

Victorian Government

The project supports the goals and outcomes outlined under Big Housing Build - Social Housing Growth Fund-Round 4: Redevelopment of Director of Housing sites.

How does the initiative assist the community to recover from COVID-19?

  • creates short term construction jobs and long-term jobs in services and housing management
  • fosters community connection and collaboration through effective integration of the estate into the surrounding area and community, and through provision of broader public benefits
  • assists people who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 through increasing affordable housing for very low and low-income households, in particular for persons on the Priority Access category of the Victorian Housing Register
  • addresses social problems by introducing a housing mix and community housing management
  • supports local traders and businesses by increasing the number of dwellings adjoining the Clarendon Street Shopping Centre, as some residents rely on local essential goods shops
  • creates more public open spaces.

Cost and current status?


The cost of this project is unknown and will require the preparation of estate masterplans and yield studies. 


The project is subject to work to be undertaken with Homes Victoria on future opportunities for the site.