Meet the man building homes for battlers

A FORMER construction worker has taken on the job of building affordable housing for low income earners and chose Ipswich to launch his first project.

Greg Cree, founder of charity Project4Change, is the developer behind the construction of 21 new homes at Leichhardt on the corner of Toongarra and old Toowoomba Rd.

It's a project he's been working on since seeing a desperate need during the 2011 floods and now he's determined to help true battlers achieve the Australian dream of owning a home.

When finished the small community will be offered up to low income earners who will also be given financial help in coming up with a deposit.

No government money has been used in the project, which has been carried out as a private development and created about 100 construction jobs.

Anyone hoping to move in will need to be eligible for the Queensland Housing Register.

Seven of the homes will be sold privately with the profits used to prop up the financial assistance part of the model.

Mr Cree plans to build 200 new, affordable homes each year and already has his sights set on Redbank Plains for his second project.


Work continues on the Project4Change site in Leichhardt.
Work continues on the Project4Change site in Leichhardt. Rob Williams

"We understand how difficult it can be to buy a house," Mr Cree said.

"This isn't about a handout. It's about the community supporting other people in the community.

"There's a real perception that low income earners are 'no hopers' and that's just not true.

"We could be talking about young emergency services professionals, or someone who works the check-outs at your local supermarket.

"When you're on a small wage and paying rent, saving for a deposit can be really hard."


Greg Cree, founder of Project4Change at the site in Leichhardt with director Leanne Paulsen.
Greg Cree, founder of Project4Change at the site in Leichhardt with director Leanne Paulsen. Rob Williams

During the 2011 floods Mr Cree volunteered weeks of his time helping in the support centres at Goodna and Yeronga where he met countless people who had lost everything.

About eight weeks after the floods, he was driving past The Gabba in Brisbane watching people filing into the stadium.

"I thought to myself, you can't blame people for wanting to get on with their lives but 20 minutes down the road there are people who don't have any food and don't have a home," Greg said.

"How can you not do something to help?"

Mr Cree said his charity is the only one operating this type of model, independent of government funding, and he is trying to raise more money for similar projects across other regions including Logan, Moreton Bay and Redlands where land is affordable.

"We deliberately don't look to the government for funding," Mr Cree said.

"Everyone looks to the government to do everything but we believe it's a community responsibility and we are a community enterprise organisation.

"They say it takes a village to raise a child, well we got a village here of 24 million people so, let's do it."

Construction on this project started in November and is expected to be finished by the end of the year.

Can you help with the project?

You can invest in Project4Change and receive a small dividend or make a donation.

Greg Cree, founder of Project4Change at the site in Leichhardt.
Greg Cree, founder of Project4Change at the site in Leichhardt. Rob Williams

Topics:  affordable housing charity construction ipswich

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