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Fifty-four small apartments, one big idea: Nightingale Marrickville opens its doors

Fresh Hope Communities and Nightingale Housing 3 mins read
Interior of one of Nightingale Marrickville's small-footprint apartments.

A new era for housing affordability in Sydney began today with the NSW Minister for Housing, Rose Jackson, opening Australia’s most innovative build-to-rent housing project: Nightingale Marrickville.

The project uniquely utilises land owned by a church, leased to their charity arm, to create much-needed affordable housing. It has given 54 eligible singles, couples and small families the chance to live in the heart of Marrickville, in a beautifully-designed small footprint apartment, and pay rent at 80 per cent of the market rate.

The project was led and developed by Fresh Hope Communities, the welfare arm of churches of Christ in NSW and ACT, in collaboration with Melbourne-based not-for-profit developer Nightingale Housing. There are hopes the project will spark other social welfare organisations to embark on similarly innovative housing projects. 

Residents, who began moving into the building in early April, were chosen via a unique ballot system that ensures equitable access to Sydney’s first Nightingale community.

All tenants are subject to an income cap and 50% of the building was allocated via a priority ballot (putting First Nations Australians, individuals with a disability, key community contributors and single women 55+ at the front of the queue.)

The project, designed by leading Sydney architects SJB,  received an unprecedented number of applicants, with 177 people applying for the 54 small footprint apartments.

While Nightingale Housing is best known for innovative owner/occupier communities in Victoria and South Australia, Nightingale Marrickville is its  first project in Sydney and its initial venture into rentals. Fresh Hope Communities, a not-for-profit, is the welfare arm and Public Benevolent Institution entity of the churches of Christ in NSW and ACT, which own the land on which the development has been built. As landowner, churches of Christ in NSW and ACT has provided a 99-year ground lease to its welfare arm, Fresh Hope Communities to develop and operate Nightingale Marrickville for tenants into the future.

Located close to public transport and a range of other key amenities, Nightingale Marrickville is committed to providing relief to individuals struggling to find affordable housing in one of Australia's most expensive real estate markets.

The housing crisis in Sydney has reached alarming proportions, with skyrocketing rents and limited affordable housing options leaving many residents struggling to make ends meet. Nightingale Marrickville seeks to challenge this status quo by offering a sustainable and inclusive alternative that prioritises affordability, community, and environmental sustainability.

The project’s small-footprint, space-efficient studio style ‘Teilhaus’ (“part of house” in German) are complimented by generous shared spaces including kitchen and dining areas, shared laundries and garden terrace.  At ground floor, two commercial spaces, one earmarked as a hospitality venue and one as a gallery space will connect the community to the wider neighbourhood. 

Nightingale CEO, Dan McKenna said “It’s been great to team up with Fresh Hope Communities on a shared vision to address the pressing need for affordable housing in Sydney's Inner West. We hope this is the first of many projects like it.”

Fresh Hope Communities CEO, Dan Dwyer said “This project embodies our collective vision of creating affordable communities that lower barriers so that people doing it tough can find  ‘home’ and a sense of belonging.”

More detail on the project can be found at:

Key Facts:

Key elements of Nightingale Marrickville include:

  • Affordable Rents: Rent at Nightingale Marrickville is set at 80% of the market rate.

  • Community: The project fosters a sense of community through shared spaces, collaborative initiatives, and social engagement activities contributing to resident wellbeing.

  • Sustainable Design: The project is fossil fuel-free powered by a mix of solar and 100% GreenPower; Rainwater is collected for garden irrigation; the project is car free with multiple public transport links in very close proximity.

  • Advocacy: The project actively advocates for policies and initiatives that address the root causes of the housing crisis. Nightingale Marrickville seeks to challenge the status quo and to become an example of what’s possible when people are put before profit.  

About us:

About Nightingale: Nightingale Housing is a not-for-profit organisation providing homes which are socially, financially and environmentally sustainable. Its aim is to reorient the housing market to focus on delivering quality housing for people to live in, rather than investors.

About Fresh Hope Communities: Fresh Hope Communities exists to create spaces that cultivate belonging and places that feel like home. For almost 90 years, Fresh Hope Communities have been providing quality support and lifestyle choices across retirement, residential and respite settings, as well as conference and outdoor adventure experiences for school and community groups, and more recently, affordable housing. Fresh Hope Communities is the charity arm of churches of Christ in NSW & ACT.

Fresh Hope Communities has funded the Nightingale Marrickville project in its entirety out of reserves,  without government or bank funding.


About SJB: SJB is a multi-studio collective of experts in architecture, urban design, interiors and planning.

Contact details:

Ben Hart, Fireside Agency: 0407 445 552


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