The words Bruce Street, Tolland can conjure up images of boarded up homes, burnt out cars and graffiti-covered fences.
The area is far from a picture of perfection when it comes to being a desirable place to live, but for those who reside there it is their home.
There are a number of public housing properties in Tolland - one of Wagga's most socially disadvantaged suburbs - and some of the people who live there simply have nowhere else to go.
On the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage (ISRD), which summarises a range of information about the economic and social conditions of people and households within an area, the suburb has a ranking of 847.6.
Only Mount Austin (841.4) and Ashmont (779.4) are ranked lower on the IRSD when looking at social disadvantage in Wagga. By comparison, Central Wagga (999.7) sits closer to the overall NSW figure.
Yesterday, NSW Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey was at the Tolland Community Centre, on Bruce Street, to announce the suburb would be the pilot for a state government program that helps revitalise disadvantaged areas.
Over the years, many civic leaders have thrown their support behind addressing social issues in the city's poorest suburbs.
The same can be said for our current civic leaders. Wagga MP Joe McGirr and the city's mayor, Greg Conkey, flanked Ms Pavey as she revealed Tolland would be the first suburb in the state earmarked for the government's regional renewal project.
Yesterday's announcement is a huge step in the right direction when it comes to not only cleaning up these suburbs, but giving a helping hand to those who live there.
The government has called on the community housing sector to express interest in transforming the Tolland Estate into a vibrant and progressive area connected with transport, jobs and essential services.
The Tolland project will see the renewal of social, affordable and private homes, while also delivering enhanced open space and better infrastructure.
Let's hope building a stronger community will help break the cycle of disadvantage, and help rid the stigma.
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