Crowding adds to flood recovery concerns

As a Victorian community pulls together to recover from spring's record floods, a lack of housing stock is heightening the risk of a familiar threat.

People in the diverse regional hub of Shepparton in northern Victoria have opened their doors to family and community members displaced by last year's floods, but overcrowding is causing concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

"People get displaced and need to be out of the house while it's being repaired. Finding somewhere else is a real challenge," Shepparton's Ethnic Council manager Chris Hazelton told AAP.

"Then we get back into the COVID scenario of overcrowded accommodation... so we're concerned about that."

Last week Shepparton Council said there were about 50 to 60 people still displaced and some were still being housed at the Mickleham quarantine facility north of Melbourne.

In some cases, residents had been supplied caravans to provide lodging in driveways while they began the mammoth task of gutting and refitting their homes.

The rebuilds would be hampered by supply chain issues and trade shortages, Shepparton Chamber of Commerce president John Anderson told AAP.

"There's so many houses, there's so many new projects in Shepparton... so materials and people who actually make the repairs on homes are difficult to find," he said.

Mr Anderson said he was particularly concerned for renters in Mooroopna, which was isolated after the arterial bridge between the town and Shepparton was closed in mid-October.

"In the weeks after the floods, just seeing people's personal possessions, their carpets, their furniture, their livelihood, basically their everyday living standards, out on the street.

"There are a lot of rental houses and so until the the landlords are able to make good those rental properties, then people have had to go somewhere else."

Mr Johnson said a property agent had assured him people did not have to pay rent while their homes were not liveable, but such information wasn't always widely available to the diverse region.

In central Shepparton, Lutfiyes Shish Kebabs owner Azem Elmaz is delivering food to the doors of those who need it most.

"Australians are very proud," Mr Elmaz said.

"I just make a box with whatever I have and drop it in the front door, knock on the door and just walk away."

The business owner, who arrived from Macedonia almost 40 years ago, also runs soup kitchens for Shepparton's homeless and feeds emergency workers from his mobile kitchen during fires and floods.

"I've been doing this for many years, a bushfire will come, it will clean you up, so then you start all over again.

"But with the floods it is eating (away) like a cancer, the water is rising and there is nothing you can do about it."

Mr Elmaz said lots of people still needed help in Shepparton, but he always admired their resilience.

"One thing about Australians... after a calamity hits, one or two weeks after they forget it and get on with their lives again."