A grant of $50,000 from the Foundation helped kick-start HomeGround Real Estate, an exciting new social enterprise developed to tackle the issue of affordable housing in Melbourne.
HomeGround is a not-for-profit based in Collingwood with a mission to end homelessness in Melbourne. The organisation provides housing and support to nearly 10,000 households each year through various programs. HomeGround approached the Foundation for funding after deciding that a social enterprise was a great way to increase their capacity to help people keep people at risk of homelessness in safe, affordable and sustainable housing.
Landlords can now choose to have their property managed by HomeGround Real Estate, Australia’s first not-for-profit real estate agency. Anyone who owns a rental property can choose to list their property with HomeGround. The agency will rent the property at full market rate and the agent’s commission will be used to fund housing projects for people experiencing disadvantage.
Chief Executive Officer Dr Heather Holst said that many landlords who have benefited financially from property ownership have a desire to give back to the community.
“I think a lot of people are quite disturbed by the level of homelessness and the amount of housing pressure. So this will be a way for people to do something practical about that,’’ said Dr Holst.
Landlords like Stephen, who made the switch to HomeGround from another real estate agency, are delighted to find an agency that both provides high quality services and makes a social impact.
“I have a very positive feeling about the fact that in this small way I’m doing something constructive to help ameliorate the problem of homelessness in Melbourne,” said Stephen.
HomeGround is also encouraging philanthropic landlords to offer their properties at a discounted rent, or for a rent free period, to people under acute housing stress such as survivors of family violence, people with a disability, or single parents struggling to make ends meet.
Landlords Peter and Trinh decided to reduce the rent on their seaside property to help a young family access secure and affordable housing.
“Placing our rental property with HomeGround has been a wonderful experience. We have a small unit that has been renting for $220 per week but decided we could afford to reduce the rent and provide it to HomeGround and help the community. We receive around $2,500 per annum less in rent but much, much more in feeling good about helping others in need.
“Our unit is near the beach and amongst plenty of kids so we decided providing the unit to a single mother trying a fresh start for her and her child was the best fit. Every child deserves an opportunity to play and be happy in a safe and stable environment. Together with HomeGround we are helping to provide this.
“Our experience has been so rewarding we have decided to provide another unit and look forward to the day that we can provide more and charge even less,” said Peter and Trinh.
HomeGround Real Estate has already listed over 100 properties since its launch in March 2014 and plans to extend into other states with additional philanthropic backing.
To find out more about the agency visit homegroundrealestate.com.au