Property Australia

Homes for Homes tackles the affordable housing crisis

PROPERTY AUSTRALIA November 27, 2018

Homes for Homes, the brainchild of The Big Issue, has awarded its first $500,000 in funding to tackle Australia’s chronic shortage of 200,000 social and affordable homes.

Around 116,000 Australians are homeless every night and more than 1.5 million people live in housing stress, spending more than 30 per cent of their household income on paying their mortgage or rent.

Homes for Homes is addressing this challenge by raising money through donations from property sales.

Homes for Homes has distributed $300,000 to four Victorian charities: Housing Choices Australia, Habitat for Humanity Victoria, HousingFirst and Women’s Property Initiatives.

Among the projects being funded in Victoria are a six-star energy rated, three-bedroom house in Yea, the redevelopment of St Kilda’s City Gate apartments for at-risk groups and a pilot project for a four-unit development that will house women over 55 on low incomes.

In the ACT, Havelock Housing Association has received $200,000 which will support a new program that offers specially-designed long-term accommodation to matched pairs of older women.

According to Steven Persson, Homes for Homes chief executive officer, the first funding recipients offer “real, innovative solutions to homelessness and the housing shortage in their local communities”.

Persson says lack of affordable housing is one of Australia’s biggest social issues, with the shortfall expected to grow to more than 600,000 houses by 2030. The social welfare impacts are acute. A person without adequate housing costs society $30,000 annually, compared to $1,800 for the average Australian.281118 - Story 3 - Homes for Homes Vic

“Homes for Homes provides a way for the community to collectively solve our housing crisis,” Persson says.

“The initial response has shown there is an enormous appetite to address this problem, and we are delighted to deliver the first funds years ahead of schedule.”

Homes for Homes has developed a unique financial model in which homeowners and other property stakeholders agree to donate 0.1 per cent of their property’s sale price at the time of sale. For example, a $500,000 sale results in a $500 donation. 

Funds are then invested in housing projects in the state or territory in which they were raised. Independent assessments have found Homes for Homes has the potential to raise more than $1.8 billion over 30 years.

The Homes for Homes legal mechanism stays on registered property titles, prompting a donation each time the property is sold in the future.

Residential and commercial developments registered for Homes for Homes can achieve up to two Green Star points from the Green Building Council of Australia.

Several Property Council members are community partners, including Grocon, Mirvac, Capital Airport Group, Clayton Utz, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Herbert Smith Freehills and Minter Ellison.

Grocon was one of the first developers to pledge support for the scheme, and Grocon’s head of residential, Christian Grahame, says 98 per cent of customers at its Fairfield project signed up for Homes for Homes.

Sarah Clarke, Mirvac’s group general manager for sustainability and reputation, says her company “firmly believes that business should be a force for good and we try to make our choices count”.

In the ACT, Capital Airport Group committed to Homes for Homes when it started selling blocks in Denman Prospect, which will eventually house 4,000 dwellings.

“We know here in the ACT, the number of rough sleepers has doubled and more older women and children are seeking help than in past years,” says Capital Airport Group’s managing director, Stephen Byron.

Capital Airport Group expects more $1.5 million will be directed to Homes for Homes from Denman Prospect over the next seven years. Byron encourages all land developers in ACT region to get on board with the scheme.

“We are partnering with Homes for Homes because we feel strongly that business and private citizens can help the community where the government can’t.”

Want to make a difference? Learn more about Homes for Homes.