HomeGround Opens Door to Real Estate Agency
25 March 2014 at 8:20 am
Melbourne housing and homelessness provider, HomeGround Services, has opened the doors to its long anticipated real estate agency offering property and tenancy management services to investors and socially minded property owners.
HomeGround Real Estate will run as a social enterprise, with its proceeds to be reinvested in assisting a growing number of individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
HomeGround announced it would be embarking on the venture last November, with CEO Heather Holst saying she took inspiration from UK social tenancies where properties are listed with social housing enterprises.
The agency, consisting of property and tenancy staff, will be based in Collingwood.
Dr Holst said the agency had 15 years’ experience in property and tenancy management and a desire to boost capacity in response to a growing demand for housing and support services.
“Our tenancy and property management team has around 15 years’ experience in managing hundreds of properties for the Department of Human Services in addition to many properties in the private rental market under head lease arrangements,” she said.
Dr Holst said the decision to take on the real estate market was also driven by the need to increase HomeGround’s capacity to meet the needs of people seeking housing and support services.
“We have seen a steady increase in the number of people who need assistance with services that can help prevent them becoming homeless and assist those who are already experiencing homelessness,” she said.
“While we continue to predominantly rely on funding bodies to provide these essential services we also realise the vulnerability and uncertainty of this income stream. The real estate agency will allow us to reinvest in our core business of ending homelessness.”
Philippe Batters, a real estate agent with his own business in South Yarra, will support the agency by acting as the Principal on a pro-bono basis.
“I think this is a wonderful initiative and I’m keen to assist HomeGround Real Estate to grow and develop into a successful, competitive player in the market,” he said.
“If you have a rental property and want to see a return on your investment in financial and social terms I hope you will be contacting HomeGround Real Estate.”
MD and founder of Wilderness Wear, Philip Endersbee, a key supporter of the initiative has listed two apartments in Kew with HomeGround Real Estate at below market rent.
“I have been fortunate enough to acquire some investment property and I am encouraged by the work HomeGround does in working to prevent homelessness,” he said.
“I had the capacity to forego a percentage of rental income in order to help a family in need and would strongly urge others who are in this position to do the same."