Big Solution to Homelessness and Housing Issue
5 August 2016 at 4:36 pm
Emerging initiative Homes for Homes, run by social enterprise The Big Issue, recently raised more than $100,000 through house sales to increase the supply of social and affordable housing.
Homes for Homes has raised $140,000 in the ACT, including $116,000 through new settlements on more than 100 properties in Canberra’s developing suburb Denman Prospect over the last three weeks.
The initiative works through a simple change to a property title, whereby homeowners and other property stakeholders, such as developers and banks, can make a tax deductible donation of 0.1 per cent of the property price at the time they sell. On a $500,000 property, the tax deductible donation would be $500.
The Big Issue chief executive Steven Persson told Pro Bono Australia News he was excited by Homes for Homes’ early success.
“It’s a generational-change model. This is not a quick fix, this is looking at a systematic approach to fixing the problem on the long term,” Persson said.
“Having said that, we’re probably three to five years ahead of schedule, because the uptake of the model has been more than we hoped for at this stage.
“We were thinking we’d still be laying a lot of the foundational work and the like, and what we’re finding now is that it’s well in advance.
“And that’s for two reasons. One reason is that there is such an enormous appetite in the general community for us as a collective to come together to fix this problem.
“Two, we’re finding the development community that we’re working with are very, very keen to offer their support and make a change and to show that leadership… and also now we’re finding some governments are wanting to step up and play a significant role, which they can do in a number of ways, particularly in planning.”
Capital Estate Developments committed Denman Prospect to Homes for Homes last year, becoming the first entire suburb in Australia to sign onto the initiative.
“Our commitment is that we will donate 0.1 per cent of the sale proceeds of all land we sell at Denman to Homes for Homes to be used for homeless projects in the ACT,” Capital Estate managing director Stephen Byron said.
Properties in Denman Prospect will also retain the change to the property title, which means a donation will be made every time the property is sold in the future, unless the caveat is expressly removed.
Persson said Homelessness Week, from 1 to 7 August, highlighted that homelessness was a long-term issue that required a sustainable solution
“This week just demonstrates that it’s not a week-long issue, this is happening year in, year out, year after year after year,” he said.
“And one of the more troubling things that we as a society need to address is simply the lack of availability of housing to assist people to get off the street.
“I don’t know, after working in this field for nearly 40 years, very many people… who chose to be homeless.
“They’re homeless because of circumstance… but it’s certainly not by choice.
“And the fact that we do not have enough affordable housing for people and social housing for those in greatest need is a really terrible circumstance.
“If we can highlight that… then we can collectively do something about it, which is what Homes of Homes is – this is for all Australia and for all Australians.”
Homes for Homes is based on a US model developed by one of America’s leading homebuilders, Lennar Corporation, which The Big Issue tailored to the Australian market.