Social Enterprise Announces $500,000 Funding for Social and Affordable Housing
15 January 2018 at 11:26 am
Social enterprise Homes for Homes has launched its first-ever funding round for projects that increase the supply of social and affordable housing, with $500,000 up for grabs.
Homes for Homes (HFH) is an initiative of The Big Issue, established to create a new and sustainable funding stream for social and affordable housing in Australia.
The organisation raises funds through donations from property sales, with homeowners and property stakeholders voluntarily registering with HFH and agreeing to donate 0.1 per cent of their property’s sale price to the initiative.
This legal mechanism remains binding on registered property titles, ensuring donations are collected each time the property is sold.
On Monday, HFH released $300,000 of funding in Victoria and $200,000 of funding in the ACT, which HFH CEO Steven Persson said was a significant milestone for the social enterprise.
“With initial support for Homes for Homes far exceeding our expectations, we are delighted to release the first funds ahead of schedule,” Persson said.
“Everyone has the right to safe and secure accommodation, yet we know more than 105,000 people are without a home and 1.5 million households live in housing stress. No one government, organisation or individual can close this gap alone.
“Thankfully, as the response to Homes for Homes has shown, there’s an enormous appetite in the Australian community to collectively fix this problem.”
Sally Hines, HFH’s chief operating officer, told Pro Bono News that it would be the social and affordable housing providers, property developers and other organisations applying for the funding that would drive where the money was directed.
“We’ve very much looking for the market to tell us where the greatest areas of need are. We believe that the people providing social and affordable housing are the experts, so we’re waiting for them to tell us where the best use of this funding will be,” Hines said.
“So the funding is open to not-for-profit and for-profit organisations to provide social and affordable housing. We’re hopeful that this initial funding round provides an opportunity for projects to get off the ground, or to be initial funding to begin a project.
“The funding has to be to provide housing for people, so it can’t be for the operations of a housing project, it has to be bricks and mortar.”
Hines puts HFH’s success down to their unique and community-oriented approach to dealing with the housing crisis in Australia.
“I think [our] solution to the lack of social and affordable housing makes sense to people. It’s a whole of community response to the issue, because it asks everyone in the community to contribute in some way.
“We ask individual homeowners to commit to making a donation at the time that they sell their property. All of this can come together so we play our role in making an impact in a positive way.”
She added that HFH aimed to get more property developers involved as 2018 progressed.
“For the rest of the year, we need to continue to get as many property developers on board as possible. Our focus at the moment is on the wholesale property market, so working with developers who build hundreds of houses or apartments and asking them to apply the Homes for Homes legal mechanism to those new properties,” Hines said.
“The whole idea is that Homes for Homes is a long-term solution, it’s not a quick fix. So for us it’s about developing a property pipeline and increasing the number of houses registered with Homes for Homes so we can eventually reach our goal, over the next 30 years, of raising an additional $1.8 billion that will go directly to building more social and affordable housing.
“It’s a really exciting time for us and we’re really looking forward to understanding what the sector believes is the greatest area of need.”
The successful recipients for this funding will be assessed by an expert, industry-based advisory group in both Victoria and the ACT, with applications open until 26 February.