Australia’s housing challenge is everyone’s challenge
5 August 2020 at 7:30 am
Addressing housing affordability requires agile and innovative thinking, writes Beyond Bank’s national community development manager Shane Farley.
In a year of tremendous challenge, a year in which life has often felt quite overwhelming, the sense of community has never been so important. Nor has it been so evident, so tangible.
Australians everywhere in cities, regional centres and small towns have reached out to each other, lending a hand, looking out for neighbours. There’s been all sorts of small and big acts of daily kindness.
And yes, there are challenges everywhere.
Some we can tackle quickly and effectively. Others need a more concerted, communal approach. And then there are the big issues, those that have always been there but now, more than ever before, require a renewed focus.
Housing affordability looms large in this latter category. A challenge that has never truly been resolved and now in 2020, has become a deeper, more worrying concern.
The number of people who are homeless, the number of families who can’t afford to buy a home and the number of households who are struggling to pay the regular bills reveal it’s a challenge for so many.
At Beyond Bank, we are facing up to this and doing our best to make a real difference.
Identifying housing affordability as a key pillar of our community commitment was the first step. That allowed us to shape our thinking about the many and varied ways we could deliver solid, grassroots support delivered directly to the people who need it.
From here, we have actively sought out partnerships with frontline community housing providers in local communities around Australia. Providers like AnglicareSA in South Australia with whom we are working closely on their Turning Point program. This program assists young families at risk of homelessness and sets them on a pathway towards long-term housing security. In less than three years, 84 families (104 adults and 190 children) who had previously been in crisis, now have a place to call home. That’s changing lives at the most profound level.
There’s also the success of our two-year partnership with YWCA Canberra and their Rentwell initiative, which operates like a property management service to support women and their families to source appropriate and affordable properties in a challenging rental market. Halfway through our agreement, we have helped YWCA Canberra secure 27 properties and successfully house 51 people.
And the benefit here is not just in the numbers. It’s in the mental health and general wellbeing of those who now have a home. It’s in the social good that comes from being part of a local and inclusive community.
We have also linked with Compass Housing in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales to support its Grow a Star scheme which assists young people who live in public housing to pursue their academic careers.
Through a scholarship program, 19 recipients have received funds to assist them to pursue their talents, dreams and educational goals.
Again, the benefits are enormous. Young people are empowered, feel better about themselves and have a real sense of pride that they are chasing their own personal goals and becoming valuable members of their local communities.
As a customer-owned bank, we are proud of the role we play in building stronger communities in partnership with others. Opportunities to make a difference are everywhere. We can turn away or we can turn towards and help.
We thank our community partners for the great work they are doing each and every day to overcome the housing affordability challenge and we look forward to doing whatever we can to change more lives for the better, now and in the future.
About Beyond Bank Australia
Beyond Bank has over 245,000 customers, $6 billion in assets under management and more than 40 branches in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, ACT and Victoria.
As one of Australia’s largest customer-owned banks, Beyond Bank partners with more than 4,000 community organisations around the nation and was the first bank in Australia to achieve B Corp certification, a global movement of companies and organisations that use business as a force for good.
For more information please visit beyondbank.com.au/your-community/sustainability.html