(Realestate) – Buyers, sellers and investors looking to help the homeless can do so through property transactions thanks to a new program that aims to create social and affordable housing.
On any given night, 1 in 200 Australians are homeless; that equates to roughly 116,000 people without a home. At the crux of this issue is a shortage of social and affordable housing.Homelessness in Australia by numbers
In 2015, after more than 10 years of planning, consultation and development, The Big Issue set up Homes for Homes – an independent, not-for-profit social enterprise that aims to generate a sustainable source of funds that will be used to create more affordable and social housing.
This new funding model is based on an idea originally from US homebuilder, Lennar. Any developer or home owner can register their property with Homes for Homes and donate a small percentage (0.1%) of their property’s sale towards a fund for social and affordable housing.
Louise Gray, National Marketing and Partnerships Manager of Homes for Homes acknowledges that homelessness can’t be solved by any one organisation or government alone and that this model has the potential to provide funding for long-term solutions.
“We need to create behavioural change within the community. For so long it’s been thought that homelessness is a problem that will always exist – but that’s not the case. It is solvable.”
Homes for Homes is on track to achieve its goal of raising more than $1 billion for social and affordable housing over the next 30 years.
So, how does it actually work?
The concept is simple: home owners promise to contribute 0.1% of their property’s sale price when they eventually sell their home. This is done by registering the property online with Homes for Homes.
Home owners register their property online and promise to contribute 0.1% of the sale price to Homes for Homes
On a $750,000 home this would be a tax-deductible donation of $750 to Homes for Homes.
In order to keep the process simple, this donation is transferred as part of the settlement process – meaning there is no additional administration or action required by the home owner. This donation can then be claimed at tax time.
Homes for Homes has been working extensively with legal and financial advisors to ensure the process is as smooth as possible for the owner.
“Homes for Homes works seamlessly because it is embedded into the property’s selling process. The Homes for Homes model works best when people don’t have to do anything,” says Gray.
The sold property remains registered with Homes for Homes unless the new owner chooses to withdraw it – allowing for ongoing donations each time the property is sold in the future.
Properties remain registered with Homes for Homes to allow for ongoing donations. Photo: Martin Ollman
Gray says that it is still early days for the model, so the team has been focusing on on-boarding developer partners as a priority, with dozens already committing their support by registering whole projects with Homes for Homes, including Mirvac, Grocon, Development Victoria, Capital Airport Group and Assemble.
“If a developer registers a whole project with us, our pipeline grows quite rapidly.
“More and more developers are recognising the social impact of Homes for Homes. It’s a simple and efficient way to give back to the community.”
Where does the money go?
Homes for Homes pools the funds raised in each state or territory and when sufficient money is raised in that state, experienced housing providers submit their proposals for the funds via an open grant process.
A panel of experts will assess each application to determine where the funds will be best used and what will make the biggest impact. But it’s not just about the biggest project, the funds are distributed based on the greatest need at a particular time.
In 2018, Homes for Homes contributed funding to a number of projects across the country.
They were able to grant $200,000 to Havelock Housing towards the purchase of a unit in the ACT that will offer long-term affordable tenancies to matched pairs of older women who have suffered domestic violence.
Research shows that homelessness for women over the age of 55 is a rapidly growing issue and can be due to a lack of superannuation and unaffordable private rentals.
Last year in Victoria, Homes for Homes also provided $40,000 to Habitat for Humanity towards the build costs of a six-star energy rated, three-bedroom house for a family living in housing stress. Jema, Romel and their little girl Isla, who were previously living separately in housing situations that posed threats to their safety are now able to occupy one house together as a family.
Jema, Romel and Isla at their new home. Photo: Mark Avellino
A further $120,000 was also granted towards the redevelopment of apartments in Victoria that will provide low-cost accommodation to people experiencing homelessness. As part of this investment support programs will be provided to at-risk groups.
There is an additional $440,000 of funding currently being assessed.
Want to get involved?
Whether you’re currently selling your home, or planning to sell one day down the track, you can still register your intent to donate now.
Simply follow the link and register your details here; Homes for Homes will then provide you with a Donation Deed to print, sign and return.
Once you’ve provided this, Homes for Homes will lodge a caveat on your property title. This acts as a reminder of your intent to donate 0.1% of your property’s sale price when it comes time to sell.