A group of corporate women will swap their suits for overalls on International Women’s Day – 8 March – to help a single mum of three young adult and teenage children set-up home in Yea, Victoria.
The volunteer teams have joined Habitat for Humanity’s nation-wide Homes of Hope scheme of mobilising volunteers to assist women escaping domestic violence, or experiencing homelessness or heading households by themselves.
More than 400 volunteers across Australia will turn their hand to building, repairing and renovating homes or crisis accommodation between March 4 and 15 for disadvantaged women across VIC, NSW, QLD, SA and NZ (Auckland) and Singapore.
The eight (8) corporate volunteers for the Yea new home project are from Arup, CoreLogic, Boston Scientific, BGIS, Origin, Downer Group, Telstra and Boral. They will be joined by Habitat for Humanity Victoria’s female staff to work on the home for Melanie; Habitat’s 66th partner family.
Over the last decade Melanie and her three children’s lives have been turned upside down. In the late 90’s Melanie’s sister passed away, making Melanie the guardian of her nephew.
Not only was she caring for her three children – Matthew (21), Nicholas (19) and Chloe (17) – and her nephew, but also her ageing father, making it difficult to work. A few years later her father passed away leaving her with the funeral expenses, which became too much to bear, making home ownership a near impossibility.
Faced with issues with her landlord over the repayment of her bond, Melanie applied to Habitat and was successful in qualifying for its Partner family scheme. Each partner family at Yea receives a home and an interest-free, 10-year loan based on approximately 95 per cent of the market value of the completed home.
“Being able to own our own home for me emotionally means everything,” she said.
“Having a home will allow our family to have hope for the future and a place to enjoy. I can’t begin to explain how this will change my life and my children’s.”
Habitat for Humanity Victoria’s Executive Director, Philip Curtis said today the organisation’s affordable housing program has seen more than 62 homes built in metro Melbourne and regional area, such as Ballarat, Bendigo, Drouin, Geelong and Yea, with others getting underway this year in Crib Point.
“The Yea Heights Estate development at Prospect Rise is our biggest affordable home project,” he said. “We have built 14 new homes since the project started after the Black Saturday Bushfires in 2009.
“Our partner families and their 23 children, aged between two (2) and 17, in these homes now have a ‘place to call home’.”
Habitat for Humanity Victoria plans to build another seven (7) homes over the next 12 months on the Yea estate to complete the 21-home project early in 2019. Two of these homes are already at lock-up stage.
Melanie and her family with take up residence in her new Yea home later this year. Habitat for Humanity International is the world’s number one not-for-profit provider of housing and improved shelter for low-income families. Habitat for Humanity Victoria was established in 1988 and built its first affordable home in 1995. Since then it has partnered with 60 families to help them into home ownership.