Habitat for Humanity Victoria today took another key step forward in addressing Victoria’s chronic affordable housing issue, handing over the keys to its 62ndhome to a much-deserved family.
The hand-over was also the 15th home the charity had built with a partner-family and volunteers on its Yea estate. There are six homes remaining to be built on the estate.
For their new partner family Jema and Romel and their daughter Isla, it is a step out of an anxious and stressful environment of drugs and violence in Melbourne.
Habitat for Humanity Victoria’s Executive Director, Philip Curtis said today the family was typical of thousands facing extreme difficulty in trying to secure affordable housing.
“Victoria is facing a chronic shortage of social and affordable housing,” he said. “Low income families living in housing stress deserve, and are entitled to have, better access to affordable housing. Everyone has a right to have a decent place to live in and to call home. It is fundamentally linked to our wellbeing.”
Jema and Romel were overjoyed and excited to begin their lives in Yea in a place where Isla can “just be a kid”.
In their previous inner-Melbourne environment all three were constantly exposed to drugs and violence in the elevators in their high-rise housing commission building or when walking down corridors of their flat.
Frequent false fire alarms also left Jema fearful of what may happen to them on the 20th floor of their building, with alarms going off at least twice a month. The family had to evacuate the building on four occasions in the time they were there.
Both Jema and Romel are looking forward to raising their 18 month old Isla in Yea, as they believe it’s the perfect place for a “normal, healthy, productive life”.
“Over 1.5 million Australians are living in housing stress, and the crisis is only getting worse,” said Mr Curtis. Based on current trends, the chronic shortage of social and affordable housing is expected to be over 600,000 by 2029.
“We’re trying to address this crisis at Habitat for Humanity Victoria by bringing people together to provide our partner families with a ‘hand up; not a hand-out’. This helps to build strength, stability and self-reliance for these families.”
Mr Curtis said Habitat for Humanity Victoria was also excited to partner with Homes for Homes to help tackle Australia’s biggest social issue.
“Homes for Homes generously supported the building of Jema and Romel’s house – contributing $40,000,” he said.
Homes for Homes is an independent not-for-profit social enterprise that allows all home owners to be part of a community led solution for social and affordable housing.
Owners of registered properties make a voluntary tax-deductible donation of 0.1% of their property sale price at the time of selling. Homes for Homes then grants these funds to organisations to increase the supply of social and affordable dwellings.
Homes for Homes’ Chief Operating Officer, Sally Hines said they are thrilled to see the keys handed over to the first home built with funding support from the social enterprise.
“This home is a huge milestone for Homes for Homes and we are proud to support housing providers, like Habitat for Humanity, increase the supply of social and affordable housing in Australia.”