Turning a Blind Eye to Homelessness: Time to Rethink Our Perspective
On Census night in 2021, more than 122,000 people experienced homelessness, an increase of 5% since 2016. As this number is predicted to continue growing, so does the need for long-term solutions to address this complex and challenging issue.
Generally when we think of people experiencing homelessness, we think of a ‘rough sleeper’ on the streets. In reality those sleeping rough make up 7% of all those experiencing homelessness, with the majority living in severely crowded dwellings, supported accommodation or couch surfing.
Homelessness is often a result of circumstances such as family breakdown, financial troubles, illness or housing stress. It can happen quickly, and women over 55 are the fastest growing cohort of those experiencing homelessness, primarily due to domestic and family violence. It had never dawned on me that I, too, had been homeless, one of those women that due to relationship breakdowns had surfed between friends, too overwhelmed to work.
Homelessness is solved by creating safe, secure and permanent housing, yet research shows that there is a deficiency of more than 600,000 social and affordable homes in Australia, with an expected increase of one million by 2036. This crisis is too big for any government, organisation or individual to tackle alone, it needs a collective solution. We can’t let this go on. And at Homes for Homes, we won’t.
What is Homes for Homes?
Homes for Homes, created by The Big Issue, is a proven community-led solution, that raises funds for social and affordable housing through property donations. Owners and renters register their property with Homes for Homes, promising to donate 0.1% of their property’s sale price or rent. These funds are then granted to community housing providers in the state or territory of the donation to increase the supply of social and affordable housing.
For example, a registered home in South Australia sells for $750,000, so a 0.1% tax-deductible donation of $750 is made to Homes for Homes. This donation stays in South Australia and goes towards funding social and affordable housing here. This donation is transferred as part of the settlement process, so it’s money you wouldn’t usually see and most likely won’t even miss. The property sold will remain registered with Homes for Homes, allowing for future donations whenever it sells again. That’s unless the new owner decides to withdraw from Homes for Homes, which they can do at any time.
Also, it’s not just residential property sales that can help end homelessness. You can make the same promise of 0.1% on the sale or lease of offices, retail outlets, warehouses and factories. Renters can contribute by donating 0.1% of their monthly rent. Developers can register every new property title released and invite purchasers to donate 0.1% of the property’s sale price when they sell in the future. What a fantastic way to convey a sense of community, share values and capture the promise of a better tomorrow, even before the first brick has been laid.
It is a simple, proven model for a complex problem that makes a substantial impact. The more properties that register with Homes for Homes, the more funding is available to grant to South Australian solutions.
Our Back Story of Success
Homes for Homes is the result of more than ten years of planning, consultation, development and independent reviews in the hope that everyone can feel safe, secure and housed.
A group of community leaders, including The Big Issue’s CEO, learnt of a forward-thinking developer in the US who found a way to address homelessness by raising funds through the sale and resale of its properties. Inspired, The Big Issue set about tailoring the initiative for the Australian community.
The Big Issue is known for helping people help themselves. With a strong delivery track record, an independent board, robust governance, and an advisory network of Australian business and industry leaders, The Big Issue is well-placed to ensure that Homes for Homes goes from strength to strength.
To date Homes for Homes has granted over $1.4m in funding to seventeen projects across Vic, NT, Qld and the ACT. These projects will provide housing for more than 300 people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage, including women experiencing homelessness and domestic violence, mothers and children, young people, Indigenous people and people with physical and mental health challenges. Projects are reviewed by state-specific housing advisory groups that provide recommendations and ensure that funds are put to the best use.
Here in South Australia, we are currently working with Barrio, Otello and LCD, and our partnerships are projected to bring South Australia a funding pool of more than $1 million over the next 30 years. We have a robust, proven model and strong community support and awareness in South Australia, with a local person here to answer questions and support you.
Homelessness is Complex; However, Solutions are Simple
Having a place to call home is paramount to well-being. It enables us to lead a life, to do things like wash and cook meals, hold down a job or attend school, and it affects how others see us too. So it should come as no surprise that homelessness results in greater dependence on welfare.
By working with the entire community, including developers and organisations from the not-for-profit and commercial sector, Homes for Homes becomes the catalyst to unlocking further funding for more housing projects.
Together with Homes for Homes, you can help change lives for the better forever and create a society that makes us all feel proud of being South Australian. Over the next 30 years, Homes for Homes aims to raise more than $1 billion for social and affordable housing nationally.
So together, we can make a significant difference in the lives of others.
But it starts with a single step, a conversation, an introduction or a simple property registration.
Now is the time to take action collectively as a community.
To find out more about Homes for Homes solutions and examples, get in touch with us here.
By Sally Curtis – SA Partnerships Manager