Jo’s Story

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In December 2016, single mother Jo was given 60 days to vacate her rental home as it was due for sale. With Christmas so close and most businesses already closed for the holidays, she was shattered and concerned about finding a new place to rent.

She tried to persuade the land agent to give an extension but received no response to her requests. She started the search for a new home for her small family by applying for public housing and searching for homeless shelters, and in this process found HomeGround Real Estate (HGRE).

HomeGround Real Estate

Jo applied for the Affordable Housing Initiative and was granted a property at sub market rent. Moving into her new home was a relief and she was finally able to breathe easy.

She started planning for the future, reassured that she no longer needed new schooling arrangements for her two sons aged 10 and 13.

Jo says, “With housing no longer an issue, I was able to resume normal daily functions and perform at work without the nagging worry of homelessness.”

She says that access to a suitable property with HomeGround Real Estate has given her stability at so many different levels.

Her boys were able to continue to access the quality schools, programs and facilities in the area she lived, and her older son was able to start his first year in his chosen high school as planned.

More importantly they were able to be close to their support network of friends and neighbours.

HomeGround Real Estate provides landlords and tenants with professional property management services. For Jo, the difference in customer service and professionalism shown by staff is pleasantly surprising.

Having experienced the opposite with mainstream real estate agencies she notes that HomeGround Real Estate staff are respectful and treat people with dignity.

Jo says the agency provides professional real estate services with heart, and property managers promptly respond to enquiries and maintenance requests.

“[HomeGround Real Estate is a] progressive ever-evolving organisation that networks with organisations and individuals in our community to bring together precious resource in delivering relevant, real-world and life changing solutions to the ever growing issue of homelessness.”  – Jo, HGRE Tenant

The Home Ground Real Estate model is an innovative model designed to increase affordable housing supply in the community and address the growing issue of homelessness.

As a social enterprise operated by Launch Housing, HGRE partners with the community members to provide more housing for those in a crisis.

A recent partnership with Yarra Trams through their inaugural Community Partnerships Program has provided new opportunities for us to collaborate on solutions to end homelessness.

Learn more about the Yarra Trams Community Partnership.

Have you seen a HomeGround Real Estate tram ad?

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You may have seen the HomeGround Real Estate ads which showcase how “We manage your property, you make a difference” by listing with a not-for-profit real estate agency.

Yarra Trams Community Partnership Program

HomeGround Real Estate was recently selected for Yarra Trams Community Partnerships Program along with seven other community organisations championing diversity and inclusion in Melbourne. The program provides a share of $1 million in free advertising to not-for-profit organisations that promote diversity, inclusion and make a positive impact.

“We are excited to be part of this inaugural program and are so grateful for the generosity of Yarra Trams,” said Heather Holst, Launch Housing Acting CEO. “We are always looking for landlords to list their properties with us so we can provide more housing options for people who need it most. We hope this serves as a platform to inform Melburnians about how they can help end homelessness through our not-for-profit real estate agency.”

The tram face advertising has been seen on the Yarra Trams system since May and will coincide with Homelessness Week August 6 – 12.

“People rely on Melbourne’s tram network to get them to the places they need to go, and the Yarra Trams Community Partnerships Program enables us to extend our support for the community we serve beyond our passengers’ journeys,” said Yarra Trams CEO Nicolas Gindt.“We are building strong relationships with our community partners, including HomeGround Real Estate, that champion diversity and inclusion in Melbourne every day.”

How does HomeGround Real Estate Make a Difference for Victorians?

More than 116,000 Australians experience homelessness on any given night so providing solutions to connect people with more affordable housing is paramount.  HomeGround Real Estate works closely with our partners such as Yarra Trams to build strong relationships with community organisations and assist individuals with affordable housing.

As a social enterprise operated by Launch Housing, HomeGround Real Estate provides landlords and tenants with professional property management services. The property management fees landlords pay are then invested back into Launch Housing’s affordable housing solutions.

For lower income earners the lack of affordable housing can lead to stress with the pressure of unsustainable rental payments and the uncertainty of temporary living arrangements.

That’s why HomeGround Real Estate also gives socially conscious landlords the opportunity to offer a discount on the market rent to low income households while receiving professional property management services.

Even a 10% discount on market rent can make a big difference to a person or household on a low income by creating more affordable housing in Melbourne. HomeGround Real Estate works closely with tenants and landlords to ensure a successful tenancy for both parties.

Plus, for HomeGround Real Estate landlords who have listed property at a discounted rental rate the Australian Tax Office has made a class ruling to let them claim the gap as a tax deduction at the end of financial year.

HomeGround Real Estate Landlord Philip Endersbee says, “It’s an opportunity for those fortunate enough to be property owners to be part of something bigger, something which can change lives and have a lasting impact”.

Have a property? Contact HomeGround Real Estate to find out more call 9288 9800 or email realestate@homeground.org.au.

Returning empty homes to Melbourne’s rental market could be life changing

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HomeGround Real Estate, a division of Launch Housing, is calling on owners of empty properties in the municipality to return 1,000 homes to the rental market.

Despite the current housing affordability crisis, more than 7,000 homes in the City of Melbourne municipality remain empty according to City of Melbourne demographic data 2013*. Returning just 14 per cent, or 1,000 homes, to the rental market would make a big difference to the growing number of people who struggle to find an affordable home in Melbourne.

HomeGround Real Estate is a not-for-profit real estate agency run by Launch Housing, one of Melbourne’s largest providers of housing and homelessness services. The innovative social enterprise aims to increase the stock of affordable housing for clients throughout Melbourne, securing affordable properties for low income tenants, including women and children escaping family violence.

Launch Housing Deputy CEO Dr Heather Holst said property owners leave homes empty for a variety of reasons but listing the properties with HomeGround Real Estate could make a big difference.

“More and more people on lower incomes are at risk of homelessness due to the lack of affordable rental properties in Melbourne. If you have an empty property in the City of Melbourne municipality please talk to us about bringing it back on to the rental market. It could make a huge difference to someone’s life.

“The benefits are huge. People who have otherwise been priced out of the market are offered more affordable private rental, and HomeGround Real Estate offers landlords expert property and tenancy management services that give them peace of mind, the opportunity to contribute to those in need of housing, and a ‘social return’ on their negotiated, discounted rental fee.”

The City of Melbourne made a one-off grant of $150,000, from its $2 million Pathways Innovation Package, to HomeGround Real Estate to contribute to activities that will increase the number of rental properties that are available to people experiencing homelessness within the municipality.

*Data source City of Melbourne Small Demographic Profile Reports https://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/about-melbourne/research-and-statistics/Pages/city-residents.aspx

ENDS

To arrange an interview or photo opportunity:

Please contact Dara Peskin, Marketing and Communications Lead Launch Housing 0419 347 114 or email Dara.KahnPeskin@launchhousing.org.au

Spokespeople available for interview are:

  • Launch Housing – Dr Heather Holst, Deputy CEO, Launch Housing
  • Landlord who has a listed property with HomeGround Real Estate
  • A current HomeGround Real Estate tenant

 

BACKGROUND/FAST FACTS

  • HomeGround Real Estate, a division of Launch Housing, is an innovative social enterprise aimed at increasing the stock of affordable housing for our clients throughout Melbourne.
  • It is a not-for-profit property and tenancy management business and real estate rental agency.
  • The unique model is a win-win for landlords and tenants alike:
    • People who have otherwise been priced out of the market are offered more affordable private rental.
    • HomeGround Real Estate offers landlords expert property and tenancy management services that give them peace of mind, the opportunity to contribute to those in need of housing, and a ‘social return’ on their property investment (a negotiated, discounted rental fee).
    • The difference between the market return and the discounted return may be tax deductible.
  • To date, HomeGround Real Estate has secured more than 300 affordable properties for low income tenants, including women and children escaping family violence.
  • What our landlords and tenants say:
    • “There was no reason to leave my previous real estate company – I was satisfied with the service. Choosing HomeGround Real Estate was a moral and ethical decision – I wanted to make my choice count.” —Stephen, landlord
    • “HomeGround Real Estate gave me the opportunity to move on with my life and rebuild. I had been homeless for over one year. My daughter and I slept on couches and in unsafe housing. I had left a violent and abusive home but didn’t have a rental history. Even though I was working and had owned my own home I couldn’t provide rental references so I wasn’t able to get ininto the private rental market.” —Rachel, tenant.
  • For more information visit:
    • com.au

ATO Ruling Information

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HomeGround Real Estate Landlord ATO Talking Points 2016

The following information is designed to assist property managers provide a quick and easy response to landlords enquiring about the ATO ruling for HomeGround Real Estate:

  • What is the ATO ruling?
    • The Australian Tax Office has made a class ruling (which means it is a legal ruling that applies to HomeGround Real Estate only) that allows landlords who list their property with us at a discounted rental rate (eg less than market rent) to claim the gap as a tax deduction at the end of financial year.
  • How does it work?
    • At the end of financial year we (HomeGround Real Estate) will provide you with all of the documents you need to do your tax return – including a tax deductable donation receipt for the amount of rent you have deducted to provide a more affordable property to a tenant or tenants. For example your property is worth $550 at market rent and you decide you only need $450 in rent and want to offer the property to a family in need. We will provide you with a donation receipt for $5200 (made up of the $100 per week in rent you have foregone) from Launch Housing (our parent organisation).
  • How does it benefit me?
    • The tax ruling is not designed as a financial incentive but it does recognise your contribution by allowing you to legitimately claim the gap between market rent and any discount you decide you can offer.
    • The main benefit is in the form of a social contribution simply by listing with HomeGround Real Estate. We are a social enterprise with Launch Housing – Launch Housing is one of Melbourne’s largest providers of services to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Even if you need a market return on your property – if you list it with us the management fees go into supporting the work of Launch Housing towards ending homelessness in Melbourne.
  • A discount of just 10% off the market rent can make housing affordable for thousands of Victorians who are otherwise priced out of the market and at risk of homelessness.
  • Please contact your financial adviser or tax accountant for more detailed advice on how this ruling might apply to you and your financial situation. Here is a link to the ATO ruling online that your accountant/adviser can refer to https://www.ato.gov.au/law/view/pdf/pbr/cr2016-042.pdf

Housing and homelessness in the top three priorities for Australians leading up to election time

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Full article here.

Homelessness and housing support agency Launch Housing looked into what Australians are saying about homelessness and housing. Acting CEO Dr Heather Holst says the research shows “people are concerned about homelessness, they are concerned about housing affordability and they are concerned that not enough is being done.”

As an enterprise of Launch Housing, HomeGround Real Estate gives property owners the chance to give back and contribute to the housing crisis in Melbourne. Click here for more information.

 

 

 

HomeGround Real Estate on ABC Radio National

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Heather and Belinda sat down with ABC Radio National’s Michael Mackenzie to discuss where HomeGround Real Estate is at just over two years after launching. They break down our different tiers of management, bust some negative gearing myths, explain our relationship with realestate.com.au and share an update on the national rollout!

https://ab.co/1XlK2iS

 

Australia’s great divide: renters and the rest

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With our second birthday fast approaching we’re looking back at what’s been achieved over the past two years together with our landlords, tenants and everyone else in the community who’s supported the initiative. Take a look at Suzy Freeman-Greene’s article published the same week HomeGround Real Estate launched – all of the issues touched on in her comment are still prevalent, most importantly the significant lack of quality, affordable housing available in Melbourne’s inner suburbs for low-income earners or those simply struggling to compete in such a challenging rental market.

Launch Housing Deputy CEO Dr. Heather Holst on 774 ABC Melbourne

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Last week Launch Housing Deputy CEO Dr. Heather Holst was invited to speak with Sally Warhurst on 774 ABC Melbourne. They discussed the current situation for those experiencing homelessness and what HomeGround Real Estate are doing to help. Heather also speaks of the challenges the hot weather at this time of year presents for those sleeping rough.

To listen to the full interview, click here.

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