Housing initiative helps disadvantaged youth access first rental property

ABC Goulburn Murray

By

Mahalia Dobson

Posted

October 11, 2018 15:29:19
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Shepparton 3630
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The initiative has helped more than 30 young people get into the rental market.
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Or just rent forever? Are there other ways? Should you sacrifice lifestyle to buy? Your Sold Real Estate property manager Michelle Bourke said landlords had been very receptive to the program.”Landlords were happy to come on board, owing to the fact the [tenants] get six months support from Berry Street after they move out from the Foyer,” she said.Ms Bourke said most of the properties cost about $150 a week, with the majority of former Foyer residents signing six to 12-month leases.More real estate agents are being asked to get on board.”It gives [young people] confidence to be living on their own. (ABC Goulburn Murray: Mahalia Dobson)
“I didn’t even get emails back from real estate agents … they just didn’t bother with me because I was a young person and they obviously knew I didn’t know much about [renting],” she said.”Being a young person with not much support, the Foyer helped me in a lot of ways … with housing, education, volunteer work, everything.”I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the Foyer.”A key part of the initiative is Berry Street providing support services to young people for up to six months after they begin living independently.”We still have an open-door policy. The real estate industry and tenant organisations may disagree on whether or not there is a rental crisis, but there are some points where they do agree. We can support them by mentoring and just being there to help with whatever challenges pop up,” Mr Jobling said. A total of 372 people are experiencing homelessness in the regional township, and more than 80 of those are between 25 and 34 years old.”Housing is a human right that everybody deserves to have,” Ms Brauman said.”We just wanted to focus on the solution and not the problem.” “If a student down the track starts to struggle with their rent … we can link them with other programs through BeyondHousing that can help them continue their tenancy and not be evicted.”Landlords prove receptive to initiative

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Education First Youth Foyer former residents Telaah Donnelly and Patrick Davidson are enjoying living independently. It makes them feel like they can achieve something,” Ms Bourke said.Homelessness on the rise in SheppartonShepparton has the highest level of homelessness in regional Victoria, according to a report released last month by the Council to Homeless Persons. A new grassroots housing initiative is helping disadvantaged youth in north-east Victoria access their first rental properties.Shepparton welfare groups Education First Youth Foyer for BeyondHousing and Berry Street have partnered with real estate agents, offering one-bedroom units for young people on the verge of homelessness.Foyer student residency officer Cinnamon Brauman said it was becoming increasingly difficult for young people with no rental history to find a place to live. It makes them think, I can do this. Renting: What are the facts? “Once residents leave the Foyer, it’s really hard for young people to find good, safe, secure and affordable accommodation,” she said.”It can take up to six to eight months to find a property.If they’ve left the program, they can find themselves couch surfing, living with friends or family, or having to find two or three others to rent with just so they can afford the rent that’s out there.”It’s very expensive here in Shepparton, so if we can start them off on a good footing with the real estate agents, find them a nice, cheap unit, they can then work their way up to a house, once they have proven themselves to be a great tenant.”The Foyer and Berry Street partnered with Your Sold Real Estate about six months ago and have since helped more than 30 young people get into the rental market.”We help support [young people] transition to wherever they would like to go,” Berry Street transitional worker Matt Jobling said.”We’ve had students in the past transition to Queensland, several to Melbourne for study, Ballarat, a fair few to the Shepparton and Mooroopna area and Bendigo as well.”Supporting struggling youthsFormer Foyer resident Telaah Donnelly searched for months for a rental property without success, but with the support of the program she was able to move into her first home.