Community Housing (Vic) Ltd (CHVL), a subsidiary of Community Housing Ltd (CHL), has run a program in the eastern suburbs for a number of years now that has helped homeless families avoid resorting to dodgy rooming houses and exploitative landlords in their urgent need for a roof over their heads.

CHVL operates a homelessness service in the Eastern Suburbs and Gippsland. As part of that service people can be helped with financial assistance for rent in advance and other expenses that will help them secure accommodation.

People are provided with housing advice, referrals to support agencies and are given assistance with applications. In partnership with many support agencies, some properties are used for short term housing that provides shelter and a way of helping people plan for more permanent and secure housing in a stable environment.

As part of the Accommodation Options for Families project, CHVL made 7 units available for immediate housing by vulnerable families. In partnership with Wesley Central Mission and ANCOR support services, who provide support to the families, CHVL has developed further housing options over the years utilising church contacts to make available additional three bedroom housing.

As the demand for this type of program continues, CHVL has developed a private rental head leasing scheme that can assist with the demand for safe and secure accommodation that is an alternative to crisis shelters, hostels and rooming houses.

CHVL sources properties, networks with agents and landlords and establishes head leases for private properties that are well situated and can provide the right situation for families escaping homelessness. CHVL then sub leases the property to the family.

CHVL provides minor maintenance, coverage of landlord insurance and the risk on vacancies as a way of managing the relationship with the owner / agents. Close partnerships with support agencies helps to ensure that families are able to have the security they need to enable them to get back on their feet.

CHVL has started with two head leased properties in the Eastern Suburbs and intends to continue to develop this approach as a way of assisting people who require “street to home” housing assistance. While head leasing in this way has many challenges and requires careful management, it can be a way of meeting the immediate needs of people who are homeless.

The scheme is funded by the State Government and has a further two years funding committed. The funds come from the Victorian Property Fund which is a fund administered by the Department of Consumer Affairs and generated by the interest on rental bond funds held by the rental bond board.

For more information on CHL, contact:

Preeti Daga

Executive Officer – Marketing and Public Relations t   03 9856 0021

e- preeti.daga@chl.org.au

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