Planting the seeds of home ownership

photo of a new home owner and her daughter
​Happy tenant Shenolla and her daughter in front of their home.

​The Department of Housing’s Transitional Housing Program is helping Indigenous people in the East Kimberley build a solid foundation for home ownership since its launch in September last year.

Funded as a part of the Commonwealth’s East Kimberley Development Package, the program has provided $20 million for the construction of 40 transitional housing dwellings in Kununurra.

“Through the program, Indigenous people engaged in employment or training are provided housing and support services to help them develop independence and take a significant step towards creating personal wealth and achieving home ownership,” Ruth Charles, Project Manager said.

“Program participants must also ensure children attend school regularly and participate in the associated support program. 

“The support program includes setting lifestyle goals, financial management and progressing referrals to community support networks like health agencies.”

The Department is working with Community Housing Limited (CHL) to manage the properties and the Wunan Foundation to deliver the support program.

“The feedback from CHL, Wunan and the participants is that the program is having a significant positive impact,” Ms Charles said.

“Property management and engagement in support services is good. Each household has a minimum of one participant engaged in employment, and in some households, multiple participants undertake full time work and study.

“Children participating in the program had a combined school attendance of 95 per cent as well.”

Ms Charles said one of the key aspects of the program is the training participants receive to help them understand the process and financial requirements of owning a home.

“A financial counsellor is also on hand to help participants attain the right mindset and skills to eventually become homeowners, while important lessons around work and income stability, saving for a deposit and what is involved in a home loan application are taught,” she said.

“As of February 2013, five participants have a home loan application in progress and one participant has had their application approved which is a fantastic result.”

All homes in the program are available for purchase when participants are ready to transition to private home ownership.

The Department has submitted the Transitional Housing Program into this year’s Premier’s Awards.

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