How can corporate sector partnerships help end homelessness?

On 22 February, Launch Housing’s social enterprise Home Ground Real Estate, Australia’s first not-for-profit real estate agency, hosted a breakfast forum bringing together panellists from the local government, not for profit and corporate sectors, as well as a tenant and landlord.

The discussion centred around one theme: How can the corporate sector partner to help end homelessness?

Home Ground Real Estate is a property management social enterprise which provides landlords and tenants with property management services and invests revenue back into Launch Housing’s mission.

Launch Housing was proud to welcome our partners to the event including panelists Dean Griggs from the City of Melbourne as well as Katherine Leong from NAB. At the end of 2017, Launch housing announced that the City of Melbourne had made a one-off grant of $150,000 from its $2 million Pathways Innovation Package, to Home Ground Real Estate to contribute to activities that will increase the number of rental properties available to people experiencing homelessness within the municipality.

Our Deputy CEO and COO Heather Holst kicked off the event with the morning’s MC Jill Riseley, CEO of FairGo Group and Board Member of Launch Housing.

Community leader and advocate James Pullar (Rotary Club of Melbourne Leader of Homeless Projects) was in attendance as well as philanthropist and Home Ground Real Estate landlord Phil Endersbee; founder and owner of Wilderness Wear Australia and also a Rotary Club of Melbourne member.

The last panelist was single mum and University graduate Jo Tan who along with her two sons live in a Home Ground Real Estate property in Melbourne.

 Panelists from our breakfast forum at NAB this morning share how they think corporates can innovate and collaborate to make ending homelessness everyone’s business.

Our panelists had a great deal to say about corporates and community members collaborating and creating innovative ways to tackle the growing number of Melbournians experience homelessness.

Heather Holst –Deputy CEO and COO of Launch Housing and its social enterprise Home Ground Real Estate

Home Ground Real Estate started in 2014. Since then it has grown from 50 properties to managing 400 properties in Melbourne. Heather Holst comments that building a profit-for-purpose agency that makes a difference and engages a whole of community response to homelessness and affordable housing is what Home Ground Real Estate is all about.

“We want to translate what people are telling us into action and that’s why we started Home Ground Real Estate.”

L to R: Heather Holst (Launch Housing), Katherine Leong (NAB) and Dean Griggs (City of Melbourne)

Katherine Leong Associate Director, Product and Channel Development, NAB

Katherine believes the greatest impact will come from our shared values and corporates should share resources with the community using core skills to help partners.

“How do we as corporates get better? Because what we’re doing right now isn’t enough. We need more communication and aligned values. We’re trying to share what resources we have available and use our core values at NAB to help institute change.”

Dean Griggs – Manager Social Investment, City of Melbourne

This year we partnered with the City of Melbourne to tackle the growing number of people experiencing homelessness in the city. Dean Griggs comments it’s about corporate social responsibility, and coming together with ideas and experience. Dean says we should shift focus and stop comparing with cities that have high levels of rough sleepers like they do in Paris. Instead we need to direct our energies into collaborating to find new ways to solve homelessness. Mr Griggs says, “We want to model something in Melbourne so we can in turn take it to other parts of Australia.”

James Pullar – Leader Homeless Projects, Rotary Melbourne

“We need to break the cycle of homelessness, improve access to services. We want to help with advocacy, community, volunteers and projects. We have Rotary Club members partnering with Home Ground Real Estate. If I can just end homelessness for one person I’ll be happy.”

Phil Endersbee – Founder and Owner, Wilderness Wear Australia; Landlord, HomeGround Real Estate

Phil Endersbee says, “A few years ago I realised I have a property and Home Ground Real Estate had the skills and we had someone who needed a unit. Let’s shake hands and get things going.”

Phil states, “Corporate social responsibility wasn’t as big in the past but that’s changed. Now corporates are increasingly using their skills to support NFPs to help end homelessness.”

Jo Tan –Home Ground Real Estate Tenant

“Like most people I never associated myself with homelessness. I found myself in a situation where I had to find a shelter as I kept getting knocked back by real estate agencies. That’s when I found Home Ground Real Estate. Housing is such an important human right, as is a good night’s sleep. This was my lifeline. The Home Ground Real Estate team was amazing along with the generous landlords who work with them.”

A big thank you to our amazing panelists, partners and community members who attended the event. You are helping us achieve our goal to end homelessness with more affordable housing operated by our social enterprise.


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Home Ground Real Estate has now partnered with the City of Melbourne via a one off grant of $150,000 from the $2 Million Pathways Innovation Package. If you’d like to become a landlord with Home Ground Real Estate please contact our property team.