In 2017, a Grant to End Homelessness was awarded to Just Home Margaret River Inc for their Housing Advocacy Project. This community-based pilot project aimed to facilitate access to appropriate and affordable housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness, monitor the lack of affordable housing, housing stress and homelessness and provide information, referral, advocacy and support to community members experiencing chronic homelessness.
On completion of the grant, the project has enabled 14 clients to find housing and prevented two clients from being evicted from public housing. Bond assistance was obtained for another two people. Many clients found private rentals after being provided support and shown how to access housing using online tools.
According to Dr Naomi Godden, Chair of Just Home Margaret River Inc, “There are no affordable houses or accommodation options for people experiencing homelessness in Augusta Margaret River. There is no accommodation available to support our clients, and private rentals are too expensive. This is reinforced with recent data from Anglicare’s Rental Affordability Snapshot 2018, which found that of the 144 private rental properties identified in the Busselton-Margaret River area, none were affordable for a single parent with one child on Newstart, none for a single person on an aged pension, and none for a single person on a disability pension”.
The wait list for public housing in the Augusta Margaret River area is up to eight years. There is a severe lack of affordable housing and accommodation options in the community.
This pilot project has shown that the Housing Advocacy Officer is a necessary service in the community, providing one of the few local social justice services focussing on housing and homelessness.
According to Naomi, “The development of a local movement and a community of solidarity around housing justice is also an extraordinary achievement in our community. Additionally, the collection of client data has provided necessary insight into local experiences of homelessness, which will assist Just Home in our ongoing advocacy for increase social housing and homelessness resources in our community.”
We commend the work of Just Home Margaret River Inc and support them in securing funding to ensure this important project continues.