SSI joined over forty representatives from housing and CALD organisations, government and real estate agents at a breakfast launch of the Parramatta Housing Access Project (PHAP), a new project that will enlist the collaboration of all these groups to help reverse the course of failing tenancies.
PHAP will provide a pathway for real estate agents operating in the Parramatta area to identify tenants who are showing signs of financial stress or are struggling to meet their tenancy obligations and to refer these tenants for advice and early intervention.
The service will not only assist tenants to maintain their accommodation and avoid blacklisting, but is intended to save landlords the costs of Tribunal attendance, unpaid arrears and vacancies while replacement tenants are found.
PHAP was overseen by a steering committee involving Community Migrant Resource Centre (CMRC), SSI and real estate agents. Funded through the NSW Settlement Partnership (NSP) Social innovation fund, it is the latest addition to the growing network of Real Estate Engagement Projects (REEP) in western and south western Sydney.
The launch event featured speeches by the host organisation CMRC, from SSI as a partner organisation and from local peak provider of homelessness services Mission Australia.
“An eviction process, can cost the real estate agency up to $20,000,” SSI Housing Program Manager Charles Rich said. “We’re here to help property managers deal with such issues and save money, by working in partnership with real estate agents, landlords and tenants to fill the gap.”
“It was a growing need we identified in Parramatta through research, our experiences and conversations with local CMRC and other local agencies.”
Parramatta MP Dr Geoff Lee also attended the event and expressed concern about the pressures facing Sydney renters and agreed that PHAP will complement existing strategies available to combat these pressures.
The project acts as a conduit for referrals that are passed on to local funded programs dealing with homelessness and prevention of homelessness. This project is not about additional services but about increased access pathways to existing services.
The first REEP was developed in Macarthur in 2012 and four more have been launched since then. The REEP model involves a local community organisation as host of the project and a steering committee of non-government and government community service organisations together with advisors from real estate agencies and CALD communities.