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Secure Housing For Women Escaping Domestic Violence

Bank Bank Australia
Client Women’s Property Initiatives
Location Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Women’s Property Initiatives (WPI) provides long-term safe and secure housing for women and their children, many of whom are escaping domestic violence. Operating since 1996, WPI now has 83 properties housing over 200 women and children.

‘Our relationship with Bank Australia will continue to be an important ingredient in achieving this growth and helping women and children get back on their feet.’

‘Typically our tenants have come from difficult circumstances, so along with a secure place to live, we also link them up with support services to help them get their lives back on track. In fact some of our very first tenants are still happily living in their homes more than 10 years later,’ says CEO, Jeanette Large.

WPI develops, owns and manages all their properties and are constantly seeking new opportunities to grow their housing stock. As such, finance and a strong relationship with financiers is vital. ‘We need to be innovative in finding partners and putting together deals that allow us to develop new housing and Bank Australia just gets it. We can go to them in the early stages of a project and bounce ideas around and explore options because they understand what we’re trying to achieve and they work with us. We’ve been able to build a trusting rather than purely transactional relationship. A few years ago, we had an opportunity to apply for some government funding but needed to find a financier to contribute. If it wasn’t for Bank Australia’s responsiveness and quick turn around on the pre-approvals, we would have missed out on this golden opportunity,’ says Jeanette.

Since 2009 Bank Australia has provided $3.4 million in funding to WPI, which has assisted 110 women and children to gain access to affordable rental housing. WPI has also led the way in demonstrating the social return on investment of the housing they develop and manage by commissioning a rigorous analysis of the social and economic benefits that have flowed to their tenants. ‘This process provided us with information, helping us to demonstrate the impact of providing housing to women and women with children. We found that for every dollar invested, it produced a social and economic benefit of over $11 – a good return in anyone’s language,’ says Jeanette.

 

In a climate of reduced government funding for social and community welfare, WPI’s major challenge in the years ahead will be to continue finding innovative ways to fund their development projects. ‘Our relationship with Bank Australia will continue to be an important ingredient in achieving this growth and helping women and children get back on their feet,’ says Jeanette.

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