A generous Melbourne couple and supportive local businesses have helped create a home for women and children escaping family violence in the Northcote area.
The couple, who do not wish to be identified, have previously donated the use of a two-bedroom house in Abbotsford. They decided to purchase a three-bedroom home in Northcote because they felt it was a better option for women with children.
“It’s an amazing contribution that gives women and children escaping family violence a real opportunity to leave dangerous homes and start afresh,” said Uniting Vic.Tas Senior Manager Housing Services, Louise Daniel.
The couple, who wish to be known as K and B, gave Uniting the use of the first house eighteen months ago in response to media articles highlighting the number of Australian women killed or impacted by violent partners every year.
“We both looked at each other and it was like an epiphany. We both thought about our house In Abbotsford and thought we can do something about this,” B said.
“We are in the position where we can help,” added K.
“If anyone else can do it, I would encourage them to, it’s a really nice feeling knowing you can help,” she said.
“If you’re a boomer and sick of the bad rap we get on housing, here’s a chance to change that perception and do something that is life changing for someone.” K added.
B said the fact Uniting has its own maintenance team and could manage the properties well was an incentive.
“We are forgoing interest paid or received on each house which is around $50,000 per year but we retain ownership of the houses. The way Uniting set up the contracts with us makes it easy. We don’t have to get involved in any direct tenancy management, as Uniting manages any questions or issues raised by the person renting the property.
Uniting pays peppercorn rent for the houses and manage the tenancies. The couple pay rates and some of the outgoings as a donation.
A portion of the minimal rent paid to Uniting by renters is retained as brokerage so when the women are ready to leave, they have some money to pay bond and set themselves up in a more permanent home.
Local business Kreative Design and Interiors furnished and decorated the entire house and Koala Furniture, a Uniting corporate partner provided beds.
Kreative’s director Felicity used furniture and materials from styling houses to furnish the home, including bedding which has only ever been used for display.
Learn more about our Homelessness and Crisis Support services.