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April 14, 2014

HomeGround Real Estate profits help homeless

HomeGround Real Estate is a new property management company using its profits to reduce and prevent homelessness. The Melbourne-based HomeGround Real Estate is a social enterprise providing property and tenancy services to investors and renters. The proceeds of the venture will be help the growing number of individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.


It is an offshoot of HomeGround Services, a not-for-profit that has been working to end homelessness in Melbourne for 15 years. HomeGround Services works in partnership with public, private and community sector organisations. It has more than 130 staff across four offices.

HomeGround decided to use this experience, plus that of seasoned professional real estate agents, to start their own property management business. The idea is to increase the amount of work they do in the community and become more independent of government money, according Heather Holst chief executive.

“While we continue to predominantly rely on funding bodies to provide these essential services we also realise the vulnerability and uncertainty of this income stream. The real estate agency will allow us to reinvest in our core business of ending homelessness,” she said.

The HomeGround Real Estate business is only different to other operators because it is dedicated to the rental market, and not generating sales, and all profits go to supporting homelessness.

Property owners can use the business just as they would any other property manager. The manager looks after the property, collects commercial rent on their behalf and helps to select the best-fit tenants.

Tenants from all walks of life can use the service.

But the business also runs a separate affordable housing initiative that lets landlords directly help the homeless. In this case landlords can forgo some, or all, of their rental returns to help people on low incomes.

If landlords make the philanthropic gesture to forgo all rent, HomeGround undertakes to keep the house maintained and to return it to the owners at the agreed time.

Philippe Batters, a real estate agent with his own business in South Yarra, is supporting the agency by acting as the principal on a pro-bono basis.

“I think this is a wonderful initiative and I’m keen to assist HomeGround Real Estate to grow and develop into a successful, competitive player in the market. If you have a rental property and want to see a return on your investment in financial and social terms I hope you will be contacting HomeGround Real Estate,” he said.Hemingway App makes your writing bold and clear.

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