Young family finds a dream home
*Darren and Ange, parents to three young children, contacted Unison with an increasingly familiar story. They had been evicted from their private rental home as they couldn’t maintain their rent and became homeless.
Unison’s Initial Assessment and Planning (IAP) Service team arranged short-term accommodation for the family. They referred them to the Private Rental Access Program (PRAP) team, who took over to find the family an affordable, long-term home.
Unison’s IAP service is a high-volume access point service in Western Melbourne, which assists approximately 3,500 households each year, most of whom are homeless when they present to our service. The PRAP team works closely with the IAP team to support low-income families to secure and maintain affordable private rental homes. Unison Housing Research Lab found that 8 in 10 households that use Unison’s PRAP service exit homelessness and maintain their housing.
PRAP Team member Joannah explains how the team were able to help the young family.
“PRAP has strong relationships with local real estate agents and supported the family with their property inspections and application. We advised them to go to their property inspections as a family unit and to “just be themselves”. We know real estate agents’ first impressions often add a lot of value to a written application.
The family is now settled in Melbourne’s west in a home with a yard for the children. The garage has been modified into an indoor playground, art and music studio and home school. Darren and Ange have been provided assistance navigating Centrelink and referred to a financial literacy service. In addition, Darren is enrolled in a performing arts course and is working at the local council.
“It has been a pleasure to work with the family,” says Joannah. “They just needed a break and are now thriving. We have had a note of thanks from the real estate agent advising that they have paid their rent in advance, and the property owner has also been in touch.”
Unison’s PRAP relies on collaboration between the State Government, not-for-profit agencies and private real estate agents as part of a long-term vision to reduce homelessness. These strong relationships are vital in ensuring secure and affordable homes for all Victorians.
The PRAP and IAP are funded by the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) and play a crucial part in a broader preventative housing strategy to reduce chronic housing instability and homelessness.
To find out more about the services Unison provides, including the PRAP and IAP programs, click here.
*Names have been changed
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