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Real estate industry joins community sector to reduce homelessness for domestic violence victims

3 May 2019

Uniting is joining forces with the social services sector and the real estate industry to improve knowledge about the national problem of homelessness, particularly for victims of domestic violence, and how by working together they can help reduce it.

Domestic violence accounts for more than 36% of all people seeking support by homelessness services.[AIHW data 2017/18]

A recently introduced NSW Law prevents penalties for people who suddenly end a tenancy if they are escaping domestic violence and it is hoped this will reduce domestic violence as a factor which contributes to longer term homelessness.

Uniting was a signatory to an open letter to the NSW Government advocating for the new law to improve housing outcomes for people experiencing domestic violence in trying to establish a new tenancy.

This legislative change is important; the real estate industry, government agencies and the community services sector all play a role in its implementation so that victims can escape violence faster and hopefully be connected to support services earlier and are not forced in to homelessness.

Uniting, the Department of Family and Community Services, CatholicCare and the Real Estate Institute of NSW are hosting a half-day training workshop on 3 May 2019 for local property managers on the NSW Central Coast to explain the new law – and to build their understanding about domestic violence.

Vicki Daley, Program Manager of Uniting’s local homelessness support service, Doorways said, “Real estate agents are in a unique position as they are regularly in contact with tenants and have the potential to identify changes that can impact their ability to sustain a tenancy before they reach crisis point.

“Sadly, we know from experience that these are issues which can result in a tenancy default which can lead to homelessness. It can make the world of difference if tenants have access to information about support services available to them if they need them,” Ms Daley said.

The professionally accredited workshop not only explains the ins and outs of the new law from the perspective of the real estate industry, it also includes information about domestic violence from Catholic Care educator Danielle Habib. Meanwhile, Uniting will offer guidance on how to support vulnerable tenancies, and the Department of Family and Community Services will provide information government housing support services


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