homelessness and leasehold

So, in this week of Homelessness Awareness have a read of this great article from The Age by Chris Middendorp about Victorian homelessness and then this an article from the Centre for Policy Development website by Barbara Coombs.

If, like me, you see a link then push the idea at the dinner table, on the tram, at the water cooler.

Leasehold as a direct form of public housing. Sure, it will cost money to set up and support but imagine if there was a way of ensuring the least lucky of us could stay in residential housing for long periods of time. Imagine if they knew they were secure. Not secure as in housing commission but secure in that they would own their own place for 20 years or 30 years or 40 years.

Imagine if the rental crisis, the absence of affordable rental properties for people like you and I where we wind up paying huge percentages of our income in rent, turned into an investment boon for low income people like you and I. I don’t mind paying rent but in the toss up between leasehold or tenancy: leasehold would win. I could probably even afford it. And I’d be able to renovate the kitchen.

As any renter knows leasehold means you could stay in the area, the area you want to live in, even if it becomes uber-groovy and full of warehouse conversions. And if you have kids and you want them to go to your really good local public school you could stay without the worry of having to find cheaper rent and moving out of the area. You can get to know your neighbours properly and join the local gym.

We are all closer to the homeless then we believe or realise. A few missed mortgage payments, a rent payment missed, credit cards, phone bills – and before you know it you could be on that spiral down. Some of us are just lucky. But if we had residential leasehold then there would be more lower income people in stable accommodation over longer periods of time and it might just help a few sidestep the road to homelessness.

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