Keeping Home

Keeping Home is our early intervention initiative to address tenancy risk due to rent arrears or property issues, common drivers of recurring homelessness. This year more than 55% of clients in the Ovens Murray region had received previous support for housing. Of these, more than 1-in-3 experienced a repeated risk of losing their tenancies.

The goal of the program is to empower people with the skills and knowledge they need to sustain their housing and manage their finances so that they will not enter or re-enter the homelessness system. The program transforms a participant’s capacity to manage a tenancy on a low income by focusing on budgeting, financial resilience, understanding tenancy rights and responsibilities and life-skills.

We support people to build competency in the skill sets identified by property managers and agents that will give them a competitive advantage when applying for private rental properties and liaising with their landlords.

Keeping Home is for people who have experienced or are at risk of homelessness, with a particular focus on youth leaving care, prisoners, victim-survivors fleeing family violence, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities. The program is also offered in Secondary Schools to give young people financial and tenancy skills and knowledge before they venture out into independent living and rent a property on their own.

"This is a valuable rural and regional initiative to support vulnerable Victorians to become empowered to manage their own financial and housing needs and avoid homelessness".

Lin Bender AM, Chief Executive of the Helen
Macpherson Smith Trust

Key Achievements

Number of participants:

One on One Training 50 participants
Group Training 33 participants

81.25%

retention rate

Tenancy and Financial skills
competency overall rating:

Participants were asked how they felt about their financial, tenancy and housing knowledge and confidence dealing with Landlords and finding community support, prior to commencing the program and then again at completion of modules.

Keeping Home is progressive, gets ahead of the problems and dedicates time for individuals to directly address housing skills. The multiple learning formats means no-one in rural and regional communities misses out, they can participate in a way that best suits them.

- Pip Else, Keeping Home Coordinator

Tracy's Story

"I was referred to Keeping Home during the COVID-19 pandemic and did my sessions over Facetime. I enjoyed doing the course from the luxury of my own home.

"I found out so much stuff that I didn’t know and that people don’t tell you, particularly about what other financial support is available for people on a low income that can really help with your budget.

"I found having your tenancy rights and responsibilities broken down, so you better understood to be a real benefit. Also actually having the tools and resources provided to you to make a more formal budget has made such a difference too.

"Im still working towards where I want to be with my budget and savings goals, but I feel more confident that all of the big costs like rent, bills and food, my basic costs of living, are going to be met without stressing where I am going to find the money on a low income, and particularly as the coronavirus supplement is reduced and we go back to a rate that is really challenging to live on.

"Im proud of myself for completing the program, I ended up really enjoying it and I think anyone on a low income would find it really valuable.

"My trainer was really easy to learn from, it was a pleasure to talk with her every week and I love that I got to keep the manual afterwards as a resource so I can keep going over it, particularly the things I had highlighted that felt important for now and to look at again if I need it down the track."

Tracy – Keeping Home participant

Next: Advocacy & Partnerships