First Home Project

Campaigning for change article written on the 03 Aug 2012

Welcome to Australia ambassador Jarrod McKenna, his wife Teresa and son Tyson are hoping to buy their first home. And they’d like it to be the first Australian home for refugees and asylum seekers who are facing Perth’s housing crisis too.

There is a housing crisis in Perth. Only 2% of rental properties are vacant. The mining boom has seen a huge increase in the number of renters and this additional competition has left parties outbidding each other to lease the few rental properties on the market. In this environment, refugees – our newest Australians – struggle to access affordable accommodation, let alone accommodation close to employment opportunities or community services.

Jarrod, Teresa and Tyson have come up with the First Home Project to help provide affordable medium term accommodation and an inclusive community for refugees who are struggling in this housing crisis. They’ve found a house in an exciting, growing suburb in Perth. This property has enough bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens for three families at a time, and with some renovations, in as little as a month it could be ready for their young family and some of our newest Australians to move into.

Jarrod and Teresa made an offer to the owner of the property and it was accepted. Like many young Aussies when purchasing their first home, they looked forward to accessing things like the First Home Owners Grant and securing their first mortgage. The problem is the banks don’t see the property as residential, but deem it commercial and so have rejected their home loan application – despite the fact that it’s zoned residential!

The short story is this – they need $600,000 loaned or donated to them by Sunday the 12th of August to make the First Home Project a reality. This will pay for the property as well as the renovations it needs to make this place a home.

Fellow Welcome to Australia ambassadors Tim Costello and Father Bob are helping them spread the word about this incredible opportunity for Australians to help them turn their dream into a reality.

This isn’t just about a house – it’s about building a community. It’s about providing those in need with a ‘hand up’ of affordable accommodation and walking alongside them as they build their new lives in Perth. Jarrod, Teresa and Tyson are excited about creating a home for their young family and their new refugee friends.

Please consider how you can help – to donate, loan, spread the word or to simply be inspired by this amazing act of making Welcome to Australia personal please visit www.firsthomeproject.com.au

Oxfam Australia is a principal partner of Welcome to Australia