Everyone deserves a home, and everyone should have a home to live in. Unfortunately this is not always the case in Australia at the moment

Working in the real estate industry for over 10 years, I have seen it all, but in the last five years, I have seen a decline in the support of people experiencing mental health issues. That is, until I moved to Gippsland and came across Wellways and the Doorway program

The leaders of the program met with me in my office in Warragul and explained how Doorway worked and instantly I wanted to see if we could assist and help them place participants in rentals. We started off with our first participant who, with the assistance of someone from Doorway, applied for a property. I called the landlord of the property into the office to explain the application and went through in detail how the Doorway program worked and how it would support this participant who experiences mental health issues and wanted to get back into private housing. 

The owner decided to approve the application and the participant moved in. The support this participant received from the case managers at Doorway was amazing. They helped him through every step of the moving-in process, furnishing his house, arranging to setup rent payments and helping him maintain rental payments. The first inspection was done at three months and when meeting with the tenant at the property, he was beaming with pride at how his home was kept and how much he loved being in his own home. 

That was two years ago. That tenant I now see down the street paying bills in the post office, doing his shopping and walking every morning. This is how having a home changed his life and he is just one of many tenants the Doorway program has entrusted us with. 

I need to also reflect back on another Doorway participant, a lady who had suffered a massive set back in life. She couldn’t work, couldn’t live on her own and, when I first met with her, she was coming out of dark place. For over two years now, she has kept her unit immaculate, kept her rent four weeks in front, has returned to work and is now confident that her life is continuing in a positive direction. She puts this down to having a secure home and support network. 

The property management Industry is not just about leasing homes for big investors, it’s about placing suitable tenants in suitable homes and ensuring they have the support they need to succeed. The Doorway program helps people who have withdrawn from society and withdrawn from their own lives, a chance to start again with full support and backing to make good choices and set up good rental habits. 

We back Doorway because we have seen the positive effects it has had on a number of participants and how the program has brought people to regional Victoria and helped them get back into a community. I truly believe in this one quote: ‘Be the change you want to see in the wold’. Kindness, compassion and support go a long way. 

Jess Barr
Senior Property Manager, Harcourts Warragul