The Victorian Government is currently reviewing the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) 1997 which ensures people have access to safe and secure housing. Victoria currently has 1.2 million people renting privately and is seeing increasing numbers due to the housing affordability crisis.
The length of time since the last RTA review, alongside the increase in rental demand in Victoria, leads to some important considerations in this reform. Among these is the assurance that the most vulnerable population groups, such as those experiencing homelessness and mental illness, or people with a disability, are afforded fair rights within the RTA to sustain a safe and secure home.
The Doorway program, delivered by Wellways Australia, works alongside real estate agents to support people, who are homeless with a mental illness, to access the private rental market. The program supports participants to secure and maintain long term tenancies in the community, providing individuals with the skills and education about their rights as a tenant, alongside supporting their recovery.
Jess, from Harcourts Real Estate in Warragul, reports: “Working with Doorway has been excellent. Some of the outcomes we notice for people in Doorway include seeing them in the community more often, having them come in and see us, and paying their rent independently. It’s great to see people’s confidence grow, and I believe we are changing people’s lives”.
Tash, a participant in the Doorway program, sums up her feelings: “Home means a place where you feel like you belong.”
The support from the REA and Doorway staff is important to participants in the program as it provides them with housing security for the future and a sense of ownership over their home. Some of the components which have led to the success of the Doorway program are clear communication and understanding between the participant and the REA and flexibility for people’s needs.
The Doorway team is committed to strong advocacy for more affordable rent and regulation, benefitting people on low incomes, and greater support to access flexible funding to secure rental properties. A petition for #MakeRentingFair can be accessed here.