Women's Property Initiatives (WPI) was a finalist in the 2018 HESTA Community Sector Awards.
WPI was recognised for changing the futures of women facing homelessness by providing permanent and affordable homes, access to support networks and ongoing advocacy.
Women’s Property Initiatives works with partners in the private, public and non-government sectors to develop, provide and manage permanent, safe, secure and affordable rental housing for women and children facing homelessness.
WPI currently houses over 200 women and children around Melbourne. The women WPI helps are from all walks and stages of life. They can be victims and survivors of family violence, migrants fleeing conflict in their country of origin or older women who suddenly find themselves without the financial resources to own a home or pay market rents.
Some of their clients include women who through circumstance find themselves living in a boarding house, with relatives or staying on a friend’s couch – often with their children. WPI assists tenants to connect with support services that will help them maintain their long-term housing and they look for innovative ways of financing and improving access to long-term, affordable homes for vulnerable women and children.
A recent initiative was the establishment of a social enterprise real estate agency, Property Initiatives Real Estate. Specialising in property management, the agency returns 100% of its profits to WPI to fund the development of additional housing for women.
They are also piloting a program to address the increase in older women's homelessness, where women with modest assets that prevent them from accessing social housing, can invest to secure an affordable home in the future without depleting their savings in the often expensive private rental market.
From 11 homes in 1996, WPI now owns and manages 83, with an additional 10 to be added in 2019.