A private sector initiative to help decrease Australia’s rate of homelessness has received the backing of Quest Apartment Hotels, with the serviced apartment operator urging the rest of the industry to join the fight to increase availability of affordable short-term housing.
The push is led by Housing All Australians (HAA), an organisation founded by former Frasers Property Australia General Manager, Robert Pradolin, who is working to mobilise support from the business community into repurposing vacant buildings into short-term housing.
The organisation seeks to draw on under-utilised real estate and vacant buildings awaiting outcomes on council development applications which may take years to run their course by temporarily engaging them as short-term pop-up shelters and emergency housing.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the country’s current homeless rate stands at more than 116,000 who won’t have a roof over their heads this Christmas. Women aged 55 and over have been identified as the fastest-rising demographic experiencing homelessness. The wider problem is being exacerbated by low-income earners being unable to keep up with rising rental prices, according to a report from the Grattan Institute.
Quest has agreed to support Housing All Australians both financially and by providing loose furniture items, while legal firms Norton Rose Fulbright and Chambers & Partners are providing pro bono legal and accounting advice.
Quest Apartment Hotels Chief Operating Officer, David Mansfield – who will help drive assistance from the accommodation industry – said it was in the industry’s best interests to ensure all Australians have a roof over their head, regardless of whether they were rich or poor.
“Our staff are seeing more cases of homelessness in their communities and more have started to raise their concerns. This is a national issue.
“Quest is a family business at its core, so social issues are addressed directly by senior leadership. We cannot wait for government any longer, the private sector needs to work together to provide shelter for all Australians,” Mansfield added.
Housing All Australians was established as a registered Australian charity in 2019 and has already established one pop-up shelter in Melbourne. More on the organisation’s initiative is detailed in this video.