A new NSW Settlement Partnership project in the Parramatta local government area will help tenants, real estate agents and landlords who are attempting to manage failing tenancies.
The Parramatta Real Estate Engagement Project is a Settlement Innovation Fund initiative implemented by Community Migrant Resource Centre (CMRC) and Settlement Services International (SSI) Housing.
It will help real estate property managers identify tenants who are showing signs of financial stress or are struggling to meet their tenancy obligations so they can refer those tenants for advice and early intervention.
The Settlement Innovation Fund was established within the NSW Settlement Partnership to develop and test new approaches and trial collaborations and partnerships while delivering settlement grants activities.
The Parramatta Real Estate Engagement Project will involve an active collaboration between the community services sector, the real estate industry and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.
It is aimed at recently arrived migrants and humanitarian entrants from CALD backgrounds in the Parramatta LGA who are in the process of establishing themselves in stable housing and employment.
Statistical information from the 2011 Census shows that more than half the population of Parramatta City was born overseas and nearly a third of the population arrived within the last five years.
In addition to assisting tenants to maintain their housing and avoid blacklisting, the project is intended to save landlords the costs of tribunal attendance, unpaid arrears and vacancies while replacement tenants are found.
Benefits will also include reduced pressure on homelessness services.
The project will be guided by a steering committee of non-government and government community service organisations together with advisors from real estate agencies and CALD communities.
The aim is to maintain tenancies through advice and referral — hardship relief or financial counselling — therefore improving access to existing services.
The service model for the Parramatta Real Estate Engagement Project was established in the Macarthur area in 2012 and is still operating successfully. A second service has recently been established in the Blacktown – Penrith area of Western Sydney.