FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHY IS THIS PROPERTY PERFECT FOR THE FIRST HOME PROJECT?
Jarrod, Teresa and Tyson know the property in Midland is the perfect place for their first home.
The house on the property has enough bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens for three families at a time, meaning they can invite some of our newest Australians to come live with them, too. The house is within walking distance of the town centre and hospital and is close to public transport. It offers refugees the opportunity to be close to employment opportunities. It is also close to beautiful parklands.
The property itself is large (3265sqm). The First Home Project includes plans to develop a community garden on the land. And, the crazy, bold thinking visionary in the family has even thrown out the idea that the double block could be used to build sustainable units to provide even more affordable, accessible housing for our newest Australians in the future.
WHO ARE OUR NEWEST AUSTRALIANS?
As Pop Allan, Aboriginal elder, said: “We need to welcome our newest Australians and give them a fair go.”
Our newest Australians are those who have recently been granted refugee status and are beginning their new lives in Australia.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FOR OUR NEWEST AUSTRALIANS?
They face many challenges as they begin their new lives in Australia. Perth has a housing crisis with a shortage of properties for rent, leaving many of our newest Australians unable to access affordable accommodation. Refugees often face challenges securing stable employment opportunities as they may have poor English, they may be unskilled, or their qualifications may not be recognised in Australia. They can also find it difficult to build networks in their local communities and may end up being very isolated.
HOW WILL THE FIRST HOME PROJECT BE RUN?
‘We’re giving a moral guarantee that this is a good bet.’ Father Bob Maguire
Rev. Tim Costello and Father Bob Maguire believe in the First Home Project and in Jarrod and Teresa. Jarrod and Teresa have the skills, the experience and the passion to ensure The First Home Project will be a success. To ensure the project is as effective as possible, Jarrod and Teresa will establish an Advisory Board to support them with the additional knowledge and skills they need. They will develop partnerships with community groups and they have already secured legal, accounting and other professional services.
After Sunday, the 12th of August, when we’ve reached our $600,000 goal, our financial plan will be updated.
This will be overseen by an accountant and all loan arrangements will be independently audited. The loan repayments will be through the rental return on the three units on the property.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT THE FIRST HOME PROJECT?
The bank said no to our home loan. We could walk away and forget all of this , but, we are not prepared to let our vision be determined by others. With the encouragement we have received to date, and your support now, together we can all make this happen.
Jarrod, Teresa and Tyson invite you to practically show your love for our newest Australians by supporting the First Home Project.
You can financially support the First Home Project by giving to the project, or you can ‘Be the Bank’ and lend money to contribute towards the $600,000 Jarrod, Teresa and Tyson need by Sunday, 12th of August.
You can also support the First Home Project by sharing Jarrod, Teresa and Tyson’s story and being a part of the conversation on twitter #firsthomeproject.
WHO DO I CONTACT FOR MORE INFORMATION?
To find out more about the First Home Project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
WHO DO I CONTACT ABOUT MEDIA?
Jarrod and Teresa are available for interview. If you’d like to do a piece on the First Home Project, please email email@example.com
CAN I CONTRIBUTE IN OTHER WAYS TOO?
Of course! But please give us a couple of weeks before contacting.Yes we would value every form of involvement but our first priority has been focussed on raising the money so that we can continue to press forward. We now have a building project manager who is going to donate his time and is drawing up a schedule of work.
SO, WHO IS THE FIRST HOME PROJECT TEAM?
The team consists of four individuals (Teresa and Jarrod with Jarrod’s parents Bernie and Faye) and a brilliant team of very talented specialists in many areas providing enormous support pro bono.
So no big team of paid professionals… just a small family with great support from people who share this vision. (You know who you are THANK YOU SO MUCH!!)
WHAT LEGAL PROTECTION DO THOSE GIVING LOANS HAVE?
This has been addressed through the legal loan agreement (drawn up by an accountant/lawyer and checked by the auditor who will undertake the independent audit reviews of all loans and the ongoing loan management) which has gone out to those who have expressed an interest in supporting this project through a loan. It’s clearly stated in writing what the conditions are and what the responsibilities are for both parties. It’s also obvious from the interest rate being offered that we are not in the process of attracting commercial lenders – they can do much better from a financial point of view on just about any other project. The feedback has been very positive and the agreement seems to have addressed the necessary questions. The legal, accounting and auditing advice has been provided probono by a group of very experienced specialists in their individual areas.
CAN WE STAY UPDATED?
Of course! 🙂 While we appreciate some people have wanted to be anonymous, those who have left details would have had at least one personal response already. It is important to Teresa and Jarrod to be completely transparent throughout the whole process. There are no administrative or professional service costs (thank you everyone for donating your services!!) involved in this project – every donated dollar is going to specific work that will make a difference for refugee families.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN TERESA AND JARROD SELL UP?
Wow, we are all still in the whirlwind of the planning for all of this and the minute by minute intensity of bringing together finances. There are no plans for Teresa and Jarrod to sell their dream. The idea of a succession plan will be explored well in advance with our Advisory Board. Given our emphasis on training young people, in particular in leadership development, and the increasing interest in supporting refugees, we have no doubt that we will be handing over to people really appropriate to continue this work. However, the work will have evolved at that time.
WILL JARROD AND TERESA STAND TO PROFIT FROM ALL OF THIS?
Sure… but financial gain is in no way a motivation. It has been an emotional roller coaster with many ups and a few downs, especially the run of ‘No’s’ from the banks. The main benefit for them has been to see the level of support that they have received and the immense generosity from so many people. Facebook and Twitter represent only some of the feedback. The personal phone calls and emails have been amazing. Regarding the idea of Teresa and Jarrod making a profit out of this venture, well we have had some interesting comments on this from those who know Jarrod &Teresa from: “Jarrod &Teresa wouldn’t know what a ‘profit’ is” to: “how did they overcome their phobia of owning anything to even think about a mortgage?.” We should say though that they purchased their one car a while ago so they do own something! Without exception the banks were amazed that here was a couple that do not own a credit card and have no debt of any other kind. Apparently this is extremely rare. Teresa and Jarrod have no interest in an investment opportunity. In fact because of Jarrod’s commitment to working with the disenfranchised, in 20042005 he chose to work part time in a role which paid less than the Australian poverty line and chose not to claim Centrelink benefits while volunteering the rest of his week to responding to those in need. This information is provided simply to demonstrate that financial gain is not a feature of Jarrod and Teresa’s way of life. We will continue to work closely with our Advisory Board once the financials are resolved and we fully understand all the financial implications, and develop an appropriate model to ensure this work will continue for the long term. There are many models out there but none fit perfectly with what we are trying to do here. Our legal and accounting advisors will continue to explore options to best manage this as we move forward. In the mean time, Jarrod &Teresa will continue to invest their time and substantial energy into making this work. Teresa, as a professional Social Worker, will be available outside of her present part time job to support the families and to liaise with other key agencies. One of the challenges with community development models is that the decision making is not all from the top down, but engages participants in the process to ensure the best outcomes. We are not criticising other models, be they charities or whatever, but they are not the model we are developing at this stage, but who knows in the future.
WHY DO REFUGEES NEED TO PAY RENT WHY NOT FREE ACCOMMODATION?
Through our consultations with the organisations working specifically with migrants and refugees along with the research we have done regarding the specific barriers identified to accessing private housing, the overwhelming message is that one of the key barriers is not having a rental history and therefore not being able to attract a rental reference. This is a serious disadvantage. One of our potential partners for referrals is an agency, which actually prepares clients specifically to address rental requirements, house inspections, meeting landlord requirements etc. Our model will provide families the opportunity to maximise this learning.
WHY WE HAVE NOT SET OURSELVES UP AS A REGISTERED CHARITABLE TRUST OR SIMILAR?
This is Teresa and Jarrod’s way of life that they have been doing for years and years and have never seen it as “charity”.
If they had received a home loan they would have continued doing this without people knowing and it not being a big deal. The reality is that this property has emerged in response to us as individuals seeking to find alternative ways to respond to the impact of the housing crisis in Perth, specifically for refugees. We didn’t anticipate finding the perfect place for what we wanted to do so soon and it has raised interesting questions about what structures can support how Teresa and Jarrod have made love practical for people. Given the short time frame and the urgency to secure the property (there was a cash offer competing against us), we are continuing to explore various structures for the longer term. Our particular interest relates to models which express a “hand up rather than merely a hand out” approach.