A Hunter Valley agency is helping to change the lives of victims of domestic violence by providing them with accommodation, helping to create better outcomes for property managers, landlords, tenants and the community.
First National David Haggarty, Maitland, has created a Domestic Violence Rapid Rehousing Partnership, led by managing director Alexandra Haggarty.
REINSW president Leanne Pilkington said that the initiative came about by pure chance.
“Alexandra’s work in helping survivors of domestic violence came about after discovering one of her tenants had been a victim,” the president said.
Ms Pilkington said that the upshot is that Ms Haggarty created a partnership with Carrie’s Place, an organisation that provides domestic violence and homeless services in the Maitland and Lower Hunter areas.
“They developed a formal agreement which set down ground rules and a memorandum of understanding,” Ms Pilkington said.
“This includes having access to case workers for the duration of the tenancy.”
Ms Haggarty said that before a tenant is signed up, there is an open and honest conversation with their case worker and the landlord.
She said that it’s “full disclosure” to the landlord.
“There’s a lot of services that come with domestic violence tenants, so our staff are trained by Carrie’s Place on what’s available, and that helps make the landlord more comfortable.
“They are fully aware of the circumstances for each tenant, and they make the decision to take the tenancy or not.”
Ms Haggarty said that the first domestic violence tenant that the agency housed was one of the best tenants they had ever placed.
“The benefit to the landlord is they get great tenants, as they are grateful to have a roof over their head and a safe place for their kids.
“We’ve had a 100 per cent success rate and had clients move on to second properties, found work and who keep the property in great condition.”
Ms Haggarty also said that the initiative builds trust.
“My husband and I own the business, and we really want to run it in a different way to a lot of traditional real estates.
“We want to give back, increase social responsibility, client service and trust so it adds value. I’m so much more grateful for the life I have, and the marriage I have as well. We’ve got more respect for the open and honest relationship we’ve got and the trust there.”
Ms Haggarty was nominated for the REINSW Awards for Excellence John Greig OAM Community Service award in 2017.
For all specialist homeless services and DV services within NSW, call the domestic violence line on 1800 656 463 or visit www.community.nsw.gov.au/parents.