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Our CEO Nicole Dwyer standing alongside a Workskil Australia customer Shane, who is the first customer in South Australia to move into his new house, as part of our new pilot program Home2Work.

New Program Launched for Homeless Job Seekers

Workskil Australia launches a new pilot program called Home2Work to address housing insecurity, a major barrier for disadvantaged job seekers. This initiative aims to improve mental health, wellbeing and the ability to find and maintain employment.

20/05/24 Announcements

A new pilot program by Australia’s largest not-for-profit employment services provider aims to break down one of the biggest barriers facing its vulnerable job seekers.

Workskil Australia has today launched Home2Work – a unique non-profit program being trialed in Adelaide and Perth to provide stable housing to disadvantaged customers.

“Our research shows that one in five registered job seekers have experienced homelessness or housing insecurity,” Workskil Australia CEO Nicole Dwyer said.

“That’s up from about one in ten just two years ago, which is a staggering and deeply concerning increase.

“The lack of affordable accommodation and the rental crisis are pushing job seekers out into the streets. It’s got to the stage that, at times, our only option to provide immediate shelter is to give out swags and tents to our clients at the same time as trying to schedule job interviews for them.

“Homelessness is a major impediment to finding and holding down a job.

“People experiencing homelessness report increased instance of mental health challenges, stress and discrimination. For those who land a job, it’s a struggle to maintain employment with one quarter falling out of work within the first six months.”

Under its Home2Work program Workskil Australia is buying homes in Adelaide North and Perth South. The one and two-bedroom homes are being made available to eligible registered Workskil Australia job seekers at below market rents.

In total, it has purchased 20 properties for the initial pilot. Each will be made available on a 12-month lease term, with an option to renew for another year.

Workskil Australia has partnered with not-for-profit housing providers Unity Housing in Adelaide, who will provide additional tenant and property management and social support services to tenants.

“As an innovative community housing provider, Unity Housing is proud to partner with Workskil Australia in the Home2Work Housing Project,” Unity Housing CEO Matthew Woodward said.

“This collaboration highlights our shared mission to enhance lives and strengthen communities by addressing the fundamental need for stable housing. Unity Housing believes that secure and affordable housing serves as a cornerstone for good health, employment opportunities, and social engagement.”

The Home2Work program is understood to be the first time an employment service provider has invested in the private rental market as part of its charitable mission.

“Initially we’re focusing on Adelaide North and Perth South, which have among the highest populations in the country of job seekers and people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity,” Ms Dwyer said.

“We are now assessing applications from prospective tenants and expect to have our first properties occupied over the coming weeks.

“We don’t see the housing crisis as a government-only problem to solve. As a registered charity we believe there is a social obligation for Workskil Australia to do our part. We are piloting this new service to further support our customers find stable housing so they can achieve their education and employment goals”.

“The aim is to also help job seekers transition to more longer-term rental accommodation or their own home. Based on the success of this pilot, we hope to expand our Home2Work service and the number of properties we can make available in the future.”

Workskil Australia customer Shayne is the first to set foot into a new home under the program – a recently built townhouse in Elizabeth Downs.

“It’s quite nice, a bit flash,” he said on his first inspection.

“It’s been a long road struggling being a bloke who doesn’t have a rental record. You don’t even get a look in. It’s not uncommon for me to sleep outside, burrow myself in under a tree and make a good little nest.”

Shayne, 49, who moved from country Victoria to Adelaide and recently secured employment as a hospital orderly, is now looking forward to having his two sons come and stay with him.

“It’s really about having somewhere to relax after a day of work and not have to worry about what noises are outside,” he said. “Workskil has backed me and helped me realise that anything is in reach.”

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