How the PIF House Program is changing the lives of Melbourne’s at-risk and homeless youth.

05 October 2021

The job of tackling youth homelessness is a big one. But with the help of friends throughout the property and construction industry donating time, materials, and expertise, the Property Industry Foundation and Frasers Property are making a difference one home at a time.

Home. House. Property. Pad. Digs. Dwelling. Residence. These are many different words, each used to describe what is in its most basic form, a shelter. The word may immediately conjure up thoughts of beach shacks built with bamboo and palm fronds, but there’s a little more to it.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a commonly referenced psychological theory that suggests having one’s basic needs met is a necessary prerequisite to pursuing a fulfilling life. In this hierarchy, shelter – along with food, water, and sleep – is positioned as the most basic need for a human being.

Yet over 43,500 young Australians are spending the most critical developmental period of their lives without a safe place to lay their heads at night.

It’s why Frasers Property Australia have partnered with the Property Industry Foundation (PIF) and the Lighthouse Foundation to construct a home for at-risk and homeless young people in the Melbourne suburb of Clayton.

As a transitional home, the Clayton PIF House is a safe haven and stepping-stone on the path to a brighter future for young people transitioning from crisis accommodation. Having a place to call home helps with establishing a routine and getting back to school or going on to further education. It adds up to having a better chance of gaining employment and more permanent and secure housing in the long run.

The home is the third house that Frasers Property Australia has helped to build for the Property Industry Foundation, with homes already constructed in Blacktown, NSW and Bonbeach, VIC. It’s also the second as part of the national PIF House Program, established in 2017.

Beyond four walls and a roof, the home provides its residents with live-in carers and counsellors who can provide round the clock support, mentoring, and life skills to help rebuild young lives and transition residents into independent living.

“Our expertise is in building places people can call home, but we know that not everybody is able to access a safe and secure home environment,” says Sarah Bloom, General Manager Development at Frasers Property. “Rising levels of homelessness are really concerning and it’s up to those in the community, including developers like us, to be a part of the solution.”

Simon Benjamin, CEO of Lighthouse Foundation says that the home’s potential impact on young lives cannot be understated. “Young people come here with nowhere to live, which means they can’t focus on things like school or employment,” explains Benjamin. “Once they’re settled here, we can then help them overcome the difficulties of their past in order to have a brighter future.”

Over its lifetime, the home will see 50-60 young people pass through its doors, each one awarded the time, attention, dedication, care and opportunities they need to grow and flourish both within themselves and in society.

For Development Director, Alex Newell, the project is a great example of the company’s commitment to causes it can meaningfully contribute to. “To be able to be part of a team that delivers a place for young people to feel safe in a secure and supportive home is a source of great pride to me personally. It’s a really tangible example of the Frasers Property commitment to social responsibility and giving back to the community.”

PIF House Clayton is expecting to welcome residents in late 2021.

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