A Novel Solution

13 07 2009

By: Arita Liu

This model is using a community–NGO–business-municipality partnership approach to create housing opportunities for homeless individuals.

The novelty of the model lies in two aspects. First, it combines giving circles with real estate agents in creating housing solutions for the homeless. Real estate agents are involved to find potential investors and provide expertise advise on financial services and policies concerning property investment and management. Second, landowners/investors receive a moderate return on a social responsible investment.

By partnering with other NGOs, real estate, communities and municipalities, this model can achieve higher efficiency through the coordination among stakeholders in broader social sectors. By building on the established knowledge of NGOs and churches who are dedicated in helping the homeless and real estate agents who are from a vast business network, it creates a partnering network in which governmental support and communities are involved to help the homeless. Supportive services such as life and social skills development and employment placement through NGOs and communities are provided to ensure that homeless individuals integrate into the society smoothly. Involving supportive services and communities into the model ensures the efficiency and the effectiveness of the solution.

Economically this model is cost-effective. Instead of constructing new buildings, the model adapts to existing housing stock to serve the needs. It also holds an intrinsic value that extends beyond its cost effectiveness. Being housed in normalized accommodation in the community helps the homeless individuals to stabilize and be linked to community-based resources and services more effectively.

The sustainability of the model lies in the fact that there can be many potential funding opportunities. As long as there are well-designed partnering strategies, sustainability can be ensured.

As the British Columbia Housing Service Plan (2003/2004) states, “there has been a significant shift towards providing more community-based subsidized housing to assist those in need of housing and support in order to gain or maintain independence”. This model adds flexibility to homeless housing solutions as to how communities can conceptualize and implement housing solutions for homeless individuals.

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2 responses

13 07 2009
jason493

Just a quick question:

How would you plan to provide incentives for real estate agents to devote their time (which they might prefer to devote to serving clients and earning commission) to scouting for potential investors? Also, which real estate agents would you be planning to target?

20 07 2009
Arita

Hi Jason, thanks for your question! Ideally we hope the real estate agents would keep in mind of our model and our needs, while they are dealing with their clients, they may encounter some clients who have the potentials and are willing to be our investors. I believe real estate agents receive payment for their service from the clients, but I will look it up to make clear how this works. In some sense we are providing incentives by introducing business opportunities for the agents. We will talk to more real estate agents to figure out what other incentives we would be able to provide to them.

For now, we would be targeting to real estate agents who work in Tri-Cities as they are more familiar with the local property bylaws and favorable financial policies.

Thanks again.
Arita

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