The State Government has launched a pilot program aimed at helping Aboriginal people in private rental properties who are at risk of losing their tenancies.
Housing and Works Minister Francis Logan said the Private Rental Aboriginal Assistance Loan (PRAAL) scheme would be trialled for 12 months in the metropolitan and Bunbury regions.
“The scheme will help Aboriginal private rental tenants who, due to exceptional circumstances, are unable to pay their rent for a short period and are at risk of losing their tenancy,” Mr Logan said.
“There are many reasons why someone may suffer a short-term financial crisis and for Aboriginal people, this may result from an obligation to support family.
“This loyalty can sometimes result in a short-term inability to meet rental obligations.
“For example, an Aboriginal person may need to contribute towards the cost of a family funeral. This could impact of the person’s financial capacity to pay rent and lead to the possible loss of the tenancy.”
Mr Logan said family members visiting for extended periods of time for medical or cultural reasons could also lead to financial hardship for the host family.
“At the end of 12 months, the scheme will be assessed for its ongoing viability,” the Minister said.
“Naturally, there will be limits to the size of the loan amount and the duration of the loan period.”
Mr Logan said a loan could be approved for a maximum of six weeks’ rental arrears, or a minimum of two weeks. The borrower would have to agree to repay the loan within a year and to attend financial counselling.
The Minister said only one loan was available per household.
“The Gallop Government is committed to keeping people housed,” he said.
“If successful, this pilot program will be an effective way to prevent loss of private rental tenancy and all the negative outcomes that ensue from it.
“It is also expected to save public money in the long term, because when people lose their tenancy, they often become a greater burden on the system.
“Short-term assistance which helps people stay in private rental can reduce pressure on the public housing, welfare and health systems.”
Aboriginal people in private rental in Perth or Bunbury, who meet the criteria for Homeswest income eligibility and who are experiencing difficulty meeting their rental obligations, can contact the Department of Housing and Works on 9476 2444 or visit the city office at 605 Wellington Street, Perth.
Minister's office: 9222 8950