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August 30, 2016

Media Release: Grants program provides $31.2 million benefit to disadvantaged South Australians

A report into a grants program set-up by one of the State’s largest philanthropic funds, The Wyatt Trust, has found it has benefited low income and disadvantaged South Australians to the sum of $31.2 million in the last eight years.

The report, titled ‘A Home for All’ and conducted by the University of South Australia, found the Initiative Fund Grants program set-up in 2008 had created far reaching benefits for South Australians, which in economic terms equated to six times the initial $5.2 million investment.

In social terms, the report found the main impacts for beneficiaries included the capacity to find and remain in employment, the ability to escape violence in the home, improved mental and physical health, the reduced risk of suicide and the capacity to stabilise housing circumstances.

The findings will be announced at the launch of the report to be held at Wyatt Hall at Pulteney Grammar School at 11am on Monday, 29 August 2016.

The grants program consists of three main elements all based around providing secure housing for disadvantaged South Australians, which in-turn enables them to realise much broader benefits. They include:

  • Home purchase – a partnership with HomeStart Finance which provides no-interest loans of up to $10,000 to low income households to help them purchase a home.
  • Rental subsidy – a partnership with multiple not-for-profit organisations where grants of $20,000-30,000 are provided to low-income households to be used as a rental subsidy.
  • Home establishment package – a partnership with multiple not-for-profit organisations to provide grants of between $1000 – $2500 to individuals and households who have been homeless to purchase essential items for their new homes.

Chief Executive Officer of The Wyatt Trust, Paul Madden, said the report highlighted that every element of the grants program had delivered a positive impact that far exceeded the initial financial investment.

In particular, he said the Home Purchase partnership with HomeStart Finance had delivered benefits more than 24 times the investment.

“Most pleasing for me, is the fact that the economic and social benefits have been directly delivered to some of the most disadvantaged within the South Australian community,” he said.

“Homelessness and poverty are major challenges in South Australia, and compared with other Australian states, we have an over-representation of low-income groups and a higher percentage of people reliant on income from the Government.

“Many low income South Australians are trapped by a combination of circumstances that make housing unaffordable, yet we know that there are so many social benefits that housing provides for individuals and families.

“The grants program aims to provide pathways to help homeless, low-income and disadvantaged South Australians find secure housing and help them realise the benefits associated with having a permanent roof over their heads.

“It is extremely satisfying to receive independent validation that the grant initiatives we have put in place are having such widespread social and economic benefits.”

HomeStart Finance’s Chief Executive Officer John Oliver said the partnership with The Wyatt Trust was addressing one of the most significant social issues facing the South Australian community.

“Housing affordability is one of the most significant social issues we are facing and for many low-income households, the barriers to owning a home often feel insurmountable,” he said.

“The no-interest Wyatt Loan reduces the upfront amount required by low-income households, releasing a significant amount of pressure on the household budget and bringing home ownership within reach.

“For recipients of a Wyatt Loan, it has enabled them to break out of the rental cycle and achieve the financial security and independence associated with buying a home.”

The full report can be downloaded from http://wyatt.org.au/publications/