Habitat Homes

Reporter: Graeme Butler

Christine Masson is like many people she just wanted a roof over her head - a place to call home and an end to the rental round-about - "renting was just becoming very competitive it just felt like we were just moving constantly very couple of years I just wanted some security" As a single mum with four kids buying a house seemed about as likely as flying to the moon... but the Melbourne mum is now the proud owner of a house thanks to a remarkable programme called Habitat for humanity - it's about to start in Perth. "I think there's about 65 built in Australia and we're trying to get that off the ground in W.A"

W.A's soaring property market and the spectre of rising interest rates means low income families are becoming less and less likely to ever own their own home - Von Bromilow from Habitat for Humanity in W.A wants to change that for some people at least. To kick off the project in Perth the first step is getting hold of some land and then the building can begin, "it would work initially by someone donating some land and yeah it would be great if somebody rang up and said here you are here's your first block go for it"

The house would be built most by volunteer labour and donated goods - the new owner would receive a no interest loan but be expected to contribute at least $500 and then regular repayments of the capital. They need $500 to start with and then 500 hours of what's called "sweat" equity - Habitat puts you to work. Christine says "painting cleaning up moving material for building the house providing coffee providing morning tea what ever what ever had to be done and if I was capable I did it"

Like many of the people helped into their home, Christine has continued volunteer work with habitat well after her compulsory 500 hours was done, "mainly because it helps the organisation if someone who has been helped to continue supporting them it gives the organisation and the volunteers encouragement to say well we housed her three years later she's back and she helping us again she's coming back because she wants to be here"

Habit for humanity was set up in the 1970's initially to provide housing for the poor - it's global village programme providing shelter in the third world has attracted high profile supporters including Bratt Pitt - but help is also needed right here at home. Christine says "there is poverty all around the world extreme poverty in a lot of third world countries but I believe there is poverty in this country and I think we have to address our own poverty in our own country" The first home to be built in Perth is still a little way off - as is the selection of the first W.A family to benefit - it might only be a small start but you have to start somewhere.

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