Last year was a landmark year for the Property Industry Foundation. Five years ago the Foundation sharpened its focus on one core program – our building program that builds homes for homeless youth. It’s with great pride that by the end of 2021 we completed 21 bedrooms and so we were able to say that in the past five years we have built 100 bedrooms for homeless youth. That is an extra 100 bedrooms available tonight for homeless youth. For some, it will offer refuge for a night, for others for a year, but for everyone who lays their head down to rest in those rooms, it provides a chance to have an ordinary life.
The Foundation has also distributed over $30 million to front line services since 1996. These results confirm that the property and construction industry is having an impact on the lives of our most vulnerable youth.
25 years is a milestone for any business. In a world rocked by volatility, charities need to be lean and agile, able to respond to events by cutting costs and pivoting to new opportunities. At the same time as a for-purpose business, we can never lose sight of why we exist, and why you support us, which is to change the lives of the most vulnerable.
Last year, like the rest of the world, the Foundation faced many challenges. Flagship events were cancelled again, homes that we planned to build were postponed and we juggled different lockdowns and regulations across the states.
But what sustained us, and what has sustained us since covid-19 began, were two things. One is the depth of support that we receive from the industry. Despite tough times, we start in 2022 with more supporters than we have ever had as the industry has rallied to us and the cause of youth homelessness. The second was the impact we have had – and the impact that we know we can have. 100 bedrooms over 5 years has been no easy task, and our impact is accelerating. To date the total of bedrooms we have built since 1996 is 229.
The property and construction industry has a significant role to play in ending youth homelessness. This is not just in the provision of accommodation – although that remains our focus – it is also in the development of policies and partnerships with government and the for-purpose sector that will bring about the day where every young person has a safe and secure place to sleep.
Despite the trials and tribulations of the last two years, we are optimistic about this year – and the next 25. The Foundation is a very different organisation to what it was when we started. Now we operate in 3 states, have over 110 steadfast corporate partners, and have an expanding and visible footprint in ending youth homelessness. This year we celebrate the future with a new brand – we will always be the Property Industry Foundation but our key homebuilding program is now known as The Haven Project, to give a better idea of what we are trying to achieve.
The Foundation is a unique industry-wide collaboration that has achieved a lot in the last 25 years. However, there is much more to do, and the Foundation is as hungry for change as it ever has been. With your help we are making a difference to the lives of homeless youth. Let’s not stop now