Industry & Trade |
Kay Hamilton & Associates


MEDIA UPDATE: October 3rd 2016



Property Initiatives Real Estate which was launched one year ago in Melbourne, is a social enterprise, full service, for profit Real Estate Agency, where ALL THE PROFITS, must be directed to Women’s Property Initiatives, a non-profit organisation which provides safe, secure, good quality, long term, affordable rental housing for disadvantaged women and their children.

WPI achieves this by working with the private, public and non-government sectors to develop high quality, safe and affordable housing where rent is charged at no more than 75% of the market rent.

In its twentieth anniversary year this year, Women’s Property Initiatives owns a total of 68 homes tenanted to 180 women and children with a net worth of well over $20 million.

Kristy Looney, Manager of Property Initiatives Real Estate, reports that after the first year of operation, PIRE is running a successful social enterprise business model and currently has a portfolio of 93 properties on its rental roll. PIRE continues to receive good support from other real estate agencies and enjoys much success in managing investment properties for clients.

Jeanette Large, CEO of Women’s Property Initiatives and Property Initiatives Real Estate, is pleased to announce that WPI was recently a finalist in the Telstra Business Awards: Charity Category, was successful in obtaining funding from the family violence rapid rehousing grant whose contribution will give an additional seven properties over the next nine months - and that WPI continues to receive private and business support from the community.

Jeanette has also announced that WPI is in the process of piloting an innovation for older women who are homeless with a view to providing safe, secure and affordable accommodation, utilizing their own equity. Please see attachment for details.

Also attached are bios for Jeanette and Kristie

For more information, please contact: Kay Hamilton, Publicist, 0417 504 559 or Kristie Looney, Property Initiatives: 0430 106 695


After research undertaken looking at the Older Women and housing/homelessness issue, it became evident that there was a group of women who were struggling in the Private Rental Market due to a low income (usually the Aged Pension), who were not eligible for Social Housing as they had assets over $30,000, but who were dwindling those assets away on rent, utility costs due to inefficient appliances, often living in substandard housing and who had no security of tenure. 

Determining a way to use the equity these women had to provide them with safe, secure, good quality affordable housing and to increase supply was the task that WPI decided to take on. 

The project is to pilot a shared equity home ownership scheme between Women’s Property Initiatives (WPI), a community housing provider, and individual women over 55 years of age. 

The issue of an ageing community, together with women’s comparative poverty in older age, is contributing to an ever-increasing number of women finding themselves in housing stress and facing potential homelessness. 

A significant number of women have built up assets over their lifetime, but live on limited incomes and do not own their own homes, so are subject to increasing  unaffordability and insecurity of tenure in private rental properties. 

It will enable them to purchase an equity stake in their housing, pay an affordable rent or service charge to WPI for the share of the property that they do not own, and preserve the value of their capital investment. 

In this way, WPI expects that this project will also increase supply, by bringing existing funds into the housing construction market, matched with debt funds and subsidies as required. 

The project is designed as an early intervention strategy to help prevent older women with some assets but no home from falling into housing stress and potential homelessness due to lack of affordability and insecurity of tenure in private rental housing. 

Older women who have assets above the $30,000 threshold are not eligible for social housing, so are confined to the private rental market regardless of its affordability. This sets up the situation where their assets are dwindling away and creates the potential for housing stress as these assets deplete over time. 

The project aims to provide these older women with an alternative, using their assets to enter into home ownership jointly with a community-housing provider. 

This will provide security of tenure for the female purchasers at an affordable rate and preserve the value of the assets they currently have, subject to normal price  volatility in the housing market.

Jeanette Large - CEO, Company Secretary of WPI and Property Initiatives Real Estate 

Jeanette joined WPI as Development Manager in September 2005 and became Chief Executive Officer in 2009. With a Bachelor of Behavioural Science and a Graduate Diploma in Business Management, Jeanette has extensive experience across the housing sector: from running refuges and local housing groups to management roles in government departments. 

Jeanette’s position prior to joining WPI was managing a women’s homelessness support service for nine years in the Northern suburbs of Melbourne. 

Under Jeanette’s leadership, WPI’s housing stock has significantly increased. By working innovatively with public, corporate and non-government partners, Jeanette has increased the organisation’s size and influence. 

Jeanette facilitated WPI’s certification as a registered Housing Agency and has moved WPI into a highly visible space in the government and public arenas, through constant advocacy for more affordable housing for women and their children. 

More recently, Jeanette facilitated the development of a Social Enterprise Real Estate Agency created to provide a revenue stream to WPI so they can build more housing for women and children in need. Property Initiatives Real Estate opened its doors in April 2015 and is proving to be a successful business. 

Kristie Looney - Officer in Effective Control & Business Development Manager Property Initiatives Real Estate 

Kristie Looney is the Officer in Effective Control and Business Development Manager of Property Initiatives, a social enterprise real estate agency, established by its not-for-profit partner organisation Women’s Property Initiatives. 

She is a licensed estate agent with more than 15 years’ experience in the Melbourne residential property market including an extensive career in residential property management and leasing. 

Kristie has had a diverse career working across the housing sector and in depth knowledge about both social housing and the private residential sector. With a Bachelor of Social Science, and a Masters in Urban Planning, Kristie has a passion for the role housing plays in shaping economically viable, socially just and healthy communities. Kristie has played a vital role in the social enterprise since its inception. 

As the Social Enterprise Team Leader, Kristie was key to ensuring the successful completion of the Social Traders Crunch Program - a highly accomplished six-month intensive incubation program for start-up social enterprises. 

She has continued to be instrumental in shaping the business plan model and securing investment to be able to launch the agency in April 2015.