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Lawyers step up to help The Big Issue tackle Australia’s housing shortage

23 September 2015 | Australia, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
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Herbert Smith Freehills is providing its legal expertise as part of a new initiative that aims to help tackle Australia’s social and affordable housing shortage.

Launched this week by social enterprise The Big Issue, the Homes for Homes initiative will see homeowners and organisations, including developer Grocon, pledge to donate 0.1% of property sales.

Overall the initiative has the potential to raise more than A$1.8 billion, with the money raised used to construct homes in areas of greatest need, such as emergency housing for women and children and specialised youth housing centres.

Acting pro bono, Herbert Smith Freehills is advising The Big Issue on various aspects of the initiative which involves property owners placing a caveat on the title, pledging the donation from the proceeds of sale.

David Sinn, Herbert Smith Freehills Partner and Head of Real Estate Australia/Asia said the initiative had the potential to fund the construction of thousands of homes.

“In the face of a serious affordable housing shortage, Homes for Homes will allow business and home owners to give back to the community and help accommodate vulnerable Australians who are in need of safe and stable housing,” Mr Sinn said.

“Herbert Smith Freehills is proud to be part of this initiative by providing The Big Issue with exceptional legal services to help make Homes for Homes a success.

“This is a significant cross-sector collaboration. As part of the initiative, Grocon will donate 0.1% of sales from residential apartment sales at various Australian development projects. This includes the 700 apartments in its Swanston Square and Bouverie Street Melbourne residential projects, as well as the 183 apartments in its 85 Spring Street project in Melbourne’s CBD.”

The Big Issue and Homes for Homes CEO Steven Persson said: “We strongly believe that solving our critical lack of social and affordable housing cannot sit with one government or organisation alone, but requires the entire Australian community to be part of the solution. Homes for Homes is a sustainable, long-term solution that will benefit all Australians by giving future generations access to safe, secure and affordable accommodation.”

Mr Sinn said the firm’s work for the Homes for Homes initiative was another indication of Herbert Smith Freehills’ strong pro bono cultu