Eighteen homes built by “My Home” in North Fremantle were completed in June 2023 and a delighted group of homeless older women moved in over the next few months.  Rotary gave every new resident a welcome pack which included food and toiletries. 
“My Home” is a local not-for-profit organisation which is building small affordable homes for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.  They are using a new housing development model in WA using a public private partnership system.  
State government, Local governments and Church bodies make land available for free; corporate Australia funds construction of the houses; Rotary furnishes and equips the houses; and a community housing provider (CHP) manages the property and the tenants. 
The first “My Home” housing development was completed in North Fremantle in June 2023. The homes are for women over 55, who are the fastest growing group of people who are homeless in Australia.  These women have found themselves in this situation for a number of reasons. Often, they cannot find work because of their age, they have lost confidence in re-entering the workforce after being a stay-at-home mum or feel they are too old to retrain. They have negligible superannuation, no assets and without a partner.  
These women are often called the ‘hidden homeless’ because they are not always sleeping on the streets, instead sleeping in their car, couch surfing or staying in a garage or shed of friends and family or moving between temporary hostel-type accommodation.
The “My Home” houses are constructed using a prefabricated timber panel system manufactured in Kewdale by Offsite Construction. The panels are delivered to the site complete with insulation, thermal membranes, double glazed windows and external cladding. This saves significant time, reduces weather delays and minimises the amount of on-site waste. Precision and quality control are also to a very high standard because of the factory’s digital production system.
Prefabrication means that the structure of the houses can be done in parallel with the earthworks and foundation work. The construction process is fast-tracked because as each house is erected, trades can begin their work rather than wait for each stage to be totally completed before the next trades can begin as is traditional practice.
Simultaneously, the foundations are installed.  Instead of concrete footings, "My Home" is using Surefoot footings which are a very cleverly designed system with high strength steel pile caps. Surefoot has donated the caps and we thank them for their generous contribution. 
The prefabricated panels are delivered to site much like an IKEA flat pack. Each house can then be erected in half a day.  At North Fremantle, the panels were delivered and erected in September.
As each house is erected, the roof sheeting is fixed and the houses are then at ‘lock up’.  Plumber, electrician, plasterer, painter, cabinetmaker and floor coverings can then proceed. Highbury Homes is the builder overseeing all work.
Following completion of construction, the community was landscaped with vegetable gardens, fruit trees, barbecue and an outdoor living area. There are no fences between the houses, the planting of shrubs creates small front yards for each house.  Rotary then brought in furniture and homewares to turn each house into a home.
Rotary undertook to support this project and make these houses into homes by providing furniture and household items.   Fund raising occurred for two years to raise the funds needed for the first 18 homes.  Our Club helped to initiative Rotary’s involvement in “My Home” and has raised more funds to date for the Rotary Supporting “My Home” project that any other Club.
“My Home” has been set up by Michelle Blakeley who was frustrated and ashamed by the lack of response by Federal and State governments to the homelessness situation in WA.   
The three fundamentals of “My Home” are to reduce the cost of the housing by sourcing free land; all housing development is to Housing First principles; and that everyone deserves a home which is designed and built to a high standard of performance, energy efficiency, comfort and enjoyment - people experiencing homelessness are no exception.
Housing First is widely accepted as Best Practice for helping people out of homelessness. It has been demonstrated to have at least 80% success rate, i.e. people do not regress back to homelessness.  As the name suggests, Housing First starts with providing a long-term house and the resident has access to wrap around support services. A Housing First approach is different to traditional 'treatment first' approaches, where people progress through a series of programs with expectations that they have addressed any substance use, living and social skills, or mental health issues before accessing long-term housing.
“My Home” has obtained commitments for several further plots of land for additional housing which are at various stages of development around Perth and in regional WA.  The next developments are planned for Carlisle and Albany.