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RentConnect celebrates 10-year anniversary

RentConnect Officers 

Ten years ago this month, RentConnect kicked off as a small two-person trial in Rockhampton and Caboolture.

Now a passionate 10-year veteran of the program, David West was the first RentConnect Officer working out of Rockhampton HSC.

“RentConnect is very person-centred, and that is one of its big strengths,” David says.

 “The program has really grown in leaps and bounds since 2008, and today there are 35 RentConnect officers located in 18 Housing Service Centres.”

David’s background of 10 years in the real estate industry and then seven and a half years working for Anglicare as a community housing manager, was ideal for his new role.

“In the early days we had to do a lot of selling of the product through all the real estate agencies, and we did have to overcome some initial negativity,” David says.

“The first month I was in the role I was just out and about to the 30 or 40 real estate agencies in Central Queensland talking about RentConnect.”

David’s comprehensive knowledge of tenancies and their complexities allows him to anticipate and counter the queries real estate agents may raise.

“Basically, it’s all about trust and communication,” he says. “We had to do our homework as well and propose people who were rent ready to enter the private market and prepared to make a success of it.”

Over the last 10 years, Central Queensland has been hit hard by five natural disasters including cyclones and floods, along with a slow-down in economic growth after the downturn in the commodities and mining sector. 

“That affects people’s ability to pay rent and keep jobs,” David says. “Agencies can refer people to us, people who are struggling, and through RentConnect we can help them to sustain their tenancy.

“For example, when we call up a real estate agency on behalf of a single mum or dad with four or five kids struggling to find somewhere to live and we ask them to look at this family for us, the agents will trust our judgment on that.

“The program works on the trust and communication that we have built up over the years.”

“Another example is a few weeks ago a lady with two children arrived here at the HSC at 9am in tears with various issues and literally nowhere to go. After exhausting all our contacts in emergency housing, we negotiated a place for her and she was in by 2pm the same day. The client has been doing very well ever since.

“That’s the strength of RentConnect,” David says. “This particular agent has been dealing with us from the very beginning, so if we said we had a person we thought was okay, they trusted us.

“We are pretty happy when we can pull those ones off.”

Last updated 25 September 2018    Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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