Creativity is one of the strongest traits of the Jubilee Parish in West Brisbane. Recognising the challenge that young families, in particular, go through with first-time home ownership, a West Brisbane Catholic came up with a brilliant solution to help them acquire their own house. In 2008, they launched the Head Start Program. By 2017, the parish has already helped three families and aspires to help more in the coming years.
A Fateful Donation
The Head Start Program is all about giving people a head start in home ownership. It all started with Mrs Quinn, a Bardon parishioner who endowed her house to the parish in 2008. The eponymously named Quinn house has since become a haven for families seeking living assistance, as they struggle to find a place to stay, while saving up to find a home within their means.
How Does it Work?
The Head Start Program allows a family to move into Quinn house for a certain period of time, paying rent within their means. There may be an optional rent increase, depending on the family’s budget. Once the rent is up, the family gets back everything they paid for, which they can use as a deposit to buy their own house.
While in the program, the family must nurture and preserve a relationship with the parish community. The parish covers Bardon and other nearby suburbs such as Ashgrove, Paddington, Newmarket, Petrie Terrace, Red Hill and Herston.
Alex and Yenny Malaver plus Gabriel, their son, are the third family from Colombia who has taken advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Alex, who is still studying, really thought at first that it would be impossible for them to get their own house right away. All of that changed when they came across the parish newsletter that contained details about the Quinn House. They spent three years in the house and finally, last month, they were able to pay the downpayment for a house in Herston.
Fr Peter Brannelly, the Jubilee parish priest stresses that they do not only accommodate young families. Refugees, pensioners, overseas students, and asylum seekers are welcome.
“The most valuable asset we have as a parish in this part of Brisbane is accommodation and we have consciously tried to be creative with what we have and how we use it,” Fr Brannelly said.
Next month, the parish will start the process of looking for a new family again, to use the Quinn House. Fr Brannelly said that while they honour Mrs Quinn’s generosity, they see the use of her house as an act done “in services of the Gospel.” Mrs Quinn would definitely agree.
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