Bhutanese battlers find home away from home in Adelaide’s north

Numbering just 250 families, one of South Australia’s smallest migrant groups will celebrate an enormous milestone in Adelaide’s northern suburbs on Saturday, 21 June. HomeStart Finance will celebrate with its 100 Bhutanese clients who sought loans from the company to buy their first home.

Members of Adelaide’s Bhutanese community will come together to mark 100 families that have made it into home ownership through South Australian lender HomeStart.

Coinciding with National Refugee Week, the milestone event will see the Bhutanese community gather for an afternoon of Bhutanese dancing, song and food.

Chairperson of the Bhutanese Australian Association of South Australia (BAASA) Kamal Dahal said while it might not sound like a large number, given the small size of the community and the hardships they’ve faced in the last two decades, it was a huge achievement.

“Home ownership remains an important goal because many of Adelaide’s Bhutanese community were homeless and stateless for two decades,” he said.

“HomeStart has helped many members of the Bhutanese community on limited incomes to buy a house of their own by offering its range of unique home loans.”

HomeStart’s Chief Executive Officer John Oliver said a seminar with five members of the Bhutanese community a few years ago led to a steady stream of home loan applications that has continued to grow over time.

“Having a roof over our heads is something that many Australians take for granted,” he said.

“Many of our Bhutanese customers never dreamed they could achieve the goal of home ownership, but they are proof of what can be achieved when government, local councils and other groups work together to cater to all migrant groups.

“The innovative home loans that HomeStart offers all South Australians, such as low deposit options and those that boost borrowing capacity, have provided a step-up for the Bhutanese community into home ownership.

“HomeStart is extremely proud of the role we’ve played in supporting the Bhutanese community in South Australia, helping more than 100 families purchase their own home.”

Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion, the Hon. Zoe Bettison, said South Australia’s migrant intake had increased significantly in the last decade.

“We’ve seen a steady rise in the number of migrants settling in South Australia over the last 10 years driven by the educational opportunities and the lower cost of living compared to other Australian state capitals,” she said.

“Whether it’s through refugee resettlement or migration, housing plays a vital role in helping new Australians integrate into their community and find financial security.

“Many newly arrived migrant families don’t meet the necessary requirements for a home loan as they are still establishing a credit history and that’s where the state government, through HomeStart Finance, is able to assist.

“The success of home lending to the Bhutanese community is a testament to our strategic objectives to make South Australia an affordable place to live in safe, happy and healthy neighbourhoods.”

HomeStart’s current loan portfolio is made up of customers from more than 102 countries, including the United Kingdom, India, Afghanistan, Bhutan, the Philippines, New Zealand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Sudan.

Note: HomeStart Finance will celebrate the 100 Bhutanese Loans milestone at the Khmer Buddhist Hall on Salisbury Highway on Saturday, 21 June between 12-2pm. Yuba Sansar show aired from Radio Adelaide will have special interview with General Manager of the HomeStart Finance Andrew Mills on its show on Sunday (22 June).

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