How Lismore realtor is helping with rental crisis
ROBERT McLennan is combining his two passions ‒ real estate and helping others ‒ to make a difference for vulnerable people in Lismore.
The long-time realtor is offering more than just accommodation at his newly revamped Tatts Hotel by offering tenants who are doing it tough or struggling to find a rental property extra support.
"The 24 rooms are being rented and offered to people who are coming out of bad situations from Women Up North and other agencies," Mr McLennan said.
"We are helping people suffering from trauma or anxiety, or people who have just come out of treatment for drug and alcohol abuse.
"We are taking in people that may not usually be able to rent. and providing a safe, secure place to live.
"We have a wide diversity of people from all different backgrounds, but we are like a huge family."
He said he was supporting tenants by offering counselling and a listening ear.
"We have helped to turn some people around," he said.
"I'm not a trained counsellor, but I try.
"After 40 years in the real estate industry I'm used to helping people and I enjoy it. Offering this support felt the natural thing to do.
"I'm giving some of the tenants employment opportunities too, my new real estate trainee is a young fellow living here."
He said the ongoing rental crisis had "a lot to do with what he was offering at the hostel."
"There is a need for this supported accommodation service in Lismore," he said.
"We try and help anybody we can."
With the aim to create a family atmosphere for residents, Mr McLennan said they did not and would not tolerate any drug use at the hostel.
He said there would be a screening process and tenants would get a thorough rundown of the house rules, which must be followed.