Steve Bevington is on a mission to see a world without housing poverty. The founder of Community Housing Limited spent 15 years’ of his life homeless or squatting in abandoned buildings, before moving to Australia to grow what is now Australia’s largest not-for-profit social and affordable housing provider.
CHL began as a small office in Melbourne and a $63,000 government grant. Today the social enterprise manages more than 11,000 properties across every state in Australia, and provides affordable housing solutions in Timor Leste, Indonesia, India, Chile, Peru, Rwanda and Papua New Guinea.
“Housing affordability is not a low-income problem — it’s everyone’s problem,” Steve says.
“There are more than 116,000 people estimated to be homeless in Australia, and this demonstrates just a fraction of Australians who need support and does not include those who are at-risk of homelessness, and those who are disadvantaged in the private rental market.”
“If you don’t know where you’re going to live it's very difficult to plan for your future.”
Despite there being a shortage of almost half a million rental houses available for low income families in Australia, Steve continues to be inspired by his team who share his determination in bringing housing security to more people in Australia and across the globe.
“It just goes to show that no matter your circumstance, if you put your heart and soul into your calling, you can achieve something great,” he says.
“CHL is committed to delivering affordable housing solutions to support those who are disadvantaged in the private rental market and will continue to advocate for the many vulnerable groups”, said Steve.
Steve was recognised for his efforts as a finalist in the 2021 Victorian Australian of the Year Awards, joining hosts of Too Peas in a Podcast Kate Jones and Amanda Hose, neurointerventional surgeon and neurologist Associate Professor Thomas Oxley and eventual 2021 winner and National Homeless Collective founder Donna Stolzenberg.
Steve said the recognition represents a positive step towards society acknowledging that affordable and secure housing is a fundamental right.