Adelaide’s Bhutanese community celebrate home ownership
One of South Australia's newest migrant communities is today celebrating the 100th family to enter the housing market with the aid of the State Government's HomeStart Finance.
Multicultural Affairs Minister Zoe Bettison said the celebration is a fitting way to wind up Refugee Week 2014.
"Whether it's through refugee resettlement or migration, housing plays a vital role in helping new migrants integrate into their community and find financial security," Ms Bettison said.
"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, has been able to assist."
About 250 Bhutanese families living mainly in Adelaide's north came to South Australia as part of a 2008 UN refugee program.
"Since arriving, the Bhutanese have embraced the opportunity to create a better life for themselves and their families," she said. "They personify this year's Refugee Week theme of 'restoring hope' which focuses on the aspirations of refugees fleeing conflict and persecution."
Bhutanese Association President Kamal Dahal said that given the size of the community, and the hardships they've faced in the last two decades, it is a huge achievement.
"Home ownership remains an important goal because many of Adelaide's Bhutanese community were homeless and stateless for two decades," Mr Dahal said.
"Most home owners from the Bhutanese community are moderate income earners and home ownership can help break the cycle of poverty by helping families to accumulate wealth."
HomeStart's Chief Executive John Oliver said a seminar attended by five members of the Bhutanese community a few years ago led to a steady stream of home loan applications. "Owning a home is something that many Australians take for granted," Mr Oliver said.
"Many of our Bhutanese customers never dreamt 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 100 Bhutanese Loans milestone celebration, featuring dancing, songs and food, will be held from 12-2pm today, Saturday, 21 June, at the Khmer Buddhist Hall, 376-386 Salisbury Highway, Parafield Gardens. Media are welcome to attend.