Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members are learning how to make the dream of owning a home a reality.
The federal government's Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) organisation is holding information sessions in Wollongong and Bellambi this week to inform people how to apply for an IBA housing loan.
The IBA offers eligible individuals and families affordable commencing home loan interest rates, low deposit requirements and a supportive application process. Since its inception in 1975, the IBA's home ownership program has provided more than 16,000 home loans to indigenous Australians.
In the last financial year, the IBA financed 556 loans for $141.8 million with more than 78 per cent of new loans being for home purchases in regional or remote areas.
The IBA's manager of home lending, Richard Burton, said the program was aimed at closing the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians in the housing market.
He said the individual interviews, held in the Illawarra on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, were about informing people how the IBA might be able to assist them to buy a home.
"My role is to encourage people to at least consider home ownership but also to cross out or nullify the misconceptions about how to get into home ownership."
Those misconceptions included that IBA housing loan applicants needed to be working full-time, needed to be in a relationship, and were told what house they had to buy.
"Owning a home builds security and we find that once one person in the family gets into home ownership quite often we will help house the rest of the family over a period of time," Mr Burton said.
"And, importantly, they didn't get it via a grant, they didn't get it via some form of subsidy, the eligible applicants earnt the right to apply to IBA to acquire a loan which is a mortgage like any other bank to purchase or construct their home."
Information sessions will be held on Wednesday at the Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service, Church Street, Wollongong, from 9am to 4pm and on Thursday at the Bellambi Neighbourhood Centre from 9am to 3pm.
Limited places are still available. Phone 1800 107 107 or Mr Burton on 0429 104 436.