If there's a will, there's a way - particularly if you're Filpino! At least that's the moral of the story behind the success of the Kapitbahayan Co-operative Limited (KCL) since its humble beginnings back in 1995.
Fast forward to more than 15 years later and KCL now manages five sites in NSW, namely in the suburbs of Auburn, Berala, Wentworthville, Merrylands and Canley Vale.
The co-op also helped organise the Sedgwick (Leumeah) Coop and Karen Burmese Coop, according to an interview with The Filipino Australian.
What is different about the latest venture, the Canley Vale site, is that the lot or property worth, which was valued at $500,000, was paid for by Kapit-bahayan from its surplus out of the rent collected and interest from its savings accumulated through the years of voluntary work of the tenant-members from the other sites of KCL, said the co-op's spokespeople and KCL's key volunteer managers, Ruben and Cen Amores, in an emailed statement to the Filipino press.
"KCL is the first NSW housing co-op to use its 'sweat equity' to expand! The land acquisition and initial development planning activities like the design concepts, architectural plans, council development approval, financing and National Rental Affordability Scheme, a joint NSW and Federal government funding that is part of the Economic Stimulus (NRAS) application were directly participated in by the co-op with assistance of ARCH," they told The Filipino Australian.
The co-op's model is so good that KCL has now provided initial training and info to Turkish, Southern Sudan and Somali community groups.
Earlier this month (December 10), KCL celebrated the handover of the Canley Vale site to the families who qualified as tenants in a Christmas party held at the venue.
Among the invited guests were government dignitaries, members of the Auburn Small Community Organisation Network (ASCON), Western Sydney Community Forum (WSCF) affiliates of APCO, families and friends of Kapit-bahayan and leaders of the Filipino-Australian community, members of the Filipino Press Group in Sydney, and the cast of the Rizal Radio Festival.
A comprehensive article about KCL can be found here, published by The Filipino Australian community newspaper.