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How an Indigenous-led program is helping First Nations people into home ownership

Emma Ruben -

Working in the arts sector with a child to support, Broome resident and Yawuru woman Jub Clerc never thought she'd own her own home.

As a freelance artist whose work is never stable, Ms Clerc thought home ownership was out of reach.

But recently, her dream of owning her own home came true thanks to Nyamba Buru Yawuru's housing program Jalbi Jiya, which in Yawuru language means Your Home.

Clerc said the support in working her way up to owning her own home was life-changing.

"We got to select our top three choices out of a variety of apartments and when our names were called from the ballot we were over the moon," she said.

"It was very emotional. We knew we didn't have all the savings we needed so the 'rent until you buy' option was an amazing opportunity to live in our forever home as our finances were being settled.

"It gave us a sense of our home and neighbourhood before making a life decision and we love where we live."

Jub Clerc and her family are the third family to own a home through the Jalbi Jiya initiative.

Jalbi Jiya is based on the Yawuru philosophy of wellbeing, mabu or good liyan.

The program is designed to support Aboriginal people to achieve their goals while they rent and save.

Jub Clerc sits in her new home.

Clerc said this program was ideal for the type of work she currently does.

"As someone whose career is in the arts, I knew from experience and speaking to all my colleagues that it's next to impossible to get a home loan due to the contractual style of work we do," she said.

"Even though most of us have been in the arts for more than 20 years and paying rent for more than 20 years proving we can sustain a job and make weekly payments.

"I think the banks need to take that realistically into account."

Long term, owning a home has made a huge difference to her family, said Clerc.

"We no longer have the fear of being pushed out of our traditional lands because of the higher rental market," she said.

"The sense of relief when that home loan went through was indescribable.

"Now I look at the sunset from the same angle my mum did before she passed.

"She told me this would be my home when I first stepped inside for the inspection, I felt her in my liyan."

Currently all 25 homes within the program are occupied.

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