At the age of 30, the successful life Peter Watson had built crumbled, ABC News reports.
“I lost my house, my business, my cars and went bankrupt,” he said.
For six months he was homeless, surviving on the generosity of friends.
“Luckily, I still had a good supportive network around me, I crashed in the spare bedroom of one of my mates,” he recalled.
“It was somewhere to stay but it didn’t help my mental state because it was temporary.”
Over several years, Mr Watson slowly got his life back on track and he became a successful entrepreneur.
“Now I’m in a position where I can help people who don’t have financial resources or a support network to give them a second shot,” he said.
Mr Watson is part of an emerging class of landlord, trying to use his secure financial position to help others facing homelessness.
Using the not-for-profit real estate agency HomeGround, landlords are renting out properties at sub-market prices.
Businessman Phil Endersbee was one of the first to see the benefit of property philanthropy and use the agency.
He said while it was asking landlords to forgo only about $30 in rent a week, it could be hard to convince people.
“It’s a case of, forget the feel good — show me the numbers,” Mr Endersbee said.
Of 326 properties listed with HomeGround real estate, 38 are privately owned and 14 landlords have offered their properties with no expectation of a rental return.
The remaining properties are owned by a community-housing organisation, and rented out at normal market price.
Mr Endersbee is now pushing for state and territories to offer land-tax exemptions as an incentive to landlords to offer their properties for lower rental prices.
His proposal is being considered by the Victorian Government as part of efforts to boost housing affordability across the state.