Responsibility began for Ben at an early age, caring for his younger siblings as his parents juggled working and migrating the family to Australia, via Britain, for a better future than the one they faced in India.
Asked to leave their first private rental home in Melbourne when the landlord saw the colour of their skin, the family of six with a baby on the way ended up in the rough-and-tumble of the West Heidelberg public housing estate. For them, it proved a blessing.
“Back then, thank God, Mum met a social worker who offered us the opportunity of moving to public housing. And every day, I thank that social worker for giving us the opportunity. After 10 years, we handed the property back. Living in public housing, I also met my best friend.”
Ben did not imagine he would ever work in the sector that gave his family its lucky break, moving from a government job to Housing Choices company ‘Supported Housing Ltd’ as its first property officer nearly a decade ago. He is now responsible for Housing Choices’ property team across Victoria with a team of eight and more than 1,500 properties under management.
He loves the organisation and the opportunity it has given him to give something back. “My parents taught me that sharing is a very important thing and to treat people the way you want to be treated. Never judge someone because one day, you could be in that same circumstance.”