Geoff Grist: The real estate leader fighting for the homeless

As an experienced real estate agent, Geoff Grist knows that his job is only one side of the issue. Teaming up with Vinnies CEO Sleepout, he’s looking to invest in what he finds the most value in: people.

There is a new breed of real estate agents in Australia, with the rise of record-breaking sales and technology infused strategies comes individualised approaches. The advancements in both industry and consumer decision-making has resulted in savvy buyers, sellers and renters. In recent years, we’ve seen a shift from buyers and sellers feeling at the mercy of their agent’s advice, to agents requiring a competitive edge. An edge that encompasses not only commercial ingenuity but also a community focus that improves relationships across the board.

No one is more aware of this than Geoff Grist, who has been the go-to real estate agent for Mosman/Neutral Bay for over 15 years. He has a unique understanding of the property market, and in particular, what is required when working alongside buyers and sellers. Geoff knows what is also required when it comes to upgrading and renovating property, and the commitment it takes to continually add value to it.

Geoff knows about investments, but no investment is more important to him than people.

From a commercial element, Geoff invests in buyers and sellers on a long-term basis. This means building ongoing relationships that facilitate not only helping people move, but helping people who are unable to move due to factors outside their control. Last week, Geoff joined over 1,500 CEO’s across Australia to take part in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout. This event provides CEOs with the experience of swapping their safe warm bed for a cold cardboard box.

This year, the Vinnies CEO Sleepout also included virtual reality headsets so that the experiences faced by Australia’s homeless could be that much easier to understand, and tangible. While much has been written about the purpose of this event’s impact, it’s been one of the most consistent initiatives this year raising over $5 million. Discussing the experience, Geoff Grist noted “I gave up many of the familiar comforts that are often taken for granted. My warm, comfortable bed was replaced with cold, hard concrete. My safe and secure home with a cardboard box. A hearty, homemade meal with a humble cup of soup.It was a cold, uncomfortable and restless night but I would not trade a minute of it because it gave me a very small glimpse into the harsh reality that over 105,000 people are faced with every single day. No one deserves to live this way. Especially not the 17,000 children who make up part of this figure.”

As Australian policy makers continue to battle the growing issues around homelessness, it is crucial for those who can take on an opportunity to not only provide funding to support possible solutions but to actively seek to understand the very nature of homelessness at its core.

With the end of the financial year just around the corner, there is still time to make a tax-deductible donation to this year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout. Supporting this initiative allows CEOs like Geoff Grist raising funds to ensure that critical services such as accommodation, food services, education and women’s refuse remain a part of our culture. It ensures a very real dent is made in the overwhelming issue that many Australians experience, an experience that validates the sad notion that homelessness doesn’t have a postcode.


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