Interviews with Our Good Neighbours
Good Neighbour #4: HOME789
In the fourth instalment of Interviews with our Good Neighbours, where we feature stories of those involved with Good Neighbors Australia, our focus is on a corporate entity. Please welcome #GoodNeighbour HOME789!
During our COVID-19 relief campaign earlier this year, Sydney based Property Service Company HOME789 generously donated 6000 masks as 'gifts in kind' to Good Neighbors Australia. It was a great help as we ended up distributing over 500 hampers containing food and essential hygiene products to the local Australian community. People that received the COVID-19 relief packages include single-parent, refugee and temporary-visa groups.
For this interview, we spoke with the CEO of HOME789, Walton Chu. Read on to find out more about their journey with us!
GN: Could you tell us a little bit about HOME789 and what it stands for?
WC: HOME789 is a Sydney-based property service company and is publicly listed on the NSX. We are a company that really strives to care for our clients, as we deliver professional and exclusive consultations and guide our clients from the start of their journey to the end. Our goal is not just about selling property, but rather, about building the trust and representing our clients’ greatest assets to their best advantage.
GN: How would you describe your corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities?
WC: We believe that since we are contributing to the economy, we should also give back. At HOME789, we believe that behaving responsibly is critical for the company. But you could say that we have an active role in helping children.
Ever since our establishment in 2008, we have been working with different child sponsorship foundations each year. As you may be aware, there was an earthquake in China in 2008. Lots of people were affected and so during this incident, we were immersed in raising money for the local community. And so every year since then, we have been heavily involved in charity work and other similar organisations including working with children medical research institutes, CareFlight, the Red Cross, Lionheart Foundation and many more.
GN: What about yourself specifically? What would you say your interest in philanthropic work stemmed from?
WC: Personally, since I come from a Buddhist background, I believe that when we die we can’t take anything with us. I strongly believe that we are temporary containers—the money doesn’t belong to me, so I have the responsibility to send the money to places and not keep it. I believe that my role is to the people who really need it. Like Winston Churchill said, “It was the nation and the race dwelling all around the globe that had the lion heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar.” I agree with him 100%. We don’t need to be attached to materialistic products. Instead, we should help those people in need to live.
GN: What are your thoughts on the COVID-19 situation?
WC: Yes, so I do have a medical background—I have a bachelor’s degree in medicine, and a master's degree in public health. Initially, I was focussed on clinical medical treatment on the prevention of diseases, but we always believe that prevention takes priority over treatment.
From my medical perspective, yes, we can and should treat people, but why not take some preventative measures in the beginning to stop the disease from being spread? COVID-19 is an interesting situation because it is like another flu rapidly being transmitted. Since we haven’t gotten vaccines—as there are no developed drugs to treat this virus yet—at this stage, we have to do something to stop the transmission from human to human.
From both the government’s and medical professional’s point of view, we strongly recommend people to wash their hands and to wear face masks. This is why we donated the 6000 face masks to Good Neighbors Australia. In the future as well, we still have some masks that we would like to donate. We have to protect ourselves to prevent the virus.
GN: How would you describe HOME789's time working with Good Neighbors Australia?
WC: I believe that you do strong work. You are global leaders, and are present in so many countries around the world. Your organisation brings assistance to people who are in vulnerable situations. To be honest, we can’t physically get involved in helping the community, so we do need organisations such as Good Neighbors Australia.
We need organisations who are down-to-earth to help the community. We really appreciate you guys. In a sense, you guys are like a platform - or a channel - for businesses, because to be honest as a business sometimes we can’t do anything. That’s why I think you’re especially brave during the pandemic period. It’s quite dangerous to actually be at the forefront. We really respect all the effort you guys put in.