Building hope for all
BELLINGEN'S Jon Benelle has gone from rock-bottom 15 months ago, to launching a company that can bring hope to anyone struggling to buy their own home.
Early last year he had a severely ill wife awaiting a transplant, followed by a separation that led to him being on his own for the first time in 30 years.
He had no income and was forced onto the dole after a long career as an industrial designer.
But a chance meeting with German architect Manfred Auch sparked an idea that not only lifted him out of his slump, but went far further.
"So Manfred, another friend and myself began discussing affordable housing and homes designed for Australia and this was all centred around designing a unique wellbeing/sports resort for the area," Mr Benelle said.
"Finally we designed the right concept and work started to take a much more serious turn. Manfred and his team started to design, in conjunction with my ideas, and this resulted in four new affordable house designs that where certainly great homes but they also used modern materials, design and construction methods."
Out of this brainstorming came Iesha Homes, a company offering architecturally- designed homes with four bedrooms for less than $200,000 - and built in less than two months.
LJ Hooker Cofs Harbour saw the potential and got on board with an exclusive contract and a desire to see 2000 built around Australia in the next year.
The homes are steel framed with smart features, including remote mobile phone controlled LED lighting.
Fast build times reduce costs by not requiring as many tradesmen.
"I have never worked so hard for so many years and endured so much.
"This has brought me out of depression and given me a cause that is worthy. Many people and families locally are depending on Iesha Homes becoming a well known company," Mr Benelle said.