A real estate agent once told Christine Shaw the industry had no part to play in creating affordable housing solutions.
The Canberra woman, who has now been a real estate agent for more than 10 years, didn't agree. As a consequence, she says many considered her "weird" and "a square peg in a round hole".
"It took me probably eight years to realise that it was actually the best compliment in the world," Ms Shaw said.
This year she started her own company, Christine Shaw Properties, which is donating 10 per cent of all profits to the community foundation Hands Across Canberra to help people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Ms Shaw, who spent 16 years working on overseas aid, refugee and humanitarian initiatives for the federal government, described her commitment to donate profits as a social impact model of real estate.
She believes there is an ever-expanding gap between "the haves and the have-nots" that is making it harder for people to find an affordable place to live and putting them at risk of homelessness.
The Sunday Canberra Times last week revealed the struggles many people face in Canberra's competitive rental market. In one case, single mother Melissa Millard had to move in with a friend across the border in Queanbeyan despite having good references and an adequate income. She has been rejected in applications for more than 30 rental properties in the space of 18 months.
Ms Shaw said while she loved real estate, the level of wealth in the industry was overwhelming and she believed to had an obligation to give back to those in need.
"If you're affluent enough to be in this industry and you're successful, you need to give back," she said.
"Little by little, I'm hoping that other businesses and other industries will set themselves up as social impact models and give 10 per cent back to a particular cause that's close to them.
"If companies can't look at money as a contributor, they can develop more of a corporate social responsibility model within their company. If they've got 100 staff, one or two of them going and working at somewhere like Havelock House for a day every month would be huge."
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show 28,600 people were homeless but working full-time in Australia at the time of the 2016 Census.
The rate of homelessness in the ACT increased from 30.4 people per 100,000 in 2001 to 40.2 people per 100,000 in 2016.
"You can be sitting next to someone who is homeless in your job at a government office or any office anywhere," Ms Shaw said.
"It's about getting those left of field agents who think a little bit differently. They will be the ones that do the shape-shifting in our industry.
"I believe that our community requires more. The gap between 'haves' and the 'have-nots' is expanding, and if you're affluent enough to be in the 'haves', maybe you have to think about life a little differently to try and close that gap."
Canberra's rental vacancy rate is the lowest of all Australian capital cities at 0.6 per cent.
An ACT government spokeswoman said the territory's higher than average incomes made it one of the most affordable jurisdictions in the country, but she acknowledged that for many people on lower incomes, the private market was not an affordable option.
"This is why growing the amount of affordable rental stock is a key area of focus of the ACT Housing Strategy, particularly for Canberrans on the lower 40 per cent of incomes who need that assistance," she said.
The spokeswoman said the government would soon announce the recipients of $1 million in affordable housing innovation fund grants, with the fund's focus on increasing the supply of affordable housing options for people in housing stress, at risk of homelessness or looking to move on from public housing.
Among other initiatives in the housing strategy, the government was also investing $100 million to renew 1000 homes for public housing and increase public housing stock by 200.