Housing Choices Australia Annual Report 2018

Oneyearolder. Tenyearswiser.

Annual Report 2018

In the spirit of reconciliation, Housing Choices acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the traditional owners of this country and their connection to land, water and community. We pay our respects to them, their culture and customs, and to elders both past and present.


Introduction 3

Growingour impact and influence 62

4 5 7 9 15 20

Who we are From the Chair From the Managing Director An introduction to our renewed business strategy Our Board Regulation and compliance

63 64 65 69 71 73 74 78 83 85

Our property portfolio Property development and asset management Newdevelopments South Australian Public Housing Transfer Our investment in disability Urban Choices Property report Pipelinedevelopments Partnering with the community A new fund for families fleeing violence A purpose-built swing for adults with disabilities

Developinga robust, resilient and agileorganisation 22

24 25 26 28

People, Culture and Communications report Developing our workforce Information Technology Property Development and Asset Management report

Implementing innovation 90

92 94 95 97 98 99

Our commercial capability Seven new aordable homes in St Albans Research-led innovation Partnering with the community housing sector Inclusionary zoning Future directions; towards 2028

Transformingthe resident experience 30

Better understanding the resident journey Transforming Housing Choices for the next decade Resident Satisfaction Survey results Ouroperations National overview Victorian report Tasmanian report South Australian report The role of an Intensive Housing Ocer

31 33 36 37 38 39 41 43 45 47 48 52 57

Thefinancials 101


Consolidated financial report Statement of Profit and Loss and Other

102 102 103

Comprehensive Income Statement of Cash Flow Statement of Financial Position

Our Resident Advisory Committees Communitydevelopment activities

Resident scholarships Community gardens

All people aordably housed in neighbourhoods that support life opportunities. OurVision. To provide aordable homes across Australia, working with partners to create resilient and inclusive neighbourhoods. OurMission.

3 | Annual Report 2018

Our corebusiness isprovidingpeople withhighquality, safeandaordable housingtosuit theirneeds. Our residents are primarily people on low incomes, older people, women and children escaping family violence and those living with a disability. We know that a house is more than bricks and mortar and a neighbourhood is more than streets and roads. The most vital elements are the people who live in our houses, the families who populate our neighbourhoods, and the relationships they establish with us and each other. That is why we value highly how we interact with our residents and the feedback we receive from them, which increasingly informs our operations. Our eective partnership model allows us to introduce our residents to support services and pathways which improve their opportunities and circumstances; stabilising their tenancies and allowing them to live their best life.

From the welcoming smile that greets a resident at our oce receptions, to the phone call inquiry answered by an understanding and knowledgeable sta member, to the timely response to a request for information or property maintenance; we are commit- ted to treating our residents with the utmost respect and consideration. Each year, our Resident and Partner Satisfaction Surveys provide critical information about what we are doing well, where we can improve, and help us monitor the working relationships that are vital to supporting our residents into stable, long-term accommodation. Our aim is to develop innovative housing solutions based on real evidence, ensure our experience is documented and evaluated so we can advocate for our residents, and adapt our business and services to meet their changing needs and a changing sector environment.


Introduction |

From theChair. Arthur Papakotsias

5 | Annual Report 2018

Welcome toHousingChoicesAustralia’s 2017-2018Annual Report. Theyearwasfilled withopportunitiespursuedandgoals achieved. Fromourmanagement andstainVictoria, Tasmania, SouthAustraliaandNewSouthWales, wesawunwaiveringcommitment inchallenging times andagreatdeal of hardwork.

Among our many projects, in South Australia we successfully transferred 840 homes and residents to our property management portfolio as part of the South Australian Government’s Renewing Our Streets and Suburbs (ROSAS) program. We also commenced our first on-the-ground disability housing partnership in New South Wales with leading disability services provider Life Without Barriers. In Tasmania, we expanded our services in the state’s north-west with 62 new homes either completed, or in the pipeline. In Victoria, we announced new building developments in Dandenong, Newport and St Albans, and initiated major technology and system upgrades at out head oce that will set the stage for greatly increased eciencies across our expanding operations. Housing Choices Australia group. A key focus for me, and our board of directors, was the opportunity this presented to review our impact; both what has been and is yet to be achieved, and to plan eectively for our second decade. With input from management, sta, partners and residents, we analysed and revised our Business Strategy and Business Plan. Our Vision and Mission remain steadfast - provide aordable homes to people in need, across the country, and work with partners and others to create resilient and inclusive neighbourhoods. Our method of approach also remains steadfast - significantly increase the supply of good quality housing and tenancy services across Australia, so people in desperate need 2018 is specially significant for this organisation because it’s our tenth year of operations as the

From 2018, all our internal and operational strategies will be underpinned by four significant pillars of practice that will help us become an even more innovative and agile organisation. Enhanced technology and data-capture capabilities mean we can create sustainable and innovative housing outcomes for residents that truly predict, match and meet their changing needs. I urge you to read more about our Business Strategy - Growth Innovation and Impact in this report and I look forward to watching it roll out across the organisation, providing the solid foundations we need for our next ten years. We are already a significant player in the consolidating and expanding national community housing sector and we stand ready, willing and able to partner with governments and private enterprise, so that we, along with our peer housing associations, can play a significant role in delivering long-term solutions to the social and aordable housing crisis in our country. As I looked back over our first decade and spent time with sta across our locations, I have been reminded that, in working for an organisation like ours, every member of our sta is making a personal statement. They are telling the world: “I want to make a dierence and I’m willing to spend my working day fulfilling that purpose.” That sort of commitment is the very reason why we’ve been able to move into new regions, establish ourselves as a leader in our sector, adapt to our external environment and secure funding in a competitive space. My job and that of my fellow directors, is to ensure that good and prudent governance allows this to continue.

of housing stability can live aordably and independently, with dignity and security.

ArthurPapakotsias Chairman, Housing Choices Australia


Introduction |

Fromthe Managing Director.

Michael Lennon

7 | Annual Report 2018

It’s hard to believe a decade has passed since Housing Choices Australia began. While we have achieved an enormous amount over that period, the housing environment for vulnerable people is tougher in 2018 than it has been at any time since the Great Depression.

We remain utterly focussed on increasing the supply of aordable and social housing stock and growing and developing our proven partnerships with governments and others to achieve our goal - that every Australian should live in a decent home they can aord. This year, our South Australian operations grew significantly through the transfer of properties to our management portfolio under the Renewal SA program. Our long experience in high quality resident engagement proved, yet again, to be an eective way to stabilise tenancies and create vibrant, sustainable communities around our residents. The lived experience of our residents is a fundamental driver of our forward-looking business strategy. We continue to implement systems that allow us to collect and evaluate data in such a way that our service provision can be smarter and better. Our asset management team is increasingly focussed on ageing-in-place solutions for new dwellings; innovative design and construction techniques that will allow the internal physical characteristics of a building to be adjusted to meet a resident’s changing needs over time. This approach is highly applicable to the new disability housing paradigm created under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

We received a grant from the Victorian Property Fund to build new housing developments in Melbourne, declared ourselves open for business in New South Wales and actively pursued new opportunities in other states. We also worked hard in conjunction with peer housing providers in several regions to develop creative housing supply solutions. We are heartened by the growing confidence of governments who increasingly look to community housing providers of scale to help deliver new supply. Looking back over our first decade, I am reminded of the many inspiring individuals who helped get us o the ground; including former deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe AO, disability campaigner Bruce Bonyhady AM and many others. What a legacy they have left in helping create this organisation. We have watched with pride as some of our early sta members moved on to become leaders in the sector and we look at our new sta and emerging leaders with great excitement as we see the fresh ideas and enthusiasm they bring to our work. We particularly recognise the importance of building a healthy and innovative workplace culture that will attract the best calibre people to come and work with us.

Michael Lennon Managing Director, Housing Choice Australia


Introduction |


9 | Annual Report 2018

An introduction toour renewed business strategy.

In 2018, our Board and management consulted with sta, residents and partners to review our business strategy and plan. The result is a working strategy that focusses on four key pillars of practice that will underpin both our day-to-day operations and our decisions, both big and small. Our strategy was communicated to sta in each state and we continue to rollout internal collateral to ensure that our pillars will become the DNA of our organisation. A critical element of the long-term solution to the social and aordable housing crisis in Australia lies in a strong, financially robust and well-regulated community housing sector. The sector must sit confidently and permanently between the public and private housing sectors, creating the third structural pillar of a well-supported, long-term, national housing framework.

Rounding the first decade is a milestone for any organisation. It signifies you are established and here to stay, but still young enough to have the energy and drive to continue along a determined path. When Housing Choices Australia formed as an operating group in 2008, our early goals were to improve the housing choices of people living with a disability in Victoria and expand our national footprint.

We started with 28 sta and 1430 residents living in 895 properties. We planned to think national, but to act local.

Ten years later, we operate in four states, employ over 140 sta and own or manage more than 4700 properties; providing homes for over 5500 residents – a large proportion of whom live with a disability. We manage over $701m of assets, with an annual operating revenue approaching $47m. We have over 200 partners and have resident advisory committees in each state. These provide us with invaluable feedback on how we deliver our services and help us create the communities and neighbourhoods to support our residents. Our property portfolio now includes shared-living, family houses, apartments and studios; properties that meld easily into cities, towns and suburbs. Our residents are young and old, of diverse cultures and backgrounds, some with complex needs requiring support services and others just steadily making their way out of diculty and hardship, towards hope and independence.

For this tooccur, newthinking is required.


Growth. Innovation. Impact. |

The reviewof ourfirst tenyearshas allowed us toset somespecificgoals forournext decade. Given that the demand for social housing and housing services is far from decreasing, it is reasonable to plan on the basis that our pace and scale of growth must, at the very least, continue at the same relative rate in order to meet the very significant social housing stock shortfall that exists in Australia; both current and forecast. Most independent housing data analysis predicts it will take roughly 30 years of concerted and coordinated eort by government, private and community housing sectors to re-establish a truly equitable housing landscape in Australia and to eliminate homelessness. Our goals for 2028 are therefore based on the impact we delivered through our first decade, at a moderate rate of growth. The figures appear ambitious but are based on sound information, prudent financial modelling and significant sector experience - and we believe they are necessary.

By 2028 we aim to be a national employer of choice in the sector, running innovative, diverse and respectful workplaces right across Australia, with highly skilled sta who are engaged, committed and feel supported. We will operate trusted regional operations, providing a diverse variety of social, supported, independent, shared-living and aordable homes to meet the needs of each region. We will continue to enjoy high levels of resident and partner satisfaction whose feedback is eciently captured and used to inform and improve our service provision. We will have a significant pipeline of innovative social and aordable housing projects across Australia that incorporate the views and design considerations of residents and support service partners.

Basedonwherewe’ve been, this iswherewe hope tobe in2028.

11 | Annual Report 2018





Growth. Innovation. Impact. |

Thedecadeaheadwill providenewand significantopportunities aswepursue ourVisionandMission.

Governments and policymakers are now actively attempting to address some of the economic and policy imbalances that have created the aordable housing crisis. They have identified the need for change and innovation, with the community housing sector best placed to provide long-term solutions. Housing Choices is well positioned to be a key partner with government to deliver change, innovation and growth in the social and aordable housing sector. We will be a key player in transforming the lives of more people, in more places, through the provision of social and aordable homes. However, it’s not enough to rely on government-led solutions; we need to proactively work in new and smarter ways that will lead to a sustained, long-term increase in housing supply.

Our renewed business strategy specifically addresses these goals and the business plan outlines the mechanisms by which they will be achieved. Providing the optimal foundation on which to deliver this strategy are the principles that have always, and will continue to, guide our decisions: Weputour customersfirst. Our customers are central to everything we do. We listen and respond with open and honest communication and a flexible approach. Wework together. We work collaboratively and in partnership to achieve our mission.

We trust andare trusted. We keep promises, are accountable and are transparent in our actions.

We learnandadapt. We aim to inform the policy environment, support our actions with evidence, encourage innovation and continually adapt to a changing environment.

To meet the needs of what will be an increasingly complex business operation and have greater impact on the lives of those who need us, our organisation will be powered by four new pillars.

13 | Annual Report 2018

Pillar One

Pillar Two

Developinga robust, resilient andagile organisation.

Transformingthe resident experience.

Our workforce is our greatest asset. They deserve leadership, development, care and support. The complexity and urgency of our work requires committed sta with high levels of compassion and dedication. As an employer our organisation must deliver those qualities back to them, providing them with the best ‘tools’ to do their job, whatever and wherever that job is within the organisation. Our reputation as an outstanding employer is critical to building and maintaining the high calibre, resilient and innovative workforce we need to achieve our mission.

Our residents and their lived experience of our services will drive our housing practice; adaptive, resident-centred, collaborative, measurable and solution-focussed. Our tenancy and property management services will be of exemplar standard. We will stand out as a leading housing provider, focussed not only on providing aordable homes but also on improving the lives and futures of those who live in them; breaking the cycle of disadvantage and meeting the changing needs of our residents over their lifetime.

Pillar Three

Pillar Four Implementing innovation.

Growingour impact and influence.

Our Vision and Mission compel us to build and deliver significant numbers of new houses to meet the currently unmet demand for housing, particularly for older people and those living with a disability. To achieve this, and urgently, we need to be larger in scale, opportunistic, innovative and we must drive the necessary reforms to reach these goals. Through an empowered and skilled workforce that deliver services based on eciently collected and evaluated data from sta, residents and project outcomes, we will be more confident in our advocacy and able to innovate more courageously.

Over the next decade, funding and finance will flow toward innovative, cost-eective quality solutions. Innovation will be applied across all our operations, from business-as-usual practice to blue-sky thinking and design, from financial management to workplace practices, people and culture. We will leverage our 30 years’ experience in disability housing and draw on the experience of residents, sta and partners to deliver both independent and shared-living housing choices for people with disabilities.


Growth. Innovation. Impact. |

Led from the top.

The opportunity to use the ten-year milestone to review the past and plan for the future, presented an engaging challenge for our Board of Directors this year, in addition to the ongoing, day-to-day governance of an ambitious, complex and expanding organisation.

15 | Annual Report 2018

Yet again, our Directors rose to the occasion andwewere reminded how fortunate Housing Choices is to have a Board comprising such highly skilled leaders froma variety of fields and sectors, who are all passionately driven by a shared desire tomake a significant dierence to the lives of Australians struggling to find a home.

Taking time out of their already busy schedules, our Directors met for a highly-focussed, strategic planning session, to review the Australian housing and policy landscape, identify our goals for the next decade and most importantly, establish priorities and review resources; all the while continuing to prudently oversee the ongoing financial management and compliance requirements of what is a complex and highly-regulated business. As well as attending Board and sub-committee meetings, our Directors found time to get out and about; meeting and mingling with sta, residents and key stakeholders at events in Tasmania (below), South Australia and Victoria.

The Board’s commitment to improving and developing sta skills right across our operations doesn’t stop at the boardroom door, with Directors undertaking their own training and development programs to enhance their skills in governance and sector compliance knowledge.

Board members are often asked to attend events as representatives of the organisation. Melbourne-based Director Fabienne Michaux was on hand in June as Victorian Consumer Aairs Minister Marlene Kairouz (above left) awarded Housing Choices the $4.9 million Victorian Property Fund (VPF) grant that will enable us to deliver 17 brand new homes in the Melbourne suburbs of Dandenong and Newport.


Our Board |


HeatherMcCallum Deputy Board Chair Member, Governance, Appointment and Risk Committee. Chair, Audit, Finance and Risk Committee. Heather is a Chartered Accountant and graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She has held senior management positions in private enterprise and the not-for-profit sector, and a number of governance roles in youth, education, employment and yachting organisations. Heather holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) from Queen’s University School of Business and was instrumental in the establishment of Housing Choices Tasmania.

ArthurPapakotsias Board Chair Member, Governance, Appointment and Risk Committee. Arthur has been Chief Executive Ocer of NEAMI National for over 20 years. He sits as Chair of the Finance Audit and Risk Management Committee of the Mental Health Australia (MHA). Arthur originally trained as a registered psychiatric nurse and has completed post-graduate studies in management at RMIT. He has also completed three residential programs at Harvard Business School: Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management, Authentic Leadership and Leading Change and Organisational Renewal.

Michael Lennon Managing Director. Board Chair, Urban Choices Property. Member, Governance, Appointment and Risk Committee. Member, Audit, Finance and Risk Committee. Michael has a 25+ year international career in housing, planning and urban development. In his native Scotland as Chief Executive of the Glasgow Housing Association, he oversaw the largest housing stock transfer in Europe at that time. He served as the inaugural Chief Executive Ocer of the Housing New Zealand Corporation. In Australia, he led the restructure of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. He has advised and collaborated with governments at the highest levels, as well as industry and the University sectors. He has been an advisor to the World Health Organisation and is an experienced Board Director and University Governor. He is currently the national Chair of the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA), a member of the South Australian Planning Commission and a Trustee of the South Australian History Trust.

TrevorBaldock Chair, Governance, Appointment and Risk Committee. Member, Audit, Finance and Risk Committee. Trevor holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons), is an accredited mediator (LEADR) and licensed general builder and building work supervisor. His experience and expertise include the development of commercial strategies for major project transactions and commercial negotiations, including contract documentation and the oversight of delivery and completion of major projects and commercial transactions. He has conducted and managed major litigation and dispute resolution in connection with major projects and commercial transactions by way of arbitration, mediation and negotiation.

17 | Annual Report 2018

Saul Eslake Member, Audit, Finance and Risk Committee.

FabienneMichaux Member, Audit, Finance and Risk Committee.

Saul is a well-known international and Australian economist. In addition to a high-profile commercial career, he has held numerous high-profile Board and advisory positions including a directorship of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), and senior roles at the National Housing Supply Council and the Grattan Institute. He has a Bachelor of Economics (Hons), is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and completed the Senior Executive Program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York.

Fabienne is principal of Petrichor Consulting Services, a board member and Chair of the Audit, Finance and Risk Committee for The Song Room, a member of the Australian Advisory Board on Impact Investing and a member of Deakin University’s Business School Advisory Board. Fab previously enjoyed a 30-year executive career, including 22 years with S+P Global in the Global Ratings division where her final role was the Australian Country Head and Head of Developed Markets Asia-Pacific. Fab holds a Bachelor of Business (Economics and Finance) with Distinction from RMIT University, and is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

MeredithSussex, AM. Member, Governance, Appointments and Risk Committee.

JulieMitchell Member, Governance, Appointments and Risk Committee.

Meredith is Chair of the Fishermans Bend Development Board in Victoria and a non-executive director of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute. She has also been a non-executive director of a number of Boards, including the Board of the Port of Melbourne. She lectures in the Masters program on Urban Governance at the University of New South Wales and provides high level consulting advice on public policy, planning and management. Meredith has held senior positions in the Victorian State Government, including Deputy Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet. From 2002-2006 she led the Oce of Commonwealth Games Coordination, for which she was awarded the Order of Australia in 2007.

Julie is a corporate social responsibility and strategic communications specialist. She has extensive experience in the design and delivery of complex and large scale strategic communication programs in the corporate internal and external environment, as well as in issues management, and stakeholder engagement and management. Julie has designed and executed multi-dimensional community investment programs in locations throughout Australia and Asia for both corporate and not-for-profit organisations. Her interest in social housing stems from her early involvement in the establishment of Common Ground in Adelaide and is complemented by her involvement in the aged care sector.


Our Board |




Governance, Appointments and Remuneration. (GARC)

Audit, Finance andRisk. (AFRC)









9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9

9 9 9 9 6 9 8 9

- 6 6 6

- 6 6 6

4 4 4 4 4 4

3 3 4 4 4 4

Arthur Papakotsias

Heather McCallum

Michael Lennon

Trevor Baldock

- -

- -

Julie Mitchell

Meredith Sussex

6 6

5 6

- -

- -

Saul Eslake

Fabienne Michaux

Governancepolicyandprocedure reviews. Table2



Document Title





29683 2.004021

Aliated Entities Policy





31095 8.004036

Delegations of Authority





29685 3.004005

Regulatory Reportable Notifications





30104 1.004023

SEHL Share Policy





31024 3.004007

Treasury Policy





29686 4.00401

Regulatory Reportable Notifications





19 | Annual Report 2018

RegulatoryCompliance andAccreditation.

RegulatorySystem: National Regulatory SystemCommunity Housing (NRSCH)

RegulatorySystem: Victorian Housing Registrar (VHR)

Housing Choices Tasmania:

Housing Choices Australia:

Overall determination was compliant.

Overall determination was compliant.

Recommendations: Standard 1 Tenant and housing services: Housing Choices Tasmania to proceed with plan to upload tenancy management policies and procedures to the website. Improvement opportunities: Complaints and Appeals brochure review to include escalation details to ensure tenants are aware of their right to approach an external agency. (This brochure has now been reviewed.) Complaints Register did not record any appeals, are residents aware of what decisions they may appeal? (This has been completed as per revised Compliments Complaints Appeals brochure.)

The last reporting period was for 2016-17, approved by the Registrar in March 2018 - all performance standards were met. The 2017-18 key performance reporting was submitted on 31 August 2018. We anticipate full compliance with an identified performance improvement measure for vacant turnaround times. A meeting with the Lead Regulator will be held in early 2019 to review performance, and we expect to receive the outcome of our submission in March 2019.

The next compliance assessment is scheduled for 11 February 2019.

Housing Choices South Australia:

Overall determination was compliant.

No recommendations were made.

Improvement opportunities: At the next return, Housing Choices should demonstrate its revised practice of forecasting and monitoring maintenance expenses in two categories within OneHousing and report maintenance outcomes for FY2018 in the format specified in the FPR template.

The next compliance assessment has opened and is due for submission by 3 December 2018.


Governance, Regulation and Compliance |

As I look back over our first decade and spent time with teams in our various locations, I am reminded that in working for an organisation like ours, every member of sta is making a personal statement. They are telling the world they want to make a dierence and are willing to spend their working day fulfilling that purpose.

Arthur Papakotsias Board Chair

Developinga robust, resilient andagile organisation.

To pursue our ambitious plans, we need to find ways to network and influence with greater impact, collaborating and sharing expertise to enable better and scalable practice.

Carly Bairstow

23 | Annual Report 2018

CarlyBairstow General Manager, People, Culture and Communications

ForHousingChoices tomeet its ambitious strategicandorganisational goals itmust attract andmotivate talentedstaand support theirdevelopment.

To help achieve this, Housing Choices oers competitive remuneration and non-salaried benefits, a significant focus on learning and development, reward and recognition, and a professional, safe and collaborative work environment supported by sound human resource practices. sta to participate in a survey to measure employee perceptions across the organisation - 73% participated. From them, we heard that the organisation did have a clear vision and strong strategic direction, but that internally we needed to place greater focus on organisational learning and empowerment - valuable feedback indeed. A few months later, I was appointed to a new executive position as General Manager, People, Culture and Communications and began introducing systems and initiatives to work toward improving that focus. Since then, every sta member has prepared a formal, professional and personal development plan and held career discussions with their manager. Setting foundational learning requirements has also been a focus, with the majority of our sta across all oces completing customer service and equal opportunity training. A number of front-line sta also completed mental health first aid training. Rewards and recognition inspires and motivates higher performance. Formal recognition is made through the Housing Choices ‘Going the Extra Mile’ (or GEM) program, which gives sta an opportunity to recognise the achievements of individuals whose work epitomises Housing Choices’ guiding principles - particularly our commitment to customer service. Understanding the real experience of our sta is incredibly important to us to nurture our internal culture. We asked

As our organisation grows, it’s important to continually improve how we practice workplace health and safety. Our new Workplace Health and Safety Strategy focusses on the prevention of both physical and psychological injuries, underpinned by actions that will build a workplace health and safety culture that will enable our people, and all those who do business with us, to return home safely from our workplaces. We also appointed a dedicated workplace health and safety manager to drive these actions and implement a contractor management system. The success of both internal and external initiatives in any organisation is dependent on quality communications. We need to be clear about our aims, expectations and opportunities, and provide eective communications, in a ‘noisy’ digital world, that will cut through and reach our broad and varied stakeholder base; sta and residents, partners and governments, contractors and the general community. The expansion and development of our marketing and communications team this year has provided us with the capacity to deliver important messages, both externally and internally, with greater eciency and creativity. Introduction of a monthly digital sta newsletter and a series of expanding initiatives for communicating our achievements and impact, have meant that collateral like our Impact Report , new Business Strategy and other key communications are also delivered eciently to our internal audiences. With oces in four states, and expansion a key priority, good communication is the key to ensuring that we remain a cohesive and close-knit organisation, regardless of distance.


Developing a robust, resilient and agile organisation |

Developingour workforce.

Over the last 12months, our workforce increasedby 14%,with49 newsta.

HumanResources report.

We have both promoted and seconded our sta over the last year; repositioning sta internally to positions of greater responsibility and arranging key secondments to some of our partner organisations. This year has seen a wide range of formal and informal training programs implemented across the organisation, including specific client-focussed learning in human rights, domestic and family violence and NDIS, and technical and professional skills training in customer service and equal opportunity. A key People and Culture project has been the development of the Work Health and Safety Strategy 2018-2020 and implementation plan.

107Full-timesta 26Part-timesta 9Casual sta 142 Total

89Femalesta 44Malesta Casual sta not included

73% of our people participated in a sta culture survey with the strongest theme being our strategic direction

Over 77% of sta surveyed believe:

A clear mission gives meaning and direction to our work. There is long-term purpose and a clear strategy for the future.






State Split

This result reflects how strongly our people are connected to what we do and how we see our future.




A wide range of sta consultation and engagement initiatives were undertaken this year. Our new People and Culture working group kicked o in February and is helping steer projects that will enhance our employee experience across the organisation. In a similar vein, there was significant input from sta at a series of design workshops this year that set the vision for how our residents can better experience our services. Wrapping up the year, a series of presentations across all oces celebrated our ten-year anniversary and communicated our new business strategy and the rationale behind our four pillars of practice.







20-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61+

25 | Annual Report 2018

Our investment intech. InformationSystems report.

General hardware and computer related costs


Software licences


Telephony - internet, mobile phone and landline costs




Introducing automation.

Safer and moresecure.

The introduction of our new contractor portal will streamline the induction and on-boarding of contractors who perform work on our behalf for residents. This project enhances safety, both for the contractor and for our residents, by ensuring that they don’t enter a premises without being screened or properly inducted to safety protocols. We’ve also implemented enhancements to our corporate systems increasing the level of automation around cyclic processes, for example our bulk rent review process which is completed annually.

Privacy and confidentiality are, and have always been, important to us. That’s why we’ve invested in tighter security around our data by implementing a multi-layered scanning process for emails and links. Additionally, we’ve implemented new and more robust processes to comply with the National Data Breach Scheme leveraging cutting-edge Microsoft tools to assist in quick and ecient completion. Our capital expenditure onequipment. We’ve continued to roll-out new desktop and laptop devices to all sites while continually migrating services to the cloud to enhance security and ensure deliverables are met.


Developing a robust, resilient and agile organisation |

Identifyingdemand, increasingsupply.

The goal of our Property Development and Asset Management team is to design and deliver innovative, high

This year we restructured and significantly expanded our team with the emphasis on eciencies, sharper oversight of the myriad projects and submissions that reflect our expansion strategy, streamlining essential services contracts to achieve greater cost savings and better outcomes, and embedding new property condition software in preparation for upgrade programs across our portfolio. Our solid work with developers and local government agencies resulted in a number of excellent opportunities and potential investments. For example, our proactive approach helped negotiate the purchase of two properties north of Melbourne that will be highly appropriate to our Singleton disability housing redevelopment program. Our divestment program is one of the ways we can fund new development, to meet changes and growth in demand. In Tasmania, we identified 10-12 properties suitable for divestment with active sales programs in place and four properties divested. In South Australia we identified three properties for sale and await approval from the South Australian Housing Authority (SAHA) before commencing a sale campaign. In Victoria, we identified 48 properties suitable for divestment. One property has been sold, two others are market-ready, and the remainder will be sold as we relocate the existing residents to other suitable properties. We anticipate proceeds from sales to exceed $10m, all of which will fund new developments.

quality and sustainable built environments that endure.

We do this through: a design and development program that accords directly with Housing Choices’ long-term strategic objectives; procuring new and developing existing properties, capital upgrades and

program-wide refurbishments and facilities management; pursuing an approach that

incorporates asset life-cycle planning and includes monitoring, reporting, acquisition and divestment; and research, data-capture and analysis to enable long-term maintenance planning and forecasting to ensure financial viability. We also aim to transform the resident experience through built forms that permit innovation in support service delivery, particularly for older residents and those living with a disability; for example, assistive technology and accessible design, integration with other housing and surrounding precincts. This approach is a direct reflection of Housing Choices’ Mission that we not only provide aordable housing to our residents, but also create spaces, buildings and neighbourhoods that truly support their life opportunities.

27 | Annual Report 2018

Commercial collaborationwith our partners and government allows us to leverage debt facilities and access innovative finance to fund projects that are tailored to the individual needs of our residents.

JamesHenry General Manager, Property Development and Asset Management.

Across all our regions, we are highly focused on improving the energy eciency of both existing and future dwellings. Over 1000 properties in our Tasmanian portfolio were identified for improved ventilation and draught proofing and all were brought up to our required standard by the end of the financial year. In Victoria, we pursued three major energy-saving initiatives across the portfolio, much of which involves the installation of solar panels. We anticipate around 200 dwellings will benefit significantly from this initiative. 79 properties were identified for upgrades and planning is underway. Every state in Australia operates under dierent funding environments, and at the federal level this is still being formulated. The direction of future funding is more than likely to be in the form of long-term debt arrangements, where the government provides improved terms on interest for social housing providers and recurrent subsidies to address the rent gap between social housing and the private market. In response to this changing environment, we actively seek new partnerships, including rental management opportunities. To fully leverage these, we have worked hard to clearly identify what is the most appropriate housing to address residents’ needs. For example, many residents have multiple disabilities and are also ageing. Our participation in a collaborative Ageing in Place research project with the Faculty of Art Design and Architecture at Monash University (MADA) has enabled us to specifically focus on meeting these kinds of complex future requirements.

We know there are significant social and other benefits for residents in mixed tenure environments and many of our developments determinedly include community spaces where residents can interact and connect. Where possible and appropriate, we look to leverage the planning policy incentives available in a particular region (e.g. inclusionary zoning) as a way of providing better value and creating additional housing supply. This year, we assumed full property and tenancy management of 45 Disability Housing Limited (DHL) shared-living properties in Victoria. Planning has begun for a complete reconfiguration of our Victorian-based Singleton Housing shared-living property portfolio to fit the new NDIS structure, with a primary aim to cause no disruption and no disadvantage to residents. We budgeted for two disability housing demonstration projects in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. Schematic designs are now complete and stakeholder engagement will be undertaken before construction, with completion scheduled for mid-2019. A further four properties have been identified within the portfolio, located at Skye, Seaford, Ringwood and Reservoir and design plans have been prepared.


Developing a robust, resilient and agile organisation |

I have been livingwith Housing Choices for six years and I have a disability. It’s the perfect solution to all of my living needs. Thank you for your support.


Transformingthe resident experience.

Betterunderstanding the resident journey. Housing Choices is unarguably good at ‘housing’. We know how to build, manage and maintain houses and how to support our residents to ensure their tenancies are long-term and stable.

31 | Annual Report 2018

Challenginghowwecan increaseour impact inthisway, is anatural progressivestep inour growthanddevelopment.

As a national housing group, we are ten years old this year and being good at housing is what has got us where we are today. Birthdays are a time to reflect on the past and evaluate what lies ahead, and this year was a perfect time for us to reflect on our impact as we set our vision for the next ten years. One of the principles that has always guided Housing Choices’ growth is the strongly held belief that what matters most about our work is the impact it has on the lives of our residents. We want our residents to experience the best ‘home life’ they can, secure and confident enough to take up the value-adding life opportunities and pathways we know a good home life can bring. To tailor services to meet the needs of our residents and deliver them more eectively, we are mapping the resident journey to gain a deeper insight into their experience. This will be achieved through meaningful engagement and listening to our residents; where and how they want to live; what kind of home they aspire to; what they need to help them fulfil this goal; and how we can best respond to changes in their needs and circumstances.

This year we engaged a consulting partner that specialises in human-centred design. They worked with us to gather evidence, distill feedback from sta, residents and stakeholders and develop insights that are real, relevant, actionable and will position us for future success. With this knowledge we will transform our practices; plan, innovate, deliver and adjust our services to meet our residents’ needs now, and as they change over time.

South Australian residents after their workshop

When we look back at ourselves in 2028, we will see a vibrant organisation that not only provides lots of great housing outcomes across the country, but also increases residents’ chances of finding the pathways and taking the opportunities that will help them create a really good home life - one they can take with them if they move and can pass on to their next generation.


Transforming the resident experience |

Sta from all states engaging in a ‘Resident Experience’ workshop facilitated by Nous.

Transforming HousingChoices for thenextdecade. As we begin our second decade, we want to make sure that both the current and next generations of Housing Choices sta are well-trained and well-supported, have the diverse skills, capabilities and temperaments needed to match their tasks, and that every sta member recognises clearly how their individual contributions are a vital part of an integrated eort. Our workforce will be supported by an innovative and solution-oriented culture, underpinned by processes, systems and infrastructure that allow and encourage innovation, deliver the right tools and resources and a management structure that supports and rewards. We will keep thinking nationally and acting locally, but make more sense of it; centralising processes and localising outcomes. We want our sta to be excited and proud to say they work at Housing Choices and they should be able to clearly see that the job they do is making a real dierence.

Understandingthe resident experience andthe requirements for success.

The community housing sector is in the middle of a period of unprecedented pressure and change, driven by three key factors; higher expectations of us by both governments and the general community, both in terms of the quality of our services and the impact our work is having, particularly on homelessness; increased expectations of us by our residents for our services be more tailored to their needs and adaptable as their circumstances change; and increasing pressure on costs due to ongoing funding constraints at both state and federal government levels. To better understand our residents’ needs and deliver services more eectively, we are developing robust systems to better track the journey of our residents, analytical tools that will help us process the data collected on their experiences, and methods by which this information can more eectively clarify the impact of our services. It’s all about feedback and what we do with it.

At a state and federal level, new initiatives in the social housing system are creating significant opportunities. These will require community housing organisations like ours to become more complex and sophisticated. We will need to take on new roles and acquire risk, asset and project management skills we’ve never needed before. We also need to build new partnerships with private developers, construction companies, architects, technical experts, researchers, planners and financial institutions. The expectations of these partners will dier to those of our residents, the community, and governments. We need to ensure we have the methods and processes in place that allow us to achieve and maintain the right balance.

33 | Annual Report 2018

Trackingthe resident journey.


Transforming the resident experience |

Whyour residents stayhappy. The annual resident satisfaction survey allows residents to speak for themselves.

35 | Annual Report 2018

Inadditiontomappingthe resident experience,weencourage regular feedback fromour residents across a rangeof channels; oneof thesebeingtheannual resident satisfactionsurvey.

This independent survey is conducted according to the Ethical Principles Governing Human Research , is highly-regarded by regulators and provides a high level of transparency. Our residents provide feedback on a range of areas including: overall satisfaction, satisfaction with services, properties, location, maintenance and our response performance. This year our Overall Satisfaction rating was 84%, just 1% lower than last year, but we were encouraged that more residents participated in the survey than ever before, and 82% reported they were satisfied with the services we provide them.

Without resident feedback, we couldn’t deliver the high standard of service for which we are known. We use a 360-degree approach to drive service improvements across all aspects of the organisation and, with our new resident experience project being rolled out over the next year, we are already seeing improvements in service delivery across our portfolio. In addition to providing comparative response data, residents have the opportunity to comment directly on their individual experiences. We were delighted to see even more honest feedback this year - both positive and negative - and some frank suggestions for improvement. We don’t shy away from critical feedback and encourage our residents to provide honest accounts of their experience. Without that we know we can’t deliver the high-quality service they have a right to expect.

National overall resident satisfaction:



69% 71% 71% 74% 79% 84% 83% 84%









National customer servicesatisfaction:

63% 76% 76% 80% 82% 85% 84% 82%










Transforming the resident experience |

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