Western Australia Home Stories Winter 2024

2023/24 Resident Survey Actions P3 Lights. Camera. Art! P4 Tony & Lady: a volunteer story P7 Winter 2024


From the General Manager As many of you may have heard, this will be my last newsletter as the General Manager of Housing Choices WA. Writing this is giving me a lovely opportunity to reflect on the past six years in a job that has given me so much joy, insight and personal and professional growth.

I have had the privilege of working in an organisation that is committed to safe and affordable homes and increasingly, making sure we ask and listen to what tenants want from our services. I spend each day alongside a team that genuinely care about equity and wellbeing and come to work each day committed to doing their best, and to having a laugh wherever we can. I have met and gotten to know so many tenants from all over the portfolio and loved and learned from your stories. During Reconciliation Week we launched our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) as an organisation. Being involved in the development of our Reflect and Innovate RAP has been incredibly meaningful and one of the highlights of my work at Housing Choices. It was also a pleasure to have a Noongar artist and Housing Choices WA resident Leslie and her artwork feature in our latest RAP. Please read more about our Innovate RAP in this edition of the newsletter. Leaving a job, you love is tough, but the lure of something new and interesting has won over.

I will be moving on to lead a small not-for-profit organisation that supports women to get into, or back into the workforce and I am excited by the opportunities to grow this work in the context of the cost of living and housing crises and being part of a positive response to family and domestic violence. Thank you all for the chats over the years. Thank you for being part of our programs, art shows, gardening competitions and end of year events. Wishing you all well for the future,

Natalie Sangalli Acting Chief Operating Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation Housing Choices WA acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Noongar boodja (land) where we are based. We acknowledge their connections to land, sea and community and pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Cover: Ivan’s award- winning artwork at the 2024 Tenant Art Show.



2023/24 Resident Survey Actions

At Housing Choices, we value the feedback from our residents and are committed to addressing your concerns. In the last edition, we shared the results from our national resident survey. This edition, we are excited to share some of the actions we are taking to address your feedback nationally and locally.

Complaints handling improvements Following our national complaints management review, we are currently implementing a range of recommendations to improve our complaints handling and create national consistency around how we handle complaints about our staff and services. This includes updating policies and procedures, how we record complaints data and how we communicate to residents during the complaints process.

Improving satisfaction for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents Housing Choices Australia is continuing our commitment to reconciliation and have launched our Innovate RAP which will contribute to improving service delivery and outcomes for First Nations residents and organisations which we work with. Housing Choices WA is also developing a First Nations art program to provide ongoing funding and support for First Nations residents to build meaningful relationships and promote wellbeing. Responding to tenant priorities In the 2023 survey residents expressed the most interest in social activities and tenancy related activities where they could ask questions about maintenance, rent review and how to manage neighbour issues. In response to this Housing Choices WA is running more regular rent and maintenance sessions in more areas. We are also developing a neighbour dispute handbook and online resource to assist tenants with neighbour issues. To meet the demand for social activities we’re holding a series of small events at local community organisations to actively connect residents socially alongside our annual end of year lunches and family BBQ.

Addressing neighbourhood issues Housing Choices aims to build inclusive communities and address neighbour issues through the development of a national placemaking strategy. We are actively consulting with staff and residents to create this framework and are working with leading placemaking consultants Village Well. Housing Choices WA is also reviewing our mediation partnership to see how we can encourage more residents to undertake subsidised mediation to resolve neighbour issues.


Above: Dean Baylis Memorial Award Custodian Ursula and award winner Doug.

Above: Malcolm with his photograph called The Gathering.

Lights. Camera. Art!

Housing Choices WA tenant Jacqui participated in our Tenant Art Showcase for the first time this year displaying her hand-made jewellery. Jacqui is currently studying creative writing, and recently critiqued shows for Fringe World in Perth, so we invited Jacqui to review our 2024 Tenant Art Showcase from the unique viewpoint of a first-time visitor and artist.

were paintings, sculptures, photographs, pyrography, wood carving, mixed media, embroidery, jewellery, beanies and even bonsais. No matter what you were looking for, there was something for everyone. As well as being packed with art, the room was filled with people admiring and talking about the artwork. A lot of them were artists themselves, their friends and family and Housing Choices staff. The biggest take away for me was the many happy faces, together, in one big room. It was like a music festival but an art-based celebration centring on Housing Choices tenants’ artistic endeavours. All the artists had badges, with their name and ‘Tenant Artist’ printed underneath.

There was also an Artist Catalogue which not only listed the 51 artists involved but told meaningful stories of their lives and artworks and showed the care Housing Choices has towards the tenants. This warmth radiated around the room between the artists’ themselves and the staff with several tenants receiving accolades and vouchers for their work. There was something that Nat Sangalli, the General Manager of Housing Choices WA, said at the beginning of the event which struck me: “Art brings joy, joy promotes well-being and that promotes connectivity.” And she was right.

Absolutely nothing could prepare me for the smorgasbord of art and people that enveloped me as I walked into Housing Choices WA’s 2024 Tenant Art Showcase at the Gary Holland Community Centre in Rockingham. What a feast for the senses! The question was, where to start? The enormous room was full to the brim with a variety of unique and high quality works of art. There

By Jacqui











1. Denise with her mixed media paintings. 2. Ian and his Australian outback painting. 3. Melanie and her bonsai. 4. Edward’s artwork, winner of the Favourite Artist Award. 5. Stephen’s artwork, winner of the Packer’s Prize. 6. Simon (left) with his artwork purchased by Alec from Multicultural Futures (right). 7. Joel with Isobel from Sisters of St John of God who bought his photography at the art show. 8. Artist Raymond admiring Glenn’s recycled hand built models. 9. Winner of the Favourite Artwork Award Hodette (middle) with Tenant Engagement Officers Amy (left) and Alex (right) .


Planting wisely: tenant garden responsibilities We appreciate that residents want to improve their gardens and make their outdoor spaces their own by planting new plants or trees in their property. It’s important to remember that anything you plant is your responsibility to maintain. Pruning or removing overgrown plants is part of this regular maintenance. It’s also important to consider the type and size of plants that you choose to grow as some can be invasive or grow too large for the area. Planting trees too close to buildings can lead to property damage caused by roots or overhanging branches. Please consider the potential impact of your plantings on the property and its structures. If you wish to plant anything in common areas, remember that approval from Housing Choices WA is needed. Plantings in these areas can disrupt the work of our dedicated

Above: New website homepage.

Website refresh

If you’ve recently visited the Housing Choices website, you’ll have noticed that it has a new design. We’re updating our content to better support visitors to our website to find the services and information they need. If you have feedback or suggestions, please email communications@hcau.org.au .

Hello Hannah Harvey

Hannah Harvey joined Housing Choices recently as the Executive General Manager of Customer and Community Services. Hannah is an experienced Executive Officer with a focus on resident-driven outcomes. Hannah’s passion lies in enhancing resident experiences and ensuring Housing Choices has what’s needed to construct more homes, improve existing housing, and strengthen communities. “I’m absolutely delighted to become part of Housing Choices Australia. And very much look forward to being able to meet many of you in future, and to properly introduce myself to the resident advisory committees.”

garden maintenance team. Don’t hesitate to contact our maintenance hotline on 1800 203 383 if you have any questions.


POOPS provides volunteers with dog walking training and support throughout their volunteer experience. Tony is in a chat group on WhatsApp with three other volunteers in his area and always keeps in touch if any questions or issues come about. The walks are enjoyable for both Lady and Tony. “Going for walks is quite refreshing. I take Lady to the beach and sit and pat her for a few minutes and then walk back, I enjoy it.” He was able to help Lady and her owners when he discovered she was having difficulties going to the toilet. He said “I had to tell her owners there was something wrong, they took her to the vet, and it turned out she had a bit of an infection. We ended up sorting her out with the vet. We fixed the dog up.” POOPS volunteers are easy to spot with their red t-shirts and caps and are often stopped by curious people. Tony has business cards ready to go if people are interested in becoming clients or want to

Above: Busselton tenant Tony with Lady.

Tony & Lady: a volunteer story

volunteer their time. “I would recommend

Every Thursday morning, Busselton tenant Tony, gets up early to walk his neighbour’s dog named Lady. Tony has been volunteering with POOPS (Pets of Older Persons) for the last two months. Their mission is ‘Keeping people and pets together’. The WA volunteer- run organisation helps to care for pets of older people and provides a range of free services including dog walking, transportation to vets, boarding or groomers, and assistance with administering medication.

Having always wanted a pet of his own, this was the perfect organisation for Tony to volunteer with. He has the chance to interact with Lady, a small Border Collie, keep active and make a difference by helping his neighbours. “I also like talking to the owners of the dog. When I get back from the walk, I have a coffee with them and a chat. Get a friendship going with them,” said Tony.

volunteering, there is always something to do and new people coming on to get their dogs to be walked. Just look up POOPS and go from there.”

Interested in volunteering or need help with your pet? Visit www.poopswa.org.au or call them on 1300 1100 92 .


Above: Sue (far right) and Janyce (front right) with other chair yoga participants.

and loneliness that we all may feel from time to time,” said Janyce. “We hoped that it would get people laughing and sharing and be a bit of fun,” said Sue. Sue, who is the current chairperson of our Advisory Committee of Tenants, applied for funding through our Small Sparks Fund to get the sessions started. The Small Sparks Fund supports tenants to join or start their own community activity by providing financial help and guidance. Sue researched and found an experienced yoga teacher, Maria, to lead the sessions to ensure a safe experience for her neighbours. With support from the Small Sparks Fund, Sue and Janyce have now held a weekly guided chair

yoga class with Maria for the past six weeks with between 9 to 14 attendees at each session. Following the yoga session, the group has a healthy homemade lunch which provides another opportunity to chat and connect with each other. The gatherings have been fun and filled with laughter, and the community feels more connected. “It has been a positive experience, and we may not have started it without the fund. Now, we can try keep it going on our own,” said Sue. If you are interested in starting or joining a community activity through our Small Sparks Fund, contact Tenant Engagement Officer Alex on 0437 887 675 or via alex.kepes@hcau.org.au.

Chair yoga sparks community connection Rockingham tenants Sue and Janyce have brought their community closer together by organising chair yoga sessions for neighbours and local community members. Sue and Janyce said they wanted to help their neighbours connect and improve their health. “We wanted to run a community activity to help keep people moving, especially as we all get older. We also felt socialising more would help with the isolation

Above: Chair yoga class in action.

Above: Yoga instructor Maria.


Watch for water leaks

We encourage residents to investigate and report potential water leaks in your home so you can avoid costly water bills and prevent water damage in your property.

How to check for leaks Your water meter is a good place to start to perform a basic leak test. 1. Turn off all taps and water using appliances. 2. Find your water meter; it’s usually in your front garden close to the verge. 3. Write down the number on the metre. 4. Wait 15 minutes. 5. Check the metre again to see if the numbers change. 6. If the water meter moves then it means you may have a leak. How to locate the leak Always check both in and outside your home as leaks could be coming from a common source like a tap or be an underground hidden leak. Inside your home: Look in the kitchen, bathroom/s and laundry for dripping taps, leaking washing machine or a constantly running toilet. Outside your home: Look in your outdoor garden for dripping taps, hoses or leaking sprinklers. Damp and unstable brick paving and garden areas that may be moist and greener than expected can also be a sign of a leak.

Reporting the leak Ring our Maintenance Hotline on 1800 203 383 to report the leak and give as much information as you can, we can then advise you of next steps or assist in further investigating the leak.

What about the cost of water due to a leak?

If you’ve had a hidden leak you might be eligible for a leak allowance from the Water Corp for up to 50% of the cost of the water usage caused by the leak. A hidden leak is one that is not visible and often occurs from a cracked or broken pipe underground, in walls, underneath paving or driveways. The leak allowance does not cover leaks from visible sources such as showerheads, taps and other appliances. This means it’s important to detect and report a household leak quickly as these leaks are not covered by the allowance. Please note you may need to contact Water Corp directly to apply for a leak allowance. Water Corp may require a copy of the plumbers invoice which Housing Choices WA can provide.


Winter reminders

Check your gutters Clogged gutters from debris and leaves can cause water to leak into your property. As winter weather arrives it’s timely to check your roof and gutters for build-up. For safety, we recommend you inspect your gutters from a distance rather than using a ladder. If you think your gutters need cleaning or are unsure, please call our Maintenance Hotline on 1800 203 383 .

Above: (L-R) RAP Committee members Nat, Rosella and Leah.

Innovate RAP Launch Housing Choices launched our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) with celebrations across the country during National Reconciliation Week 2024. Our Innovate RAP builds on our vision and enduring commitment for reconciliation. This vision sees a future in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people share in an equitable, prosperous, and rewarding future. We will work towards this through the housing we build, the services we provide, the workplaces we create and our support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations.

Take steps to prevent mould

Your day-to-day activities can have an impact on whether mould is an issue in your home. The below tips can help avoid mould during winter months. • Open windows as much as possible, especially when washing or drying clothes. • Use your kitchen extraction fan when cooking. • Wipe condensation off walls and windows to keep them dry. • Use exhaust fans every time you shower but keep your bathroom door closed so the fan works more effectively. • After you shower open the door and leave the exhaust fan on until condensation clears. • Clean your exhaust fans (if you struggle to reach ask a neighbour or family member to help). • If possible, hang washing outside to dry rather than inside. Turn your sprinklers off The Winter sprinkler switch off came into effect starting 1 June and ends 31 August this year. If you have sprinklers, please keep them off to avoid Water Corporation fines and help save water. Tenants living in apartment complexes may have common area sprinklers turned off automatically.


Quick tips on keys

Would you know what to do if you were locked out of your home? Planning ahead and understanding your responsibilities around keys can save the stress and costs associated with lost, damaged, or forgotten keys.

Locked yourself out? If you find yourself locked out of your home and don’t have a spare key here are the steps to take: • During office hours: Contact your local Housing Choices office to borrow our set of keys. Remember, you need to return the keys once you have regained access to your home.

Preventing lockout charges The best way to prevent being locked out of your home is to plan ahead: • Get a spare key: Have a spare key cut and give it to someone you trust or keep it in a safe place like your wallet. Please be cautious who you give a key to and avoid hiding keys outside your home without a lock box. • Consider a key lockbox: You can purchase a key lockbox for secure storage, but make sure to get advice from a reliable source before buying one. If you want to attach a lockbox to an external wall, please seek approval from Housing Choices first.

Responsibilities around keys

As a tenant, you have certain responsibilities regarding your keys: • Cost of replacement: If you lose or damage your keys, you are responsible for the cost of replacing them. • Changing locks: Please don’t change the locks without our permission, as it breaches your tenancy agreement (except in cases of family violence as defined by the Residential Tenancies Act WA). If you have lost keys and are concerned about security, contact us as soon as you can.

• Outside of business hours: Call our Maintenance Hotline

on 1800 203 383 for an emergency locksmith. Be aware that you will be charged for the locksmith service and the after- hours call-out fee.

Any questions? Call our Maintenance Hotline on 1800 203 383 from 8am-4pm Monday-Friday.


Home Stories Winter puzzle Win a $50 Bunnings voucher!

Find all the words in the word search except for one, which is not actually in the grid. Words may be forward, backward, up, down or diagonal. This word search is themed around the Noongar six seasons. The six seasons help us better understand care of the land and native animal and plant cycles. This word search features the names of the Noongar seasons and different plants and animals that are significant during these times.




WARDONG (raven) YONGAR (kangaroo) BOOKAS (animal skin cloaks) BALGAS (grass trees) YANGET (bullrush reeds)



KAMBARANG KOOLBARDI (magpie) DJIDI DJIDI (willy wag tail)

Congratulations to Emma from Halls Head, last edition’s puzzle prize winner.

Tell us the remaining word for the word search by emailing info-wa@hcau.org.au , messaging us through our Facebook page or posting it to us at Home Stories Winter Puzzle, Housing Choices Western Australia , PO Box 105, Burswood WA 6100 . Competition closes Friday 6 September 2024. The winner of a $50 Bunnings voucher will be drawn from all the correct entries after this date. Only one entry per household. Good luck!

Useful contacts

Lifeline: 13 11 14 Mental Health Emergency Response Line: 1300 555 788 (Perth region) 1800 676 822 (Peel region) Rurallink: 1800 552 002 (rural/regional WA)

National Debt Helpline: 1800 007 007 WA Connect: waconnect.org.au/ Carers Gateway: 1800 422 737

Peel Office 4 Stevenson Street PO Box 1200 Mandurah WA 6210 P (08) 9534 0400

Perth Metro Office Level 7, 25 Rowe Avenue Rivervale WA 6103 PO Box 105 Burswood WA 6100 P (08) 9430 0900

South West Office 1 st Floor, 25 Victoria Street PO Box 1539

Bunbury WA 6230 P (08) 9722 7200

Maintenance Hotline 1800 203 383

info-wa@hcau.org.au housingchoices.org.au

Disclaimer: To the best of Housing Choices Australia’s knowledge (Housing Choices), this information is valid at the time of publication. Housing Choices makes no warranty or representation in relation to the content or accuracy of the material in this publication. Housing Choices expressly disclaims any and all liability (including liability for negligence) in respect of use of information provided. Housing Choices recommends you seek independent professional advice prior to making any decision involving matters outlined in this publication.

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