Victoria Home Stories Winter 2024

Winter 2024

2023/24 Resident Survey Actions P3 Ivan's pride P6 Community Development Team ‘Out and about’ and upcoming activities P8


From Hannah Harvey

I'm excited to be introducing the Winter edition of Home Stories for our residents in Victoria. If we haven't yet met, I recently joined Housing Choices as the Executive General Manager of Customer and Community Services. I'm passionate about enhancing resident experiences and ensuring Housing Choices has what’s needed to construct more homes, improve existing housing, and strengthen communities. This means, delivering the best housing and tenancy

services to you, and ensuring that we listen to your feedback and suggestions as part of this. Included in this Winter edition are some of the actions Housing Choices is taking in response to the 2023/24 annual resident survey on the areas of importance to many of you specific to our services. I'd especially like to thank Melissa Palframan the General Manager for our Victorian Operations, for her work in the four years that she spent at Housing

Hannah Harvey Executive General Manager of Customer and Community Services very much look forward to being able to meet many of you in future, and to properly introduce myself to the resident advisory committees. Choices. Melissa has very recently moved on from Housing Choices to take up another role. I’m absolutely delighted to become part of Housing Choices Australia, and

Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation Housing Choices Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Victoria and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Cover: Melbourne resident Ivan shares his pride.



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, creating 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.

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 reviews and how to manage neighbour issues. We are working with resident groups and advisory committees on all the ways available that we can best keep residents informed about social and tenancy related issues. We are also working with the Victorian Resident Advisory Committee on a communications guidelines document, which includes recommendations about how Housing Choices staff write different correspondence and communicate to residents.

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.


Thank you to the talented resident artists who have submitted artworks so far. Entries close Friday 16 th August. If you’ve been unsure about entering, here’s encouraging words from the Home Is Where the Art Is Work Group – 2024 Home is Where the Art Is Competition is underway Home Is Where the Art Is, is, all about sharing, connecting, and inclusivity. It’s an opportunity to be inspired by other residents and feel a sense of pride and community. The competition is rewarding and eye-opening for all. Our work group meets monthly to discuss and plan the competition. Our knowledge and understanding are vital to making our events shine.

Victorian Resident Advisory Committee (VRAC)

VRAC has been exceptionally busy the past few months. For the first time the committee is at capacity with 12 extraordinary members. Welcome to new members Tadros and Margaret. VRAC looks forward to the lived experience you bring to the committee. Members reformed a work group, and is producing a first, communications guidelines document. That includes recommendations about how Housing Choices staff write different correspondence and communicate to residents. For example, Home Stories , letters, publications and policy. Members came together in June to enjoy their annual mid-year luncheon. It’s one way Housing Choices acknowledge the committee's contributions and is opportunity for members to socially come together. If you would like to know more about VRAC, contact the Community Development and Engagement Team on, 1300 312 447 or email communitydevelopmentvic

To find out more about the competition, categories and awards, and to enter contact the Community Development and Engagement Team on 1300 312 447 or email


Innovate RAP Launch

NAIDOC Week: 'Keep the fire burning! Blak, loud and proud'

7-14 th July

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.

NAIDOC Week is celebrated across Australia from 7 th July to 14 th July. This year’s theme is 'Keep the fire burning! Blak, loud and proud' which honours the enduring strength and vitality of First Nations culture. In acknowledgement and to learn about their culture, Housing Choices staff are involved in several opportunities, including for the first-time volunteering at Aboriginal Housing Victoria’s (AHV), annual FREE NAIDOC Week Family Fun Day at Collingwood Children’s Farm . Featuring traditional cultural arts and crafts, live music, dance workshops, renters’ arts exhibition, football clinic, information stalls and free BBQ. If you are a First Nations Housing Choices resident and would like to attend the family day, contact the Community Development and Engagement Team on 1300 312 447 or by email communitydevelopmentvic@ To read more about NAIDOC Week visit

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 are 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 .


Pride Month

June was also national Pride month, celebrating the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community, and the value the community brings to the world. Housing Choices is an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community which includes many of our residents and staff. Community Development and Engagement Officer Alex writes that Pride is a personal and beautiful thing. "To me, it’s a time of reflection and joy. With every passing year, I feel I’m getting closer to the person I wish to be." What does Pride mean to you?

Queer singer, drag performer and Housing Choices resident Ivan lives in an apartment within an LGBTQIA+ friendly community in Melbourne’s inner north. Ivan spoke with Housing Choices about making the apartment feel his own. He also shared an empowering message for queer youth. “When I came to be in this apartment, I had furniture, but very minimal,” he said. “I was gifted and collected bits and pieces along the way. I’ve made it my own in the sense from using materials such as tarp cloth and I’ve put my personality into it.” Ivan has decorated the one-bedroom apartment with colourful artworks, an abundance of greenery and meaningful trinkets. Ivan’s pride

“My artwork is based on modern art to interpretations of certain things, images I find really interesting.” He said after years in private and unaffordable housing, he was enjoying the benefits of living in a queer community with like-minded people. “You have lots of people from trans to gays to lesbians. So at least there’s a common thread where we can all meet up. Ivan’s hope was that young members of the queer community could embrace their differences and live their most authentic lives. “Don’t be frightened, you know? It’s a scary world that we live in but you have to like stand up and say I can do

To find out more about Pride month and LGBTQIA+ festivals in Victoria, go to the Australian Pride Network or Pride Centre websites

this and be proud of what you’re doing.” /events/ category/pride-month-2024/

Right: Ivan showing one of his many performance outfits.



Community Development Team ‘Out and about’ and upcoming activities Coralene, Alex, and student Naomi are having an enjoyable time making connections with residents and hosting initiatives. The impact of this being that more residents than ever are engaging and participating.

Above: L-R: Chris from Wintringham with Housing Choices staff Britta and Coralene, and resident Lea in front.

Barefoot Bowls BBQ event at the City of Melbourne Bowls Club Held for residents aged 55 years young and over. In partnership with Wintringham, CoHealth, and City of Melbourne. Everyone enjoyed a BBQ and lawn bowls.

Resident Meetings So far this year 13 resident meetings have been held across the CBD and at our suburban and regional housing areas. The meetings are an opportunity for staff and residents to come together over food and a cuppa, and share ideas about the different programs, events, activities and available information. We head out again to the west, north, east and southeast in the coming months!

First Shiel St Residents BBQ Over a quarter of residents attended and enjoyed raffles, a BBQ lunch, and social time. Residents met neighbours and staff, and heard about the different programs, events, and activities the Community Development and Engagement Team offer. It was lovely to observe the diversity of residents and hear their ideas. This includes the start-up of a community garden.


Above: Barefoot Bowls BBQ for residents aged 55 years young.

Resident gardens and ‘Cultivating Community’ workshops at Town Hall Ave and High St For the first time, during June and July, Cultivating Community is running FREE workshops with residents and resident garden members. The workshops focus on understanding governance, managing gardens, propagation, sustainable planting and gardening.

FREE residents money minded financial literacy workshop For the first time, the Community Development and Engagement Team is running an engaging, practical and fun financial literacy workshop for residents who are finding the cost of living tough, and would like to learn financial tips, create a budget, reduce debts or save.

To find out more about any of the above programs and to register your interest, please contact the Community Development and Engagement Team on 1300 312 447 or email


Scrumptious winter recipe - Chow Mein!

Ingredients •

Step 1 Heat oil in a frying pan over medium- high heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until onion has softened. Add mince. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up mince, for 8 to 10 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Step 2 Add carrot. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until carrot starts to soften. Add cabbage. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until cabbage starts to soften. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in stock. Season with pepper. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.

2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil 1 medium brown onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed, or 3 spoons of garlic from a jar 600g Coles Beef 3 Star Regular Mince 1 large carrot, peeled, halved, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon plain flour

1 ½ cup Massel beef style stock 350g packet fresh chow mein noodles

1 bunch baby pak choy, trimmed, shredded 2 cups shredded cabbage

½ cup frozen peas

Step 3 Meanwhile, place noodles in a

2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water. Set aside for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Drain.

¼ cup oyster sauce


Tip: Enjoy now or freeze for later. You can enjoy even more over cooked white or brown rice!


Locks, keys, fobs/swipes and after-hours maintenance service

Above: Bobby

Above: Diesel

Above: Toothless

Pet Social

Planning ahead and understanding your

This quarterly Home Stories feature is underway! Residents have been sharing their special pet photos and stories. Here are a few Autumn entries collected. Victorian Resident Advisory Committee members chose their Autumn favourite, Chantelle and her pet Diesel who receive a $100 gift card. As we read, the unconditional love, joy, companionship and impact our pets have on our lives is to be cherished. Don’t forget to submit your favourite pet photo and story to be nominated for a $100 gift card to

responsibilities around keys can save the stress and costs associated with lost, damaged or forgotten keys. There is a charge for replacing lost or misplaced keys and fobs/ swipes. This is $20.00 for a standard key and up to $150.00 for a restricted key. Fobs/swipes are between $60.00 to $120.00 each. The cost of a call-out fee for a contractor to attend, and for new duplicate keys and fobs/swipes is the resident’s responsibility. Locked yourself out? ∞ 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. ∞ Outside of office hours: Call 1300 321 185 to arrange

Resident maintenance survey

an emergency locksmith. You will be charged for the

The Property Team conduct monthly resident satisfaction surveys to ask you about your maintenance repairs experience. From June, and then each month, 10% of residents who have had maintenance repairs in that month will be randomly chosen and receive a SMS text with a link to an online survey. Residents who complete the survey will be in the running to receive a $50 gift card .

locksmith service and the after- hours call-out fee which can cost between $150.00 - $450.00. Residents are required to supply Housing Choices a copy of their new cut key/s.


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.


FIND THESE WORDS IN THE GRID Winter Cooking Storm Temperature Hot Chocolate Fireplace Gardening Soup Sweater

Raining Theatre Snowflake

Knitting Journey Campervan

Please tell us the remaining word before Monday 12 August by emailing or posting your answer to: Level 3, 350 Queen Street, Melbourne VIC 3000. Only one entry is allowed per household. The winner will score themselves a $50 Bunnings voucher and will be drawn from the correct entries. Good luck!

Preston Office 137 High Street Preston VIC 3072 General Enquiries 1300 312 447

Head Office Level 3, 350 Queen Street Melbourne VIC 3000


1300 321 185

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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