South Australia Home Stories Winter 2024

Winter 2024

Meet the team! P3 Motoring on the road with Michael P4 Spotlight on our Youth Group P6



From the General Manager

A warm hello to our residents. In these chilly months, curling up and reading the latest Home Stories seems like a very good way to spend an hour! This edition, you’ll meet some of our residents who are truly living their fullest lives, despite facing immense challenges. It’s wonderful to see Michael securely housed and embarking on adventures in his campervan ‘Shiralee’. Road tripping the country is a dream for many, and our residents are no different. Guy shares his incredible journey from homelessness. I was fortunate enough to meet Guy in person recently, and his tenacity and dedication to helping others is simply incredible.

We also see a couple of pics of our Youth Group meeting some adorable local fauna! If you’ve wondered who is who when you’ve called our office, hopefully the images of our Property and Housing team help a little. Finally, I’d like to remind our residents that we take their feedback seriously and have already been actioning issues that were raised during the recent Resident Survey. Til next time, stay safe,

Julie Duncan General Manager, South Australia

Acknowledgement of Country

Housing Choices South Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land where this publication is produced, the Kaurna people, and pay our respects to Elders past and present. We celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are part of the Housing Choices community.

Cover: Michael and his beloved campervan.


Meet the team! This month, we thought we’d introduce you to the friendly faces in our Housing Team and Property Team. Sometimes it’s tricky to know who to go to for, but hopefully this helps you know who manages what when it comes to your home.

Above: L-R – Eliza, Skye, Ella and Henry. Renee (not pictured).

Property Team: Our Property Team, led by Skye, is responsible for managing responsive repairs to properties, planning future upgrades, scoping and managing upgrade works, and common area landscaping. They also manage annual programs such as smoke alarm testing, gutter cleaning, manage after hours maintenance and support body corporate responsibilities in high density living.

Above: L-R Back – Giles, Lynne, Gary, Sarah, Lincoln, Alison, Fiona. L-R front – Vero, Becky.

Housing Team: Our Housing Team, led by Lana, is responsible for providing high quality tenancy management services. They do this by ensuring homes are cared for and kept safe, and that rent is paid. The Housing team also ensure residents have access to services or supports that can assist them to remain in their home for as long as they are able.


transportation, and occupational therapy while recovering from hospital treatment. With this additional help – a trip with ‘Shiralee’ was finally possible. So far, Michael has been to Victor and Rapid Bay on the Fleurieu Peninsula, and Marion Bay and Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula. A quest for gemstones in Victoria, visiting a brother in Melbourne and braving the chill of Tasmania are all future possibilities. “I know I want to go to the goldfields near Bendigo. I don’t want to be rich. I just want to find something!” With a willing companion in ‘Shiralee’, plus a unit and community to come home to, Michael is more excited about the journey than the destination. “I like to do things on the spur of the moment, and I must admit, I just love driving.”

Motoring on with Michael

Setting off on a road trip is something many people dream of. For Michael, who just a few years ago was on the verge of homelessness, it seemed a very distant dream. But today, standing next to his beloved campervan ‘Shiralee’, that dream has become a reality. Michael has spent the past few months travelling around South Australia in his vintage white van. ‘Shiralee’ has a bed, awning, some vintage stickers and (thankfully) an automatic transmission that’s kind on his creaky ankle. Just a few short years ago, Michael’s wife was admitted to a care facility due to advanced dementia. Unable to stay in the retirement home they had shared, Michael, who is in his 80’s and has chronic health issues from a worksite accident 20 years ago, was suddenly facing an uncertain future. “I really had nowhere to go in terms of accessing the rental markets and

Housing Choices SA was able to house Michael in a block of units with a real sense of community, providing a bit of stability to get back on his feet – literally and figuratively. “There’s a lady who brings me food and drinks, and fruit and veggies from the market garden.’ Once Michael was settled in his home, Lincoln, Housing Choices SA’s Coordinator Tenant Support advocated for him to be assessed by federal aged care service, My Aged Care, to access services under the Commonwealth Home Support Program. Michael was able to receive domestic cleaning,

I couldn’t stay in the retirement village.”

Above: One of Michael’s sketches. Right: Michael and Lincoln, pictured in front of his campervan.



Left: Alex gets a Koala cuddle!

Above: Kiara’s close up with a Koala at Gorge Wildlife Park

Above: Tara feeding the wallabies at Gorge Wildlife Park.

Spotlight on our youth group The Housing Choices SA Youth Group has been running since January this year. The group gets our younger residents together to socialise and have some fun, mostly around the Adelaide CBD.

Meeting fortnightly, the group has so far made pizzas and played games at Wauwi Inparrila, putted their way around Holey Moley, ventured out for some fresh air at Morialta Conservation Park and enjoyed koala cuddles at Gorge Wildlife Park. Residents Kiara and Tara are both enjoying the outings. “Youth Group is a fun social gathering that gets us out of the apartments,” they said.

If you are between 18-30 years old, and interested in coming along, please leave a message with our front office – 1300 312 447 . Youth Group meets on the 2 nd and 4 th Friday of each month, and if we know you are interested, we will text you with details of the next event. Thanks to the City of Adelaide for generously providing funding to support this group.


Resident recipe share Bread is cheap, and there’s often plenty available thanks to our weekly OzHarvest deliveries. Lindy has kindly shared with us an excellent recipe for using up stale bread that’s a bit different to what you might expect. It’s perfect for the chilly Winter weather too.

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 introduce myself through our resident groups and forums.”

Lindy’s Pasta

Ingredients • 1/2 packet of dried spaghetti • 1/3 cup olive oil • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped • 1/2 teaspoon of dried chilli • 4-6 slices of stale bread, crusts removed and cut into small cubes. • 1/4 cup grated cheese • Salt + Pepper to taste Method Boil water, and once boiling, add pasta and salt and cook til al dente. Heat oil on a medium heat, and then add the bread, chopped garlic, chilli and black pepper. Transfer drained pasta into the pan with the bread, using tongs so a small amount of water is added to the bread sauce to moisten it. Top with grated cheese and serve.


From homeless to helping others: Guy’s journey at Common Ground

Ten years ago, Guy was visiting a friend at an Adelaide detox centre while trying to sober up himself - a major challenge for someone with no fixed address or support.


In his lifetime, Guy had experienced a lot of tragedy, had battled substance abuse issues for as long as he could remember, was regularly homeless, and had spent no more than six months at a single address since his teens. He can’t remember which Housing Choices SA staff member he ran into at that Detox Centre, but what they said happened to stick. “Hey, you know there’s a way out of this?” They were referring to Common Ground Adelaide, our permanent supportive housing response to homelessness. “They gave me a number and said to come over for an assessment to go on a waiting list for Common Ground. And if you’re doing OK, then there’s an opportunity for accommodation and stuff like that,” said Guy. “It was the first time I sort of made that decision. If you’re going to do it, do it properly. Now’s the time because you’re going to be dead soon.” What followed was an amazing feat of determination. With a stable address and no fear of homelessness on the horizon, Guy threw himself into AA meetings, every kind of community activity of offer, embraced the wrap around supports and completed a myriad of online courses. “I knew that it in six months I wasn’t going to have to pack up and leave. Or in three months. Or in six weeks.”

“I was able to take my time, settle in and finally get the help I needed.” Once Guy was stable and sober, he began to volunteer with a youth organisation that helped kids who weren’t able to live with their biological parents. This ignited a passion for helping others, and he studied youth work before finding a role in social work.

whatever you want, you can do it at Common Ground.” “Common Ground is one of the only places that I was at long enough, with consistent enough support over time, and services and access and help doing those things.” Guy isn’t just giving his all with his job, he’s also a father, in the process of building a house and spends many Friday evenings presenting at AA meetings, where he works to provide hope to others. “Every now very now and then I’ll see another worker there who remembers me from back in the day, including the staff at Common Ground.” Naturally, those catch ups can feel fairly surreal. “Yeah, those are quite cool catch ups, it’s pretty awesome.”

But it wasn’t quite that simple. With a criminal history for drunk and

disorderly conduct, Guy was warned by his tutor that no one would employ him - no matter the courses he had completed or how long he had been sober. “When I found out I just cried but then thought, as if that’s going to stop me. Like out of all this **** I’ve been through, there has to be a way.” Guy wrote a five-page letter to a Court Magistrate, requesting an appeal. “I brought up absolutely everything and just said, this is the whole point man. You can’t get much better experience for a job in this line of work than what I’ve been through.” He succeeded. Guy had his history cleared and secured his first job. One thing led to another and these days, Guy works as Recovery Coach where he sometimes visits residents of the Common Ground program. He has come full circle, from supported to supporter. “If you want to change your entire life from nothing to

About Common Ground: Common Ground Adelaide is a permanent supportive housing response to homelessness, delivered through Housing Choices SA. We provide people with a safe place to live permanently, and the support to help them achieve stability in their lives.

Left: Lincoln, Guy and Giles.


2023/24 Resident Survey Actions

At Housing Choices, we value the feedback from our residents and are committed to acting on your feedback. 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.

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.

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.



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

Congratulations to Dharmen from Walkerville for solving the Autumn Home Stories puzzle. The answer was ‘accommodation’. 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! Please tell us the remaining word before Friday 9 August by emailing

Contact us: Please get in touch at any time if you have any questions or suggestions. For maintenance requests please call 1300 153 850 or report via our website:

General Enquiries 1300 312 447


192 Waymouth Street Adelaide SA 5000

1300 153 850

12 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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