Good money coaches Housing Choices Australia is pleased to announce that we have a new support partner, Good Shepherd Microfinance. As part of this new partnership, Housing Choices residents can now have free, confidential conversations about money with a Good Money coach. A Good Money coach can support you to improve your household budgeting and money skills with tips and suggestions. Good Money can also assist if residents need help buying an essential household item like a fridge or washing machine – or even a couch – as they can organise an interest-free loan for you (subject to affordability and eligibility) to make it happen. Interest-free loans are for amounts up to $1500 and can also be used for some medical and dental costs, education expenses, laptops and other items. Additionally, Good Money coaches can help you with other services such as car and home contents insurance, financial counselling, low interest loans and support in managing your money. If you are interested in accessing this service please contact your Housing Officer to request a referral, or call the Good Money Coach directly on 03 9495 9630. Good money workshops Between August and September 2017, Good Shepherd Microfinance offered dedicated workshops on financial topics and issues for Housing Choices residents at several locations including Melbourne, Preston and Dandenong. These workshops provided practical tips, tricks and activities to help residents manage their money and feel in control of their finances. We will be scheduling more of these workshops in different locations in the months ahead, so look out for an invitation in the mail! Your money matters...
A message from the State Manager
Victoria Resident Advisory Committee
July meeting attended by all committee members.
Housing Choices has seen an increase in satisfaction from our residents across all six service areas under review in this time period. This year saw a slight decrease (1-3%) across the board in all service areas, with the exception of Maintenance which remained steady at 80%, which could be based largely on a higher number of residents participating in the survey. Despite this decrease, results remain high for resident’s satisfaction with overall service delivery (82%), property (86%), location (87%) and customer service (79%). This indicates that whilst we may have a slight decline in satisfaction in the aforementioned service areas this year, we are still scoring highly across the board. Housing Choices takes the survey very seriously and I would like to sincerely thank all who participated. It was wonderful to see an increase in participation rates this year. The results will assist us in fine tuning our service delivery to ensure we are delivering the quality services you expect.
Sept meeting attended by five committee members.
Matters presented included:
• Housing Choices’ quarterly performance statistics.
• Resident Satisfaction Survey 2017 results.
• Content for Money Tips and Tricks Workshops
Decisions passed included: • Approval of Resident Community Fund application for Christmas Day Lunch for Ebsworth House residents • Approval of Resident Community Fund application for common area garden improvements at Guildford Lane • Approval of Resident Community Fund application for common area vegetable patch in Kew
Well it feels like spring is finally here and the Jasmine is in bloom! It’s a beautiful time of year in Melbourne and I hope you’re all enjoying this wonderful weather. It has been an interesting and busy quarter for Housing Choices , so I’m sure you’ll enjoy the updates in this Spring edition of Home Stories. This publication would not be nearly as entertaining without your stories, so please continue to let us know what you have been up to. This last quarter saw the delivery of our Resident Satisfaction Survey and we are busy analysing the report as part of our renewed focus on quality customer service. Over the seven- year period (2011-2017), the annual Resident Satisfaction Survey have been conducted through Quest Consulting. Response rates this year has increased significantly since 2014, indicating an increasing level of resident trust in the process.
Ongoing Support Provided to Resident Community Groups
• Craft and Chat (Preston, Fortnightly)
• High St Garden Group (Preston, bimonthly)
• St John’s Garden Group (Chetwynd North Melb, monthly)
• Victoria Square Precinct Committee (Convened by Drill Hall Residents Association, bi-monthly)
• Mary Street Community Garden Committee (Preston, bimonthly)
• Support in the form of attendance, assistance with materials, catering and promotion of groups and events.
The Housing Choices Good Neighbour Awards We have received nine nominations from our residents in the third quarter of 2017. Five winners for the third quarter will shortly be selected by the Housing team leader group. Keep your nominations coming in for the fourth quarter and the chance for the end of year grand prize! Resident Meetings and other programs Housing Choices’ housing team has facilitated and supported six local area resident meetings this quarter, July to September, and we thank the residents for coming out even though the weather has been dreary! We have also delivered five Money Tips, Tricks and Traps workshops in conjunction with Good Shepherd Microfinance, using grant funding form the Ian Potter Foundation, and have funded five Futures scholarships to assist our residents with out of pocket expenses associated with their education.
Donna Hinchcliff State Manager, Victoria
Image: Donna Hinchcliff - State Manager Victoria.
Resident survey results: The survey results indicate that, across all states, 85% of residents are happy with the overall service we provide. Although overall satisfaction is slightly lower than this time last year, we are encouraged include improvements to our customer service and approach to maintenance. We will be looking closely at some new ways to connect with you and share information. Overall Satisfaction 2017 50% 40% 30% 38% 44%
by the results as we have more than 1,200 residents contributing; a greater number of respondents than we have in previous years. We highly value your feedback, as it informs our future focus which will
We gave you the opportunity to provide comments about your experiences. These ranged from positive feedback to suggestions for improvement. Some examples from Victoria included:
“I’m with Housing Choices since 2011. Housing Choices understands individual circumstances. thanks to the entire team of Housing Choices to look after us!” “The warm, friendly, kind, caring and professionalism shown to my family and myself as tenants and people as a whole is outstanding. It makes me feel safe.”
“It would be good if maintenance would fix problems so it wouldn’t reoccur three times due to wear and tear, but otherwise satisfied.” “I am very lucky to have this little unit as my home: beautiful views, close to shops and restaurants, the unit has a great simple interior design.”
Satisfied and Very Satisfied with HCA taking account of tenants’ views
Satisfied and Very Satisfied with Maintenance
Satisfied and Very Satisfied with Property
Agree/Strongly Agree with Social Impact Statements
67% 67% 66% 69%
Sense of security
Belonging to a community
Peace of mind
Dean’s story: From resident to key advisor
“I literally prepared myself for no life, subsisting in a cramped, dingy, rundown, soulless little flat...”
Dean’s mental illnesses tumbled him down a spiral from methamphetamine addiction to bankruptcy, from homelessness to being gay-bashed in crisis accommodation, from two suicide attempts to psychosis and breakdown and, ultimately, in 2012, seven month’s incarceration as an involuntary hospital patient. There he was assaulted again, survived another suicide attempt, self-harmed and was forced into electro-convulsive anxiety but supported by his family and a Community Mental Health Clinic, into transitional housing in 2013. Feeling empty, with no self-esteem, direction or do-able future, he prepared for the worst, desperately downsizing, and emptied out the six bookshelves that took a lifetime in academia and teaching to fill. “I literally prepared myself for no life, subsisting in a cramped, dingy, rundown, soulless little flat,” he says. When his social worker took him to meet his Housing Officer in Reservoir, Dean was “astonished” by the home he had been given. “Hardwood floors, great condition, layout, garden, neighbours, close to shops and transport, what more could I want?” he said. “It catapulted me into having hopes again.” Dean tells us that Housing Choices’ affordable rent allows him to adequately feed himself, pay utilities, sustain health and home insurance and afford a social life. “It also meant I was able to save up and buy a computer, which allows me to take on work projects, which in turn gives me back a sense of purpose and identity.” “Housing Choices’ Resident Advisory Committee was my first real work project after escaping hospital. We’re all dealt with very professionally, our contribution is valued, our opinions heard. It’s not a box-ticking exercise, Housing Choices is very genuine in its intent.” shock therapy before emerging, disoriented and half-paralysed by
The Residents Committee is charged with providing direct, honest input and feedback by residents on everything from Housing Choices policy to practice, from new initiatives to key performance indicators. “I wanted to give something back to the organisation that provided me such a wonderful home. My initial thought was that the committee might be tokenistic, I was a bit sceptical, but Housing Choices has always fully engaged with us, takes us seriously and keeps us well informed.” Dean is immensely proud of his involvement with the Committee. He’s hugely impressed by the comprehensive range of resident involvement in everything from how to approach the vexed issue of arrears to setting up hardship provisions, from the wording of letters to residents to the content and design of the Housing Choices website. “Housing Choices is really focussed on residents in a holistic, pragmatic way, helping them to live better lives and set up better and more sustainable communities. The Committee takes its place as a systemic, formal mechanism for resident consultation.” A yearly highlight for Dean is the Good Neighbour Awards. “They’re particularly effective in recognising and celebrating the community Housing Choices was set up to foster. People actually use it and look forward to it every year, and they’re often gorgeously emotional”. Dean and the whole committee particularly value administering the Community Development Fund, which supports a startlingly-wide range of resident-run community projects. Dean notes that the Resident Committee gave him back some faith in his “focus, competency and even employability.” This motivated him to seek work in the mental health sector, where he could draw on both his professional background and lived experience. He also joined a mental health peer support group, disturbed and concerned by how others’ lives are depressingly different from his. “Many can’t afford a social life, can’t pay their
bills, no insurance, exorbitant rent they can’t afford without a housemate, needing charity food parcels. They’re very isolated and desperately lonely. We plan phone calls just to ensure they speak to someone during the week.” Dean describes the impact of their financial hardship. “They’re often easily lured by payday loans, unwittingly driving them into further and more long-term debt.” So he says empowering individuals with the tools and resources to make responsible choices is paramount to their success. The Committee was instrumental in working with Housing Choices and Good Shepherd on its new financial counselling program for residents, with phone and face-to-face advice and practical workshops. “It offers basic money coaching, helping those on low or fixed incomes avoid payday loans or Centrelink advances, and better budget with what they have.” So Dean reckons Housing Choices gave him not only a terrific home base but also pathways back into work, community, hope, goals and undreamt- of options for a future. “The stability, certainty and comforts of having a real home, that I am delighted and constantly reassured by, gave me the starting point to put my life back together. Surfacing from the everyday terror of an inpatient psych unit, it was over two years before I’d allow friends in my place because it felt like a precarious refuge initially.” He said. “My impulse to be social had bled out. But my safe welcoming new home from Housing Choices enables me to trust and hope and connect again – for which I am ever grateful.” Dean
“My impulse to be social had bled out. But my safe welcoming new home from Housing Choices enables me to trust and hope and connect again– for which I am ever grateful.”
Seeding in Seddon
This spring we have been working with the residents of a 42-apartment building in Seddon on a common area beatification project. The project was funded by the City of Maribyrnong Community Grants Program and has also been supplied with materials and time from staff of Bunnings West Footscray store. As there is not a large amount of common area available, the group have been very creative constructing a herb planter from PVC piping, and planting succulents and ‘hardy’ plants in pots and succulents in pots. Next step is potentially some vertical greening and espaliered citrus trees
Save the date! Housing Choices Australia’s annual Resident Christmas Party will be held Saturday 9th December 2017, between 12 and 3pm in Fitzroy. Keep and eye out for your invitation coming in the mail soon!
We still have some Futures Scholarships available to our Victorian residents this semester! Future scholarships are part of Housing Choices Australia’s commitment to supporting our residents to access and engage in education and training opportunities. Guidelines and application forms can be found at www.housingchoices.org.au/ residents/victoria/get-involved
Spring homekeeping tips Check Batteries in Smoke Alarms
The Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) and Country Fire Authority (CFA) recommend changing your smoke alarm battery at the start and end of daylight savings. Because we have a variety of different building types and fire management systems, if you are unsure how to do this, or whether your alarm allows you to change the battery, please speak with your housing officer. Prevent Bugs
Would you like to learn how to stretch your money further? Do you need help addressing debt? Would you like to learn how to start a personalised budget with the help of an expert? Housing Choices residents can access FREE and confidential one-on-one support with a Good Money Coach. Resident Testimonials: “absolutely great and I would recommend this to other residents.” “They give some good tips” “they explained everything to me it was very detailed and give me all the information I needed to know” Call (03) 9495 9630 or send an email to choices@gsmicrofinance. org.au to set up an appointment today! Alternatively, you can contact your Housing Officer or Naomi on 1300 312 447, who can arrange an appointment to suit you.
As the weather warms, insects return in search of food. Don’t put out the welcome mat.
Instead, make sure all dry goods are stored in airtight containers. Wash your pet’s dishes as soon as they finish meals. Check seals on trash receptacles and wash all containers
and bottles before recycling. To avoid a household of unwanted guests who come looking for food and water, make a nontoxic, homemade repellent:
Pour equal amounts of water and white vinegar into a spray bottle, and shake to mix. Then spritz the solution in water-resistant areas where ants are common, such as kitchen floors or the crevices in painted baseboards from which the pests often enter. You can also use the repellent outside, spraying patios, porches, and picnic tables before family and friends gather. Clean House Siding
Most common types of siding (brick, wooden, aluminium, and vinyl) should be sprayed down twice a year with a garden hose to remove grime. Eliminate Clutter Where You Can Freshen up your rooms by removing unnecessary objects from tabletops and shelves, storing them. Replace them with a single arrangement of fresh flowers. Line-Dry Laundry Now that the warmer weather is on its way, cut down on your energy bills by drying linens and clothing outdoors. It will smell fresher and your whites will brighten in the sun. Soften still- damp towels in the dryer.
Melbourne Level 3, 350 Queen Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Contact www.housingchoices.org.au Phone: 1300 312 447 Fax: 1300 312 737 Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPage 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8
Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker