Housing Choices Australia Annual Report 2022
In the spirit of reconciliation Housing Choices acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia 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. Acknowledgement of Country
ARTWORK ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Cover Artwork: Untitled – Allira Bolton.
To the best of Housing Choices Australia’s (Housing Choices) knowledge, 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.
Housing Choices Australia (Housing Choices) is an independent, national, not-for-profit housing provider that delivers high quality affordable housing for people on low to moderate incomes and for people with disability. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to live in a safe, comfortable, affordable home, in a community they feel a part of. Housing Choices is a NDIS registered provider of Specialist Disability Accommodation, manages Catherine House, providing South Australia’s only accommodation and support services specifically for women experiencing homelessness, and manages Common Ground Adelaide. Our vision and mission Australia's private rental market presents challenges for a significant portion of the community, particularly people on low incomes and those living with disability. It is our vision that all people are affordably housed in neighbourhoods that support life opportunities. It is our mission to provide affordable homes across Australia, working with partners to create resilient and inclusive neighbourhoods.
Our business pillars at a glance • We embed practices into the organisation that support our future success and enable us to “develop a robust, resilient and agile organisation” . • We strive to continually create the best experience for our residents by “transforming the resident experience”. • We use our scale and national footprint to “grow our impact and influence” and deliver better outcomes for our residents and their communities. • We are continuously looking for better ways to work and “implement innovation” for the benefit of our residents and communities. • We “build housing choices for participants in specialist disability accommodation” by creating homes and services that empower and support residents to exercise choice and control.
Allira Bolton Allira is a Western Australian artist whose work appears on the cover and is featured throughout the annual report. On her mother’s side, Allira’s mob is Yued Whadjuk and her father is from the UK. Although Allira says she was never any good at art at school, 10 years ago she attended the Wadarnji Festival and the Fremantle Arts Centre where an art stall was set up, and her passion for mixing paints was sparked. Allira loves connecting with her art and says the practise is a form of therapy for her that helps with her anxiety. “I have hearts hidden in each of my pieces because there is not enough love in the world today,” she said.
CARLY LORD Carly and her son have been Housing Choices residents for five years. Carly is studying Communications at Deakin University and was one of the youngest female Board Directors in Australia during her time on the Birth for Humankind Board of Directors, a not-for-profit supporting hundreds of women like Carly, who faced additional barriers and challenges during their pregnancy. Carly and her son are active members of their local community and have formed strong connections with their neighbours. Carly writes (page 44) that she has finally found what it means to feel at home.
Cindy Hill Cindy has been a Housing Choices resident since 2014, and lives in a unit with a “nice back garden” in Box Hill. Cindy dreams to be a backing vocalist and competed with Chime Choral Institute Melbourne at the 2008 Choral Olympics in Austria. Before COVID-19 lockdowns, Cindy also was part of the Box Hill Choir. Cindy’s beautiful and heartfelt poem which is written about her grandmother and their close relationship is on page 35. The piece was previously published in an anthology, Recollections in 2016. The poem is Cindy’s way of saying goodbye to her beloved grandmother.
6 6 7 8
FROM THE CHAIR
FROM THE MANAGING DIRECTOR
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
RECONCILIATION ACTION PLAN HOUSING CHOICES ‘AT A GLANCE’
11 12 14 15 16 16 18 20 22 24 25 26 28 30 31 33 34 36 38 38 38 41 42 43 44 45 46 48 48 49 50
OUR IMPACT AND INFLUENCE
NATIONAL OPERATIONS OVERVIEW
AROUND THE COUNTRY
SPECIALIST DISABILITY ACCOMMODATION SPECIALIST HOUSING GROUP UPDATE
THE POWER OF CO-DESIGN
GREAT DESIGN SUPPORTS GREAT LIVING
TRANSFORMING THE RESIDENT EXPERIENCE EMBEDDING RESIDENT VOICES NATIONAL RESIDENT SURVEY RESULTS HOW CATHERINE HOUSE CHANGED A LIFE
ART WITH HEART
PEOPLE AND CULTURE PEOPLE OVERVIEW IT’S ALL ABOUT CULTURE A SNAPSHOT OF OUR PEOPLE
INNOVATION AND SUSTAINABILITY
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
SUSTAINABILITY: TOWARDS A GREENER FUTURE
MEDIA AND ADVOCACY
ROBBIE THRIVES WITH SUPPORT MEDIA AND ADVOCACY WRAP-UP LISA’S HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Progressing through uncertainty from the chair | HEATHER MCCALLUM
We have had outstanding success in a range of state-based tenders particularly Victoria’s Big Housing Build, Tasmania’s new supply and the Social Housing Economic Recovery Packgage grants program in WA, and deepened our commitment to sustainability and innovation through key industry partnerships. In the inaugural year of the Housing Choices Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) journey, led by our RAP committee, the Board endorsed our first reconciliation initiative, the Reflect RAP. The Reflect Rap affirms the Board and staff commitment to reconciliation, to increase knowledge and understanding across the organisation. The successful delivery of the Reflect RAP actions has put in place a solid foundation for the upcoming Innovate RAP, ensuring that Housing Choices is a culturally safe organisation in all that it does. The Board farewelled Director Julie Mitchell after six years of service and commitment to Housing Choices and significant prior service to Common Ground Adelaide. We welcomed Jenny Samms, an experienced senior public servant, CEO and director to the Board. Jenny brings a strong understanding and grounding in public policy combined with specialist expertise in social housing and Aboriginal housing and homelessness. As always, we remain motivated to work with, and for, our residents. I acknowledge and thank our skilled, motivated, and compassionate staff led by a talented executive team and Managing Director, Michael Lennon. Housing Choices is in excellent shape with another strong year of service, growth, and financial results. We are well positioned for the opportunities and challenges ahead.
As we emerge from the global pandemic and navigate various social and economic challenges, Housing Choices continues to demonstrate flexibility, resilience and a deep commitment to our residents and communities. The external environment is increasingly troubling with global and geo-political factors emerging. Living costs sky-rocketed, interest rates escalated, and the building industry faced supply chain, workforce and solvency challenges. Real estate pricing during the pandemic ballooned by more than 35% with private rentals (especially in regional areas) severely affected. We recognise the stresses the past year have had on people and families – in terms of household costs and the impact of the pandemic. During this, Housing Choices has adjusted its business and operating model, adapting to flexible working while maintaining our ambition and commitment to growth in new supply, resident service and satisfaction and organisational culture. Importantly, we have maintained unqualified regulatory reports in all jurisdictions and progressed several important governance reforms and specialist housing initiatives.
As always, we remain motivated to work with, and for, our residents.
We are ambitious and driven by a purpose whose relevance intensifies year on year.
the road from the managing director | michael lennon
A good deal of organisational restructure was completed, particularly in assets and development within the Commercial Team. Information technology is a sector-wide challenge which we grapple with. Simplifying our legal structure will take time, given our federated system. Diversifying our revenue is a long-term aim. But we also made some special progress. Catherine House funding, against all the odds, was reinstated and we are committed to a “next generation” facility. We ended the year with more than 1,000 units in the pipeline. Our partnerships with Assemble and Nightingale stretch our ambitions in each initiative. Our financial results are exceptional. As our end of year accounts show, we have assets of $1.2 billion, revenue nearing $100 million a year, debt of $150 million and net equity of $995 million. The Road, as Cormac McCarthy famously tells us, is in the end not about all the threats, and challenges and dangers, but about humanity, kindness, generosity, and support. Amid all the progress of Housing Choices, it is these qualities which guide our road ahead. Micha
“The road travelled”, “the road ahead” – as ever the metaphor for where we have come from and where we are going. In 2018 the Board endorsed a Strategic Business Plan for Housing Choices, extending through to 2023. The pillars of practice included: • Developing a robust, resilient, and agile organisation. • Transforming the resident experience. • Growing our impact and influence. • Implementing innovation. • Building choices for participants in specialist disability accommodation. Across these areas we have a range of practical projects which have aimed to strengthen our impact on residents, build internal capability and expand supply to meet escalating need. Housing Choices has all the characteristics of a rapidly growing enterprise – all the components, but not always in the right places. We are ambitious and driven by a purpose whose relevance intensifies year on year. While continuing to grow and expand we need to pay attention to internal processes, systems, procedures, and technology. In this, we also paid due attention to our values, completing most of the Reconciliation Action Plan agenda process.
2021-22 annual report
BOARD Directors HOUSING CHOICES AUSTRALIA
Governance, Appointments AND Remuneration Committee (GARC) Audit, Assurance and Risk Committee (AARC)
The numbers of meetings of the Housing Choices Australia Group's Board of Directors and of each Board Committee held during the year ended 30 June 2022, and the numbers of meetings attended by each Director were:
Audit, Assurance and Risk Committee (Formerly Audit, Finance and Risk Committee)
Governance, Appointments and Remuneration committee
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
MEETINGS OF DIRECTORS HOUSING CHOICES AUSTRALIA
ELIGIBLE | ATTENDED
ELIGIBLE | ATTENDED
ELIGIBLE | ATTENDED
9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 4 2
9 6 9 8 8 8 9 8 3 2
6 6 - 6 - 6 6 5
6 5 - 5 - 6 6 4
4 - 4 4 4 - - - 3 -
4 - 4 3 4 - - - 3 -
Heather McCallum Fabienne Michaux David Lantzke Michael Lennon Drew Beswick Chris Leishman
Matt Raison Sean Nunan Julie Mitchell (resigned on 17 Feb 2022) Jennifer Samms (appointed on 16 May 2022)
Housing choices australia
officer of a Tasmanian organisation involved in the promotion of men’s health issues and has a strong interest in advocating for access to suitable housing for people living with disability and also a Director for the Applied Research Centre for Disability and Wellbeing. 6. MATT RAISON MEMBER, AaRC Matt Raison is an experienced property professional with over 20 years’ experience in property development and project management. Matt has worked for Peet on various master planned projects and Mirvac, where he was responsible for land subdivision projects and held the role of Head of New Business (WA). During his time at Mirvac, Matt oversaw the acquisition and project establishment of a wide range of broad acre, integrated housing, luxury apartments, mixed use and tourism projects and played a key role in the establishment of Mirvac’s first residential development fund in Western Australia. In 2007 Matt established Generation Projects, a boutique project management and property development consultancy, involved in a wide range of residential, commercial, mixed use, retail and industrial projects. In 2012 Generation Projects joined with Modus Project Management to form GMPM Consulting, one of Perth’s leading project management and strategic advisory consultants in the property development industry. Matt has a wide range of experience in both public and private sector projects. Matt holds a Bachelor of Civil and Structural Engineering (with Honours) from Curtin University and has completed a Graduate Certificate of Chris is an internationally leading housing economist and academic, currently Professor of Property and Housing Economics at the University of South Australia, Adjunct Professor at the University of Adelaide, Visiting Professor at the University of Sheffield, and Honorary Professor at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. He is an editor for the Urban Studies journal and was previously Editor-In-Chief of the Housing Studies Journal. His research focuses on the economics of the housing market, Business from UTS Sydney. 7. CHRIS LEISHMAN MEMBER, AARC including the relationship between housing supply and affordability, the behaviour of housing and land developers, and demographic and socio-economic processes such as household formation, housing consumption decisions and tenure choice. His work has helped inform and shape government policy on housing supply and affordability, particularly in Australia and the United Kingdom. He is currently developing quantitative models of housing need and demand for Australia. He has undertaken numerous studies for a variety of government departments and entities in several countries, third sector organisations, and a range of academic funders including the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in the UK. Most recently, he has led projects on Australia’s housing policy responses to COVID (AHURI), and contributed to policy development work funded by CHIA, Shelter and the Community Housing Council.
As Chair and Executive Director of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) he led its restructuring leading to its status as the pre-eminent research resource for the housing industry in Australia. He has also led a significant government department in South Australia. He was Chair of national peak body, the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA), from 2016 to 2019, during which time he led the development of its comprehensive National Plan for Affordable Housing, delivered in 2018. Michael has been an adviser to Australian governments at all levels and has been an adviser to the World Health Organisation (WHO). He is a leading advocate for reform across the housing and planning sectors in Australia, and an experienced board director and university governor. He is an adjunct Professor in the School of Humanities at the University of Adelaide.
1. HEATHER MCCALLUM BOARD CHAIR Member GARC, member AARC
8. JENNY SAMMS Member, garc [appointed may 2022]
Jenny Samms is a member of Monash University Council, a Director to the Council to Homeless Persons and undertakes consultancy work mainly in the government and not-for-profit sectors. She brings a strong understanding and grounding in public policy combined with specialist expertise in social housing, Aboriginal affairs and Aboriginal housing and homelessness. She was previously the CEO of Aboriginal Housing Victoria (AHV). During her time as CEO she led the organisation to achieve Housing Association status, the only Aboriginal organisation in Australia to achieve this level of accreditation and successfully negotiated the historic transfer of ownership of the nearly 1,500 DHHS properties that AHV was managing. Jenny’s professional career has spanned nearly 40 years in the Commonwealth and Victorian public services including Departments of Education, Labour, Aboriginal Affairs, Premier and Cabinet and Planning and Community Development. She has held a number of senior executive positions at Deputy Secretary and Executive Director level, focussing on developing and implementing improved social, educational and employment opportunities for all Victorians. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from Monash University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Affairs and Administration. 9. SEAN NUNAN Member, AARC Sean has spent his career structuring and investing in social-infrastructure, renewable energy and housing projects and currently holds the position of Principal at Cloverleaf Impact Investors, where is he is responsible for investing in community housing and energy transition projects. Prior to Cloverleaf, Sean was a Director at John Laing and a Managing Director with Macquarie Group based in New York and London. With over 25 years’ experience as an investment executive across Australia, Europe, North America and the UK, Sean has proven leadership, management and financial skills. Helping to balance his financial experience, Sean also previously held the role of Head of Training for a refugee NGO for which he volunteered, reflecting his empathy and sense of social justice. Sean holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Commerce and Economics from the University of Melbourne. 10. JULIE MITCHELL MEMBER, GARC [RESIGNED FEB 2022] Julie holds a Bachelor of Business Studies degree and 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 communication strategy development, issues management, and stakeholder engagement and management. Julie has designed and executed multidimensional community investment programs in locations throughout Australia and Asia for both corporate and not-for-profit organisations.
Heather is a Chartered Accountant, experienced board director and senior executive with experience operating in complex environments across a diverse range of organisations and sectors. She joined the Board of Housing Choices in 2014 and was Deputy Chair of the Board and Chair of the AARC until her appointment as Board Chair in 2019. Heather is also a non-executive Director of Australian Sailing, Risk and Audit Committee member of the Tasmanian Land Conservancy and Chair of TADTas, an organisation dedicated to improving the independence and quality of life for people living with a disability. Heather has more than 25 years’ experience spanning audit and corporate advisory (including with Ernst & Young’s banking & finance division), private enterprise, start-ups, and for purpose organisations, having held both General Manager and Chief Financial Officer senior leadership positions. Reflecting a strong focus and commitment to social inclusion, Heather’s previous governance roles span youth, education and employment initiatives. Heather holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from Queen’s University School of Business and is a recipient of the Governor General’s Award (Canada). She is also a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 2. FABIENNE MICHAUX BOARD Deputy Chair Chair, AaRC Fabienne is an experienced non-executive director who has held numerous board positions in the housing, education, financial and arts sectors. She is currently a non-executive director of Impact Investing Australia and of GMCU. Fabienne is also the Director of SDG Impact, a global flagship initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) established to accelerate the mobilisation of private sector activity and investment towards sustainability and the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Fabienne previously enjoyed a 30-year private sector executive career, including 22 years with S&P Global in the credit ratings division, where in her final role she was the Head of Developed Markets in Asia-Pacific. 3. michael lennon managing director Member GARC, member AARC Michael is a leading figure in the Australian social and affordable housing industry, with more than three decades experience in both private and public sectors, in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. He was the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of Housing Choices Australia when it was founded in 2008 to 2012 and since 2014, he returned as Managing Director. Under his stewardship Housing Choices has grown to be one of the largest housing associations in Australia. In the mid-2000s he led the establishment of the Glasgow Housing Association through the transfer of the largest volume of public housing stock in Europe. He served as Chief Executive Officer of the Housing New Zealand Corporation.
4. DAVID LANTZKE CHAIR, GARC
David Lantzke is the CEO of the Ardross Group of Companies; a privately owned property and land development group. He is a Chartered Accountant, a Fellow of Leadership Western Australia, has completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School and has extensive experience in infrastructure planning, project facilitation, asset management, town planning and property development. David is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and serves on the Executive of the Regional Chambers of Commerce and Industry WA (Vice President) and Jurien Bay Chamber of Commerce. 5. DREW BESWICK MEMBER, GARC Drew is Chief Executive Officer of Possability Group and Lifestyle Solutions Australia. Possability is one of Australia's leading providers of disability, child, youth and family services. Drew is also the public officer of a Tasmanian organisation involved in the promotion of men's health issues. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer of Possability during a period of significant transition for the disability services sector under the NDIS, including involvement in a successful merger and the expansion and development of the Group’s services into Victoria and Queensland. During this time, Possability have jointly established the Applied Research Centre for Disability and Wellbeing to better connect research evidence with practice in ways to make a positive difference in the provision of supports to people living with disability. Drew initially qualified as a social worker before going on to complete post-graduate qualifications in management and governance. He has worked across a range of human service organisations in Australia and the United Kingdom across policy, service provision and regulation. He led Early Intervention Services at Relationships Australia, with responsibility for clinical governance and supervision, and has held senior positions in Health, Social Care and Aged Care policy and regulation. He was State Manager for the Federal Department of Health and Ageing during a period of significant health reform. Drew has held Board positions with various community sector organisations and the Australian Institute of Public Administration, Tasmania. He is currently the public
2021-22 annual report
I respect everyone’s culture and history. Change can only come from listening to each other’s voices. Karen, housing officer, Tasmania.
Housing choices australia
Our formal commitment Reconciliation Action Plan
From celebrating National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week events around Australia, to embedding the Centre for Cultural Competence Australia Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Competence Course as part of our mandatory training and development plan, our staff have embraced the opportunities provided to participate in a range of initiatives to increase cultural competency as individuals and as an organisation. Throughout the year, we made the time to deepen our understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of this land and recognise the impact of dispossession, persecution and oppression resulting from colonisation in Australia. Led by our RAP committee, a group of passionate employees from across the country, we have taken time to lay the foundations for future RAPs and reconciliation initiatives by scoping and developing relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders and exploring our sphere of influence. The RAP committee has worked to deliver actions aligned to the Reflect RAP framework of relationships, respect and opportunities across the organisation. These actions include developing Housing Choices Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols, identifying and increasing understanding of the Traditional Owners where our business operates, developing business cases to increase procurement from Aboriginal owned organisations and identifying where we can increase employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our organisation.
Being part of the RAP program has enriched Housing Choices. It has led to new relationships with Aboriginal organisations and deepened existing relationships. It has pushed us to think about how our actions contribute to reconciliation and it has made our organisation more inclusive, more meaningful, and more impactful. “I respect everyone’s culture and history. Change can only come from listening to each other’s voices. To come to a place where I work that respects my culture, where I know there is a strong voice and commitment to a journey of reconciliation and healing together, builds trust that we are on the same path of walkabout.” Karen, Housing Officer, Tasmania. Housing Choices believes that to achieve a truly reconciled and inclusive Australia, a real and enduring commitment is needed to improve opportunities and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This applies at societal, organisational and personal levels. Housing Choices may have only just begun its formal journey towards reconciliation, but it is one that we are committed to walking together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for a better future through our shared commitment to Voice, Truth and Treaty.
Reconciliation is about building relationships, respect and trust between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader Australian community. Housing Choices received formal endorsement of our inaugural Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) from Reconciliation Australia in September 2021. With this, we joined a network of more than 1,100 corporate, government and not-for-profit organisations that have made a formal commitment to reconciliation through the RAP program. In our inaugural year as a member of the RAP network we committed and delivered actions to increase our knowledge; learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ culture, belief systems, truth telling and acknowledgement.
Artwork Left: Resting Shields by Sydney Phillips (WA) was feature artwork used on the cover of the Housing Choices Cultural Protocols document and to support National Reconciliation Week initiatives. Pictured Left: A smoking ceremony, performed by Uncle Ron “Ringo” Terrick was held at the Melbourne office as part of National Reconciliation week celebrations.
2021-22 annual report
HOUSING CHOICES AT A GLANCE
as at june 30, 2022
Single parent family 16%
66% Single person
Couple with children 11%
Couple only 6%
Not stated 1%
Housing choices australia
89.6% tenancies sustained
resident income by type
76.1% statutory income 17.5% combination of income types
5.6% salary only
new south wales
0.8% other income
7882 total renters
1.39% total rent arrears
2021-22 annual report
our impact + influence
Housing choices australia
operations overview Roberta Buchanan | CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
“A citizen organisation has belief in humanity; a belief that with the right conditions, it is human nature to want to contribute positively and meaningfully to the community and society that we are all part of.” From Citizens by Jon Alexander and Ariane Conrad
All our residents do, whether it is in their local community, at Housing Choices or both. In fact, for the second year we have actively reached out to residents such as Allira, Carly and Cindy to contribute to this annual report. Throughout the year, we have sought new ways to activate how residents can contribute and participate at Housing Choices. Residents have the richest insights to support Housing Choices to deliver on our business pillar to ‘Transform the resident experience’. Around the country you will read examples of residents participating in our business. From past and present clients of Catherine House actively supporting fundraising efforts (South Australia), residents informing our community development programs (Tasmania), to resident involvement in the procurement of suppliers of cleaning services (Victoria)and residents involved in developing guiding principles for letter writing in Western Australia. There are many ways residents can inform and influence how we do business. A personal favourite highlighted in this report is our feature on residents in specialist disability accommodation co-designing their new homes. Housing Choices is only at the start of our journey in increasing ways our residents can contribute to our organisation, it is a good start, and it is gaining momentum. We know that through more residents being involved in our organisation we will build deeper trust, increase our transparency and accountability to residents and stakeholders, but most of all continue to raise our aspirations for Housing Choices. If you want to know more about what we have planned next year, just wait and see!
Housing Choices is an organisation that holds this belief deeply. We contribute to people having the right conditions, through the provision of homes and services. In this annual report, you will read stories from residents that highlight that with the right conditions and a place to call home, how residents are positively contributing to their local community. James who since finding his home through the Victorian Government’s Homelessness to a Home program is now involved in his local football team; and Kevin, who since finding his new home at Mellor Street, has found his “green fingers” enjoying contributing at his local community garden. These are only two examples of hundreds of stories about the positive impact that comes from investment in social and affordable housing. Access to adequate housing is not only a human right recognised in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights but investing in housing makes good economic sense. This was highlighted recently by the Give Me Shelter study by SGS Economics and Planning for Housing All Australians. The study found that for every $1 invested the return is $2. Failing to invest will result in higher mental health service costs, compromised educational opportunities and significant productivity losses for businesses, with staff unable to find affordable homes nearby. Housing Choices is well prepared to partner with all levels of government to increase supply of social and affordable housing in local communities. What I really love about stories such as James's and Kevin’s, is that when they found a home, they also found their ability to contribute meaningfully to their local community and they have a lot to contribute.
Housing Choices Australia Limited is registered as a housing association under the Housing Act 1983 (Vic) which subjects it to the regulatory oversight of the Registrar of Housing Agencies. Housing Choices Tasmania Limited and Housing Choices South Australia Limited are registered Tier 1 community housing providers under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing. Housing Choices Western Australia Limited is regulated under the Community Housing Regulatory Framework as a Tier 1 community housing provider in Western Australia. Housing Choices take pride in our regulatory performance with 100% compliance achieved across the group and all performance standards required determined as met.
Artwork Left: Singlet for Cecil – Stephanie Kooy (WA)
2021-22 annual report
IMPACTFUL DEVELOPMENT AND PROGRAMS IN SA
AROUND THE COUNTRY SOUTH AUSTRALIA
South Australia continued to deliver impact through housing programs, but also in the delivery of specialist homelessness and supportive housing services. In addition to 1,093 rental homes, services include 102 supported housing places in Common Ground Adelaide, 54 beds of supported accommodation, and a dedicated women’s centre at Catherine House. Our 35-unit Common Ground Port Augusta portfolio is a supportive housing partnership with the Salvation Army. Demand for stable, long-term, affordable housing continues to grow at unprecedented rates. Whether it be homes for those who come through homelessness services, or from housing waiting lists, our mission to deliver more housing remains sharply in focus. Good progress was made in the development of 36 apartments at Bowden in partnership with Nightingale, Renewal SA, and Housing SA. The architecturally designed, carbon neutral, 5 Green Star rated building has taken its place in the Bowden landscape. Around half of the homes are affordable home purchase opportunities, the balance will be retained as long-term affordable rental housing. The building will be completed late in 2022 just as construction of 14 homes in Felixstow are due to start.
The SA housing team based in Adelaide and Port Augusta continued to meet regulatory and contracted requirements in the delivery of tenancy services. All program audit requirements were met, and over the year the team moved to electronic applications in support of organisational commitment to delivering sustainable business practices. With over 15,000 calls to the customer service team it was one of the busiest years, with 3,300 purchase orders for repairs and maintenance raised and completed within the year. The property team conducted more than 400 property condition audits with the data collected directly, driving the delivery of more than $3 million in upgrades across the portfolio. Upgrades were carried out on 677 properties, ranging from painting and gutter repairs, right through to full structural repairs. Common Ground is a permanent supportive housing model that tackles long-term homelessness in Adelaide and Port Augusta. This highly successful housing first model supports tenancy sustainment for the most vulnerable members of the community, with no clients exiting the program into homeless. Over the year, 45% of residents were male and 55% female; 81% identified as having a mental health illness and 21% identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. 32% of the residents were aged between 15 and 25, with 61% in the 26 to 64 age group, and 7% aged 65 or over.
My home is my castle and the best home I ever had. I feel very lucky with everything that has happened since moving to Housing Choices and I am lucky to be alive. I have the best support that I have ever had. - SA resident
Pictured Right: South Australia General Manager, Julie Duncan at Men’s Health Week morning tea.
Housing choices australia
Creating inclusive communities
Fundraising success and collaborations at Catherine House October 2021 saw the establishment of a new partnership with the Department of Correctional Services and Catherine House, to deliver four supported housing places in a newly developed program supporting women exiting the prison system with great success in its pilot year. The Catherine House Art Exhibition hosted by Eastwood Community Centre was truly a highlight. Showcasing the art of women involved in the Catherine House Art Bus program, the exhibition provided a space for women to share their art, share their stories and give voice to the power and restorative potential of art. Again, it is in the words of one of the 376 women assisted across our programs at Catherine House in the last year that speaks to the deep impact of the service to the individuals it supports. “I thought coming to Catherine House would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me, but I now know, it was the best thing.” In early 2022, partial four-year funding for Catherine House was restored by the newly elected South Australian Government. While the funding represents approximately half of what was lost, it does go a long way towards stabilising the services we provide to women in crisis who need the support and accommodation provided by our team at Catherine House. The commitment came on the back of the most successful fundraising year ever for Catherine House. The $2 million raised, including $245,000 at the annual fundraising dinner continues to cover the operational funding shortfall and ensures other programs can also be maintained in the coming year. We simply could not do this work without the support of our donors and community fundraising partners. As we head to the 35th Anniversary of Catherine House in 2023, we hope to maintain the continued support of the South Australian community and look forward to the next 35 years.
A nest of his own
When Housing Choices South Australia resident Kevin was allocated his Mellor Street property in Adelaide last year, he set to work helping at Housing Choices SA’s Common Ground Community Garden. “The Garden is in the old Franklin St bus shelter. We have a bunch of volunteers from Housing Choices and the local community who go every Friday to work on it and grow plants and all sorts,” he said. Kevin’s green thumb has helped transform the local green area into a thriving garden, attracting the attention of passers-by. “The Garden is an inspirational space, and Kevin has fitted right in here,” said Housing Choices SA Inclusive Communities Team Leader Mark Kruszynski. The 50-year-old resident also helps care for the chickens who call the garden home. “I clean out their pen. It gets a bit untidy,” Kevin said. “One of the chooks, Ghost, is the friendliest. She lets you hold her, and she’ll sit on your lap.” Before Kevin found stable, affordable accommodation with Housing Choices SA he was sleeping rough. “I came back (to Adelaide) last year from Sydney and was homeless for about a month. I got into some accommodation through the men’s shelter and then I got onto Housing Choices. I filled out all my application forms and got a property,” he said. “I’ve been with Housing Choices for nine months and it’s fantastic. There are no words to describe it – I’m just overwhelmed.”
The SA Inclusive Communities Strategy sets out a plan for working collaboratively with local government, business and non-government organisations and resident focus groups to deliver a diverse program of activities and events and opportunities. Resident engagement and participation continue to grow with over 270 activities and more than 3,440 face-to-face activity attendances in the year. Major community events included an annual end of year resident celebration, a Children’s Christmas Party, Reconciliation Week activities, Men’s Health Breakfast, COVID and Flu Vaccination Clinics, and Neighbour Day. A collaboration with the Office of Ageing Well helped to secure funding to commence the creation of a new Mellor Street Community Space. The project will be delivered under the mentorship of The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI). Following the inclusion of Catherine House into South Australian operations in 2021, a focus throughout the year was to bring teams together into a combined operational structure. There are now 78 staff (61.47 FTE) working across ten teams in South Australia with almost half engaged in delivering support services and programs for residents. The start of 2022 brought with it preparations for scheduled triennial Australian Service Excellence Standards (ASES) accreditation for support services. This accreditation brought services and operations before independent external assessment. In the latest accreditation, it was pleasing to see delivery of supportive housing practice and client centred services not only achieve accreditation, but that the strength of our collective mission, aligned values, and a strong and harmonious operational culture was acknowledged in the process.
2021-22 annual report
NEW GROWTH IN DEVELOPMENTS AND THE TEAM AROUND THE COUNTRY TASMANIA
It has been another busy year for the Housing Choices Tasmania team — from the new Residential Management Agreement (RMA), to sustained community engagement activities and an array of new developments built across the state. The new RMA with the State Government commenced on 8 November 2021, and importantly for Housing Choices and residents it secured operations in Tasmania until at least 2040. As a part of the RMA a further 475+ tenancies were transferred from Housing Tasmania across to Housing Choices Tasmania. This saw our team work tirelessly to prepare to welcome all new residents to Housing Choices and included data capture, assembling sign-up packs, arranging the seamless transition of rent payments, holding information sessions for incoming residents, signing leases and associated documentation and ensuring our website was updated with relevant information.
Many residents came from a range of new areas, and so much of our post transfer work involved engagement with residents, while working to establish relationships with important stakeholders and support providers in new suburbs we operate in. With 475 tenancies came the need to recruit new staff to manage tenancies. We also needed to renovate existing office space to accommodate our growing team all while delivering ongoing quality service to the existing 1,700 strong resident population. All indications are that our new residents were extremely well supported in the transition by our amazing staff and we would like to acknowledge this effort.
Pictured Right: The HCT Harmsworth Rd property in Oakdowns, Tasmania. Pictured Below (L to R): Drew Beswick, Board Director, Heather McCallum, Board Chair and Michael Lennon, Managing Director at the Marys Hope Road development in Hobart, Tasmania.
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The difference a community housing landlord makes
Community development initiatives
Ongoing community development programs recommenced in the “new COVID normal” and enabled the support of communities across Hobart and the Northwest. More broadly, and to better engage with our community, we conducted a state-wide survey so residents could provide feedback on community development related issues. We asked residents some key questions: • What programs do you want to see? • What programs are missing? • How would you like to access programs/events? • What are your barriers? The Tasmania team also opened the Library Bean Café at Burnie Library, run by Housing Choices resident, Karen. You can read more about Karen’s story and her work at the Library Bean on page 31.
Once again, Housing Choices Tasmania achieved its Tier 1 Regulatory status under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH). We continued to work with government and partners to prepare for the next tranche of affordable housing supply. Developments continued in full swing with nine new developments and 109 new housing outcomes (or dwellings). Housing Choices Tasmania has an additional approved pipeline of 252 dwellings to be delivered over the next 12 to 18 months, to continue furthering our vision of providing safe, secure accommodation to those who need it most.
Following the end of her marriage, Fiona became a social housing resident in 2004. She was residing in emergency housing for a couple of months and was on the housing waitlist, before settling into her Smithton property. At the end of 2021, Fiona’s tenancy was transferred to Housing Choices Tasmania through the RMA and she became a community housing resident. “It’s good to have a designated housing officer. I can get a hold of Hannah when I need.” “I’m pretty much in a crisis situation at the moment. I lost my job recently and am trying to move to Burnie, so she’s got me on the priority waiting list. It’s good to have a place to go.” Smithton is about an hour away from Burnie, where Fiona’s son lives, and her other supports are based. She feels grateful to have Hannah her housing officer working on finding more suitable housing options for her. “I sort of feel guilty being in a three-bedroom place when it’s only me. It’ll be nice when I move to Burnie so a family can move in here,” said Fiona. Fiona is known to “get a bit crafty at times” and loves to cook and spend time with her baby granddaughter. She is looking forward to moving to Burnie soon, so she can find new employment and more regularly share her love of cooking with her family. “If I have any issues, I can just give Housing Choices a call.”
Pictured Above (L to R): Jarron Coward, Starbox Architecture, Will Harkness, Property Development Manager HCT, Kim Bomford, General Manager Tasmania HCT.
2021-22 annual report
Elevating the residenT voice and experience AROUND THE COUNTRY VICTORIA
Supportive partnerships and greater opportunities for residents to participate and be heard in Housing Choices programs and initiatives laid the foundation for another successful year for the Victorian Housing Choices team.
Preston Hub celebrated 10 years of a successful housing and support partnership Housing Choices, in partnership with NEAMI and with participation of residents, celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Preston Hub place-based housing and support model at High Street Preston in October. A brass plaque now commemorates the 10 years in the terrace garden next to a waterfall acknowledging residents (and those who have passed away) who contributed to creating the community it is today. A display in the entrance foyer of ‘Our Community’ was also established which showcases the flag of each resident’s heritage including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flag, and the LBGTQI+ flag to celebrate the inclusive and diverse community at Preston Hub. Resident participation in procurement Driven by Housing Choices Facilities Manager Stephen Key, the Victorian team undertook a project to design and implement a head contractor model for the cleaning of common areas in Housing Choices properties across Victoria. Utilising residents in our procurement process was an exciting inaugural step for Victorian Housing Services operations who are on a journey towards enhancing the resident voice and improving the resident experience. The aim was to deliver improved efficiency by reducing current nine common area cleaning contractors down to one head contractor to enable more formal, centralised oversight to ensure consistent best-practice benchmarks, improved cost controls and a standardised cleaning frequency set across each of our high medium and low-density sites. Resident participation in procurement also enabled the opportunity for issues to be identified and ultimately improve the decision-making process and resultant outcomes. All key stakeholders were involved in the selection of head contractors and participation sought from an interested resident representative who assisted in making decisions about the changes as part of the procurement panel with Housing Choices to review, score and appoint a head contractor for our common area cleaning services with a three-year term contract. The team continues to work more broadly towards sophisticated forms of resident engagement and create opportunities to build the capacity of tenants to participate in assuring transparency and accountability of how we procure and deliver services.
Human Services Standards Accreditation Housing Choices Victoria successfully passed its Human Service Standards Accreditation review in October 2021. Highlights from the accreditation feedback included that there was: • A strong focus on early intervention strategies with residents. • Great alternative support strategies and alternative programs to residents through COVID. • Great risk management strategies with residents’ safety. • Long, sustained relationships with our residents. • Strong relationships with partner agencies. • Great collaboration, cohesiveness, support and communication between staff members and teams. • Completion of RAP and intensive cultural training demonstrates a strong investment by the organisation.
Pictured Left: Victorian Community Development Officers Naomi Board and Britta Lancaster delivered Christmas hampers to residents.
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She’s such a beautiful person, in and out. I would love if she was rewarded for her kindness to others. Polly, Victorian resident
Pictured Inset: Victoria General Manager Melissa Palframan with resident Judith working together on the procurement process for the common areas cleaning contract. Pictured Right: Polly, a single mum of three, nominated her neighbour Kerri for the annual Good Neighbour Award.
Homelessness to a Home - changing lives
Housing Choices participated in three Homelessness to a Home program partnership consortia with NEAMI, Greenlight and Star Health in the Southern Metropolitan and Northern Metropolitan regions. An intensive property and tenancy management team was developed to work with the Homelessness to a Home participants and across the three consortia in multi-disciplinary teams. To date we have housed just over 160 participants through the program which has been wonderful to see how the opportunity to have access to a safe and affordable home has supported many successful stable tenancies for participants.
The Victorian Government released a $150 Million package in November 2020 called ‘From Homelessness to a Home’ (H2H) for registered housing agencies and support agencies to work in partnership to enable access to approximately 1,700 homes for people experiencing homelessness. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Victorian Government supported rough sleepers and people experiencing primary homelessness to reside in emergency accommodation. The program sought to deliver stable housing for up to 18 months coupled with support services for 24 months. The funding was extended to align with an increase in housing supply to come under the Victorian Big Housing Build. A combination of Homes Victoria housing stock (existing and new), private rental stock and existing social housing stock was utilised for the project.
HomelessNESS 2 Home James from Victoria (pictured) who joined the H2H program, funded by the Victorian Government, has been the team runner with his local football team for a couple of months now, he feels a sense of belonging and acceptance. In his new community he has been made to feel welcome and has made friends. “Being part of the H2H program and being allocated safe long-term housing means a lot, my life has changed a lot.”
“With the housing provided I feel safe and secure and I have been able to finally watch some television in the lounge room. My H2H case manager connected me with support. It also means I can reconnect with my family. My H2H case manager working with me has changed my life dramatically. I have a healthy routine now. I'm involved in sport and I work.”
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