WA_HS_Autumn 24 12p-web

Autumn 2024

2023 Resident Survey snapshot P3 Man of many colours P5

Tenant Tails: a spotlight on pets P6


From the General Manager And just like that, another summer is over, and we are into our Autumn newsletter.

As a new dog owner myself, I love our new section ‘Tenant Tails’ (and whoever came up with that title!) which is a spotlight on some of the delightful pooches and pussycats sharing your homes. I hope you enjoy these happy snaps as much as I did. This edition also contains a snapshot of the results of the 2023 Resident Survey. We were pleased to see improvements in a lot of areas and identify parts of our service where we can still do better. We are still working on how best to action these improvements and will report back in the next newsletter. There is some useful information in this edition on the importance of using incident diaries if you are having neighbourhood issues. The Advisory Committee of Tenants reviewed this tool at the March meeting and agreed that although they

may be cumbersome, they are necessary as it is difficult for us to take action without documented evidence. Lastly from me, my favourite part of the edition is the call for artists for the 2024 Tenant Art Show. It is always one of the highlights of the Housing Choices calendar, so if you have a knack or a love of art in any form, we would love you to join us in delighting another audience in Rockingham in May. Stay well and I hope you enjoy the read.

Natalie Sangalli Acting Chief Operating Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

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

Cover: Tenants John and Kandi at the Bunbury afternoon tea & bowls.



2023 Resident Survey snapshot

A huge thank you to our residents who took the time to respond to our 2023 annual survey. We had 35% of our residents complete the survey which is an invaluable amount of feedback. This year we nationalised and expanded our survey across the majority to better understand how residents view our services across Australia and compare what is working well and where we need to improve in all states we operate in.

What you told us We are thrilled to see that our residents are more satisfied with our services this year across majority of our service areas. Resident satisfaction has improved nationally by an average of 4% across all the areas below.

Areas of service most important to residents 1. Repairs and Maintenance. 2. Overall condition of home. 3. Communications with Housing Choices. 4. Your neighbourhood as a place to live. • Providing feedback on our services. • Understanding more about maintenance and repairs. • Social and wellness activities. • Dealing with anti-social behaviour. Activities residents are most interested in

overall satisfaction 84 %

satisfied with condition of home 84 %

satisfied with maintenance and repairs 83 %

85 %

76 %

satisfied with how we take your views into account

satisfied with neighbourhood

satisfaction with resident involvement 75 %

satisfied with communications 84 %

While we are happy to see majority of our residents are satisfied with our services, we know there is room for improvement. We are currently developing action plans to address issues raised in the survey and look forward to sharing these actions in our Winter edition of Home Stories .


Community canvas: First Nations family BBQ

You are invited to our

Tenant Art Showcase

The paint brushes were out in Gosnells earlier this year when our First Nations tenants and their families got together for a BBQ, games and a collaborative painting. Housing Choices provided the canvas for the artwork, but tenant artist Sydney led the collaboration, painting a beautiful landscape scene. Sydney got all the children involved and guided them to place their handprints on the canvas to represent young trees and grasses – starting small and growing.

The final touches were added to the painting by Sydney and elder Layton by adding their handprints in black. Layton as the elder of the group put his hands in the opposite direction to represent the elder looking down on and guiding the young ones through life. Sydney donated the painting to Housing Choices so we can hang it up in our office as a reminder of the special day with our tenants.

Are you an artist? Or would like to come and see some spectacular art? We are holding our annual Tenant Art Showcase on Wednesday 22 May at the Gary Holland Community Centre in Rockingham. All Housing Choices WA tenants are welcome to attend on the day to enjoy the art and get to know our artists over food and drinks. Residents who display artwork will be in the running to win our People’s Choice Awards and have the opportunity to sell their art on the day. Please contact Tenant Engagement Officer Alex Kepes for more details and to register your interest to attend and/or display art.

0437 887 675 alex.kepes@hcau.org.au

Above: Layton and Sydney holding the collaborative painting with other residents at the First Nations family BBQ.


Man of many colours Stepping inside Simon Marchment’s home reveals a world of vivid portraits, landscapes, rock ‘n’ roll vinyl and art books galore. Simon has lived in a Housing Choices property for 25 years, and he has made it his own. He has a storage room where his canvases and artwork are stacked high. Working primarily in acrylics and favouring a bold colour palette, Simon has won many prizes and credits over the years for his vibrant, expressionist works that focus on portraiture - often of famous people, and local buildings and landmarks that inspire him around Perth and Fremantle where his art group DADAA (Disability in the Arts, Disadvantage in the Arts, Australia) is based. DADAA provides mentoring and studio space for people living with disability. Simon has been part of the group

Left: Simon

pastel portrait resembling the work of famous Italian artist Modigliani, rests on an easel: “I did this during the COVID lockdown… I couldn’t go to DADAA for a week - it was hard…but this cheered me up…It’s called Gypsy Bambino.” It is evident that Modigliani - an early 1900’s expressionist artist - is a big influence on Simon. Above his bed hang five reproductions of the original artist’s work, “I have loved Modigliani…since I was five. My parents had a huge Modigliani painting in the hallway.” Born in Melbourne, Simon’s parents moved to Perth in 1973 to pursue a teaching opportunity. Simon’s mother, Kavita, also an artist, acts as his “agent” with his work attracting many admirers and selling all around Australia. “Simon has always drawn and painted through his life since he was little, I could see that he was talented,” said Kavita. Simon’s other favourite past times are delving into art history books, for artistic inspiration, listening to his 70s vinyl music collection and composing songs on his acoustic guitar.

Above: Simon’s Modigliani inspired pastel portrait.

for the past 30 years. “Painting at home was

messy - in the courtyard it would go everywhere…I do all my painting at DADAA now, it’s good. At home I draw or use pastels.” Simon points to the courtyard where a striking

Above: Simon’s storage room stacked high with his creative works.


Tenant Tails: a spotlight on pets We are thrilled to unveil our first edition of “Tenant Tails”, a segment dedicated to celebrating the bond between our residents and their beloved pets. We have received many heartwarming photos and stories showcasing the furry companions that brighten lives each day. A selection of pets has been featured in this edition.

Selby: the comforting cat Selby came into my life after raising my children solo for many years. We adopted her from the WA Cat Haven, and I believe she was a feral kitty before that. Selby still has some bad habits from her wild days but has grown into a beautiful fluffy cat who likes to watch the outside world go by and sleep on her Mum’s pillow at night. Without her I would have been really lonely. She has given me many cuddles to help with my depression and anxiety. I’d be lost without her. She is family and she is my happy place.

Gemima: the rescue greyhound

I have had Gemima since last October after she was retired from the racing industry. She took a while to learn to relax and understand this was her forever home, but now she is settled and happy. Greyhounds can be misunderstood dogs. People don’t know they are often used as therapy dogs because of their calm nature. Gemima really helps with my anxiety. She is very chilled out but also friendly and affectionate. The rescue organisation matches you up with the right dog depending on your circumstances, so she is a perfect fit for me.

Bella: the courageous companion

Our companion assistant dog Bella is so special to us because our daughter who has Autism used to be terrified of dogs. However, from the time Bella was born she and us have worked hard to help my daughter overcome her fear. I didn’t think it would work but it did. Now 2 years later she is not afraid of dogs anymore – it is a big achievement for us.

Annie & Chester: the dynamic duo Annie & Chester are brother and sister from the same litter, and they will be 5 years old in July. They are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels - Chester is the red and Annie is a tri colour.

Kit: the stray who stayed Seven years ago, a 6-week- old feral kitten turned up at my doorstep and he has stayed ever since. I think Kit is content with his life. This is his normal position, and he has given me a lot of pleasure and is great company.


Advisory Committee Update The Advisory Committee of Tenants (ACT) at Housing Choices has hit the ground running in 2024, with the committee getting together for their annual training session and two meetings already this year. In January the committee dedicated a meeting to reviewing our new Resident Handbook. Committee members gave feedback on the look, feel and content of the handbook to make sure it is easy to read and has all the relevant information people need when they move into a Housing Choices property.

Above: Chairperson Sue (left), new member Colleen (right) .

Above: Committee member George keeping his energy up during our training session.

During our second meeting the committee looked at our incident diaries, which are the forms residents fill out when experiencing neighbour issues. The committee looked at how we can improve them and encourage more residents to use them when needed. Last month the committee also took part in their annual training session to refresh their knowledge about their roles and expectations as committee members. We also dedicated a lot of time to looking at the feedback tenants gave us in 2023 and what issues we can tackle in the year ahead.

Excitingly we also have a new member this year - Colleen from Rockingham - bringing our total members to 13. We are thrilled to have a diverse range of voices and

experience in the room. Speaking of experience,

during the training we found out our committee members have more than 140 years of renting experience with Housing Choices in total.

This reinforces that our committee has lots of

expertise on what it is like to receive our services and be a tenant with Housing Choices.

Above: Our committee hard at work at our second meeting - featuring our Bunbury representative Sheryl joining us online on the big screen.


Have a neighbour issue? How incident diaries can help

When tenants contact us to report repeated or ongoing neighbour issues, we ask them to complete incident diaries. An incident diary is a document where tenants record the specific details of the incidents with their neighbour when they occur. We ask tenants to complete this information to help us with our investigations. If we don’t know the specific details like the time, date and who was involved it makes it very challenging to investigate the issues effectively. If after investigating and substantiating the issues, we need to go to court to take action against a tenant, we need factual and consistent evidence to prove to the court that the tenant has breached their tenancy agreement. Incident diaries help provide a factual account that is signed by witnesses.

What do I need to include? Our incident diary templates list all the information we need to make it easier for you to complete. When completing incident diaries please remember to stick to the facts and record the following:

How often do I need to complete them? As a guide, for incidents that happen daily, you should return your diaries weekly. For incidents that happen once a week, you should return your diaries monthly. It is important to keep recording new incidents otherwise we may think that the problem has stopped.

Were there any witnesses?

What happened?

How long did it last? i.e. was loud music playing for 5 minutes or 5 hours When did it happen? i.e. date and approximate time

Were the police called?

How did the incident affect you?

Did you know?

Recently our Advisory Committee of Tenants reviewed our incident diaries to make sure they were as clear and easy to complete as they could be. If you have any questions or concerns around completing incident diaries, please don’t hesitate to contact your local office and speak with your Tenancy Officer.


Property alterations reminders

Current WA legislation means that residents need written permission from Housing Choices before making any alterations to their homes. We’ve seen a rise in requests for air conditioners and CCTV cameras and want to remind residents of the information we need to make sure these items are installed safely and according to relevant regulations and laws.

Wall-Mounted Air Conditioners

CCTV Cameras

When applying for approval we need: • A diagram and photo of where you plan to install the cameras (noting that cameras cannot be pointing at any other resident’s property). • The type of cameras you are going to install (i.e. hardwired or Bluetooth etc). Following approval and installation of your CCTV: • We will check at our next property inspection that the cameras are installed in accordance with privacy requirements (not pointing at other residents’ property). • A copy of the Electrical Safety Certificate issued by the contractor (only required if the cameras are hardwired).

When applying for approval we need: • The number and type of air conditioners you want to install. • Diagram of where you plan to install the air-conditioner. • Photos of the internal and external wall the air conditioner is going to go on (external units need to be installed out of view of the street or any communal areas). Following approval and installation of your air conditioner: • Copy of the contractor receipt confirming completion of the works. • Copy of the Electrical Safety Certificate issued by the contractor completing the works.

If you are a living in a strata managed property, we may need to also seek approval from the relevant strata body. Please note if you don’t provide the required information or comply with conditions after the alteration is completed, you may need to reverse the alteration and return your property to its original condition. If you need any additional information about what information to provide, please contact our Maintenance Hotline on 1800 203 383 .


Rent information sessions

We were delighted to kick off our 2024 rent information sessions in Spearwood this February. We were joined by our wonderful rent review team members Jan and Jackie who answered as many questions as they could about how we calculate rent and review rent.

Above: Housing choices resident Anton with Rent Review Officer Jan.

Above: Housing Choices staff Alex and Jackie (middle) with two local tenants.

Here are some of the questions we answered in our most recent rent information session.

What happens to my rent if people move in or out of my home? Your income is calculated based on the total income of all people over the age of 16 living in your home. Your rent is ‘income related’, so it may change if the people living in your home or the income of any household member changes. This means you need to let us know if anyone is planning on moving in or out of your home so we can do a rent review.

How is rent calculated? Your rent is calculated in line with the Community Housing Rent Setting policy set by the Department of Communities. We set rents based on your household income and assets to make sure your rent is affordable given what you earn. The percentage of household income you pay depends on your income. Very Low-Income Households pay 25% and Low-Income Households pay 30% of their assessable household income as rent.

What is market rent? Market Rent is the amount of rent you would pay for a property of similar size and location if you were renting privately. This figure comes from sources such as, but not limited to, the Australian Tax Office, REIWA and Landgate. We never charge you more than 74.99% of market rent so your rent will always be below the rent charged in the private market. The rent you pay will either be 25% or 30% of your net assessable household income or 74.99% of market rent – whichever is the lower amount.


Base Rent

Total Rent

25% or 30% of your net assessable household income

Up to 74.99% of market rent (known as Housing Choices Maximum Rent)

of your Commonwealth Rent Assistance entitlement


Be aware of backdated rent Has your income changed recently? Please let us know to avoid rent arrears. Your rent is income-based, so if your income changes, the amount of rent you should be paying may need to change too. When you tell us that your income has gone up or down, we will do a rent review to adjust your rent. If you don’t let us know about income increases when they occur, you may be charged backdated rent when we conduct your next annual rent review. Backdated rent is when you are billed for any extra rent you should have been paying from the date your income increased. Backdated rent arrears can be significant, and while we will work with you to arrange a payment plan to reduce rent debts – it is much easier to avoid backdated rent all together by informing us when your income changes. What kinds of changes could affect how much rent I pay? • If you or anyone in your household starts or stops working. • If you or anyone in your household has had a change in Centrelink payments i.e. you change benefits or start receiving a new benefit. • If someone moves into or out of your home. • If you or anyone in your household is eligible for a Centrelink benefit but are not receiving it. Tips to remember: • Your rent will be based on the income that you and your household members are eligible to receive so please make sure you are receiving these payments. • Centrelink does not let us know if you start or stop receiving different benefits, so please contact us directly otherwise, we will not know you have had an income change.

Above: (L-R) Tenancy Officer Nina with residents Sue, Faye, Noeline and Sheryl.

Small Sparks Socials: Bunbury afternoon tea & bowls As a result of feedback from residents asking for more social events, in February we held our first afternoon tea and bowls social catch up at the South Bunbury Bowls and Social Club. This event was part of our new Small Sparks Socials initiative and is designed to help our residents to get involved in local community activities and provide opportunities to socialise and connect with other residents in their area. We were pleased to have 20 of our residents come along to enjoy afternoon tea and try their hand at lawn bowls. It was a great opportunity for everyone to get out of the house and have a bit of fun. During the event, eight residents decided to become social members of the bowls club, with the cost covered by our Small Sparks Fund. We also had three residents express interest in using the fund to organise activities for their neighbours and people in the community. The success of this event has encouraged us to plan more Small Sparks Socials in different areas. If you have any suggestions or would like a Small Sparks Social in your area, please get in touch with Alex at 0437 887 675 .


Home Stories Autumn 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. To celebrate our first edition of “Tenant Tails”, this word search is themed around different pets! Whether you like them fluffy, feathery, or scaly let’s celebrate those special animals that are in our lives.













































Congratulations to Thea from Brentwood , last edition’s puzzle prize winner.










Tell us the remaining word for the word search by emailing info-wa@hcau.org.au , messaging us through our Facebook page or posting it to us at Home Stories Autumn Puzzle, Housing Choices Western Australia , PO Box 105, Burswood WA 6100 . Competition closes Friday 7 June 2024. The winner of a $50 Bunnings voucher will be drawn from all the correct entries after this date. Only one entry per household. Good luck!

Useful contacts

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

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

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

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

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

Bunbury WA 6230 P (08) 9722 7200

Maintenance Hotline 1800 203 383

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

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

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