Housing Choices Australia Group - Annual Report 2020

Pictured: Housing Choices sta volunteering their time at the Bundoora Sensory Garden Working Bee

   The community development team and sta volunteers kept busy this year with several community garden working bees. Working together with residents, teams repainted wooden furniture with beautiful bright colours, planted fresh veggie patches, strung up fairy lights and weeded gardens. In Bundoora, a sensory community garden was created by featuring bright, tactile objects and painting large, flower murals on the brick walls. New plants were added to all the gardens, creating the perfect atmosphere for spring. After a hard day’s work at each of the community garden working bees, the teams hosted a delicious BBQ for all residents and sta volunteers to enjoy together.    In semester two, 2019 HCA’s Future Scholarship Program supported nine residents with out of pocket expenses related to their studies. Participants were studying a wide variety of subjects including photography, arts and communication, graphic design, training and assessment, business, English studies, mental health, individual support, nursing and psychology. HCA was able to support these students with contributions towards course fees, technology, access to software, uniforms and travel to class or educational placements. For semester one, 2020 Housing Choices Australia’s Future Scholarship Program was able to support four of our residents with contributions to their out of pocket education expenses. We had more applicants, but with the onset of COVID-19 restrictions in March, some of the students elected to suspend their plans. We were still able help a Bachelor of Science student to access textbooks, software and study equipment; a Bachelor of Fashion student with access to a laptop; a Certificate 4 Design student with art supplies and a Youth Work student with stationery and home study equipment. Remote learning has had its challenges, but our scholarship program has been flexible and responded to these new needs. A participant accessing home furnishings and technology though the program said that the funding has "given me room to study while in isolation" and "provided me with the necessary tools to achieve completion of my studies." Another participant told us "this scholarship has supported the career success I have had this year."

Studying can also be a meaningful point of social connection, provide a sense of productivity and growth, and have positive eects on people’s wellbeing; "these studies will continue to help me with my health and general wellbeing" and studying "help(s) to fulfil my life." One participant even remarked that "studying has taught me a lot about life and how to live it and how not to."

       Housing Choices ‘ Home Is Where The Art Is ’ competition was held again this year, with 24 artworks submitted by 18 artists. This year’s theme was ‘Connection to community’, and the competition featured work across multiple dierent categories. The categories included Best Representation of Theme, Children (14 and under), Mixed Media, Photography and Fine Arts. The Victorian Resident Advisory Committee judged the winners for the ‘Best Representation of Theme,’ which was not an easy feat considering the impressive selection of artworks entered. We were deeply touched and humbled by the personal stories shared by our artists about their pieces and were blown away by the calibre of work submitted.


Pictured: Housing Choices’ Victorian residents art submissions.

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