Pictured (L-R): Kim Bomford (State Manager HCT), Mayor of Latrobe Peter Freshney, and two of our volunteers in front of the Latrobe Band
Better Housing Futures turns three! In July Housing Choices celebrated three years of operation in the North West of Tasmania under the Better Housing Futures program. We were thrilled to be able to hold two events and to celebrate with you, our residents.
Both events were a huge success, with the Shorewell Park community showing up in droves to the Burnie Child and Family Centre for a feast catered by the Burnie Community House! For our Latrobe event, over 110 residents joined us for Christmas in July at the Latrobe Memorial Hall, organised largely by our resident group, the Next Steps participants and the East Devonport Community House. The Community House catering trainees cooked a traditional roast dinner for everyone to enjoy with Santa joining us from the North Pole to find out what we all wanted for Christmas. The Latrobe Memorial Band were a huge hit with the residents, of particular mention was their rendition of The Proclaimers, I’m On My Way which had everyone wanting to get up and dance.
A sincere thank you to Vickie for organising the photo booth; our 93-year-old resident Thelma from Mallawa had a great time and the kids had fun with the face painting and balloon art. Special thanks to the Mayor of Latrobe, Peter Freshney, who presented Anvers Chocolates to the many volunteers to thank them for their support. A great effort from all the staff pitching in who made this a great celebration. Feedback received was that the party was memorable for all, with residents now looking forward to the end of year function in 2017.
A message from the State Manager
“...time to relish the start of some sunny weather”
Spring is finally here and the Tulips are in bloom! It’s a beautiful time of year in Tasmania – a time to relish the start of some sunny weather. It has been an exciting and busy quarter for Housing Choices and I hope you enjoy the updates in this spring edition of Home Stories. This publication would not be nearly as enjoyable without your stories, so please continue to let us know what you have been up to. We also know that you have your own thoughts about future editions which we’d like to explore further. This last quarter saw the delivery of our Resident Satisfaction Survey results and we are currently busy analysing the report as part of our renewed focus on quality customer service. Quest Consulting have run the annual Resident Satisfaction Survey for the last the seven
years (2011-2017). Responses have increased significantly since 2014, and again this year, and we at HCT are keen to encourage this level of input from you. While the results remained high for HCT resident’s satisfaction with our overall service delivery 88% property 92% location 87% and customer service 88% we will still be looking to find ways to change our approach to customer service generally and maintenance in particular that will increase satisfaction in this important area. I would like to sincerely thank all who participated. The results will assist us in fine tuning our service delivery to ensure we are delivering the quality services you expect.
Kim Bomford State Manager, Tasmania
Resident survey results:
All Tasmanian residents Satisfied and Very Satisfied with overall service provided
The survey results indicate that 88% of Housing Choices Tasmanian residents are happy with the overall service we provide to you. Although overall satisfaction is slightly lower than this time last year, we are encouraged by the results, as this year we have more than 607 residents contributing; a greater number of respondents than we have in previous years.
In this survey we gave you the opportunity to provide comments about your experiences in addition to a raw score. These comments ranged from positive feedback to suggestions for improvement. Some examples from Tasmania included:
“Love the peace of mind of stable, long term home” “I am really happy with Housing Choices. Couldn’t have a better landlord. Nothing is a problem. they are great and you really feel safe and secure.” “There has certainly been a big difference in a good way since Housing Choices took over properties.”
“I am very happy with Housing Choices. I feel safe - this is important for me. I feel they take care of us.” “The redevelopment of a rundown and unsavoury site was a wise use of public money and the homes are now amazing.”
Satisfied and Very Satisfied with Housing Choices Tasmania taking account of tenants’ views
Satisfied and Very Satisfied with Maintenance
2017 Agree & Strongly Agree with Social Impact Statements (All Residents)
Satisfied and Very Satisfied with Property
Sense of security
Belonging to a community
Peace of mind
De’s story: A Queens’ Walk in the Garden
Throughout her life, De has experienced an array of housing options. After many years living with her mother in a private rental in Melbourne, De sought independence and sharing houses with others by and large worked for her. “It was nice to be with company and nice to know that there was someone to chit-chat to,” she said.
But when De later found herself facing serious mental health concerns, she decided to move into accommodation where she could have access to 24- hour mental health support. “The service helped me deal with some of the issues I was going through in my life.” But in the end, it didn’t work out. “It just wasn’t what I thought it would be. It was an empty place emotionally; everyone was dealing with their own mental illnesses. I thought it might be nice to feel supported and make some friends, but it just didn’t work out that way.”
It was during a holiday visit to Hobart several years ago that De fell in love with the city and felt an immediate sense of home. She decided to leave Melbourne and her chequered history of housing and instability, even leaving her job selling The Big Issue, to try to start a new life across Bass Strait. Landing in temporary accommodation in a backpacker’s hostel in Hobart, De was determined to find the right home to start her new chapter. She eventually found Housing Choices’ Queens Walk property. It was the right decision.
In the beginning, De had some apprehensions, particularly with
residents living in such close proximity to each other. Much to her surprise, however, De found a real sense of community. “One of the most important things I’ve loved about being at Queens Walk is that sense of safety. Housing Choices treats safety as a very important thing,” she said. “Even though it’s run by an organisation that
“The service helped me deal with some of the issues I was going through in my life.”
deals with tenants with multiple needs (and a lot of those are my neighbours), safety is still a valid point, regardless of us having our individual issues.” De says her housing officer, Lisa, and the team at Housing Choices are “onto it” when issues do arise. “There has to be a harmony here, with the people living here in such a confined community; it has to work.” De finds special peace and solace in the community garden at Queens Walk where she is very active as a volunteer, helping ensure it is meticulously maintained. “Housing Choices provides everything we need… and the official gardener provides free woodchips in return for the help we provide him.”
“They’re trying to make Australia home. It’s so hard for them and they’re such nice people. It’s just my way of pitching in and helping out”. These days De finds herself in a very different place from her old life in Melbourne; a life that was dominated by health issues, loneliness and concern for her safety. What she has found at Housing Choices’ Queens Walk is calm, stability and security. “I look forward to going home now. I really feel at home. Safe and quiet. I’m happy and plan to keep it that way.” De.
The acknowledgement of the surrounding neighbours fuels her
passion for gardening even more. “Even people in the neighbourhood comment on how nice it looks; that it’s not how it used to be”. De’s strong desire to help others has flourished in her new home. She participates in several community groups, helping newly-arrived migrant mothers and children develop the skills they need to settle into life in Australia - whether it be taking them on a bus trip to the town centre, changing light bulbs, or teaching the young ones how to ride a bike - even finding and restoring an old bike for one child before teaching them how to ride. Several of the mothers De has worked closely with have experienced family violence and abuse in their countries of origin.
Resident Oneck, pictured with Housing Office Nancy receiving his new laptop, provided under the scholarship program.
The Your Future Scholarships are part of Housing Choices Tasmania’s Community Grants program and provides a commitment to work together with residents to support education opportunities. The Scholarships can assist Housing Choices residents and/or their children to turn their educational aspirations into reality. The Scholarships are open to residents of Housing Choices Tasmania aged between 16 and 20 years, who want to further their education. Your Future Scholarships
Share your wonderful garden with us! We know our residents have wonderful gardens and we would love to show yours off in our newsletter. Your garden could be a flower garden, vegetable garden, potted plant garden, common area garden or patio garden. A certificate of recognition will be sent to you, and all residents who enter will go into the competition to win. Ten winners will be awarded each year and receive a $100 voucher. Please complete the flyer which we sent out earlier in the month and return this to one of our offices, if you would like to know more about the competition please contact 1300 312 447.
Resident meetings and other programs We have held six resident meetings this quarter and organised with our residents, several trips to local community gardens and op-shop tours. Our staff also supported the Money Matters workshops held in the North West of Tasmania and facilitated workshops on turning Trash into Treasure. In November we held an International Men’s Day event in Somerset with our residents. For more detail please contact the Community Development Team on 1300 312 447.
We are excited to have received over 50 nominations from our residents for the Good Neighbour Awards in 2017. The final four winners are drawn in November 2017. If you haven’t sent in your nomination yet, it’s not too late. Please send by mail or deliver to one of our offices.
Save the date! Housing Choices Tasmania’s annual resident Christmas parties will be held in early December across the state. Keep an eye out for your invitation coming in the post soon!
So far we have completed 16 scholarships and are now asking residents to contact us to apply for our next round which will commence in early 2018. If you would like to know more about the scholarships please contact 1300 312 447.
Spring homekeeping tips
Prevent Bugs 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 non-toxic, 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. Eliminate Clutter Where You Can Freshen up your rooms by removing unnecessary objects from tabletops and shelves, storing them. Start by printing or writing “Toss” “Give” on separate pieces of paper. Tape each sign to a large box. Toss items that are broken, stained, ripped, outdated or have missing parts. Some examples include: Give or donate any items that you no longer need but that are still in good condition. If you can’t let go of a sentimental piece, snap a photo of it to help free your attachment. Once you go through the clutter in your home, throw away everything in the “Toss” bin and donate items in the “Give” bin. Clutter can build right back up before you know it. Repeat these steps every season to keep your home clutter free. Line-Dry Laundry Now that the warmer weather is on its way, cut down on your energy bills by drying bedding and clothing outdoors. It will smell fresher and your whites will brighten in the sun. Soften still-damp towels in the dryer. 1. Expired food 2. Broken electronics, appliances and games 3. Old makeup and broken jewellery 4. Broken kids’ toys 5. Old craft supplies 6. Worn clothing and linens
Next Step for Anti-Poverty Image: Lisa, Fran, Kim, Crystel and Lauren at the pop-up op-shop event held on at East Devonport Community House. In October, as part of Anti- Poverty Week, we took some time to reflect on the causes and solutions to the issue of poverty in our community. To do our part to raise awareness, we held a ‘Pop-up Op-shop’ at East Devonport Community House. A joint project of the East Devonport Community House and Housing Choices Tasmania, with support from Housing Connect, the op-shop was a chance to convey a message to the community that poverty isn’t just about money. Kathryn Robinson, our Community Development Officer, explained the op- shop idea had been driven by the Next Step participants. “They care so much about the community of East Devonport,” she said about the group. Next Step focuses on and encourages taking the next step, whatever that may look like for the individual. State Manager Kim said the op-shop event was just one initiative of many happening around the state. “This year our [Housing Choices] overarching focus is on two key areas - housing and the impact of poverty on young people in our community,” she said, explaining that the important message was poverty isn’t just about money. “Money is obviously a major factor, but we also know there are many faces of poverty around the world and in our own backyards.” Activities at the pop-up included door prizes, a free sausage sizzle and the sharing of stories throughout the day. All funds raised will go to inclusive events held for the local community.
Devonport 5 Steele Street Devonport TAS 7310
Hobart Level 7, 39 Murray St Hobart TAS 7000
Contact www.housingchoices.org.au Phone: 1300 312 447 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shorewell Park 11A Wiseman Street Shorewell Park TAS 7320
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