VCAT hearings to be held via phone

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) yesterday announced it will begin conducting hearings via telephone due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

‘In the interests of public safety and in an effort to implement social distancing measures, VCAT has moved to conducting hearings by telephone. As a result, VCAT venues will be closed to the public until further notice.

‘No face-to-face hearings have been scheduled for Wednesday 18 March 2020, and all non-critical matters have been adjourned for the time being. Residential Tenancies and Guardianship matters (and a small number of other critical matters) will be heard by telephone.

‘We are working hard to expand the range of matters that can be heard by telephone as soon as possible,’ the announcement noted.

Why you need to care about the care economy

Images of jobs and the economy are overwhelmed by pictures of hard hats, half built bridges and tunnels, and even freshly built submarines and naval vessels. Our imaginations are full of jobs “for the boys”. Yet the fastest growing part of the economy is the care economy that is dominated by women: jobs in health care and social assistance are now the largest industry segment, by a long way. And they are tipped to grow just as rapidly in the years ahead. These jobs don’t just include work in hospitals and health care centres. They also involve work in disability, aged care, child care, family services, mental health services, and so on. Critically, they also involve the social housing sector.

This training session on the care economy is vital for managers and directors, and aspiring leaders, who will discover how to think strategically about their organisation…including recruitment and retention.

The session will be led by David Hayward, Emeritus Professor of Public Policy and the Social Economy  at RMIT University.

Click here for details and to book.

Wed 1 April 2020

9.30 AM – 11 AM  
CHIA Vic, 1/128 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

Consultation on Melb affordable housing begins

CHIA Vic’s CEO Roberta Buchanan attended the City of Melbourne’s Future Melbourne Committee (FMC) meeting on Tuesday to speak in support of the council’s draft Affordable Housing Strategy. With the meeting endorsing the draft, a period of public consultation on the draft Affordable Housing Strategy has begun and members are encouraged to take part.

The strategy’s goal is to increase the supply of appropriate and accessible affordable rental housing in the City of Melbourne.

The strategy has identified four priorities:

  1. Advocate for mandatory inclusionary zoning.
  2. Develop affordable rental housing on City of Melbourne land.
  3. Strengthen internal affordable housing processes.
  4. Advocate and partner for affordable housing.

Learn more in the draft strategy overview and have your say in the online survey. You can also attend one of the pop-up feedback sessions or email a written submission.

The consultation closes Sunday 5 April.

Maximise your income

There has never been a more challenging time to be a social landlord. One in eight adults in Australia experienced severe or high financial stress during 2017.  Rent debt is increasing across the sector and escalation procedures for arrears recovery are leading to a higher volume of evictions.

CHIA Vic will run a workshop that asks two valuable questions:

  1. Are we using the most effective means possible to encourage our tenants to engage with us?
  2. Are we using the most cost-effective means possible to increase income?

Attendees will consider best practice from both Australia and abroad in respect of developing a rent payment culture, sustaining tenancies, maximising the rent we charge and maximising the rent we collect and will be provided with the framework to evaluate existing processes and formulate new strategies for maximising income

Date :          Tues 10 March 2020
Time:           9.30 AM – 4:00 PM (morning tea and lunch provided)  
Venue:        ChiaVic, Level 1, 128 Exhibition St, Melbourne 3000
Trainer:       Jo Leckie
Cost:            $319 inclusive GST- members   $ 330 inclusive GST – non members

Book here

Pets rule – new tenancy changes in place

As part of the sweeping changes to residential tenancies law, the laws around keeping pets in rental properties have now changed.

 What you need to know about the law changes on pets:

  • The changes came into effect on Monday 2 March 2020.
  • Tenants can keep a pet with the written permission of their landlord.
  • A pet includes any animal (other than an assistance dog, for which there is no need to seek permission).
  • If a tenant requests to keep a pet using the approved form (the form provided by Consumer Affairs and available on their website), consent cannot unreasonably be refused.
  • If a landlord wants to refuse a request after receiving the form, they have 14 days to apply for a VCAT order.
  • If such an application is made, VCAT will determine if refusal is reasonable (in which case the tenant will not be allowed to keep a pet at the property) or that the tenant can keep the pet.
  • In considering applications, VCAT will consider (amongst other factors) the type of pet, the character of the property and whether refusal is allowed under any Act.
  • If the landlord doesn’t apply to VCAT within 14 days of receiving the written request, consent is taken to have been granted.
  • If a pet damages the property, the tenant must repair any pet-related damage that goes beyond fair wear and tear.
  • These changes do not apply to rooming houses.

More housing for family violence survivors in Dandenong

Family violence support service, Wayss, has added 16 new properties to its housing stock available for women and children escaping the horrors of family violence.

The properties are in addition to 14 properties Wayss secured under the DHHS funded head-lease program in 2019.

Wayss Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Thomas, says head-leasing, where a private rental property is rented from a landlord by a third party and
then sub-let to the tenant, is a great opportunity for Wayss to directly access private rental stock in the local community for families in need.

‘Stable housing is the first step in empowering a family violence victim survivor to take control of their life and recover. Once the family has secure accommodation, we can then coordinate specialist support services to help the woman and her children rebuild their lives,’  Ms Thomas says.

‘In just over 12 months, we’ve increased our housing stock to 30 head-lease properties under our management and that will result in some incredibly positive outcomes for families living in our local community. That’s 30 families that now have the chance to build a positive rental history to support future tenancy applications – it’s access to a critical first step that they may not have been able to take without this program.’

Before linking the family with their new home, Wayss conducts a full safety and risk assessment of the property and works closely with local real estate agents to ensure the right property for the right family. When they move in, the tenant pays only 33 per cent of the rent for the first six months, then 66 per cent for the remainder of the 12-month tenancy. The goal is for the family to then take over the lease and maintain the tenancy. The subsidised rent is a particular advantage when a woman is escaping a financially abusive relationship and needs time to get on top of their finances.

Ms Thomas says Wayss wholeheartedly supports the continued development of the head-lease model across Victoria.

‘Head-leasing is an extension of the housing first model which focuses on getting people housed in safe, secure accommodation and then supporting them to stay housed by access to dedicated case-management. Safe, secure housing is essential to support families to plan pathways for living their best life,’ Ms Thomas says.

Career opportunities at Housing Choices

Housing Choices Australia (Housing Choices) is a leading and rapidly growing national not-for-profit housing provider. Our goal is to ensure that people are housed in inclusive communities and to create homes that encourage a sense of belonging. We own or manage more than 5,050 homes across Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and NSW, and will shortly establish a presence in WA.

We provide a culture that supports individuals to be their best with opportunities for personal and career development. We are committed to cultivating an equal, diverse and inclusive environment for all our staff, residents and stakeholders.

We currently have two exciting positions available:

Executive General Manager, People, Culture and Communications

  • Full time role and Competitive remuneration with Salary Packaging Options
  • Great opportunity to lead a Portfolio of work across all facets of HR, organisational development, culture, safety, marketing and communications
  • Flexible working arrangements considered

We are looking for a values driven, strategic and transformational leader to join our Group Executive Team with accountability for a broad range of functions across communications, marketing and engagement, people, culture, safety and wellbeing.

This role will in many ways set the ‘tone’ for the whole of the organisation and will lead development of organisational people strategy, capability, culture and engagement both internally and externally to successfully achieve strategic and long-term business development and growth.

In the coming 6 months, on a day to day basis you would be leading merger integration activities; driving our People and Culture strategy; working with the HR team in implementing a HRIS and employee experience initiatives; reviewing our incident reporting systems to improve safety and wellbeing; and leading the Marketing and Communications team to launch a new website and approach to internal communications.

This is an exciting full-time permanent opportunity currently based in Melbourne’s CBD (although with potential for location in our other State offices). We are seeking someone who naturally combines a strong business and accountability ethos with a deep commitment to our vision and mission.

To find out more about us, the role and the excellent benefits and conditions we offer, please visit our website.  Applicants should include a covering letter outlining your suitability for the position as outlined in the position description. 

For an informal discussion about the role, please contact Marguerite Cokalis, HR Advisor 03 8636 9433

Applications close at 9am Tuesday 10 March 2020

General Manager, Housing Services (Victoria)

Exciting opportunity in an innovative not for profit housing organisation, Melbourne CBD based.

We are looking for a strong Community Housing leader to join our Business Leadership Team, reporting to the Executive General Manager, Housing Services. This role will inspire and lead staff in the provision of outstanding housing services in Victoria. A strong focus of this role will be facilitating effective and productive stakeholder relationships in the State and leading the continual development of our services delivery to ensure the Resident experience is at its optimal level. Equally, empowering adaptable teams that best serve our residents and stakeholders is a key aspect of this role.

About You

You will be values driven, passionate and have demonstrated leadership skills and experience in the delivery of property and tenancy management in the public/community/private housing sector or a related field. With a collaborative approach and flexibility, you will have highly developed written and oral communication, influencing and relationship building skills. You will have a strong track record of motivating and coaching staff and developing and maintaining strong partnerships with a range of stakeholders. Possessing excellent analytical and problem-solving skills, a practical and outcome focused approach is essential.

To find out more about us, the role and the excellent benefits and conditions we offer, please visit our website.  Applicants should include a covering letter outlining your suitability for the position as outlined in the position description. 

For an informal discussion about the role, please contact Marguerite Cokalis, HR Advisor 03 8636 9433

Applications close at 9am Tuesday 10 March 2020


New to working in rooming houses?

Rooming houses are a unique form of housing and managing them presents different challenges to managing other types of housing.  They are governed by different provisions within the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) and they often house people with a wide variety of issues at very close quarters with shared facilities.

This course will give new rooming house workers an understanding of how rooming houses work, both legally and practically, and take them through many aspects of their job role.

Date :         Fri 28 Feb 2020

Time:          9.30 AM – 1:00 PM (morning tea is provided)  

Venue:        CHIA Vic Training room, Level 1, 128 Exhibition St, Melbourne 3000

Cost:           $242 inclusive GST- members   $253 inclusive GST – non members

Click here for details and to book.

HeyVan helping homeless in Bendigo

A year on from its Bendigo launch, Haven; Home, Safe’s HeyVan initiative has helped more than 160 people experiencing homelessness.

The HeyVan is a safe space where rough sleepers can connect with Haven’s Homeless Assertive Outreach Response team. It carries basic foods and essential items and stops at several locations across the City of Greater Bendigo.

An initiative of the Victorian Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Plan, the HeyVan is one of eight assertive outreach programs across the state to service areas identified as having the highest incidence of rough sleeping.

The Bendigo and another service in Swan Hill services have been funded for $1.28 million over two years and have the capacity to provide assertive outreach to people sleeping rough, including rapid access to emergency accommodation, health services, ongoing case management and housing support.

Housing Richard Wynne says,’The results of the first year show this program is making a lasting difference for people sleeping rough’.

National Housing Team Leader role

YWCA Australia is currently seeking a National Housing Team Leader to join its National Housing Team. The role is offered on a full-time basis and will be based in the Melbourne office.

The National Housing Team Leader role ensures that YWCA delivers high quality property and tenancy management services to tenants, clients and the broader community. This role provides team management and leadership to ensure that a quality service provision is provided in accordance with YWCA’s values, policies and procedures, organisational performance targets and all relevant government policy and legislation pertaining to each State and Territory.

Applications close on February 23.

Click here to view details and to apply.