New board members

New directors get on board of HHS

Three new Directors have joined Haven; Home, Safe’s board, bringing a broad range of business and cultural skills to the homelessness service and affordable housing provider, Chair Sue Clarke says.

Jan Snell, Gerard José, and Damien Tangey have been appointed to the Board of Directors of Haven; Home, Safe.

‘Their background, qualifications and experience will add considerable value to our Board and I look forward to working with them to deliver on our organisational purpose as we progress our five-year strategic plan to deliver more supports and more homes through more partnerships and increased capacity,’ Sue says.

Jan has had a long and distinguished career in the Victorian Public Service and has held a number of senior executive positions, more recently Deputy Secretary, North Division, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Gerard has significant experience in community engagement, change management, organisation development, policy facilitation and program evaluation. Damien is a highly respected property developer with a strong understanding of national, state and local government policy impacting the housing affordability framework.

The three new appointees join fellow Directors, Chair Sue Clarke, Andrew Cairns, David Brant, Ken Belfrage, Melanie Rogers, Jan Boynton, Candy Broad, and Warwick Cavanagh.

Caption: New HHS Directors Gerard José, Jan Snell, and Damien Tangey with Chair Sue Clarke.

Coburg EOI released

Rethinking transitional housing

Victoria’s THM program was established in 1997 to provide short term housing combined with support for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

With the program turning 21 the Department of Health and Human Services initiated a review in 2017, to develop high level options and recommendations to refresh policy and operational settings. THM property providers and the support services were consulted on the key challenges and issues.

DHHS now wishes to establish a THM Reference Group to provide advice on future directions of the program. Nominations have been called for from interested people. See the Terms of Reference.

Interested parties should email a request for an Expression of Interest Form from Matthew O’Rourke, Senior Project Officer, Homelessness and Accommodation Support or call 9096 3023. Forms must be completed and returned by Friday 15 February 2019.

CHIA Vic’s State Budget submission

CHIA Vic has written to Treasurer Pallis to provide input into the first budget of this new government.

We argued that this budget provides a great opportunity to build on the new government’s momentum and tackle the bleak picture for those in housing need, as outlined in the Report on Government Services released last month. The report noted:

•    Victoria spends the lowest amount per head of population on social housing – $82.94 when the national average is $166.93.
•    Net recurrent expenditure on public housing decreased from $457m in 2014/15 to $412m in 2017/18.
•    In the five years to 2018, the total number of long-term social housing dwellings (both public and community housing) increased by only 42.

Against this backdrop, funding has recently been announced for 680 new rental properties to be leased by the community housing sector under the New Rental Development Program (see press release).  The Build to Operate program, which is also part of the Social Housing Growth Fund, is at the Request for Proposal stage and we understand that the government is overwhelmingly positive about the response to this program.

These initiatives, plus the commitment to build 1,000 new public housing properties, will provide a much needed to boost to stock supplies. However, while the initiatives in train are valuable they are not enough.

Fortuitously, we have a Build-to-Operate program that has been oversubscribed with the number of high-quality proposals far exceeding the amount of funding that is available. Many of these projects are time sensitive in that they are partnerships with developers, and if funding is not made available in this round then the project will not proceed at all.

We urged the Treasurer to allocate additional funding to allow all of the projects to proceed.  This would be a quick win for the government where no departmental design or development work would be required as all the systems and staff are in place.

In addition to more funding for the Build–to-Operate program, we would like to see funding allocated in the State Budget to:

•    deliver the Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Framework
•    evaluate the current inclusionary housing pilot and identify more parcels of government land for a further round
•    implement the Community Housing Industry Transition Plan.

Help develop our sector’s social outcomes framework

Funded by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and in collaboration with Think Impact, CHIA Vic is assisting the community housing sector to build their capacity to understand, identify and measure their social impact through facilitated workshops and a guided process for tenant engagement.

This project is a unique opportunity for the community housing sector to work together to identify a shared set of measures about the difference that community housing makes in the lives of tenants.

  • It is your opportunity to contribute to a stronger community housing sector.
  • It is your opportunity to connect more deeply with your tenants and hear their stories and experiences of community housing.
  • It is an opportunity to build greater brand awareness about the value of community housing.

What is involved in participating?

Participating organisations will attend three half-day workshops between February and June 2019, and be prepared to conduct interviews with tenants in February and March 2019.

Participating organisations will need to nominate:

  • a senior manager to guide the organisation’s involvement in the project and ensure the availability of resources
  • front-line worker/s with the capacity to attend the workshops and willingness to conduct tenant interviews.

The first workshop is scheduled for Tuesday 19 February from 9.30am – 1pm. It will provide leaders with an overview of the project and support to drive a focus on tenant outcomes in decision making and service delivery within their organisations. The remainder of the workshop will provide front-line workers with training to conduct impact interviews with tenants.

At this workshop your organisation will be provided with a shared approach and templates to guide the tenant engagement. The ways tenants could be involved include:

  • One-on-one interviews conducted by CHOs
  • Small focus groups or tenant advisory group feedback led by CHOs
  • Participation in a joint tenant focus group led by CHIA Vic

For more information on the project and to register for the workshop, contact Jess.


Getting paid to save money on bills

Do your tenants know about the Victorian Government’s Energy Compare website that pays visitors $50 to check if they are getting the best deal for their electricity and gas?

The Victorian Government’s $50 Power Saving Bonus payment is available to every Victorian household until 30 June 2019. You just complete the details of your current bill and it will show you whether you can get a better deal elsewhere. No need to switch providers to claim the $50.


Harvard Club scholarships open for social enterprise program

The Harvard Club of Victoria’s (HCV) has opened applications for its Non-Profit Fellowship to the Social Enterprise Program at Harvard Business School.

Each year the Harvard Club sends up to three CEOS from the Victorian Community Sector to the Harvard Graduate School of Business Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management (SPNM) course. The Harvard Club of Victoria Non-Profit Fellowship includes admission to the course and A$14,000 of funding to cover the SPNM fees (tuition and case materials, accommodation, and meals), as well as travel to and from Boston plus a study tour to nonprofit organisations in North America.

Click here for details or to apply.

AirBnB impact on Melbourne ‘minimal’

Contradicting accepted wisdom, an SGS Economics and Planning report has found Airbnb has had little impact on Melbourne’s housing market.

The report, which used official Airbnb data, found the number of AirBnB listings in Melbourne in 2017 was equivalent to only 0.5 per cent of all dwellings in Melbourne.

Report co-author Terry Rawnsley, Principal and Partner at SGS Economics and Planning, said the hosting rate of Airbnb listings averaged less than 50 per cent of the time they were available.

In Melbourne, the median number of nights hosted per year has increased from 42 nights to 66 nights per year. Of the listings that have hosted guests, over 35 per cent of listings host guests for up to 30 nights per year. Approximately 27 per cent of listings host guests for more than 180 nights per year.

Mr Rawnsley says, broadly speaking, it is not financially beneficial to host a property on Airbnb instead of renting to a long-term tenant, unless the property is in the City of Melbourne, where the hosting rate averages 70 per cent.

‘In only a small number of cases, it is more profitable to list a property on Airbnb full time rather than on the rental market.’

Download the report

Changing Futures Campaign

A festive message from Women’s Property Initiative:

This festive season, give to help women and children with no place to call home…In the midst of our housing crisis, two out of every three people seeking help for homelessness are women. We know there are many more who are the hidden homeless, living in highly unstable or grossly inadequate housing. For many of them, a safe and secure home to spend the holidays in would be a dream come true, but it’s sadly out of reach.

We currently provide permanent, secure and affordable homes for more than 220 women and children. They tell us every day about the difference these homes have made in their lives. These women have faced significant challenges, many of which they have been able to overcome with a stable home as a base.

Kelli is one of them. She has experienced addiction and family violence. But with a strong support network and a secure home that she can depend on, Kelli is now independent and confidently parenting her beautiful son, Kai. 

We want to provide homes for lots more women like Kelli, and children like Kai. Please consider a tax-deductible donation to help us change the future for these women.

Donate now.