Some RTA changes now in force

CHIA Vic participated in early consultations for the RTA regulations being drafted by Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV), providing feedback on behalf of the sector on ideas being considered for key regulations. The Regulatory Impact Statement on all of the draft regulations will be published later this year at which point we will be working with the sector to gather your feedback and put in submissions to CAV on the draft regulations.

A reminder that a few changes have already gone into effect as of 19 June 2019:

  • For fixed-term or periodic tenancy agreements entered into on or after 19 June 2019, landlords must not increase the rent more than once in any 12-month period.
  • From 19 June 2019 landlords are also able to give tenants Renting a home: a guide for tenants in electronic form, if the tenant has agreed in writing to receive notices and other documents this way. Otherwise, they must provide a printed copy.

More information on the changes can be found on the CAV webpage.

Additional resources will be progressively put up to assist landlords prepare for the changes under the Act.

Mental Health Royal Commission submissions open

Community housing organisations have the opportunity to provide a submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System with submissions due by 5 July. (CHOs will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the interim report when it is released in November.)

CHIA Vic is preparing a submission on behalf of the sector, but individual organisations are encouraged to prepare their own to highlight the importance of stable, adequate, affordable, and available housing in preventing mental ill-health, achieving positive treatment outcomes, and sustaining mental health gains.

The Council to Homeless Persons has developed a messaging guide for those wanting to make a submission. Click here for details.

You can also  view CHIA Vic’s research into the impact of the loss of mental health supports on community housing businesses and our tenants, which found up to 6500 community housing tenants in Victoria may be living with severe mental ill-health.

Most are unlikely to be eligible for services under the NDIS, and mental health services are quickly disappearing outside of the NDIS. This is creating significant support gaps for people with mental ill health.

DHHS housing scholarship image

Workforce scholarship applications open

Applications are NOW OPEN via for the 2020 Human Services workforce scholarship program.

The Human Services workforce scholarship program is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for employees working in human services in Victoria. It provides financial assistance to undertake study in an undergraduate or postgraduate course, or a course that leads to a qualification.  It covers course fees only.

Prior to applying online scholarship applicants should contact their preferred Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) or Universities, to obtain quotes for maximum course fees to undertake study in 2020 and flag their interest in applying to their manager.

For staff wanting to undertake further study in housing specific courses, Swinburne are offering the Certificate IV in Social HousingDiploma of Community Services and Graduate Certificate in Social Science (Housing Management and Policy).
Applications close on Tuesday 30 July 2019 at 5pm.

Email queries or phone 9096 2623 (Tuesday to Friday) or 9096 5760 (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday).


Applications now open for housing study scholarship

The Human Services workforce scholarship and Ethel Temby research grant program awards financial aid to support department and housing sector employees to undertake study that leads to a qualification or to complete a research project.

The scholarship covers course fees for an undergraduate or postgraduate course, or a course that leads to a qualification.

Online applications for the 2020 program open today, Tuesday 25 June 2019.

For staff wanting to undertake further study in housing specific courses, Swinburne are offering the Certificate IV in Social HousingDiploma of Community Services and Graduate Certificate of Social Science (Housing Management and Policy).  For further details please refer to the attached information.

If you have any queries regarding the program, or the online application process, please email, or phone 9096 2623 (Tuesday to Friday) or 9096 5760 (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday).

Click here for details and to apply 

Nominations now open for Victorian Homelessness Achievement Awards

The biennial Victorian Homelessness Achievement Awards celebrate the exceptional efforts of workers, consumers and organisations within the homelessness sector.

They are an opportunity to recognise the incredible individuals, programs and organisations dedicated to ending homelessness in Victoria.

The awards cover seven categories:

Excellence in Ending Homelessness – Children and families
Excellence in Ending Homelessness – Young people
Excellence in Ending Homelessness – Adults
Excellence in Ending Homelessness – Diverse groups
The Leading Practitioner award
The Consumer Achievement Award
The Beth Thomson Lifetime Achievement Award

Applications close Sunday 25 August

Nominate here.

WPI tenant

Time for tax deductable donations…

Women’s Property Initiative is calling for tax deductible donations before June 30.

Two out of every three people seeking help for homelessness in Australia are women. Our crisis services are overwhelmed, which means that many of our most vulnerable can’t get help when they need it. More than 150 women were turned away from homelessness services every day in 2017/18. The pressure on these services is worsened by a chronic shortage of long-term, affordable homes to allow women to move on from crisis accommodation. For these women, a safe and secure home where they can rebuild their lives would be a dream come true.

Women’s Property Initiatives (WPI) currently provides 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. Our tenants include older women, single mothers with children and younger women. All of them have faced significant life challenges and wondered if they would ever find stability.

Medical condition

Rebekah is one of these women. Her life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with a severe medical condition as a teenager. She was forced to move from Wodonga to Melbourne with her Mum, who is also her carer, to be closer to specialised medical treatment.

They had to give up a lot, including being close to family and friends. Finding somewhere secure to live on a low income was almost impossible. When looking for affordable housing they experienced discrimination – most landlords wouldn’t even consider them. Panic set in, knowing that they couldn’t stay with the relative who was providing them with shelter for much longer.

Mental health

“It really started to play havoc with my mental state and impacted my health. I couldn’t work because of my condition and the rents were enormous. I never thought I would be in that position – I thought I was going to be a doctor! We would never have moved here without being financially secure but we had no choice.”

Rebekah cried when we told her that she could move in to a WPI apartment close to the hospital where she is treated.


“This beautiful apartment is not something we thought we would ever live in. I can’t go out much, so my home environment is really important. It’s secure and bright and comfortable. But the stability is the best thing. My stress levels have dropped and my health is so much better. Mum is happier, and we are a lot closer because of it.”

This is a new beginning for Rebekah, a chance to overcome her illness and get back to the life she always imagined. Even though she still needs regular treatment, she’s started a TAFE Animal Studies course and can’t wait to be working, productive and independent.

“It actually seems possible now. This home has really changed my life. ”

Please consider a tax-deductible donation to help us provide a lot more new beginnings.

Donate now

RMIT launches new NFP property course

RMIT has created a new not-for-profit property course that can be studied as a short course or as a post-graduate elective.

The course, Property in the not-for-profit (NFP) Sector, is targeted at NFP managers and board members who are seeking to learn about property in the NFP sector, and for
property professionals wanting to understand the NFP sector.

The course objectives are to develop your critical understanding of: the purpose, diversity and value of NFP organisations; the role; and the challenges faced by NFP organisations.

Download the course flyer for more information or email Andrea Sharam.


Few social housing tenants are lonely

Older social housing tenants are far less lonely than those in private rental, according to an article published in The Conversation.

The article, by Research Professor, University of Technology Sydney Alan Morris and Research Associate, University of Technology Sydney, Andrea Verasco states many older private renters have little disposal income, because the cost of housing uses up much of their income. They also live with the constant possibility that they may be asked to vacate their accommodation. Their limited budgets mean they often end up living in a poorly located property. These features, individually or in combination, create fertile ground for anxiety and loneliness.

Their dire financial situation was often an obstacle to social activities. One interviewee told of how she had to choose between food or breaking her isolation by using public transport.

‘In sharp contrast, only a small proportion of the social housing tenants interviewed said they were lonely. Almost all were adamant they did not experience loneliness and felt they had strong social ties. Their affordable rent, security of tenure, long-term residence and having neighbours in a similar position meant they could socialise and were not beset by anxiety.’

Read the full article here.


Social and affordable housing project funding opens

Homes for Homes has opened a funding round for social and affordable housing projects, with up to $140,000 available in Victoria.

Homes for Homes CEO Steven Persson says the organisation will take a flexible approach to the projects it supports.

Housing providers know who is experiencing homelessness and housing stress in their area of operation, and what their needs are, Mr Persson ‘says.

We are keen to fund high-impact projects and are open to all proposals from community housing providers and property developers. Any organisation that can create social and affordable housing is encouraged to apply.

This funding round marks the second time Homes for Homes has released funds in Victoria and the ACT.

Last year, Homes for Homes awarded $500,000 to five organisations, supporting projects ranging from long-term accommodation for matched pairs of older women stuck in the unaffordable private rental market to a six-star energy rated home for a young family in housing stress.

‘Australia is facing a housing crisis, with almost 200,000 households on the waitlist for social housing. Thankfully there is a huge appetite to solve this problem,’Mr Persson says.

With overwhelming support from developers, community, business and government, Homes for Homes is on track to generate over $1 billion over the next 30 years. This is a long-term generational solution that works.

Applications close on 5 July 2019.

Applications will be assessed by an expert, industry-based advisory group.

Recipients are expected to be announced later in the year.

See Homes for Homes for details.

About Homes for Homes

 Homes for Homes, established by The Big Issue, tackles Australia’s chronic shortage of 200,000 social and affordable homes by raising money through donations from property sales.

Homeowners register with Homes for Homes, agreeing to donate 0.1 per cent of their property’s sale price to the initiative at the time of sale (for example, a $500,000 sale results in a $500 donation).

Once a house is registered with Homes for Homes, the legal mechanism stays on the property title, prompting a donation each time the property is sold in the future.

Under the Homes for Homes model, money raised in each state or territory is used to support housing projects in that state or territory.