Have tenants who are impacted by family violence? 

Workers in Victoria’s health, community services, justice, education and training sectors who sometimes come into contact with people affected by family violence are being encouraged to complete a new workforce census.

The census is an opportunity for workers who sometimes come into direct contact with victims or perpetrators to highlight the issues that your face in the course of your work that are related to family violence.

Click here to complete the census.

The findings aim to build a deeper understanding about the different workforces that intersect with family violence to ensure that you are supported to respond to women and children experiencing family violence and that there is a no wrong door for victims who need help or advice.

The census will take no more than 15-20 minutes to complete and is anonymous, with data deidentified.

There is a separate census for family violence and primary prevention workers and you will be asked some initial questions to make sure you are led to the most relevant survey for you.

In the survey, your role will be referred to as ‘your role in the broader workforce that intersects with family violence’.

City of Melbourne supports mandatory inclusionary zoning

CHIA Vic has commended the City of Melbourne  for its call for the introduction of mandatory inclusionary zoning, which would see developers compelled to include social and/or affordable housing in their projects.

The council’s Future Melbourne committee this week endorsed a submission to the Victorian Government’s Ministerial Advisory Committee on Planning Mechanisms for Affordable Housing that made the case for mandatory inclusionary zoning, at a rate to be determined by modelling, and with a cash-in-lieu option. This option would be complemented by flexibility for local governments to increase the minimum requirement where there was strategic justification and evidence of need.

The submission also called for local governments to be able to provide a voluntary uplift incentive in strategic development areas to encourage developers to include even more social and affordable housing than the level set for the state.

Currently, local governments in Victoria are able to negotiate with developers to include social and affordable housing, but the Affordable Housing Agreements are voluntary.

CHIA Vic CEO Lesley Dredge says making inclusionary zoning mandatory could play a key role in reducing the massive gap between supply and demand for social and affordable housing in Victoria, where the waitlist for social housing as at September this year was sitting at 44,152 households – and growing.


NDIS learning portal

The Department of Health and Human Services has released Get NDIS Ready, a new learning portal with free access to learning modules.

The portal has been developed as part of Keeping Our Sector Strong – Victoria’s NDIS Workforce plan.

Read more

  Have your say on the new draft of the Social Housing Certificate IV

Skills IQ is updating the social housing qualification and is consulting the sector in preparation for the  new draft of the Social Housing Cert IV.

The CHIA Network is working together to prepare a submission by the December 2 deadline. If there is anything you want to add, please respond directly to Skills IQ or to CHIA Vic.

Click here to review the draft.

AHURI finds high rates of homelessness in vet community

Approximately 5.3 per cent of Australian veterans who left the Australian Defence Force (ADF) between 2001 and 2018 experienced homelessness, AHURI research has revealed.

This rate of 5.3 per cent, which equates to 5,767 veterans, is significantly higher than that for the general population (1.9%), and although these rates are not directly comparable, this finding strongly suggests that veterans are over-represented in the Australian homeless population. It is also much higher than the estimate of around 3,000 homeless veterans previously assumed by government agencies such as the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Read more…

Tales from the Vault: housing workers assaulted

Hi there housing staffers. It’s Mark Smoljo with your latest episode of Tales from the Tenancy Vault.

Over the last two months I have had two phone calls that were rather alarming. One involved a support worker being stabbed by a tenant while the other involved a threat to kill a tenancy worker by her tenant. In both cases their managers were asking what could be done under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). Unfortunately, in both cases my answer was ‘not very much’. Believe it or not there is currently nothing housing organisations can do to take immediate action about this under the Residential Tenancies Act. The RTA only refers to ‘the safety of occupiers of neighbouring premises’.

CHIA Vic made strong representations about changing this situation in the review of the Residential Tenancies Act over the last few years. As a result, there were protections for staff and contractors put into the RTA Amendment Act which was passed last year. Unfortunately, these new provisions will not come into force until late June, 2020. (Other states have had these protections for many years.)

So, what can you do in the meantime? In the case of assaults or threats, these are police matters and you need to inform the police. In some cases the tenant will be arrested and kept in custody. However, this will not always happen. The only option open to you is to issue a 120-day notice to vacate for no reason. You will not be able to do this after July 1 next year, but by then the provisions protecting staff and contractors will have come into force.

After you have done this there will be a period of four months (plus postage) during which staff will still have to deal with the tenant. Be very mindful of occupational health and safety during this period. Staff should always deal with the tenant in pairs, and you may even be able to get the police to accompany staff if there is a need to visit the property.

A long shot you could try is to make a general application to VCAT under section 452 of the RTA because ‘a dispute has arisen under the tenancy agreement’. You may not be able to get a possession order this way, but you may able to get some sort of compliance or restraining order.

If you are running rooming houses you have more protection for staff. The danger provisions for rooming houses in the RTA refer to causing ‘a danger to any person or property in the rooming house’ – a staff member is a person in the house while they are there. You can also use the Part 8 violence provisions where appropriate. Additionally, rooming house managers can create a house rule that forbids assaulting, threatening or harassing staff or contractors.

In the meantime, stay safe out there. Please ring me at the office on a Monday or Thursday if you have any questions or email mark.smoljo@chiavic.com.au


Stay up-to-date on RTA changes

Confused by the roll out of the amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA)? Consumer Affairs Victoria has launched a website that not only details the full suite of reforms that are to be in place by July 2020, but also the timeline of reforms that have already been implemented.

The webpage will provide community housing organisations with a dynamic resource in the lead up to the July 2020 deadline.

Help to access NHFIC funds

Did you know that housing organisations can access grants of up to $20,000 (incl GST) for tailored consulting services (selected from an approved panel) to assist their applications for NHFIC finance?

CHIA Vic has created a new web resource to assist those community housing organisations that are interested in applying for funding via the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC).

Visit the page here.

Book now for CHIA Vic’s AGM

Are you, or your organisation, a member of CHIA Vic? If so, have you saved your spot for CHIA Vic’s Annual General Meeting? Places are limited, lunch provided so book now!