PhD Scholarship in Social Housing

The Unison Housing Research LaB (UHRL) is a unique education and research collaboration between RMIT University and Unison Housing, Victoria’s largest social housing provider. The LaB is situated in the Social and Global Studies Centre (SGSC) in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies (GUSS). The LaB was established in 2017 and is funded for five years to undertake an innovative research program informed by the experiences of service users and providers.

We are seeking highly motivated and qualified applicants for a PhD scholarship to commence in February, 2019. The successful applicant will have, at minimum, an Honours level qualification in social science or related discipline (e.g. sociology, psychology, anthropology, criminology, law, gender, politics, health) and will have experience in quantitative research methods. Utilising their skills with administrative and survey data, the successful candidate will examine why people leave social housing and what happens to them subsequently. The candidate will investigate three questions:

  1. What are the reasons households leave social housing?
  2. What sort of housing do people subsequently move into and, relatedly, what proportion end up experiencing homelessness after they exit.
  3. What are the patterns of service use following exits from social housing.

In answering these questions this PhD project will provide important insights into the personal, social and economic costs of leaving social housing. It will also provide useful information for Unison with respect to maximising positive exits and minimising negative exits which are costly to everyone.

A stipend of $30,900 per annum pro rata (full time study) for three years.

Expressions of interest must be submitted via email by Friday October 26th, 2018.

Expressions of interest should contain the following information:

  • A one-page summary justifying the applicant’s suitability for the role
  • An academic CV
  • Transcript of qualifying degree
  • A copy of any publications, thesis or other scholarly writing

For further information contact:

Dr Juliet Watson,  03 9925 3477

Prof Guy Johnson,   03 9925 9893

If you’ve found it hard to find a safe and secure home, will you share your story with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Opposition leader Bill Shorten and Greens leader Richard Di Natale, to remind them how crucial it is that they fix the broken housing system?

The Everybody’s Home campaign is encouraging people with stories of housing struggles to share their experiences with the new PM Scott Morrison, Bill Shorten, and Richard Di Natalie.

This is a great opportunity to connect clients, as well as supporters and staff who may have their own challenging experiences of housing, to the campaign.

You can use, or modify, the text below to invite people to take the action and engage with #EverybodysHome

Share Your Story

If you’ve found it hard to find a safe and secure home, will you share your story with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Opposition leader Bill Shorten and Greens leader Richard Di Natale, to remind them how crucial it is that they fix the broken housing system?

We know that more and more Australians every day are living in rental stress, paying more than they can afford in order to have a roof over their head. It’s become a ‘normal’ way of life for people right across the country to have to sacrifice essentials, such as food, medicines or heating – or even just to miss out on life’s little pleasures, like occasionally seeing a movie, or eating a meal out. It doesn’t have to be this way – there are solutions, things that our leaders can do to fix housing.

But our leaders need to put a face to the housing affordability issue. They need to hear it first-hand, from people like you, so that they understand how very serious the issue of housing affordability is in Australia – so that we can convince them that taking action to fix the problem should be their priority.

Will you share your story with the leaders of the major Parties now, to convince them all to fix the system, so that all Australians have a place to call home?

Gas heater update

If you have a client who has had their gas heater shut off who is over 75 years old or has a serious health condition then it is possible to have the replacement of their heater prioritised.

Simply contact the Department of Health and Human Services’ Call Centre and ask them to escalate the replacement of a gas heater that has been shut off, giving your tenants age or their specific health condition as the reason. You should not require supporting evidence.

The Call Centre has hired more staff to cope with the increase in calls due to the heater recall and briefed them on the need to escalate heater replacements for these cohorts.

There are still limits to how fast the replacements can be installed, so although the escalation process will prioritise the replacement, it may not be immediate. This is due to safety requirements that limit the number of installations gas plumbers can perform in a day and, potentially, issues with accessing appropriate replacement heaters.

DHHS compensation for high electricity bills

DHHS sent out letters last week with details of the compensation available for public housing tenants facing high electricity bills due to the removal of their gas heaters. CHIA Vic has been advocating for a similar treatment for tenants in DHHS-owned properties although, at this stage, nothing has been confirmed.

Please circulate this information to your staff.

Members feature in social enterprise book

CHIA Vic members Haven: Home; Safe and St Kilda Community Housing (SCH) both feature in a new book on social enterprise.

Haven: Home; Safe’s maintenance subsidiary, HIVE, provides trade and non-trade services, to maintain its short and long-term housing portfolio across Melbourne and the Barwon South West region.

HIVE employs a mix of mature, experienced workers and young people who want to join the workforce for the first time or maintain work. The HIVE Team achieves a property clean turnaround time of 2.8 days, well below the commercial average of 7-10 days; it created 12,851 paid work hours in the 2017 financial year, and HIVE staff reported an overall satisfaction level of 85 per cent.

SCH also has its own maintenance social enterprise, TCM, which enables SCH to employ residents and develop and enhance the skills of tenants through training opportunities. SCH also runs its own social enterprise graphic design company skydesign, which puts money back into the housing organisation.

The book, Dollars & Sense, features 40 case studies to raise awareness of the impact of social enterprises – businesses that trade to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities, provide people with access to employment and skills development, or help the environment.

Purchase Dollars and Sense.

Read more...

The Myer Innovation Fellowships are being offered to people with ground-breaking ideas that will tackle poverty and disadvantage; education; or sustainability and environment and need a year to develop an action plan.

Successful Fellows will receive $120,000 for their 12-month commitment to the program and an additional $30,000 for approved expenses such as work space, rent, travel and contracting of external expertise.

Read more…

Tenders now open

Tenders are now open for service providers who wish to be involved in supporting rough sleepers who are to be housed in new modular homes on three sites across Victoria.

Minister for Housing, Martin Foley has announced 19 new modular homes at Bacchus Marsh, Norlane and Dandenong will be provided through the Towards Home program.

Towards Home is part of the $45 million Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Plan released in January this year. The new properties add to 30 temporary modular homes that have been placed on sites in Preston, Reservoir, Chadstone, Doveton and Brighton.

Tenders for service providers at the new locations are now open at tenders.vic.gov.au.

Tenders are also open for the Action Plan’s $19 million assertive outreach program, which will see teams established in seven high need areas across Victoria – including Geelong.

The assertive outreach teams will actively seek out and engage with people experiencing homelessness, to help them access emergency accommodation, health services and ongoing case management.

 

$3m partnership to deliver new homes in Mitchell Shire

A partnership between the Victorian Property Fund (VPF), Mitchell Shire Council and BeyondHousing will see eight new homes built for couples, single parents and families at risk of homelessness in Wallan, Broadford and Seymour.

The new homes were announced by Minister for Consumer Affairs, Marlene Kairouz, on Wednesday 1 August.

BeyondHousing CEO, Celia Adams, said the Minister’s involvement highlighted the significance of the partnership.

‘BeyondHousing is contributing just over $1million and the Victorian Government $2million through the Victorian Property Fund. It’s a major project for us and we thank Minister Marlene Kairouz for the investment,’ Ms Adams said.

Ms Adams also welcomed Mitchell Shire Council’s support of the project.

‘Mitchell Shire is experiencing rapid population growth and we share their desire to ensure there is a place for everyone in these towns,’ Ms Adams said.

‘Mitchell Shire is leading the way in how councils can work with agencies like ours to ensure their communities get the most out of funding opportunities.’

Mitchell Shire Mayor, Cr Rhonda Sanderson said the housing would address a critical need in the area.

‘There is significant need for increased funding for homelessness services across the shire and greater investment in social housing – this is something we have been lobbying for as part of our advocacy priorities,’ Cr Sanderson said.

‘We are pleased to work with BeyondHousing to increase affordable housing in our shire and we sincerely thank the Victorian Government and BeyondHousing for helping deliver this fantastic service for our community.’

BeyondHousing is the largest housing and homelessness service provider within the Goulburn and Ovens Murray regions of Victoria. Last year BeyondHousing provided services to more than 5500 people and owns or manages more than 700 homes.

Ms Adams said the new homes would be a mixture of units and houses to respond to the housing needs of single parents, couples and families.

BeyondHousing’s contribution was used to purchase land on which the homes will be built.

‘Work will start soon on house design. We have appointed Sessions, Metricon and New View Homes as the preferred builders,’ Ms Adams said.

Tim Sessions from Sessions Builders said they enjoy working with BeyondHousing, building quality homes for people in need and also keeping local people in work, such as builders and trades.

Ms Adams said BeyondHousing deliberately focused on working closely with local builders to support their efforts to offer jobs in the community and add to the local economy.

‘This is a significant injection of economic activity in the area and we prefer to develop longer term relationships with builders in our catchment area,’ she said.

BeyondHousing is committed to addressing homelessness, supporting people in housing stress and increasing the supply of affordable housing.

‘Increasing the supply of affordable housing in the Goulburn Valley and north east Victoria is a key priority of ours over the next three years. Last year we added 16 new homes to our portfolio,’ Ms Adams said.

The project is supported by the Victorian Property Fund through the Victorian Government.

Bendigo project to assist young people

Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz has announced a $2.78 million grant from the Victorian Property Fund to Haven; Home, Safe (HHS) for the construction of 16 dwellings at two sites, totalling 28 bedrooms.

HHS will contribute $1.84 million towards the $4.62 million which will provide long-term affordable rental housing for low income single youth and single young parents at risk of homelessness.

Support services will be a key component of the projects, with tenants of the Flora Hill site able to access the adjoining Sidney Myer Haven youth complex, providing opportunities to participate in life-skill building activities and pre-vocational training programs.

The Flora Hill site, on Somerville Street, will comprise four one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units, while the North Bendigo site at Lobb Street will be home to eight two-bedroom units. Both sites will be close to the Bendigo CBD, transport, schools, TAFE, community services and employment opportunities.

All dwellings will include a range of environmentally sustainable design features, including heat pumps and solar boosted hot water systems, water saving taps and showerheads, and plumbed rainwater collection tanks to help reduce utility costs.

Rent will be capped at 75 per cent of market rent or 30 per cent of household income.

HHS will oversee the construction and management of the $4.62 million development.

Victoria’s first Registered Housing Association provider, HHS has been providing services to the homeless and disadvantaged since 1979, and currently owns and manages more than 1900 housing units, accommodating in excess of 3,000 people.

‘This is about helping vulnerable young people in and around Bendigo get back on their feet by providing stable and safe long-term accommodation where they need it most,’ Ms Kairouz said.

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said affordable housing projects like these ‘are vital for low income and disadvantaged young people in our community’.

Tenders for the construction of the Lobb Street project will go out to builders in the coming weeks.

-source, HHS

How does your organisation compare?

Do you want to be able to compare your organisation’s workforce data with your peers and gain insights into Board remuneration data?

Now is the time to register for Round 3 of the House Keys Workforce benchmarking project.

This is a very exciting project for the industry as it will provide a national perspective on our workforce with peer group comparisons. Round 2 of House Keys Workforce had 26 participating CHPs from 6 jurisdictions.

To ensure that the most up to date information as possible is available, Round 3 will collect workforce data from the financial year that has just ended (2017-18).

To take part, please return a signed copy of the user agreement before Thursday 26th July.

The timetable is as follows:

·         Sign up period – till 26 July 2018

·         Data submission window  – August 2018

·         Platform set up and testing – September 2018

·         Launch – end September 2018

Once the registration period has closed, you will receive further instructions on how to access the platform and submit your workforce data. A full list of workforce data indicators can be found in appendix 1 of the House Keys Workforce User Agreement.

Queries can be made to LeoniL@communityhousing.org.au or phone 02 9690 2447 ext 203.

New NDIS and Housing Interest Group

The NDIS rollout is beginning to have a significant impact on a number of CHIA Vic members and their tenants, both in the development and management spaces.  This includes those seeking to develop new Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) and managing existing stock as the environment for both housing managers and support providers changes.

These changes also extend to ‘the Other 94 per cent’ who do not receive SDA funding and access other housing options such as  community housing. CHIA Vic has held a scoping meeting with a few members to begin to understand how the changes in support are impacting on tenants – but we need to do more.

CHIA Vic has engaged experienced consultant Joseph Connellan to bring together interested CHIA Vic members for meeting with the view of establishing a CHIA Vic NDIS and Housing Interest Group.

Interested members are invited to attend this inaugural meeting and participate in designing the operation and work plan for this Interest Group. Joseph will distribute a briefing paper to those who have registered a few days before the meeting, which will be held on Thursday, July 5 at CHIA Vic.

Click here for details and to register.