Family violence census extended

Victoria’s Workers Census has been extended.

If your job brings you into contact with people experiencing family violence or perpetrators you now have more time to have your say and tell us how you need to be better supported.

Be counted and help us make sure there is no wrong door for people who need help for family violence.

Click to participate in the census.

One Hundred Social and Affordable Rentals Delivered

One hundred Victorians are the proud tenants of a new, modern, safe and secure place to call home thanks to a joint venture between National Affordable Housing Consortium (NAHC) and Common Equity Housing Limited (CEHL), backed by the $1 billion Victorian Social Housing Growth Fund.

NAHC and CEHL created a holding company, Affordable Rentals Victoria, to deliver the project.

This Victorian State Government Program has enabled the delivery of 100 below market social and affordable rental units providing much needed additional supply of lower-priced housing at a time where the cost of living is increasingly unaffordable.

Located in key Melbourne suburbs chosen for their location, greenery and nearby amenities, this joint venture is providing not just affordable housing to Victorians but, more importantly, a place to call home.

Click here to read the press release

Assistant Treasurer visits HousingFirst development

HousingFirst residents and management were pleased to welcome the Hon Michael Sukkar MP, Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer, during a visit to their residential housing development in St Kilda.

Minister Sukkar met with HousingFirst residents Jan and Roxane and heard, first-hand, about the positive impact that good social housing has had on their lives.

Jan has been a HousingFirst tenant for over 25 years. She is an active volunteer and a giving member of her community. She has been foster Mum to over 40 children. Over the years, depending on her needs, Jan has been housed in various HousingFirst properties, and due to health and mobility issues (and her foster son Luke moving out of home) she moved to her current Chapel Street apartment seven years ago.

HousingFirst CEO Haleh Homaei and Chair Frank O’Connor were delighted to show the Minister over the award-winning, modern, social housing development in Chapel Street, St Kilda. Completed in 2012, the development was built by HousingFirst with support from the Victorian Government and is home to 81 tenants and their families, who have created a supportive and vibrant community with the help of HousingFirst.

The development is typical of the 276, high-quality new and refurbished homes that HousingFirst and the Port Phillip Housing Trust will now build in St Kilda, Preston, Box Hill and Rowville, thanks to the $72 million of low cost finance they were awarded in the second round of National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) funding, announced by Minister Sukkar. (View the Minister’s statement here).

In welcoming Minister Sukkar to the property, CEO Haleh Homaei acknowledged the vital role played by NHFIC, that operates the Australian Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator and provides cheaper and longer-term secured finance for community housing providers by issuing bonds in Australia’s debt capital markets.

‘There are just too many people struggling to find good, safe housing that they can afford. The awful consequences of this shortage are only too visible on our streets; with the rising numbers of homeless, and the impact of unstable or unsuitable housing on them and on the community. Not for profit housing providers like HousingFirst are ready and willing to build new homes for vulnerable people in need, and help them re-build their lives. Having access to low cost finance through NHFIC will jump-start our projects and enable us to build homes that will take people off the streets and into homes, where they can be safe and plan for the future,’ Ms Homaei said.

HousingFIrst Chair Mr Frank O’Connor thanked the Minister for his commitment to HousingFirst and its tenants, and to the community housing sector. ‘With practical support from both Federal and State governments, the community housing sector can genuinely help to resolve the housing crisis that has badly affected so many vulnerable Victorians,’ he said.

CHIA Vic’s training goes online

In a training first for CHIA Vic, we have created an online course to assist housing workers to understand the NDIS. The free course has three modules that cover an overview of the NDIS and eligibility; the Housing Workers’s role; the NDIS pathway and how to Talk to Tenants.

The course complements a range of resources, tools and templates specific to the community housing sector that are now available on our website and face-to-face training for housing workers.

CHIA Vic runs multiple training for members and stakeholders during the year, but this is the first time the organisation has ventured into online training.

You can view the NDIS resources here, or go directly to the online course.

turning the sod in Mitcham

Delivering crisis accommodation

Ground has been broken on a project to deliver an eight-unit development in Melbourne’s east designed to support older women at risk of homelessness.

Community Housing Ltd (CHL), Uniting Vic.Tas together with other partners Mountview Uniting Church, Oak Building Group and the Department of Housing and Human Services (DHHS) have celebrated turning-the-sod on the project in Mitcham.

The homes will be located close to public transport and schools to ensure tenants maintain their links to local services and the community.

‘We are pleased to be partnering in this significant project which will provide safe, secure accommodation for older women in housing need. We will bring in our expertise of careful and sensitive design utilising 25 years of experience in designing accommodation for people in highest housing need,’  says Steve Bevington, CHL’s Managing Director.

The Hon. Bronwyn Pike, CEO-designate of Uniting Vic.Tas, says the facility will support women facing homelessness to take control of their lives and transition into sustainable, safe, long-term housing.

‘The numbers of women over 55 years of age requiring homelessness support are underestimated and under-reported,’ Ms Pike says. ‘Mountview House will be a step toward helping address the need for older women’s crisis accommodation in Melbourne’s East.’

The Mountview House facility is nearly two decades in the making. The Victorian Government is contributing more than $2.3 million to the facility’s development as part of its Accommodation for the Homelessness Phase 2 initiative.

 

 

Wayss project

Built for good

Ten short-term affordable homes have been built in Cardinia Shire to accommodate women and children for up to two years, who have experienced family violence and are faced with homelessness.

Funded by the Peter and Lyndy White Foundation, the social housing initiative, ‘Built for good‘ is a standout partnership and collaboration between Council, philanthropists, business and local community organisations, and aims to pave the way for stable and secure housing in the area.

The 10 unit housing complex with on-site office, has been purpose built on Council land by local builders Sienna Homes, to respond to the social problems of family violence and the resulting homelessness that is experienced.

The need for social housing across the state has dramatically increased over the last two years, and homelessness is a hidden and significant issue impacting the Cardinia Shire community.

More than 220 people are experiencing homelessness across Cardinia Shire; this has grown by 53% from 2011 to 2016. Each day, on average, the Pakenham Police refer two women to Wayss because of incidents of family violence. Of the people seeking support for social housing in Cardinia Shire, 24.2% is because of family violence, and 92% of all presentations are women.

Managed by local community service organisation Wayss, the housing complex has a mix of single and double storey units, comprising of two, three and four bedrooms. At any one time the complete 26 bedrooms will both ensure women and their children will be safely housed, and supported with wrap-around services provided by Windermere and Wayss, to help them rebuild their lives.

“There is no doubt the ‘Built for Good’ initiative, is a flagship project that can be replicated in other areas of need across Australia,” said Wayss CEO Elizabeth Thomas.

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.

 

Tenants benefit from solar initiative

Few renters would expect their landlord to install solar power for their benefit but SouthEast Housing Cooperative Ltd is doing just that.

Andrew Phillips* is the sole community housing resident in a small block of two-bedroom units in Croydon, yet his is the only home sporting solar panels.

‘My owner occupier neighbours are jealous,’ Andrew says.

Andrew’s home is one of the 162 properties managed by SouthEast that have had solar panels installed with the support of the Victorian Property Fund’s Environmentally Sustainable Housing Funding Round.

Andrew’s panels were installed in August last year and the impact was instant, despite his power company taking until February 2019 to begin crediting him with a feedback tariff for the energy his home was generating in excess of his usage.

‘But I noticed a difference in my bills immediately,’ Andrew says, with his bills dropping from an average of $5 a day to $3 a day.

Andrew says he was pleased SouthEast took advantage of the opportunity to reduce the energy consumption of their properties from an environmental, as well as financial, point of view.

‘I am really happy to be part of the bigger environment picture and I think this is something that should be rolled out to throughout the country.’

SouthEast’s CEO, Steven Morrissey, says his organisation leapt at the opportunity to apply for the VPF funding.

‘Our cooperative is all about housing and helping people on low incomes, and this is another way of making a difference.’

The initiative will reduce the cooperative’s carbon emissions by almost 1,000 tonnes a year and provide savings to the membership of between $118,000 and $202,000 per annum.