VHR training

Introduction to the Victorian Housing Register training

Due to the current Covid-19 situation, the Victorian Housing Register Team is unable to offer classroom based training until further notice. In lieu of this, all face-to-face training has been converted into online learning modules.

The development and refinement of this course is ongoing, however sufficient content is now available to obtain a comprehensive introduction to the VHR.

Staff will see new or enhanced modules added to this course over time. It remains mandatory for new staff to complete VHR training to be granted access to HiiP.

To enrol in the online learning modules, please email: victorianhousingregister@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Wintringham working to consolidate waitlist with VHR

Wintringham’s Advice and Information team is working with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to consolidate its waitlist into the Victorian Housing Register (VHR).

‘Instead of applying directly to us, people will be able to apply through the VHR – one central place – reducing the number of housing applications they need to make in order to find housing,’ says Wintringham’s Advice and Information Coordinator, Elaine.

‘Wintringham, along with most other housing associations in Victoria, has agreed to merge our housing register with the VHR. This will take some time to process – our current register contains 2,168 applications from people waiting to be housed – and it took about three weeks to enter 1,000 of these into the VHR.

‘We hope that by joining the VHR, options for clients seeking housing will be streamlined and they will get better access to a broader range of social housing options,’ she says.

The register merge should be finalised soon.

WHL awarded Housing Association Status

In an exciting development, the Housing Registrar has approved Women’s Housing Limited’s (WHL) application to become a Housing Association.

WHL’s CEO, Judy Line says the status change from Housing Provider to Housing Association, which has been 18 months in the making, is significant: ‘Becoming a Housing Association presents a wonderful opportunity for WHL and our clients – present and future.

‘As a Housing Association, WHL will have the capacity and resources to be able to provide more specialist housing for women and children.

‘For women in need, it’s about providing housing security and also a pathway out of disadvantage.’

CHIA Vic’s Chair Haleh Homaei congratulated WHL on the news.

‘It’s a huge achievement for WHL and it’s great to have a specialist women’s housing provider within the pool of Housing Associations.’

The Registrar of Housing Agencies, Bernard Gastin, approved Women’s Housing Limited’s application for a change in category to a Housing Association under the Housing Act 1983, based on its demonstrated capacity to grow at scale through a strong track record of consistent housing growth in the past and a future growth strategy that will continue this trend.

Whilst Registered Housing Providers vary in size, they primarily manage rental housing portfolios for other parties, such as the Director of Housing (DoH). Whilst some own properties, their growth is small scale compared with housing associations.

‘WHL specialises in the provision of affordable housing for women and children and has grown its asset base of $0.3 million in 2008 (with no owned property) to $54 million by 30 June 2019. Tenancy numbers have grown from 108 to 400. This scale is consistent with Tier 1 housing provider status under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing,’ Mr Gastin says.

‘WHL has also established a pipeline of projects, including a new development in Bayswater and partnership with major developers such as Lendlease. These projects will continue to increase the supply of affordable housing by approximately 60 units by 2025-26. The growth is achieved through WHL’s own capital investment as well as leveraging generous developer land contributions and without relying solely on government funding.’

The broader Housing Registrar team also congratulated WHL on achieving this important milestone.

‘We will continue to work closely with WHL to ensure the regulatory requirements of a Housing Association are met.’

WHL joins the other nine Registered Housing Associations in Victoria: Aboriginal Housing Victoria Limited, Common Equity Housing Limited, Community Housing (Vic) Limited, Housing Choices Australia Limited, HousingFirst Limited, Haven; Home, Safe Limited, Beyond Housing Limited, Unison Housing Limited and Wintringham Housing Limited. There are 30 Registered Housing Providers in Victoria.

Allocations Framework – the missing piece

The development of the Victorian Housing Register has been proceeding well but it has been missing a vital piece of enabling policy. The community housing allocations framework was finally released in late August for a three-week consultation period. DHHS and CHFV ran a forum for community housing organisations on Monday to work through the key elements of the framework.

At face value, the policy may seem straightforward but its various layers provide for a fundamental and complex change to business practices for the sector.

CHFV, and each community housing organisation, will be analysing the implications of this policy reform on their mission, their business model and viability, and will be providing feedback to DHHS by 15 September.

If you are interested in reading more about the framework all papers can be downloaded here.