Haven; Home, Safe (HHS) and Active Community Housing are set to merge in a move that will see the combined not-for-profit organisation provide more homes and services to people living with a disability across Victoria.

HHS is a fully integrated affordable rental housing and homelessness support services provider employing more than 170 staff across offices in Bendigo, Preston, Geelong, Mildura, and Robinvale with outreach services in Frankston, Swan Hill, Echuca and Kyabram. As a registered Housing Association, HHS owns or manage 1600+ affordable rental properties across 29 Local Government Areas (LGAs) with total assets over $330 million and an annual operating budget of $35 million.

Active is Victoria’s only dedicated disability specialist housing provider of high-quality housing for people with complex needs, including Specialist Disability. Active’s suite of services includes home modifications, project management, assistive technology consultation, and property and tenancy management to people with disabilities, families and local community groups.

The merger follows the successful launch of their joint venture, the Assistive Housing Hub last month.  The Hub is home to some of Australia’s state-of-the-art assistive technologies for people with a disability, showcasing the latest in communication systems and home automation, architectural hardware and furniture fittings, and telehealth monitoring.

In a joint announcement this morning, HHS Acting Chair Jan Boynton and Active Chair Warwick Cavanagh said that merging the two organisations would deliver greater depth and breadth of innovative, quality services and increased capacity to invest in areas of growing need such as social and disability housing.

“We are two values-based, not-for-profit organisations that have seen the benefits of scale, and worked together closely to create a better outcome for the people we support, our staff, our stakeholders and the community in general,” Ms Boynton said.

Mr Cavanagh said: “We’re here to make a difference in people’s lives, and this decision is about delivering the best possible outcomes for the people we support now and into the future.  This decision is about extending Active’s mission, not diminishing it.”

The merger will officially take place on 1 July.

“For the people we support, our staff, our stakeholders and our communities, it is very much business as usual,” Ms Boynton said.

Both organisations will continue to operate under their own brand names, with Active becoming part of The Haven Group, led by Chief Executive Officer Ken Marchingo AM.

Mr Marchingo has over three decades of experience in leading organisational change and systems reform and said both HHS and Active had a strong history of commitment to care, support and community partnerships.

“Together we can do more,” he said. “We will have a stronger advocacy voice, and we will have access to broader resources and skills to meet our clients’ needs.”

Active CEO Chris Glennen, who will join The Haven Group’s Executive Management Team, said the merger was the best opportunity for the organisation to create more accessible housing and achieve better outcomes for people with disability in the wider community.

“The SDA housing market is a new and exciting market which is expected to create thousands of new dwellings over the next few years and ultimately deliver better outcomes for people with very high and complex disability support needs,” he said.