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Excellence in housing showcased

Community housing organisations had a chance to hear about innovations in community housing at the Australian Housing Industry (AHI) Housing Excellence Showcase held in May.

The luncheon was part of the series of special events showcasing some of the standout achievements from the 2017 AHI Professional Excellence in Housing Awards.

James Wray from HousingFirst (formerly the Port Phillip Housing Assocation) spoke about two of his organisations award-winning programs: the Ashwood Cook Up, which took out the Tenant Led Initiative Award, and the Tenant Induction Program, which took out the Leading Asset Management Award.

The Cook Up saw 80 tenants of Ashwood Chadstone take part in cooking classes to tackle issues around food and loneliness.

Caroline Larcher, Women’s Property Initiative’s  Development Manager spoke about the trials and tribulations of building a townhouse project in Coburg on a tricky site next to the train tracks, which won the Leading Housing Development Project Award.

Housing Choice’s Jane Crombie spoke about the Love Your Laneway Mural Project that saw tenants, including Linda Newman, involved in creating a laneway mural that has improved their sense of safety and community. ‘It brightens up our day,’ Linda says.

Haven; Home, Safe’s Rachel Gellatly and Sue Farrell spoke about the success of their innovative Sidney Myer Haven project, which houses those who are keen to make a better life for themselves and their children in a gated community with 24/7 support and an intensive social curriculum program.

Launch Housing’s HomeGround Real Estate also featured as the industry’s first private rental agency, which offers landlords the opportunity to lease their properties at sub-market rent.

VPF gives people more housing choices

Housing Choices Australia will build 24 new homes for low income and vulnerable people in Dandenong and Newport after being awarded $4.9 million from the Victorian Property Fund (VPF).

The VPF distributes grants to support a range of property-related programs, including housing assistance for vulnerable Victorians. Housing Choices is using the grant to rebuild and expand vital housing options at two owned properties; one in Hemmings Street, Dandenong and the other in Oxford Street, Newport.

The Hemmings Street, Dandenong property will be transformed into a five-story, architect-designed apartment building, increasing the accommodation from 7 run-down flats, to 19 apartments, located close to shops, schools and public transport.

The Oxford Street, Newport property will see the construction of five new architect-designed townhouses in a leafy residential street in family-friendly Newport.

Construction will start late 2018 and be ready for tenants in mid-2019.

The Victorian Property Fund is administered by Consumer Affairs Victoria, with funds from license fees paid by estate agents and conveyancers and interest paid on their trust accounts and income from other investments.

Consumer Affairs Minister Marlene Kairouz toured the Dandenong site with Housing Choices Board Member Fabienne Michaux to announce the $4.9 million grant.

‘Affordable housing projects give vulnerable Victorians the security they need to thrive. We’re investing in more of these dwellings, so that people going through hard times can rebuild their lives,’ Minister Kairouz said.

Housing Choices Managing Director Michael Lennon commended Minister Kairouz and the Victorian Property Fund for their commitment to supporting housing initiatives for Victorians in need and for their confidence in Housing Choices as the developer and manager of high-quality, affordable housing.

‘We have already worked closely with all the people who resided at our two properties, who have been actively and professionally supported by our experienced and compassionate Housing Services Team to find the right accommodation while this building program takes place. All Dandenong tenants will be afforded the opportunity to return to the newly built dwellings once they’re finished if they wish,’ Mr Lennon said.