A field of 55 nominees – the biggest number yet for an AHI Awards cycle – produced 10 very special individuals, teams and projects who were anointed as both winners and highly commended recipients at this year’s AHI Professional Excellence in Housing Awards Australasian ceremony.


Winner: Sidney Myer Haven: Haven; Home, Safe

What the judges said:
“The judges were very happy to award this category to Haven on this great model for partnerships and outcomes for the young people housed here. The model of support for education in the housing model gives these young people a real chance to stabilise and get their lives back on track.”

The major award of the evening was presented by a special guest of the AHI, Elizabeth (Liz) Scott Glenn from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) in the United States – a housing and community development advocacy organisation that was established in the 1930s and presently has 20,000 members.

Liz bestowed Kerry Ashley from Haven; Home Safe with the award for Excellence in Social Housing, who accepted on behalf of her team for their Sidney Myer Haven development.

A $7.5 million dollar development in the regional Victorian hub of Bendigo, the Sidney Myer Haven is a 23-unit development, which combines medium-term social housing with a range of supports, life skills and education programs. This mix of formal training and development programs to address social, educational and rental property shortages is the first of its kind in Australia.

Operational since October of 2015, the aim of the Sidney Myer Haven is for participants to develop the life skills that would enable them to transition into public, community or private living agreements, and the ability to maintain and succeed in a mainstream environment within a two-year period.

“When Mr Baillieu-Myer came to Bendigo seeking to leave a legacy in the name of his father, we had a community meeting and Ken Marchingo (Haven; Home Safe CEO) put his hand up, seeing the possibility of realising the dream of changing track in young people’s lives,” said Kerry.

“When you’ve worked in this field long enough, and I’m sure you’ve all experienced it, you sadly see first, second and third-generation homelessness, and often you wonder, ‘How can we change that trajectory of people’s lives?’ Sidney Myer Haven does that. People are leaving, they’re going into private or public housing, they’re independent, they’re engaged in education, and that’s what we all really want to see as an outcome.”