2017 AHI Tasmania Awards For Professional Excellence in Housing

The AHI’s Tasmanian State Awards ceremony was held on 3rd August; the first time the Apple Isle has enjoyed a reception separated from their Victorian colleagues. As fitting for such an auspicious occasion, members and guests supported the event with an excellent turnout.

The night got off to an exciting start for Anglicare Tasmania’s team, taking out the 2017 award for Leading Housing Development for their Trinity Hill Youth Housing accommodation.

Trinity Hill opened in Hobart in December 2015, with a brief to to offer affordable, long-term-supported housing for young people aged 16 to 15 who had experienced homelessness.

While providing residents with a much-needed room over their heads, Trinity Hill also opens up access to education, training, employment and other engagement activities for residents.
“It was fantastic to be recognised by the AHI for the Trinity Hill development,” says Anglicare Tasmania’s State Manager for Housing Connect and Supported Residential Services, Belinda Jones. “Housing Tasmania did such great job in the design and development of the building complex so we’re thrilled to see it come to life.”

Of the 46 individual units at Trinity Hill, 16 are specifically for young people with a NDIS package. The facilities at Trinity Hill include a gymnasium, computer lab, training rooms, commercial kitchen, BBQ areas, games room, and a variety of communal indoor and outdoor spaces. Free wifi is also offered.

We’re really happy with the home we’ve created for our tenants

“This award is really in recognition of what working in partnership can achieve,” says Belinda. “There are so many learnings and challenges within the first 12 months of any new service, and you find out quite quickly that some things only look good on paper. While we’ll continue to learn and improve Trinity Hill, we’re really happy with the home we’ve created for our tenants.”

In the hotly contested Leading Community Engagement Practice category – fielding no less than six outstanding nominees – the judges could not split between Housing Choices Tasmania’s Resident Community Fund Grant Program and Mission Australia Housing’s Tenants Strengthening Communities project.

Housing Choices Tasmania’s Resident Community Fund Grant Program invests $100,000 a year to help residents better engage with their local communities, as well as funding skills development opportunities – from food sustainability programs to community gardens to health and fitness bootcamps for the children of Housing Choices residents to attention-grabbing murals. The Resident Community Fund Grant Program additionally aims to develop education scholarships for its extended community. “We were ecstatic to win the award,” says Kim Bomford,

Tasmanian State Manager for Housing Choices Australia. “Not just because it recognised the work that we had done but, more importantly, it acknowledged the input from our residents and the impact this program is making in their lives.”

Aside from the award, Kim tells HousingWORKS that her HCA colleagues who attended the evening enjoyed the opportunity to meet fellow AHI members.

Nights such as this are great at reinvigorating people when it sometimes seems that the importance of our work is not understood more broadly

“Lots of laughs were had and lots of stories shared,” she divulges. “We were keen to have as many of our staff attend the awards night as possible. It was great to be able to share our experiences. [But] it was even better to be able to connect with other nominees and recipients to share ideas and acknowledge the similarities of the work that we do.”

“Nights such as this are great at re-invigorating people when it sometimes seems that the importance of our work is not understood more broadly.”

Matt Durose from Mission Australia Housing echoes the sentiments of his AHI Award co-winner: “People were very positive about our achievements. Our focus on community partnerships resonated strongly with people here tonight; in particular our philosophy of ‘no ego, no logo’ in our partnership framework, and our commitment to all working towards the agenda of the community wherever we can.”

Across 2013 and 2014, Mission Housing Australia established a community development agenda after an extensive consultation process with tenants and other community members. As a result, their tenant engagement – Strengthening Communities Approach – has successfully brought together tenants in master planning projects such as MHA’s tenant advisory group known as the Resident Steering Committee.

Other projects making a difference include One Community Together, which – with the Clarence City Council – is working to improve safety in the community; GROW, an initiative to
improve nutrition outcomes and increase local food security; and the annual Clarence Plains Spring Clean.

“It was great to gain recognition from our peers for the community work we are doing in Clarence Plains,” continues Matt. “We’re passionate about supporting the community to imagine a better future for themselves and then journeying with them to start to realise their dreams. We really believe the award was as much recognition of the amazing contribution of our tenants to transform their community as it was of our committed efforts to facilitating that transformation.”

Already basking in the success of their Leading Housing Development award, the night only got better for Anglicare Tasmania, with Trinity Hill resident Keren Scotney being recognised with the Tenant Led Initiative award.

Having overcome a number of challenges in her own life, Keren rebounded from periods of substance abuse and homelessness – which saw her living in several youth shelters from the tender age of just 12 years-old – to champion the development of her Lend a Hand project. Lend a Hand provides care packages to people in need with essential items such as toiletries, blankets and non-perishable foods.

Returning to the podium to accept the award on Keren’s behalf, Belinda Jones told everyone, “[She’s] a very special young woman who has overcome many challenges in her own life and used that experience to help others who need a hand. We were so happy to be acknowledged with two awards for Trinity Hill from the AHI this year. Winning this award is particularly special because it embodies what we’re trying to achieve at Trinity Hill, which is providing a supportive environment where young people can realise their goals.”

“Keren is facing a very bright future and we couldn’t be happier for her.”

Based in Hobart, Common Ground Tasmania was the winner of this year’s Excellence in Social Housing award.

Common Ground’s tenant community comprises people who’ve experienced chronic homelessness, and those that are eligible for the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS). As
well as number of other initiatives run through the centre, it was the residents’ participation in programs like Chatter Matters that saw the judges bestow this award to Common Ground.

In reflecting on the award, Common Ground’s Project Manager, Ant Fagan, heaps praise on the tenant community: “We’re just so proud of the tenant community. It was their participation in the programs that we put forward that led to the nomination being successful.”

“In social housing, we can sometimes become a little too prescriptive with some programs,” confesses Ant. “So it was when we really listened to the voice of the tenants in terms of what it was that they wanted to achieve as a community, and as individuals, that we were able to truly see the success of participation. I think that’s what made the programs that were identified in the award so good.

The award also means a lot to the other staff at Common Ground. As Ant says, “We’re very proud, and very privileged but, of course, there is that very real reward of recognition for the staff. This is not a highly paid sector so to have an Australasian award that recognises the hard work the staff put in as well – that’s truly fantastic. It’s the icing on the cake! We’re proud to be a part of this tenant community and part of the work that’s done with them.”

The AHI wishes our Tasmanian winners all the best at the AHI Australasian Awards for Professional Excellence in Housing coming up in 2017.

Click here to access pictures from the ceremony.

Click here for more information about AHI’s Professional Excellence in Housing Awards.