AHI Member: Georga Rogerson, Housing Choices Tasmania

Name: Georga Rogerson

Title: Housing Officer, Housing Choices Tasmania

Joined AHI: 2016

Residence: Hobart

Years in housing: 18 months

 Current project or activity:

“At the moment, I’m studying my Certificate IV in Social Housing. Being able to further my skills and knowledge in the field is not only of benefit to me but also my tenants and Housing Choices. Once I have completed the Certificate IV, I would like to do the Diploma as well.”

“Project-wise, we’ve just finished working with our tenants on celebrations for Harmony Day. Harmony Day was such a huge opportunity to bring together our tenancy mix to celebrate diversity in Australia, and the message Harmony Day is all about is that everyone belongs. About 30 percent of our tenants come from a non-English-speaking background so supporting and working with these tenants was – and is – fantastic. I really enjoyed it. You learn a lot, especially from the newly arrived Tasmanians.”

 What made you choose a housing career?

“I worked in real estate and the private rental market before moving to community housing. The landlord focus definitely wasn’t for me. Of course, I enjoyed it at the time but, as it went on, it became more evident there was no sense of fulfilment. I saw an opportunity to grow and do what I love – which is working with people – and I saw that within the social housing sector where I am able to interact and support my tenants on a level that is more understanding and compassionate, whereas before it was all about the landlord at the expense of the tenant.”

What makes you motivated or inspired in your career?

“The impact we have on people’s lives in such a positive way is what motivates and inspires me in my career. We’re able to help those who are most vulnerable in the community by providing them with affordable, safe, stable and long-term housing.”

“Day-to-day, I witness the positive impact that stable housing has on my tenants’ lives. It enables them to secure employment, maintain family relations; they feel part of a community and their overall sense of wellbeing is improved. My career has given me a clear sense of direction and purpose, which allows me to fulfil my goals and those of my tenants.”

 What attributes make a great housing or advocacy worker?

“There’s a lot. There’s so much that we need to be great at what we do. But I think we really need to be able to understand the nature of our tenants concerns and have the knowledge regarding what services are out there to assist them in getting the outcome that they deserve. It’s also important to develop strong relationships with support services to help ensure stable tenancies. Other attributes – such as empathy, being able to adapt; being consistent, fair and compassionate – are also very important.”

What are the biggest challenges facing housing professionals today? 

“I think one of the biggest things would be the lack of supply of affordable housing in well-located areas that are close to services such as hospitals, transport and support services. Another challenge is identifying our tenants’ vulnerabilities and being able to refer them to appropriate services as needed.”

“In my role today, we do a lot more than just collecting rent and completing inspections; we expand into every aspect, such as community development and advocacy. I think there will need to be more training options in the future to meet these challenges, and increase our knowledge and skills in these areas. We need to learn and know a lot more about what comes with being a housing officer in today’s society.”

 What do you believe are the future directions for the housing profession?

“I can see that the housing profession will expand even more into the community housing space, particularly as governments are transferring their stock to the NGOs. I think the profession will be broader than it once was, and it will look to aspects of community development and capacity-building like linking residents with work and training opportunities or volunteer opportunities. It’s not just about housing, it’s about developing the community as well.”

 What do you hope to achieve from your AHI membership?

“Being new to the sector, I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for my own professional development and will assist me moving forward in my career. I look forward to taking advantage of the fantastic ongoing training opportunities the AHI provides its Members. I am also looking forward to collaborating and connecting with other Members in the future, and staying connected and up-to-date with the latest in community housing.”