Following the completion of the Ashwood Chadstone Gateway Project in Melbourne, HousingFirst (formerly Port Phillip Housing Association) conducted annual surveys from 2013 to 2017 with both tenants and the local community in an effort to chart changing levels of social connection and the outcomes of local community initiatives.
These survey results have recently been made public, and provide clear evidence of the ability of social housing tenants to work together, and build a connected and supportive local community, with the help of local services.
Overall, the statistics show an increase in the levels of social interaction between tenants over time (from 3.31 out of 5, to 3.57 out of 5), as well as between the social housing tenants and other residents in nearby streets (from 2.51 out of 5, to 2.71 out of 5). Tenants are now more like now know their neighbours in their social housing properties, along with their neighbours in the external community, well enough to ‘drop in for a coffee’ or ‘invite them over for a meal’.
Neighbours of the Ashwood Chadstone Gateway Project provided a range of positive comments about the social housing properties:
‘I am surprised how well the development has turned out, and how many people are accommodated, totally surprised!’
‘I love the open space, I can bring my grandkids down, you’re not scared to walk down here anymore.’
‘It was quite a tough area, it has always been very multi-cultural now it’s quite good area, inner city and with space, it has improved overall.’
Haleh Hamaei, Chief Executive Officer of HousingFirst, says, “The Ashwood Chadstone Tenant Survey highlights the benefits of monitoring social change and community initiatives to understand the social sustainability of social housing developments.”
HousingFirst plans to continue conducting surveys of this nature with those living in, and interacting with, their housing developments.