MEET THE AUSTRALASIAN AWARD WINNERS: LEADING COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PRACTICE: City Housing Community Action Programme, Wellington City Council

 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.

LEADING COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PRACTICE

Winner: City Housing Community Action Programme, Wellington City Council

What the judges said:
“City Housing changed their approach to decanting and rehoming tenants during the regeneration of their properties. They have changed the program from one of ‘tenancy management’ to that of an ‘engagement program’ that has increased the success and satisfaction for their tenants. The Committee felt this deserved to be recognised and offers very valuable lessons for others about to embark on regeneration initiatives.”

Described on the evening by the awards MC Tony Gilmour as “a younger version of an elder statesman of South Australian community housing,” Matthew Woodward from Unity Housing had the honour of announcing the winner of the Leading Community Engagement Practice Award – Wellington City Council’s City Housing Community Action Programme.

As part of the City Housing’s massive property upgrade project, the challenges for tenants and staff were substantial, as unprecedented disruption and logistical issues impacted people’s everyday lives and routines. City Housing’s Community Action Programme focused on improving tenant wellbeing; encouraging neighbourliness, social inclusion, learning and development, tenant participation and engagement; and facilitating access to support services during a hectic transitional period.

Significantly, the process helped move City Housing from an information and consultation framework into one that focuses much more on engagement with tenants – as well as greater community building – while also providing a number of best practice improvements and sustainable pathways forward that have implications across the social housing sector.

Joining the awards ceremony via video link, Michelle Riwai, Manager of City Housing, was delighted to accept the award on behalf of her team.

“I’m completely blown away to receive this award on behalf of the City Housing team, especially from so many amazing nominees,” said Michelle. “Although I’ve only recently taken up the position of leader of this unit, in the few short weeks I’ve been here, I’ve been delighted by the philosophy that drives the team and all of their roles right across the board. I appreciate that this journey began long before I arrived and, as Manager, I couldn’t be more excited about taking this work forward into the future, and I’m sure you’ll hear more from us.”

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