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 HOUSING DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
Winner: Specialist Disability Accommodation Bundaberg, Regional Housing Limited
What the judges said:
“Regional Housing Limited has changed the lives of 16 individuals in Bundaberg by creating energy-efficient and independent, highly adaptable accommodation. The Committee felt the end result was homes that were more than adequate and had unique additions that will make them great places to live.”
Deputy Secretary of Southern Cluster of Districts and Housing Services at Department of Family and Community Services NSW (FACS), Paul Vevers, presented the award for Leading Housing Development Project.
“It’s when we use housing to achieve social outcomes that we make the greatest difference to the people we serve,” said Paul. “There were 10 finalists in the Leading Housing Development Project category, which I think, itself, is a testament to the huge importance housing plays in helping to achieve social outcomes.”
Delivering adaptable, accessible and energy-efficient building design, Regional Housing Limited’s Specialist Disability Accommodation in Bundaberg created living environments that provide more than simple convenience for people living with disability.
Features such as iPad-controlled heating and cooling, movement-activated lighting, webcam doorbells with lock releases, adjustable kitchens, raised power-points, LED lighting, wider hallways, and step-free entry and exit points to the home help foster independence, a sense of pride and raise the overall quality of life for residents.
“It’s humbling to be recognised by your peers in this way,” said Kris Robinson from Regional Housing Limited. “I was saying to someone before – and I hope this goes over okay – but, in some ways, we don’t feel like we deserve recognition at this level. We just followed some opportunities that came up through funding from the Queensland Government and set about trying to produce better disability housing for people in Bundaberg. It was really that simple.”
Kris paid tribute to local contractors and retail businesses that selflessly brought their expertise and skills to bear on the project.
“We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved, and for the outcomes that we’ve achieved, and the difference that it is making in the lives of our tenants. Improving disability housing for all Australians is going to require a large-scale collaborative effort. We’ve invested considerable time and energy, sharing our experiences so that others can build on that, and I hope that this award helps to further that.”