VIC AHI Professional Excellence in Housing Showcase, 23 May 2018

On 23 May, the AHI Victorian branch committee hosted an Excellence in Housing Showcase at the Stamford Plaza Hotel in the Melbourne CBD. A great turnup of 23 delegates, representing 11 organisations, enjoyed a detailed presentation from six of the eight winners in last year’s AHI Victorian housing awards, each of those winners having gone on to compete as finalists in the Australasian Professional Excellence in Housing Awards presented at the National Housing Conference in Sydney last November.

James Wray of HousingFirst presented the “Ashwood Cook-Up”, winner of the Tenant Led Initiative Award, in which a group of elderly tenants broke down cultural barriers and improved social inclusion, tenants’ self-confidence, independence and general nutrition by running cooking classes. James also presented HousingFirst’s “Tenant Induction Program”, winner of the Leading Asset Management Award: by providing an induction for the first tenants in a new development project, the organisation was able to increase tenant engagement, deepen the relationship with tenants, improve their enjoyment of their tenancy and reduce staff time in responding to property-related issues.

Rachel Gellatly and Sue Farrell from Haven Home Safe showcased the Sidney Myer Haven project, winner of Victoria’s Anthony Hardy Memorial Award for Excellence in Social Housing and also winner of the Australasian award. The project is a 23-unit development in Bendigo combining medium-term social housing with a range of supports, life skills and education programs, with the aim that participants exit within 24 months into the public or private sector with the life skills and ability to sustain their tenancies.

Caroline Larcher of Women’s Property Initiatives presented the “Reynard Street Coburg Development”, winner of the Leading Housing Development Project Award. Seven townhouses were built on a tiny inner-suburban lot purchased from the local council and the state transit authority, providing an excellent example of compact but highly functional social housing combining innovative, fit for purpose design and efficient use of land.

Jane Crombie showcased Housing Choices Australia’s “Love Your Laneway Mural Project”, winner of the Leading Community Engagement Practice Award. Residents collaborated with local businesses and the wider community to breathe new life into their CBD neighbourhood by rejuvenating their laneway. Professional artists were engaged to design and paint a huge rainforest mural reflecting the residents’ journey through homelessness to their current place of serenity. One of the residents, Linda Newman, gave a personal account of the collaborative process and the positive outcomes of the project.

Finally, Emma Thompson and Anne Morton of Launch Housing showcased HomeGround Real Estate, winner of the Leading Innovation Award. The social enterprise was launched in 2015 with the aim of increasing the supply of affordable housing in Melbourne, and offers investors the option of listing their property at full market rent or below market rent to assist a household in need. The agency provides expert property and tenancy management services, and revenue generated from management fees is reinvested into homelessness programs run by Launch Housing

There was great interest in all the presentations, and plenty of opportunity for questions and networking over morning tea and a delicious buffet lunch.

Our thanks must also go to Blooming HR as a key sponsor of last year’s AHI awards.

Chris Chaplin
Manager Policy&Compliance, Housing First 
AHI Victorian Director