Housing Matters: capacity building and housing & homelessness sector news.
Edition 5 - April 2015

   This edition includes...

From the CEO

Welcome to the May edition of Housing Matters 

Some highlights of the last month here at Q Shelter have included a meeting of our Board with the Hon Leeanne Enoch, Minister for Housing and Public Works, where we discussed the value of the community housing and homelessness sector and its contribution to Queensland. We are certainly grateful for the Minister’s time and input.

Speaking of the Board Q Shelter is currently reviewing and revising our strategic plan based on our learnings from and with the sector over the last 18 months and the valuable feedback put forward by providers. A summary will be available in the coming months.

Our joint project with the Residential Tenancies Authority to provide a series of workshops on tenancy law and tenancy sustainment has had a great take up and feedback from participants and subject to demand we will look to offer these again later in the year.

We are also pleased to share information on the work we are doing with Indigenous Councils on preparing for registration within this newsletter.

Looking forward we are pleased to offer Asset Management training in Cairns and Brisbane to assist smaller organisations that may not have dedicated asset management staff. Greater detail is captured in the balance of the newsletter. We are also pleased to announce our first asset managers’ network meeting to be held on 26th May.

Finally, we are pleased to introduce our Chairperson; Rachel Watson , in or Have You Met? Section.

As always if you have any suggestions on how we can better serve you or have queries on the NRSCH or capacity building more generally please call us on 07 38315900. We’d love to hear from you. 

2 day workshop on Asset Management in Brisbane and Cairns

Q Shelter are offering an exciting opportunity for smaller community housing providers to come together to learn about asset management.
What will be covered?
The 2 day professional development workshop will focus on the development, implementation and monitoring of plans and strategies for the effective management of community housing properties. We will address a range of skills and knowledge, including:
  • identifying key issues in relation to the effective management of properties, such as:/including compliance and risk management requirements
    • ongoing compliance and reporting requirements of the NRSCH and DHPW
    • addressing asset management and property related risk management matters
  • components of asset management (“what to do”)
  • practical “how to” strategies for developing and implementing an asset management plan, including:
    • establishing and maintaining asset registers
    • inspecting, assessing and managing property condition
    • planning for and managing the maintenance of properties
    • selecting and monitoring contractors
The workshops will be participative, interactive and practical - including presentations, group discussions and practical activities/case studies. There will be opportunities to share ideas and strategies. Comprehensive resources and tools will be provided.
The workshop will be delivered by Marg Ponting, of Marg Ponting Consulting, who has over 16 years experience providing organisational and workforce development services to the community housing sector in Queensland.
Who should attend?
  • Managers/Coordinators, Board/Management Committee members and any other relevant staff responsible for asset management within a community housing organisation. 
  • Organisations providing crisis accommodation, transitional and/or long term community housing
  • Workshops are aimed at smaller and/or ‘Tier 3’ providers. 
How will participants benefit?
  • the opportunity to review their organisation’s asset management processes.
  • new skills and techniques to add value to their organisation’s processes
  • a clearer understanding of NRSCH and DHPW ongoing asset/property management compliance requirements
  • access to a range of asset management support services and resources
  • the opportunity to pick up tips and ideas from other participants – as well as share their own!
Although the 2 day workshops will be focused on professional development for participants, the content will be aligned to units of competency from the nationally accredited Diploma of Social Housing. Participants who wish to have their competencies recognised will need to undertake an assessment process following the workshop. This can be individually negotiated.  

$115 – includes lunch, morning and afternoon tea
Places limited to 2 per organisation.
Dates, venues and registration:
Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th June   9 am – 4.30pm
Venue:  Q Shelter, Spring Hill
Register for this event
Tuesday 16th June and Wednesday 17th June  9 am – 4.30pm
Venue: Wuchopperen Health Service, Manoora (to be confirmed)
Registration for this event will open soon.
Further information
For any further information, please contact Jane West  or phone 3831 5900.
Working Together Conference

Q Shelter Working Together Conference Presentations are now available
Videos and presentations are now available on the Q Shelter website at this link, with more to come!  Each edition of Housing Matters will showcase a presentation.  Thanks again to everyone who participated as a speaker or delegate. 
The spotlight on mergers: Q Shelter  Conference explores methodology, a critical path and contemporary case studies

Q Shelter’s recent Working Together Conference provided insights and input from three speakers on mergers and amalgamations.  Heather Watson from McCullough Robertson provided input on the critical path to a merger including important steps and stages you might consider.  Communify and Regional Housing Limited shared practical, contemporary case studies.  You can learn more here.  The presentation from McCullough Robertson can be downloaded here.

National Shelter Call to Action

National Shelter needs your help to continue to work towards an  Australia where everyone has access to an affordable place to call home.

In just a few short weeks our Federal Government funding will end, but  National Shelter has no intention of abandoning our work of building the  evidence base for investment in affordable housing and being a strong  voice for low-income and other vulnerable Australians in the housing  system.
 National Shelter’s advocacy focus for the next two years will be on  four key issues:
 1. The reform of the Federation process – housing and homelessness  because we must not allow the Federal Government to abandon its  responsibility for affordable housing; 

2. Taxation reform; because the tax system is the single biggest force  impacting on the housing market in Australia; 

3. Collection and dissemination of data related to housing consumers  and policy reform to build and illustrate our evidence base; and 

4. Housing as infrastructure, not welfare.
We already have significant commitments from Brisbane Housing Company,  SGCH, Uniting Communities S.A., Jobs Australia, Vinnies National Council  and others, so add your organisation or name to the list and watch our  advocacy grow.
 Join Us!
If you value the strong advocacy that National Shelter offers you can  contribute to our program of work either by sponsoring a project or by  contributing to our core business campaigns and advocacy, and/or  becoming a National Shelter Member like Jobs Australia and the National  Council of the Society of St Vincent de Paul.

Click here for further information.
To discuss your role in National Shelter’s advocacy, please contact  Adrian Pisarski on 0417 975 270 or email


Capacity Building tip: a new resource on mergers for the not-for-profit sector


This is a a great new resource from a collaboration between, Commonwealth Bank and Moores called Thinking Big.  Hot off the press, this publication explores the question:  to merge, or not to merge?

As many organisations are considering their options for strategic alliances, this publication provides some thoughtful questions and input on the steps to consider in deciding to merge or not to merge!

Download this publication here. Read it in conjunction with Q Shelter's resource on mergers and amalgamations which can be downloaded here.  Find a presentation on mergers from the Q Shelter Conference here involving McCullough Robertson, Communify and Regional Housing Limited.

Keep up-to-date with the latest happenings in the housing & homelessness sector.

Please feel free to email us at or call on 3831 5900 to ensure the latest news from your organisation is included!

Q Shelter & TSIRC Housing Officers learning & sharing in remote indigenous/regional community

March saw an opportunity for two of the Q Shelter team to deliver a two-day induction to the Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC) Housing Team in the beautiful location of Poruma Island, Torres Strait. The learning formed part of Q Shelter’s Indigenous Capacity Building Project and was designed to help a largely new team of housing officers to understand the requirements of the legislative and funding environment whilst give handy tips on overcoming the day-to-day challenges by sharing good practice.

Topics ranged from a refresh on funding and regulatory requirements, the role of the RTA and the policy framework along with best practice on property inspections, tenant consultation and feedback.

Highlights for Q Shelter’s Rachael and Clare included the warm welcome from TSIRC colleagues and their wider community, shared meals and joint problem solving through the enthusiasm and sharing by all from existing and previous roles creating an interactive session. Our journey back to Head Office was helped by the touching memorable send-off from our colleagues.

The opportunity helped Q Shelter to further understand the challenges facing different housing workers and their communities whilst creating an opportunity to test that learnings could be applied to on the ground service delivery by applying scenarios and helping the team to overcome challenges. We were also able to leave the team with the starter for an action plan to assist with continuous improvement in relation to property inspections.

For further information on the Indigenous Capacity Building Project, please contact Rachael Vidler, Project Manager on +617 3831 5900 or

Cyber Security and NFPs

 “Cybersecurity is now a persistent business risk. It is no longer an issue that concerns only information technology and security professionals….. the Board of Directors is often not involved in critical issues such as security strategy, budget and review of risks".
Source: The Global State of Information Security® Survey 2015: PWC
Australian NFP and non-commercial entities are continuing to be targeted and attacked. Many organisations focus on technical measures, but don’t consider their responsibilities or their plan of action if the worst happens.
Not-for-profit organisations in Australia may be targeted and perceived as an easy target in an attempt to access information e.g. clients, funds.
Some useful resources for organisations to refer to with developing strategies for protecting their information are as follows:  
(useful education resources to help inform and educate your staff on avoiding cyber risks)
(useful information, such as recent threats and how to protect yourself and your organisation)
(US equivalent and is very good at advising of new risks and threats)
(recent threats, details of Privacy Principles, who to notify after an attack)
Cyber-security: Is your board and audit committee prepared?  
(an Australian security company has a number of resources)
We thank Al Percival, Managing Director, APAC Diligent for sharing this information. 


Lady Bowen Precinct Event

Q Shelter is partnering with Mission Australia and Bric Housing Company to host a community event at the Lady Bowen Precinct on Friday May 29.

The event will provide an opportunity for residents and stakeholders to meet each other, build social connections and foster a sense of inclusion.

The lunchtime event will include a cooking demonstration by Roma House, various service provider stalls and an address from MP for Brisbane Central, Grace Grace.
Follow Q Shelter on Facebook & Twitter for the most up-to-date news

Waves of Change - Where Hope and Possibilities meet Knowledge and Power 

By Amanda Smith - Mission Australia Bush Adventure Therapy Coordinator 

Imagine a training and group experience that was designed to create a space that both clients and practitioners/ staff were invited into, with the intention of creating increased authenticity within the relationship, sharing in knowledge acquisition, peer group support, and learning transferable skills of value to both. Would you like to enter that space with this possibility? Do you see a value that it may hold in responding to the trauma experienced by people experiencing homelessness?
Roma House’s ‘Wild Earth Adventures’ program has designed such a program package. Current and previous residents are invited to join a 6 week transformational package called ‘Waves of Change’. Participants are invited within the first 5 weeks to attend a therapeutic group that offers knowledge/ insight, techniques and experiences that are tailored at a homelessness sector level of professional training including: ‘The Healthy Mind Platter’ as designed by leads in interpersonal neurobiology; neuroplasticity; understanding our brains development, function and potential; familiarising ourselves with what trauma is and how it affects our brain and life; how to move towards recovering from trauma; and learning about ‘attachment’ theories and the influence that they may hold in our adult relationships, mind and brain. These groups are offered twice a week for 3 hours and include Trauma Informed Care yoga and mindful awareness practice. Each participant walks away with a resource kit (that includes websites, applications, CD’s and current research on each topic and more) and at the end of each week we enjoy a bush walk that continues the conversations and peer support.
To stimulate hope, motivation, and to experiment with new experiences at the end of each ‘transformation package’ we offer a 2 week Bush Adventure Therapy program. These include extending and practicing our learning’s on a multiday program that can include one: Equine Therapy (staying in cabins in the bush), Sailing Expeditions (camping on Islands within Moreton Bay) and Canoe Journey’s (in the Cooloola National Park). 
All of these programs are designed and facilitated by passionate and knowledgeable practitioners that are incredibly excited to witness the transformation and connections made through participation in the ‘Waves of Change’ experience. This creative and responsive program is only possible through the commitment and leadership from Roma House’s manager Kelly Sciacca.

Our Leader in the Sector segment fosters the sharing of concepts and ideas among different organisations providing insight and discussion about important topics in the community sector.

If you would like to feature as a Leader in the Sector contributor please contact us at or 3831 5900.

We are looking for 100-200 words on any topic that is relevant to the housing & homelessness sector in Queensland.

Looking for committee or board members? 

Advertise in this newsletter if you are looking for new committee or board members. Our mailing list includes more than 500 organisations and individuals connected to the community housing and homelessness sectors in Queensland. 

Email with:
  • a description of your organisation - what you do, areas you operate in etc
  • the role(s) you are looking for eg. Treasurer, Secretary, general board/committee members
  • Particular skills/experience you are looking for
  • Location/frequency of board/committee meetings, and any other information about the commitment you are seeking from potential new members
There are other ways you can advertise for new committee or board members, including:
  • The Institute of Community Directors Australia - follow this link to post a free advert
  • Pro-Bono Australia - run a 'volunteer match' service containing a section for board/committee members. Follow this link for more information
Rachel Watson
Chairman - Q Shelter
Principal Program Officer - Red Cross
Describe your role in one sentence: 
To collaborate with partners and assist service delivery teams to provide quality service delivery to clients and develop innovative responses to complex problems.

How do you want to see the sector change in the next five years?
To have a shared vision on how sustainable outcomes are developed for clients and that partnering with each other will create a seamless and easy system for clients to navigate

Sometimes people think that I… I am not listening, but if you google: Doodling on TED talks you know that I am!

What makes you smile? I smile easily, but not at kittens

What keeps you awake at night? Parking fines and frustrations of doing what we can with not enough resources

I do what I do because... I enjoy the challenges, love the content and believe that we can have fun despite the layers of disadvantage that we are surrounded by

Let's get to know each other. Our 'Have you met...' section features a professional from the housing & homelessness sector, including Q Shelter staff!

If you would like to introduce yourself to the sector or nominate someone for our Have you met... section, please email us at or call on 3831 5900.
Copyright © 2014 Queensland Shelter Inc

PO Box 214, Spring Hill, Qld, 4004.
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