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Housing Matters: capacity building and housing & homelessness sector news.
From the Executive Director
As we approach the second half of the year, I feel we are at a watershed moment in Queensland’s housing and homelessness assistance industry.
 
We have seen the Queensland Government launch a discussion paper that will help shape our housing services for the next decade. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel across Queensland throughout May and June to hear your feedback and ideas on what we need in this strategy.
 
Q Shelter’s annual housing and homelessness conference is also just around the corner and fast selling out – a sure sign that our industry recognises the importance of collaboration, professional development, and networking at this time.
 
2016 is also the Year of Digital Inclusion, and we have been developing strategies to support our industry colleagues in embracing digital technologies.
 
A digitally literate housing and community services industry will provide better outcomes for vulnerable Queenslanders. If you haven’t heard of the term ’digital literacy’ there are some great resources available here.

Tenant Participation and Engagement 

Next week I will be convening a panel on tenant empowerment at the Australian Housing Institute's . I'll be asking the question: How do we enable social housing tenants to be at the heart of the decision making process in the management and maintenance of their homes?

For more information about this Seminar click here

Conference  Update

One of the questions that was asked consistently at Housing Strategy Consultation sessions was whether the industry could adopt a Housing First approach.
 
Q Shelter’s housing and homelessness conference is responding to this interest by bringing Dr. Sam Tsemberis, founders of Housing Pathways and a pioneer of the Housing First approach in the United States, to Australia. Dr. Tsemberis will deliver the keynote address at our Conference this July, and will also be hosting masterclass sessions for those who are interested in his work in the U.S.
 
We are quickly selling out of tickets to our Conference, so please register as soon as possible if you would like to attend on the 14 and 15 July this year at the Pacific Hotel in Cairns. You can find more information about the conference by clicking here
 

Leone Crayden
Executive Director
In this edition

In The News


Queensland 2016-17 State Budget

National Campaign For Affordable Housing - VoteHome2016

Advance Queensland Community Digital Champions (AQCDC) Roundtable event

Social Inclusion through Digital Technology Panel Event

RTA Services Have Gone Online

Working on Asset Management Issues for the Sector

NRSCH


New Providers Registered 

NRSCH Compliance – Early Feedback From Housing Providers
 

Events


Q Shelter Conference - Program Update

Housing & Mental Health Webinar Series

Housing For People With Disability: "What does an inclusive housing system look like?"

Upcoming Events - QCAT Training & A Workshop for Social Housing For Remote Providers 

EIO: Can You Share Your Expertise?

Network News


Q Shelter Regional Housing network Rep's Discuss Housing Strategy
 

Toolbox


Q Shelter Member of the Month - Habitat For Humanity

EOI - Opportunity with Q Shelter – Financial Consultant

Q Shelter News
In The News
 
Q Shelter has welcomed new housing affordability and community services measures announced in the Queensland Government 2016-17 State Budget.
 
$213.3 million has been allocated for social housing, which includes the purchase of new land lots, the construction of new rental units and completion of existing rental units.
 
Q Shelter also applauded the state government for their $14.2m investment in social housing across Toowoomba, Townsville, and Rockhampton and welcomed new investment into mental health services across regional Queensland.
 
This mental health funding specifically includes a $12m investment into new 10-bed community-managed mental health facilities across Mackay, Bundaberg, and Gladstone. These facilities will offer an alternative to hospital for people recovering from mental illness, which is desperately needed in these regions.


National Shelter, Homelessness Australia, ACOSS, and Community Housing Industry Association have launched a National Campaign for Affordable Housing - VoteHome2016.

#VoteHome now has more than 5,000 supporters.

Our original target was 10,000, though with your support we now expect to exceed this. 

The campaign calls for five key reforms to deliver more affordable housing and end homelessness.

Click here to read more about the VoteHome2016 campaign, and use the hashtag #VoteHome2016 to share on social media.

A summary of the five reforms is also available here
 

Q Shelter's own Ally Lynch was recognised as an Advance Queensland Community Digital Champion (AQCDC) on the 6 June at a roundtable event held at the Queensland State Library.

At the event The Hon. Leeanne Enoch MP, Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and the Minister for Small Business, said the champions’ role was particularly significant this year as 2016 was the National Year of Digital Inclusion.

The keynote address was delivered by renowned digital innovator, Ms Helen Milner OBE. Helen is the Chief Executive of Tinder Foundation, the UK’s leading not-for-profit social enterprise pioneering digital inclusion.

The AQCDC program has been facilitated by Advance Queensland. For more information about the initiative click here. 

Photo: Ann Moffat (AQCDC), Ally Lynch (AQCDC) , The Hon. Minister Leeanne Enoch MP,  and Leone Crayden (Q Shelter Executive Director) at the  Advance Queensland Digital Champion Roundtable event. 

Q Shelter's Executive Director, Leone Crayden, and Ally Lynch spoke at a panel event discussing Social Inclusion through Digital Technology.

Tinder Foundation's Helen Milner, Department of Housing and Public Works' James O'Brien and CSIA's Mathew Gillet were also on the panel. 

This session was broadcast live to housing and homelessness service providers across the state. The panel discussed the role of digital literacy within the housing sector and the impact online service delivery will have on providers, tenants and the wider community.
From 1 July the RTA will make a series of service delivery changes with some services only being accessible online. 
 
The RTA is making a series of service delivery changes from 1 July designed to reflect people’s changing needs.
 
From 1 July, all bonds will be refunded into Australian bank accounts. Cheques will no longer be issued.
 
RTA CEO Darren Barlow said he expected tenants would welcome the change as 89% of bonds payments were already made that way.
 
From 1 July:
  • all bond refunds will be deposited into Australian bank accounts. Cheques and international money transfers will no longer be issued.
  • hand-delivered payments will no longer be accepted at the RTA’s Turbot Street address.
  • a new change of rental property form will replace the Transfer of bond (Form 3), used when a tenant moves to a new property managed by the same property manager with the same bond amount.
 
Later this year the RTA will introduce a new client portal that will allow people to track their bonds online.

If you would like more information about these changes, please contact Jane West: Jane.West@qshelter.asn.au
A joint Working Group has been set up to look at asset management issues for the sector – made up of senior representatives from the Department of Housing and Public Works (the Department), asset management senior staff from 4 community housing providers, and convened by Q Shelter.

This came about from the Q Shelter Asset Managers Network meeting held in February, and the list of things for discussion includes:
  • Guidance around the 'S4' property condition standard and asset management plans
  • Exchange of information between the Department and providers for properties leased from the Department – how can this be made more  effective for both the providers and the Department? (eg the Department’s property condition reports, planned maintenance and upgrade programs, information for  Fire safety compliance)
  • Information on the Department’s new property and tenancy management information system (‘FOPATS’ or ‘Reside’)
The work of this group is taking place between May and September. Further updates will be given in the Q Shelter newsletters, and Q Shelter will organise an Asset Management forum in October as a follow up.
Q Shelter would like to thank those involved – from the Department and also the sector representatives – for their commitment to this work.
If you are interested in becoming a member of this Working Group, or receiving more detailed information,  please contact Jane West jane.west@qshelter.asn.au
NRSCH
New Providers Registered 
 
Congratulations to six community housing organisations who have gained registration under the NRSCH as Tier 3 providers during May 2016:
 
  • Community Housing and Information Centre Inc (Mackay)
  • Dirranbandi Progress Association
  • Lives Lived Well
  • Mercy Community Services
  • Ngoonbi Community Services Indigenous Corporation
  • Taralga Retirement Village (Jandowae)
 
In addition, Churches of Christ in Queensland is now registered as a Tier 1 provider (previously Tier 2).
 
This brings the total number of organisations registered in Qld to 49:
  • 36 x  Tier 3 providers
  • 9 x Tier 2 providers
  • 4 x Tier 1 providers
(This figure does not include providers who are registered in other states eg NSW but who operate in Qld). 

We look forward to continuing to work with organisations on their Registration and Compliance this year. 

For more information or support with NRSCH including advice on your preliminary assessment, please contact the Q Shelter team on (07) 3831 5900.
Q Shelter hosted a meeting of housing providers who are undergoing their first ‘Compliance’ exercise under the NRSCH.  Participants discussed their different approaches to Compliance,  and were able to share some tips and learnings with each other.

Some of the messages for providers coming up to Compliance were:
  • Get started early, especially with addressing any recommendations that were made in the initial Registration letter.  (Q Shelter has a tool on the website to help with preparing for Compliance)
  • Keep in regular communication with the Office of Registrar during the process
  • Offer support to staff who may be nervous or new to this process (eg during the visit)
  • Providers shared that there is now a requirement for a separate Whistleblowers’ Policy
  • There is now a guidance note on Notifications giving examples of the types of situations and events that is considered a ‘Notifiable Event’ under the NRSCH National Law  – which can be viewed at here. 
There were also some issues raised and suggestions made regarding the process. These included:
  • Adequate notice from the Office of the Registrar for organisations to plan Compliance into their annual calendar, and adhering to a set timetable from start to end of the process
  • Timing of NRSCH Compliance to take into account other required compliance activities, especially the Department of Housing and Public Works Contract Compliance/Service Reviews
  • More guidance around the purpose and scope of site visits by staff from the Office of the Registrar
Q Shelter has had an initial discussion with the Registrar, Mark Francis, about the suggestions made, and will keep providers updated on the outcome of this. Please contact Jane West jane.west@qshelter.asn.au  if you would like more details on this, or a full copy of the NRSCH Compliance meeting notes. 
Events
Q Shelter Housing & Homelessness Conference - Early Bird Registration Prices End Today!
 
We are only four weeks away from our annual housing and homelessness Conference, which will be held on 14 and 15 July! The theme for this two-day event is ‘Empowered People, Connected Communities, Sustainable Housing’.  

Early Bird registrations close today -  Friday 17th June.  

Places are filling up quickly - ensure your place at this year's Housing & Homeless Conference by visiting www.qsconference.org and registering today. 

 
This unique series has been designed for anyone in the community housing, homelessness or social services sectors who wants a deeper understanding of the potential complex mental health needs of their clients, and how best to respond to these needs. 

This will be valuable for both frontline workers providing housing and social services as well as colleagues in support roles.

For more information about next week's session on Hoarding and Squalor click here.
Nigel Small banner
Date: Monday 8 August, 2016
Time: 9.00am to 4.30pm (Registrations open at 8.30am)
Venue: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre

This unique series has been designed for anyone in the community housing, homelessness or social services sectors who wants a deeper understanding of the potential complex mental health needs of their clients, and how best to respond to these needs. 

This will be valuable for both frontline workers providing housing and social services as well as colleagues in support roles.

Register today!
$185 Full Registration
$  50 Concession (People with disability, their families and carers, and for students)

Click here to register. 
Representing Your Organisation at QCAT
 

Tuesday 26 July – Brisbane | Thursday 28 July – Toowoomba | Cost: $145 + GST

Do you need to represent your social housing organisation at the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)?

This one day professional development workshop will explore issues related to collecting and presenting evidence at the Tribunal and then implementing the outcomes. Through the review of actual cases and your own examples, we will provide a practical perspective of:

  • How you can prepare to effectively represent your organisation at QCAT
  • What happens when you attend the Tribunal
  • What happens afterwards – follow up actions and implementation of the results of the hearing

This workshop is for all social housing workers who represent their organisations at QCAT.

Click Here For More Information
Social Housing For Remote Housing Providers
 

Tuesday 2 August – Wednesday 3 August, Mount Isa | Cost: $285 +GST

This 2 day professional development workshop is for housing/tenancy workers in social housing organisations.

Effectively managing and maintaining tenancies and properties are important for the welfare of tenants and the viability of your organisation, as well as ensuring legal and funding compliance.

This workshop will cover:

  • Signing and honouring tenancy agreements
  • Ensuring compliance with the Residential Tenancy & Rooming Accommodation Act 2008
  • Managing rental processes, including managing arrears
  • Supporting tenants to sustain their tenancies
  • Ensuring the effective day to day maintenance of your properties
  • Terminating the tenancy smoothly
Click Here For More Information
Can You Share Your Expertise?

Q Shelter is looking for partners who are interested in working with us to develop training and good practice resources for the housing and homelessness sector. If your organisation is interested please contact Jane West: jane.west@qshelter.asn.au
Network News
Representatives from regional Housing and Homelessness Networks came together at Q Shelter in May to share regional news, and examine Q Shelter’s support for regional housing networks.

The meeting was also an opportunity for representatives to have an input into Q Shelter’s own submission to the ‘Working Together’ Housing Strategy consultation paper. 
Tool Box


Habitat for Humanity Queensland are a charity working in the area of housing for low income families.

We believe a stable, secure home creates the foundation for change, giving people the opportunity to be healthier, happier and more secure and for children to be better nourished and better educated.

We believe building a decent home provides much more than bricks and mortar – it provides real hope for the future.
 
Traditionally we have been focused on the area of affordable home ownership but we are exploring ways in which we can expand our reach by supporting other community organisations in the area of affordable and social housing by using our core skills of construction and volunteer mobilisation.

We want to assist, where we can, in driving down the costs of construction and maintenance for social and affordable housing.
 
For more information, please contact their Executive Director, Jared McDonald, via email at jmcdonald@habitat.org.au
 
Are you looking for an opportunity to make a difference? Do you have a passion for housing vulnerable Queenslanders?  Have you wanted to be involved in Industry Development?
 
Q Shelter is looking to employ or contract a Financial Consultant on a part-time basis.

The role of the Financial Consultant will see the successful applicant supporting community housing providers to meet the requirements of National Regulatory System for Community Housing  (NRSCH) Performance Outcome 7: Financial Viability.
 
This assistance ranges from supporting community housing providers to comply with reporting requirements, through to more general support with financial management processes and planning.
 
You will be integral to the development of organisational capacity and training to enhance the community housing sector’s overall financial literacy and capability.  
 
We are looking for someone with a CA or CPA qualification, and ideally with experience in the community housing, homelessness or community services sector. Knowledge of Queensland Department of Housing funding programs would be an advantage.
 
If you are interested in finding out more about this role, please contact Jane West jane.west@qshelter.asn.au or phone 3831 5900.
Many of you will have worked with Clare Phythian who's now left us to go on maternity leave. We wish her all the best and will update you with photos next month. 
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