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

   This edition includes...

From the CEO

Welcome to the April edition of Housing Matters 


Is it April already? Where has the year gone?

Since our last newsletter we have continued to deliver in the evolving environment and further develop our offerings in response to what our clients and members tell us they require. March saw the first meeting of Q Shelter’s Product Reference Group where sector representatives will help us to make sure what we are offering is fit for purpose. 

Key events since the last newsletter include:

 a joint breakfast event in partnership with our colleagues at CHPs for Qld where we hosted UK housing regulator Julian Ashby 

 a CEO’s dinner with Julian Ashby that enabled senior officers from housing providers to meet and discuss his and the sector’s experiences in a more relaxed and collegiate setting

 the first of our tenancy law and sustainment workshops in partnership with the Residential Tenancy Authority which provide a great opportunity for new and existing staff from community housing and homelessness organisations to get a better understanding of their environment and obligations.

Please make use of these opportunities as they are advertised.

This month’s events were extremely successful and we will look to offer more of these types of events in the near future. If you have any ideas of what you would like to see more of please let us know.

Looking forward our offerings include:

 benchmarking services to the sector through the development of a partnership with the NSW Federation of Housing Associations. This is an exciting opportunity for providers to be able to formally demonstrate that they are doing a good job and the evidence gathered will be useful for positioning organisations for future opportunities. 

 the launch of the Q Shelter Consultants Panel- watch this space. We’ve had a great response to our call for expressions of interest for our consultants panel and we are currently considering more than 20 detailed submissions. This is a lengthy process but we believe it is one worth undertaking to ensure that the panel members have sufficiently demonstrated their areas of expertise prior to making an offer of their services to you as providers. 

 Leadership Circles. Our existing group continues to evolve with positive feedback from all our participants. If you have an interest in being part of a leadership circle in your area please contact me to discuss as we are looking to replicate the concept both in Brisbane and regionally subject to adequate demand.

Please remember that we are here to help with organisational capacity building and improvement. We’d love to hear from organisations wanting additional assistance.

Please see this newsletter and website for more information on all the above or contact our team on 07 3831 5900.

Kind regards, 

John Lysaught
1 day workshop on Tenancy Law and Tenancy Sustainment

Q Shelter are offering an exciting opportunity to come together to learn about tenancy law, and share best practice with experts and colleagues on sustaining tenancies in community housing.

“awesome”…“very informative”…“really appreciated the interactive nature of the workshop” *

*feedback from North Brisbane workshop 25th March 2015

A series of regional workshops will be offered this year and the next ones will be held in:

Ipswich - 29th April

Springwood - 13th May

Cairns - 14th May

The workshops will consist of two sessions:

Morning Session: Tenancy law – presented by Residential Tenancies Authority

 Overview of Qld tenancy law

 Key topics and bond management

 Dispute resolution service and the tribunal

 Q&A session

Presenters: Lynn Smith or Allen Munck, Senior Community Outreach Officer, Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA)

Networking Lunch.

12.15 pm – 1.00pm

Afternoon Session: Tenancy sustainment - facilitated by Q Shelter

This is an interactive session aimed at exploring ways to manage difficult tenancies and resolve issues while at the same time sustaining the person’s tenancy.  The session will include:

 Introduction of key tenancy sustainment concepts and practices

 A case-study process to develop skills in analysing tenancy situations and developing solutions.

Facilitator: Jon Eastgate, 99 Consulting or Fiona Caniglia, Q Shelter

The workshop sessions are designed for staff who provide tenancy management to tenants in community housing.

Cost: 
• Full day including lunch: $30

• RTA session only: $10

• Q Shelter session only: $10

Details for the next three workshops are as follows:

Ipswich:

Date: Wednesday 29th April

Time: 9:15 am to 4:30 pm

Venue: Brothers Leagues Club, Ipswich

Registrations close Friday 24th April. For more information or to register for Ipswich click here.

Springwood:

Date: Wednesday 13th May

Time: 9:15 am to 4:30 pm

Venue: Springlife Conference and Function Centre, Springwood

Registrations close Friday 8th May. For more information or to register for Springwood click here.

Date: Thursday 14th May

Time: 9:00 am to 3:45 pm

Venue: Wuchopperen Health Service Bama House Meeting Rooms, Manoora

Registrations close Friday 8th May. For more information or to register for Cairns click here.

If you want to know more, or are interested in other locations, please contact Jane West 

jane.west@qshelter.asn.au 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. 

Q Shelter Conference Highlight:  Women leading the way
 
Q Shelter was fortunate to have input from a great panel of women in leadership roles in both Townsville and Brisbane.  Pauline Peel, Dushy Thangiah, Pam Bourke, Veronica Laverick and Gina Pearson all made contributions to the panel in various ways. 

The conference was reminded that women have been instrumental in shaping the provision of housing and homelessness services and in innovative responses to the toughest housing problems from acute housing shortages in a mining context to spearheading significant organisational and sector wide change to catalyse a new housing company in the hotbed of inner city urban renewal. 

The session explored questions about leadership style and ways of nurturing new leaders as we embrace the future.  The Brisbane session was recorded and can be watched at this link.
CEOs Dinner with Julian Ashby

On the 1st of April Q Shelter hosted an intimate gathering of senior managers from the sector and government for the first of our CEO’s dinners.
 
Julian Ashby, Chair of the UK Housing Regulator was our guest speaker and kept participants deeply engaged in conversation on his experiences and learnings from his jurisdiction and the ways that regulation had evolved over a number of years.
 
Whilst the topics ranged far and wide of particular interest was the evidence that the finance sector in the UK has a great deal of faith in the regulatory system as a means of reducing lending risk which has made accessing growth funding less burdensome for providers.
 
Also of interest was the view that regulation needs to evolve with the sector being regulated as a means of meeting a changing political, funding, and social environment.
 
The opportunity for senior leaders from the sector to meet and discuss key issues with their peers and government in a casual collegiate setting was well received and we will be looking to offer more of these opportunities in the near future.
 

 
 

Breakfast Seminar with Julian Ashby



We were pleased to welcome 40 housing sector professionals at the recent Breakfast Seminar with Julian Ashby, Chair of the Social Housing Regulator, England.

The seminar gave an opportunity for Julian to share his knowledge on England’s approach to regulation of the social housing industry.  He talked about how to build the resilience of housing providers in a changing market, whilst also helping delegates glean any application in our current Australian environment through an interactive question and answer session.

Julian offered an inspiring insight into how the social housing sector has evolved in England, including a flavour of the highs and lows of the 1500 social housing providers that come in all shapes and sizes and how they have fared in a challenging and rapidly changing environment.

Our guest speaker also outlined the form of social housing regulation throughout its 40 years in England, including its recent shift away from assessing the service to the tenant. Julian explained  how the regulatory approach has changed in the context of providers running substantial  commercial operations, alongside their social housing activities. Accompanying this is the requirement for Board skill-sets to mirror key business activities, for example, overseeing large development programs, or taking on high care services such as nursing homes.

Delegates quickly became aware of key differences between the Community Housing Sector in Queensland and England. This  included the size of social housing providers – ‘small’ is defined as organisations with stock of 100 or less – and number of providers, where there are around 1,500 providers, or which approximately 300 are large providers. Another difference was the lending environment in the UK and the primary funding environment in Queensland. Julian outlined the regulator’s role in giving assurance to lenders, enabling borrowing on extremely cheap terms which,  coupled with the asset leverage enabled through asset ownership, has positioned the UK social housing sector for massive growth over the last 30 years.

Through the discussion similarities on how CHPs operate here and in the UK could also be gleaned in core service delivery and key requirements for regulation. Examples of this are the importance of a suitably skilled Board, shared challenges including housing demand outstripping supply, the reliance on welfare benefits as the primary income stream and the risks associated with this,  an environment requiring delivery of more with less. Julian was able to outline the benefits of the application of financial stress testing to help housing providers and Regulators foresee risks and anticipate the effect on an organisation’s viability if a combination of certain circumstances occur.  

The benefit of regulation in the UK can be understood by the Regulator’s 100% record of continuing provision of social housing and service delivery to tenants in circumstances where individual organisations have failed, through reasons such as overstretching or misjudgement. The regulator has achieved this by facilitating transfer of stock and services to other organisations and ensuring lenders have not lost money.

Q Shelter and CHPs for QLD jointly hosted the event which was also sponsored by BHC.

More information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/housing/regulation

 

 

A skills matrix for your board

Increasingly, community organisations are seeking to ensure their boards include people with the skills needed to ensure excellence in service delivery combined with a strong, viable and sustainable future.  A skills matrix is a planned and deliberate way of articulating expertise and experience a board needs to deliver the mission, vision and objectives of an organisation.
 
A skills matrix should be informed by the organisation's strategic plan which sets out a vision, mission, objectives and high level strategies.  The strategic plan is a level at which the organisation is thinking about the overall impact it wants to have, and how it will get there.  A skills matrix should also be informed by the core requirements of good governance and management and often includes areas of expertise such as accounting and law as well as core areas relating to the business of community services delivery. 
 
There are many available tools for developing a skills matrix which may help to mindfully establish the skills a board needs, the skills it already has and which skills it needs to pursue to support the delivery of its strategic plan.
 
You can find tools to help in the development of a board skills matrix at these links:
 
Australian Institute of Company Directors
Frankston-Mornington Peninsula Medicare Local
(while health focussed it is a detailed document which could provide a helpful template for community housing organisations with substitutions for content areas).

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

Please feel free to email us at communications@qshelter.asn.au or call on 3831 5900 to ensure the latest news from your organisation is included!

Applications Open for Young Indigenous Leaders Program

Young Indigenous people in Far North Queensland are encouraged to apply for the 2015 Queensland Indigenous Youth Leadership Program.

The week-long program, held in Brisbane from 20 to 25 June, provides participants aged 18 to 25 with an exciting opportunity to develop their leadership skills and learn about Queensland’s democratic processes.

Minister for Communities and Youth Shannon Fentiman said the program was instrumental in assisting young people to influence positive change within their communities.

“It is always great to see young people take ownership and leadership over community issues,” she said.

“Past participants have returned to their communities with a new energy and focus on how to make things better.”

 “Programs like these help inspire young people to become leaders and advocates of tomorrow.”

 Part of the program is the Eric Deeral Indigenous Youth Parliament, named after Queensland’s first Indigenous Member of Parliament.

 “Participants will have the opportunity to speak for and against a proposed Bill in the chambers of Parliament House and raise issues of personal significance in the presence of elected Members of Parliament,” Ms Fentiman said.

 Forty participants will be selected to participate in the program which is co-delivered by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and the Queensland Parliamentary Service, and supported through a partnership with mining company Glencore.

 Mentors will be assigned to work with participants during the program, offering inspiration, knowledge, experience and support.

 Participants also have the opportunity to network with Elders, community leaders, Members of Parliament and senior government representatives.

 Applications are open until Wednesday 29 April 2015.

 For more information on the program or to apply online, visit www.qld.gov.au/atsi

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Social Investment - from abstract to impact 

By Gina Pearson - CEO Bric Housing Company
Social investment is creating a buzz among people involved in providing human services.  While the UK is said to be the world leader in the field, Australian interest is growing with the NSW government announcing the introduction of social benefit bonds.

The expectation is that social investment will encourage new sources of investment as well as innovation in product/service design and delivery, and that the approach will achieve greater social impact more cost effectively.

The UK experience has recently been the subject of review with the Alternative Commission on Social Investment looking “beyond replicating expensive mainstream approaches to finance for the social sector and develop approaches that are more social, putting people before structures and institutions and prioritising social change”.

In brief, the conclusion of the report “After the Gold Rush” is that the social investment market is fragmented, not sufficiently transparent and that it has failed to meet the requirements of the organisations and thus the end users of the services it wishes to provide.

The report provides 10 key suggestions (50 recommendations) and so the timing is right for Australia to avoid falling into the same traps.
Further information can be found at socinvalternativecommission.org.uk

 

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 communications@qshetler.asn.au 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 communications@qshelter.asn.au 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
Annemaree Callander
CEO
Brisbane Youth Service
Describe your role in one sentence: 
Diverse, challenging, fun, frustrating and at times heartbreaking
 
How do you want to see the sector change in the next five years?

I would like to see us move out of the shadow of funding uncertainty and reform and be freer to try new collaborations to increase housing options and sustain tenancies. I also hope we build our capacity to demonstrate the value of our work to government and the community which will hopefully lead to more sophisticated conversations about future investment.

Sometimes people think that I… am taller than I am

What makes you smile? Stepping on the deck of a boat

What keeps you awake at night? All the things I haven’t done, possibilities and possums
 
I do what I do because... 
I think young people have endless potential
 
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 communications@qshelter.asn.au or call on 3831 5900.
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