Our Purpose

In a world where homelessness and housing crisis exist, we connect people with housing options and integrated supports so that they can find and keep a place to call home.

Our Values

Respect – Listen – Collaborate
We put people first, especially our clients

Accountability – Responsibility – Integrity
We do what we say and always make a difference

Innovations – Challenge – Learning
We do things differently to get the best results

Chair's Report

Sue Clarke

Reappointed as Chair of the Board of Directors at our Annual General Meeting on 7 November 2019 in Mildura, Sue Clarke reflects on the organisation’s re-commitment to its four strategic pillars of More Homes, More Supports, More Partnerships, and More Capacity. No longer at a political and policy crossroad, we are driven to deliver on our Purpose. Among the many highlights, Sue welcomes three new Directors to the Board, each of whom brings their own specific skillset to a growing, vibrant, innovative organisation.

Left to Right: Andrew Cairns, Jan Snell, Melanie Rogers, Sue Clarke, David Brant, Warwick Cavanagh, Damien Tangey, Jan Boynton, Gerard José, Candy Broad and Ken Belfrage

Board of Directors

Haven; Home, Safe is guided by a committed, independent Board of Directors which provides strong governance and stewardship on behalf of our broader community.

Sue has held senior positions in Health and Community Services over the past four decades including 12 years as CEO of Bendigo Community Health Services. She also holds board positions as a Director of Ambulance Victoria, Bendigo Health Care Group, Murray PHN, Zonta Club of Bendigo, and is a member of the Central Victorian AICD Advisory Committee.

Andrew Cairns is the CEO of Community Sector Banking and has 15 years’ experience in senior management roles. He is also the Chair of Western Water.

David Brant, former North East Housing Service Director and London Business School graduate with extensive skills in strategy development and implementation. With over 20 years’ experience in Corporate Governance in Australia and a number of countries in Asia, David provides management consultancy to businesses looking to improve their top and bottom lines.

Damien has significant experience in property development and a strong understanding of National, State and Local Government policy impacting the housing affordability framework.

Damien has a Bachelor of Business (Property) and has experience in business management of a multi-faceted health industry business before progressing through to the establishment of his property development company in 2000.

Ken was until his retirement a Partner at AFS & Associates accounting practice. He was a chartered accountant with 34 years in public accounting.

Melanie Rogers is an experienced governance and HR/IT executive with many years’ experience in local government and community sector. Melanie is also a committee member of the Bellarine Bayside Foreshore Committee of Management and Geelong Cemeteries Trust.

Jan Boynton is an independent executive consultant with over 25 years’ experience at Executive and CEO level in local and state government and the not-for-profit sector across regional Victoria. She is also a Director on the Bendigo Jockey Club Board.

Warwick Cavanagh is Chairperson of a key partner agency, Active Community Housing, a Director of National Disability Services (NDS), and a White Ribbon Ambassador. Highly respected across the disability sector, Warwick was the CEO of Moira Disability and Youth Services for 24 years, before joining Bayley House as CEO.

Former Member for Northern Victoria and former State Government Minister for Housing, Local Government, Energy and Resources and Ports, and a founding member of Emily’s List. Chair of Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre, Deputy Chair of Women’s Health Victoria, Chair of PrimeSafe, a Director of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, a Director of First Super, and a Director of Hepburn Community Wind Farm.

Gerard has significant experience in community engagement, change management, organisation development, policy facilitation and program evaluation. He has had an extensive career in Local Government and is currently privileged to be CEO with Bendigo Community Health Services, and previously served as CEO with Mildura Regional City.

Gerard is a people-oriented leader committed to ethical stewardship and social justice with outstanding contemporary team-based leadership, communication, analytical and creative problem-solving skills.

Jan has had a long and distinguished career in the Victorian Public Service and has held a number of senior executive positions, more recently Deputy Secretary, North Division, Department Health & Human Services (DHHS).  She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute Company Directors. She has many years of experience in delivering services to Victorian communities and in 2015 received a Public Service Medal in recognition of this work.

CEO's Report

Ken Marchingo AM

This is Chief Executive Officer Ken Marchingo AM’s 26th annual report back to the community. While we have enjoyed another year of many outstanding and award-winning achievements duly noted in this video, we cannot escape the increasing growth in demand for our services. In the absence of any significant housing policy initiatives and innovation, we can only focus on what we can control and do for those most vulnerable in our community.

Left to Right: Blake Hogan, Kerri Carr, Ken Marchingo AM, Paul Somerville, Trudi Ray, Chris Glennen

Executive Team

The Haven; Home, Safe team is arguably one of the most talented and highest performing in the not-for-profit sector. We are a not-for-profit, but prefer to say For Purpose organisation. We assist thousands of people each year who are in housing crisis, homeless, or in financial stress, helping them address the issues leading to their circumstances and find appropriate housing.

COO's Report

Trudi Ray

After being appointed as our first-ever Chief Operations Officer, Trudi Ray, has made it her mission to unpack our service delivery model to achieve greater integration, efficiency, and consistency across all our offices. The recently endorsed Support Services Framework provides a roadmap for restructuring our operational mechanisms. The restructure will make it easier for clients and staff to navigate. And this is just one of many innovations this past year.

Executive Reports

Paul Somerville

Chief Financial

Kerri Carr

Executive Director Corporate Services & Company Secretary

Blake Hogan

Executive Director Strategic Social Housing

Chris Glennen

Executive Director Active Community Housing

In the last year we have:


People housed in short-term and long term accomodation


People in Support Programs


People given food vouchers

People in the Private Rental Assistant Program


People to establish


People to maintain


IAP contacts


Spent on brokerage helping and housing people

A range of sustainable housing outcomes for people who are homeless or in housing crisis.

Wattlewood is the re-imagining of social housing for the 21st century and arguably the largest development of its type in Australia.

Since purchasing the 17.4-hectare Carrum Downs property from the Brotherhood of St Laurence in 2009, this former brownfield site comprising a decommissioned aged care facility and 130 dilapidated units, has been totally transformed into a 237-lot residential subdivision with 100 new affordable housing units integrated with private market homes.

Principally funded via private land sales, this remarkable $88 million, six-stage, master-planned development has created a new community with true salt and pepper social housing through an extraordinary value-for-money project.

Unlike private developers, our margin is reserved in the retained social housing dwellings.

As construction finally draws to a close, we are planning to mark this auspicious occasion with a special community event early in 2020. We are also compiling a record of achievement and stories to celebrate with our many elderly tenants and their neighbours.

In addition to the extensive range of community engagement activities throughout the past decade, the key to the success of this project has been the ways in which we have managed a broad range of elements throughout, including:

  • Negotiating with the Department of Health and Human Services to secure the land.
  • Managing the commercial subdivision and retaining a significant portion of allotments for our community housing development program.
  • Financing and structuring the transaction
  • Managing a broad range of consultants
  • Master planning the site
  • Procurement and delivery of civil works
  • Managing a variety of authorities
  • Sales and marketing
  • Housing design and construction
  • On-site resident management and relocation, and
  • Ongoing tenancy management and client support

Ten of the 22 units in our Glenlyon Road development in Fitzroy North are designed to meet Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) specifications for High Physical Support.

Currently under construction, these units can be customised to suit individual requirements with state-of-the-art technology and options for flexible support services to enhance a person’s capacity and confidence to live independently.

Features include:

  • Accessible and customisable bedroom, bathroom and kitchen
  • State-of-the-art personalised and reliable communication and assistive technology system
  • Access to overnight and 24-hour on-site support and emergency response
  • 200m to accessible tram stop to city, health, leisure and transport hubs
  • One and two-bedroom units available on ground and first-floor levels .

Our experienced Active SDA housing team is working closely with clients to ensure a smooth and stress-free transition.

The process includes:

  • Consultation with the individual about housing needs and preferences
  • Coordination with family members, support providers and the NDIS
  • Customisation of the living spaces of each unit as required
  • Installation, testing and support in the use of assistive technology
  • Collaboration agreements with support providers to ensure service quality and safety.

Haven; Home, Safe’s Housing Direct program offers a new approach to homelessness that includes secure, long-term housing and case management support for people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. Officially launched in August 2018, the program has supported 16 individuals in Bendigo since its inception.

The outcomes experienced by participants of the Housing Direct program include improved financial stability, independence, improved health and wellbeing, education and employment opportunities, improved relationships and strengthened the connection to family, friends and community.

The program is funded by the Victorian Government’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to increase access to affordable housing and provide a direct pathway to long-term housing.

Referrals for Housing Direct are made from organisations such as Anglicare, Maryborough District Housing, family violence organisations and Bendigo District Aboriginal Cooperative (BDAC). Needs and eligibility are thoroughly assessed prior to acceptance into the program and upon allocation to a property, a comprehensive and tailored case management plan is put into place with self-identified goals from the client.

Housing Direct currently operates in two locations. In Bendigo, where we manage six properties, and in Geelong, where we have partnered with Bethany to provide the support for five tenancies.

The program will expand to rural and regional Victoria in the coming year, with the construction of two properties in Echuca and another two in Mildura already underway.

Advocacy and support for our diverse clientele with a particular focus on developing life skills and individual capacity.

Loddon and Mallee area

Last financial year we supported 4576 people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness across the rural and regional areas of the Loddon and Mallee region. Significantly, we supported 3690 people experiencing homelessness through our Initial Assessment and Planning (IAP) intake service.

We found the primary reason (38%) for clients presenting to our IAP services was housing crisis followed by financial difficulties, a transition from custodial arrangements, housing affordability stress, and inadequate or inappropriate living conditions.

Two significant age ranges stood out in the data with 43% of clients accessing IAP under the age of 35, and 11% who were over the age of 55. This correlates with sector-wide trends that have reported on the growing number of older people experiencing homelessness alongside the ongoing issue of youth homelessness in Australia, which has been increasing disproportionately in the last decade.

The number of people experiencing homelessness supported in the Loddon and Mallee by program:


In metropolitan Melbourne, we supported 3353 of people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness via our IAP services at our Preston office.

In terms of gender, 45% of our clients were male and 55% were female. A significant number were over 55, with 11% of our clientele recorded as being over 55.  The majority of our clients were single people, with 77% presenting on their own. 22% of clients accessing our services had been previously diagnosed with a mental health condition by a health professional.

We saw a diverse range of people from a wide range of countries across the world, of which the top 5 countries of origin were:

We also saw 8.5% of clients accessing our services were of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage.

This speaks to the increasing diversity of clients we see accessing our homelessness and housing services in the metro region.

Suzi Young Social Impact Analyst, Director, Think Impact
Sidney Myer Haven Program 

Value is not only about a financial or economic return but also about social return. In fact, social return is of greater value than any immediate financial return and that’s what we found with the Sidney Myer Haven program. 

We evaluated the program using the social return on investment method that values economic benefits from a program and also the value associated with its primary purpose – individual and family transformation as a result of safe, secure and affordable housing and social support.

Safe housing is always the starting point because being homeless eats away at someone’s capacity to heal, to work, to be educated, to socialise, keep in contact with family and to feel connected within a community. We measured and valued the changes, including improved mental and emotional health, job readiness, education placement and achievement and social connection and belonging.

The program does things differently. It doesn’t place the burden on people living with stress and crisis to navigate the services they need. Instead, it brings a lot of services in-house to residents, such as maternal healthcare, budgeting help, mental health nurse, parenting advice, pension assistance and social groups. This means people at SMH get the support and advice they need when they need it.  And we have measured that benefit. 

This program has helped people here and now, and we also know that the new skills and relationships they have made will continue to add value throughout the rest of their lives.

The Tenant: Carolyn, PRAP Client

I was in a really bad place. Hell had come into our lives and I really needed help. We couldn’t go back to the place we lived because I felt physically sick every time I tried to go near it. I couldn’t even get all our clothes or gear. With two young kids I was just going from hotel to hotel to refuge. Eventually there will be some money from victims of crime but in the meantime we had nothing and I still had to pay the rent on the old place. Not having a safe place to live made what happened to us even worse. Every day without a place made me relive it. I couldn’t move on. The rent assistance helped me with the application to get a unit through the agent and also put up the bond and two weeks rent. It meant everything to me. When you have nothing and no chance of getting back up again, to have someone come along and help, well, it just means everything.

The Program Manager: Brad Quinn, Private Rental Assistance Coordinator

This job is all about relationships, good relationships. My job is to build and develop really close connections with clients and external support services, such as family violence organisations, property agents, workplaces, schools; every one of them plays a part in helping people stay in private rental. Of course, the funding is vital. It means we have the ability to help someone pay a bond or wipe out rent arrears, support them. For some families this means they don’t have to make the choice between having the utilities cut off or being evicted. I probably see about 45 to 50 new clients a month, and the need is growing faster. To save a tenancy, to stop a potential eviction, is so important, not just for the client but also for the landlord’s family and their income needs. Sadly, one of the main reasons our clients need help is to escape or recover from domestic violence and the best thing we can do for the innocent children in these households is to help them settle and stay in a safe home.

The Real Estate Agent: Sonya Hancock, Director Mawby Property

What it boils down to, is that the program gives me and our property owners the confidence to keep working and supporting our low-income tenants. It’s a really valuable risk reduction tool for our owners. It lets our owners take a chance on a tenant who, perhaps, has no rental history – and that can be someone very young or very old, well, actually, and almost everyone in between. Or it means we can help a tenant to stay in the property, during a cash crisis or urgent situation. To be honest, it’s a Godsend not just for the tenant or potential tenant to get them out of a temporary rut but to get them in a home and to keep them there. That’s a huge benefit to everyone, to our property owners, to our business, our town, the region, the whole community.

Addressing rough sleeping via early intervention has been a significant priority for our organisation this year, as the number of rough sleepers continues to grow across Victoria.  Since early this year, we’ve supported over 200 rough sleepers through our mobile assertive outreach programs.

The eye-catching HeyVan hit the road in Bendigo in March and has provided material aid and support to 152 rough sleepers. Of these, eight people have moved into long-term, secure housing. The most common demographic of rough sleepers are males between the ages of 36 and 54.

One of our many success stories is Sal. After inheriting some money, Sal went on a drug and gambling binge only to lose his job, his family, and finally his home. After sleeping rough on the streets, the HeyVan team was able to turn things around, and now Sal is back on track and safely housed.

In Swan Hill, the HeyYou-T off-road vehicle has been a stand out success. Since May, the team has supported 50 sleepers across the region and housed 15 people long-term.

Both the HeyYou-T and HeyVan operate Monday to Friday between 5pm and 9pm, offering access to emergency accommodation, assistance and support services for rough sleepers. Both programs have been funded by State Government as part of their Rough Sleeping and Homelessness Action Plan.

The findings and feedback from our 2019 tenant survey showed a high level of satisfaction among tenants with regards to our overall performance, customer service, property maintenance and communication.

The biennial survey and tenant feedback helps to inform us about where we need to focus our attention and how we might improve our services and community engagement activities.

We have already commenced a round of follow-up conversations and scheduling of focus group meetings with tenants for 2020 as part of our ongoing community engagement.

Our private rental head-leasing program for women and children escaping family violence won the Australasian Housing Institute Leading Innovation Award in Victoria earlier this year.

Such has been the success of our program, Moving On, was extended for a third time through until June 2020.

In 2016-2017, we were one of only four community housing agencies selected to deliver a head-leasing program in Victoria as part of the Family Violence Rapid Housing Fund in response to the findings of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

Operating predominantly across regional and rural Victoria, Moving On enables women escaping family violence to access safe rental accommodation which they sublet from us at below market rent for a period of up to 12 months after which clients are given the option to take up a private lease of the property.

In contrast to other agencies, our approach to the successful delivery of our head-leasing program is totally client-centric with the victim-survivors directly involved in the sourcing and selection of their head-leased property.

Of the more than 80 women and their children assisted through Moving On, 93% have transitioned to a private rental lease of their chosen properties at the conclusion of the head-lease period.

For the past two years, we have supported the annual Good Neighbour Awards, a community engagement initiative that celebrates those people who make a positive impact in their community and make others feel welcome, included, safe, and connected.

The Good Neighbour Awards provide our tenants with an opportunity to formally recognise the contribution their neighbours make to their lives, the tenant community in general, and how these relationships can change communities through social connection.

This year we also ran a Hello Neighbour Day community engagement event to promote social inclusion for our tenants in the Doncaster area. The event was an opportunity for tenants to connect with one another and have fun.

We partnered with local community groups including Manningham Library, Doncare, Living & Learning @ Ajani, plus support from Manningham Council.

We will run the Good Neighbour Awards again in 2020 and applications are now open for tenants to nominate someone who is making a difference in their community.

Relationships with government, community and commercial partners and other key stakeholders to achieve our Purpose and Values.

The merger with Active Community Housing on July 1 this year means we now provide a greater depth and breadth of innovative, quality services, and have increased capacity to invest in areas of growing need such as social and disability housing.

 As the state’s only dedicated disability specialist housing provider of high-quality housing for people with complex needs, including Specialist Disability Accommodation, Active has brought with them a suite of services including home modifications, project management, assistive technology consultation, and property and tenancy management to people with disabilities, families and local community groups.

The merger followed the successful launch of a joint venture, the Assistive Housing Hub above our Preston office. The Hub is a showcase for state-of-the-art assistive technologies for people with a disability and features the latest in communication systems and home automation, architectural hardware and furniture fittings, and telehealth monitoring.

The decision to merge was based on the benefits of scale and working together for better outcomes for the people we support, our staff, our stakeholders and the community in general.

Orange Sky Laundry is a free mobile laundry service which operates across Australia, including a weekly service from Haven; Home, Safe’s Preston location. In the last financial year 2018/19, Orange Sky Laundry completed 85 washes and facilitated 110 hours of conversation for Haven; Home, Safe clients across the North-East and North-West of Melbourne.

Their work in positively connecting communities and supporting individuals has had a significant impact on Haven; Home, Safe clients in the Melbourne metro region since the partnership was established in February 2018. Orange Sky Laundry now visit Haven; Home, Safe’s Preston site every Tuesday morning for three hours, providing a practical washing/drying service for clients, as well as the opportunity to have a conversation with one of the team of eight volunteers whilst they wait.

Marcus, a regular volunteer and migrant from Germany, has been volunteering with Orange Sky Laundry multiple times a week across their Melbourne sites for over a year now and is a weekly volunteer for the Haven; Home, Safe Tuesday slot.

“For us, one of the most important things is having a chat whilst also offering a service and giving back to the community”. He continues to explain “Talking is very important as sometimes people don’t talk to anyone for a week or two, especially people living in their cars, they’re by themselves all the time; often they will be really quiet at first, but once you make them comfortable then they’ll talk for hours!” 

Haven; Home, Safe’s General Manager, Support Services South, Jo Smith, adds to this “It has been an absolute joy for us to have Orange Sky here every week. We are thrilled to offer such practical assistance to our clients – being able to keep clothes and bedding clean is a huge help to people’s dignity and safety and is something people on very low incomes can easily miss out on. Having amazing volunteers who people can just have a chat with is a social opportunity and can also help people open up and move on to engage with us around their housing issues. We are very proud of the relationship and look forward to years of working together.”

In terms of the value for volunteer and clients alike, it’s the conversations, the human interactions and the meaningful exchanges that make the Orange Sky Laundry – Haven; Home, Safe partnership such a worthwhile experience for everyone involved. As Marcus explains, “You can see how this service helps people, and that’s really rewarding. Sometimes people will arrive looking really miserable, and then they leave smiling; that’s rewarding.”

We look forward to continuing to offer more supports to Haven; Home, Safe clients through our partnership with Orange Sky Laundry.

As part of Haven; Home, Safe’s ongoing partnership with WISHIN (Women’s Information, Support and Housing in the North), we have assisted 50 women with family violence support this year from our Preston office. That’s an average of roughly 1 woman supported per week – an outstanding achievement.

Together, we have supported:

  • 39 women who were homeless (inc. couch surfing)
  • 36 mothers with 76 children
  • 35 women with mental health diagnoses

Of these women there were:

  • 12 culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) women
  • 7 women experiencing disability
  • 5 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander women
  • 2 LBGTIQ+ women

The partnership with Haven; Home, Safe began in 2016 and means that the Melbourne IAP (Initial Assessment & Planning) team are able to refer clients experiencing family violence to a Specialist Family Violence Outpost Worker from WISHIN to manage their case and provide wrap-around support.

Specialist Family Violence Outpost Worker at WISHIN, Joanne Green, says that “Sometimes women won’t want to address family violence until they know they have a safe place to go, so addressing housing is very important.”

Joanne visits Haven; Home, Safe’s Preston office once a week to meet with clients, conduct risk assessments, implement safety planning and book in follow-up sessions to support clients in accessing funding for housing or referring them to counselling or legal services. Some clients are referred to emergency accommodation and refuges, others are able to afford private rental through our PRAP program, and others access our Moving On program.

Joanne says “Often women who are experiencing homelessness fall through the gaps with family violence services. There’s often an onus on the women to make contact which can be really hard when you’re experiencing homelessness and all the issues that go with being homeless. Having someone reach out to them can be really helpful to take some of the burden. It means that we can help bridge that gap, so that women who are less visible in society get some support.”

Bendigo Telco became our first Workplace Giving business after we officially launched the donor program late last year. Employee payroll donations are matched by the business to support people experiencing homelessness in Bendigo.

Bendigo Telco’s donations are supporting our Sidney Myer Haven program. This incredible program changes lives for the better and helps people create a sustainable, secure future for themselves and their family. The Sidney Myer Haven has been proven to provide a social and economic return to the community of $12 for every dollar invested – this is an extraordinary outcome creating pathways to real change. Using this return on investment, if you choose to contribute just $5 per week, the real impact of this small amount is up to $60.

As a registered Tier 1 charity with DGR status, Workplace Giving is one of the most tax-effective and efficient ways people can give back to their community.  Learn more.

Resources, infrastructure and financial capacity of the organisation to achieve our Purpose and Values.

We became Victoria’s first registered Affordable Housing Association to receive a $65M loan from the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) on 19 November.

The 10-year low-interest loan will enable the organisation to refinance existing debt and fund new projects. Over the life of the loan, it is estimated that NHFIC’s finance will save Haven as much as $10 million in interest and other costs compared to market rates.

NHFIC is an independent Commonwealth entity that provides cheaper and longer-term secured finance by issuing bonds to community housing providers in Australia’s debt capital markets.

Our Chair Sue Clarke said the long-term certainty and cost savings were critical to building the organisation’s capacity to accelerate and increase the supply of social and affordable housing.

This new financing arrangement will improve the availability of sustainable housing for our vulnerable client group, including people on low incomes, those who are living with a disability, or experiencing homelessness.

Over the past decade, we have built an impressive affordable housing portfolio valued at $350 million, comprising a mix of one, two and three-bedroom properties throughout regional Victoria and parts of suburban Melbourne.

Much of this housing was built with State Government funding and borrowings from the Bendigo Bank.

Access to finance on more favourable terms will considerably improve our capacity to deliver on our purpose to support and house those most vulnerable in the community.

We are currently working with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and Treasury on another very significant social housing construction deal, the details of which are expected to be announced soon.

There was much to celebrate at the end of this financial year when we became the first Housing Association in the world to receive the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification for its asset management system.

ISO: 55001:2014 recognises our world-class governance and best practice over the management of its portfolio of housing assets worth more than $350 million.

The ISO certification project, led by Assets and Maintenance General Manager Rachael Skipper, took 18 months to complete and highlights our innovative and systematic approach to aligning asset management objectives with organisational goals.

The benefits of this approach to asset management include improved effectiveness and efficiency, financial performance, risk management, better services and outputs, and demonstrated social responsibility and compliance.

Best practice asset management also protects two decades of investment and ensures a robust future for both the organisation and, more importantly, the people we house.

The ISO certification came into effect on 26 June 2019.

Our Rent Ready program is an online modular course that is levelling the playing field and providing clients in transitional housing with the opportunity to enter private rental for the first time.

This step-by-step modular online training program has been designed to help people to be a good tenant, with topics including budgeting and assessing housing affordability, where to look for rental properties, how to apply, and filling in application form, rights and responsibilities, the process when you vacate a property.

On completion of the Rent Ready course, clients are given a completion certificate. Feedback from our Private Rental Assistance Program Reference Group in Bendigo revealed that real estate agents will consider this certificate as evidence in lieu of rental history.

Through our Rent Ready program, we hope to support many clients from transitional housing and into private rental properties across Victoria.

Navigating the private rental market after years of homelessness and entrenched disadvantage can be challenging and the barriers to securing a property many and significant. Application forms, dealing with real estate agents and then later down the track, keeping up with payments and being a good tenant can be hard when you’ve not done this before.

That’s why we came up with the Rent Ready initiative; a program for our clients in Transitional Housing Management (THM) to work through prior to moving on to private rental properties.

We found that a significant number of our clients fundamentally didn’t know how to navigate private rental market, and even if they did, having a colourful or slightly patchy rental history was not doing them any favours in the eyes of real estate agents and potential landlords.

Our non-trades maintenance social enterprise, Hive, has gone from strength to strength in the last financial year with an increase in overall turnover of 12.5% on last year.

We also secured a significant social procurement contract for business over the coming three years, worth over $500,000. This marks an exciting new development for our social enterprise, as we expand our offering from within the agency’s housing portfolio and out into the broader community.

The number of staff has grown to 12 employees on a range of full, part-time and casual contracts, including a General Manager who runs operations from our Preston office.

Of particular note, Hive stalwart Ilo Siljanovski, reached his 10-year milestone this year.

With expansion plans in place for across the Loddon area, predominantly for Transitional Housing Management (THM ) properties in and around Bendigo, it looks like the following year will be another significant year in Hive’s growth and development.

Our People

A'Savvy Van-Des
Adrian Holdsworth
Ahmed Shire
Akosita Tamanisau
Alison Fraser
Amelia Gravette
Amy Hickey
Andrea Levey
Vale Andrea McCubbin
Andrew Chittenden
Angela Ruhs
Anita Wells
Ann Timmons
Anne Roberts
Anne-Maree Bunney
Annette Campbell
Annette Sayle
Avry Zhao
Barbara Devcic
Belinda Pumpa
Benita Menting
Beverley Croughan
Bianca Hurmez
Blake Dillon
Blake Hogan
Bradley Quinn
Brando Smith
Breannan King
Brett Minnis
Catherine Goss
Catherine Zoch
Chantel Hogan
Chenbo Yu
Chloe Cassells
Cliff Breed
Con Charakas
Cristean Tilkeridis
David Blenheim
David Pfeiffer
David Stafford
Denis Grinton
Dhanuja Ramalingam
Dillon Capell
Donna Gillard
Donna Le-gallant
Ebony McIntosh
Elaine Kerr
Elise Watts
Eliza Hughes
Ellen Morgan
Erin Connolly
Evan Doherty
Eyvonne Robson
Farid Memarzadeh
Felicity Cooper
Franc DePetro
Geoffrey Doyle
Geoffrey Vendy
Georgia Evans
Gino Monitto
Glenn Rivett
Gretha Lombaard
Guiseppe DiBenedetto
Hannah Aisbett
Hannah Petocz
Harminder Saini
Helen Symes
Ilo Siljanovski
Isterlin Georgakis
Ivana Blekic
Jaclyn Felton
Jacob Fahey
Jacqueline Kett
Jacqui MacDonald
Janine Vaughan
Jennifer Rose
Jessica Box
Jessica Irwin
Jessica Key
Jill Paoli
Jillian Hudson
Joanna Leckie
Joanna Smith
Jocelyn Heazlewood
Johanna Ugolini
Josclin Tyler
Joseph Mapiva Salamasina
Joseph Rebakis
Joshua Nankervis
Julie Salt
Karen Hogarth
Katherine Papprill
Kelly Macartney
Kenneth Marchingo
Kent Fury
Kerri Carr
Kerrie Treacy
Kerry Ashley
Kim Byrne
Kim Williams
Kirsty Ash
Kris House
Kym Smithers
Kyra Bowen
Leonie Ireland
Lilian Nieves-Caligdong
Lisa Druitt
Lisa Fisher
Lisa Harris
Lolita Bell
Louise Clancy
Lucy Carolan
Lynn Cresswell
Madelyn Andrew
Mario Roccisano
Marnie Olsen
Martin McGowan
Matthew Audet
Matthew O'Connor
Matthew Shaw
Megan Richardson
Melissa Bilton
Melissa Brown
Meryl Aicken
Michael Ashto
Michael Craig
Michael Fitzpatrick
Michelle Casamento
Michelle Hewett
Monica O'Shannessy
Morgan Todd
Neil Heatley
Neil Taylor
Nele Perry
Nicholas Adrian
Nicholas Karlin
Nikolaos Stassinakis
Olutosin Fakehinde
Oystein Sandvik
Page Gallimore
Pamela Tickner
Patricia Ferrara
Patrizia Cavalieri
Paul Somerville
Peta Dunn
Peter Barker
Rachael Chen
Rachael Gait
Rachael Skipper
Rachel Gellatly
Rachel Zass
Rachelle Beckett
Raechel Penno
Rebecca Dix
Rebecca Green
Riva Bohm
Robert DiVincenzo
Robert Jamieson
Rohan Milne
Rosemarie Hosking
Rowena Bolden
Samantha Love
Sarah Hurley
Sean McClintock
Shane Smith
Sharon Young
Sheilagh Pobjie
Shelley Payne
Sheryl Batrouney
Shona Barton
Sophia Hynes
Sophie Ryan
Stacey Jankovski
Stephen Paton
Steven Brennan
Susan Devaney
Susan Farrell
Susan Hallorina
Susan Hetherington
Susan Masters
Tammy McDonald
Tania Stewart
Taylah Dower
Teagan Crouch
Terri Schleibs
Tia Todd
Tiffany McAuliffe
Timothy Cotton
Timothy Murphy
Timothy Sullivan
Timothy Townsend
Tracey Roberts
Trevor Gibbs
Trudi Ray
Tulli Simpson
Vanessa Parr
Veomany Khammy
Vicki Psaropoulos
Wendy Comer
William Thomas
Yan Huang
Zoe McColl

All Staff Day - The best ever!

All Staff Day was a milestone event this year with new members of staff from Active Community Housing officially joining us for the first time following the merger on July 1. The vast array of presentations from the Board, Management and staff throughout the day were engaging, educational and entertaining. The universal feedback from staff was that it was the best All Staff Day yet, which was fantastic considering the logistics of bringing all 180+ staff together from across the state for a whole day. 

The crowd favourite for this year’s Employee of the Year award, judging by the rousing round of applause, was Mallee General Manager Trevor Gibbs. Just for the record, this was Trevor’s EOY nomination: Trevor is everything the Employee of the Year Award suggests.

He has single-handedly turned the Mallee around and recruited amazing new staff and worked with long-standing staff to bring about a positive change in the morale and dynamics of the office.

His ability to rebuild HHS profile and reputation in the Mallee has been exemplary. Trevor’s unwavering support and ‘can do’ attitude coupled with taking on the media and growing our service offering across the Mallee has just been amazing. We have restructured for staff and workplace but also geographies, with Trev and his team taking back Swan Hill, Kerang and picking up Horsham housing management.

Trevor does everything with a great attitude and a smile on his face, even in trying times. He is also the master negotiator in regards to the refurbishment of the Mallee office, which will take staff wellbeing to the next level.

Trev is a great asset to HHS and should be recognised for everything he has achieved in his short time at HHS.

Trevor Gibbs

Employee of the year

Danni’s nomination says it all: Danni is the ultimate HHS person participating in the culture club, running marathons to raise money and awareness for our sector and organisation, being an advocate for concierge and always thinking about what she can do to help our clients be it blankets, food donations or personal products she is always thinking about what she can do next.

Danni is a fundraiser extraordinaire and always looks for how she can further support the front line service delivery which she takes a very keen interest in. Danni’s assistance with the conception of the real estate project has been instrumental to getting it through to board planning which emphasises that Danni would do anything to assist anyone that she could, she literally has a heart of gold, would never ever say ‘that is not my job’ and is the epitome of a team player.

Danni Ramalingam

Barb Devcic Award

Earlier this year, our Board established an Innovation Grant for staff to recognise and celebrate the range of innovative practice across the organisation.

The grant is provided to encourage innovation and learning, which is consistent with our purpose, aligned with our values, and delivers on any of our four strategic goals. The grant is open to any employee who can demonstrate in their application: Collaboration, creativity, effectiveness, efficiency, replicability, and positive impact.

The inaugural grant was presented to Sheryl Batrouney for her development of Rent Ready, training program which teaches clients about the basics of renting in the private market, developing a budget, looking for an appropriate property – and applying for it – and being aware of rights and responsibilities.

The grant enabled Sheryl to attend the National Housing Conference in Darwin in August where she was able to engage with other organisations that have introduced similar programs and to discuss their learnings and experiences, and how they may be applied to have a positive impact on our clients.

Sheryl Batrouney

Board innovation award

Copyright 2019 © Loddon Mallee Housing Services T/A Haven; Home, Safe ABN 28 081 883 623

Financial Snapshot 2018-19

Copyright 2019 © Loddon Mallee Housing Services T/A Haven; Home, Safe ABN 28 081 883 623

Paul Somerville

Chief Financial Officer

One of our highlights during the year has been the introduction of a new finance reporting system which pretty much enables us to have real-time reporting and budgeting. Now the finance team and our operational managers can generate the latest numbers almost in just a few minutes. It’s a huge benefit, it allows us access to the actual costs and expenditure compared with budgeted amounts.

That knowledge is freeing, we can see immediately where the money is going. It makes us more flexible and responsive. Instead of waiting a day for a report, people can now self-serve and produce the information and, straight away, they know how they’re tracking and where they are able to offer more assistance.

Our new $65 million low-interest loan means that we can cut debt costs by $10 million in the years ahead but it also eliminates the interest rate risk we’ve had to manage and the uncertainty around refinancing shorter-term loans. It will also provide funding to complete the 86 housing units currently under development.

Overall, as our financial accounts demonstrate, our underlying trading result is strong. We basically have two major arms of the business, housing and homelessness, but we run them in an integrated way. Both are doing well. Rent income from the housing side of the business was $14.6 million for the year and we received $13.2 million in homelessness grants, which has meant we’ve been able to provide even more services to our clients.

Kerri Carr

Executive Director, Corporate Services and Company Secretary

Everything we do in our corporate services team is designed to support every arm of our organisation. We’ve made significant progress this year upgrading our document management and information systems and that is really paying off. We now know that we can rely on good data to provide really meaningful intelligence – not just to help our clients, but also to plan and grow our organisation.

We’re not about jargon and slogans, we’re about solutions and getting things done. Improved in-house business systems have created significant efficiencies organisation-wide. By having our corporate systems, documents and record keeping digitised we can now pull reports and data from across our whole network. This intelligence aids the Operations team to pinpoint where clients or staff need assistance, what cohorts are showing at higher risk, where problem areas are starting to form – before they get too big – and, of course, we can respond much faster. For example we now text our clients for feedback and survey replies, resulting in an improved response rate and faster replies, compared with emails and letters.

One of the examples of how data is making us a better organisation is through the early identification of clients and the type of homes that are most suited to them. Traditionally, housing needs have focused on family situations with three or even four-bedroom homes, but our data has already shown that smaller homes are currently the greatest demand. The data shows there is an increase in older single women clients and also single women with dependent children, and because we have that intelligence we can more accurately plan for much smaller housing stock. A high housing demand from single homeless men has also been flagged by the data, leading to a renewed focus on investigating alternatives to the less well-design rooming house model of the past. The data we produce helps every aspect of our organisation.

During the 2017/18 year we adopted a new Constitution which, for the first time, included a transitional process for Board renewal with a focus on expanding the skill set of the director group as a whole. Since then, we have appointed an extra two directors, as well as replacing a retiring director. (Please see the Board report for full details). The new appointees have further strengthened and widened the leadership expertise of our organisation. The Executive structure, refreshed at the start of the 2018/19 year, has jelled into a strong team of experienced and well-credentialed experts in their respective fields, which together with the growth in the Board provides a sound basis for the future governance and strategic direction of HHS.

Blake Hogan

Executive Director Strategic Social Housing

Melbourne’s former 1956 Olympic accommodation could again be in the running to break more records. Our redevelopment of the North Fitzroy property, Glenlyon, is transforming the site into 22 of the world’s most high-tech independent living units for people with disabilities. The fully automated properties have technology that allows voice and app controls for almost every electric and electronic appliance in the units. They also have full connectivity to service and support providers such as doctors, physiotherapists and nurses that let them call or do video conferencing with health professionals. Everything about this development increases people’s ability to be more self-sufficient and independent. They can turn lights on and off, control air conditioning, open doors, turn on kitchen appliances, move benches and cupboards to a height that suits them – all at the touch of a button or voice control. They can also have reminders set to take their blood pressure, heart rate or medication, distress buttons are built-in and fall monitors that link back to the on-site support person. Essentially, for the first time, people with a really wide range of disabilities will control how they live.

We’ve now completed stage four of the Wattlewood integrated housing development and we’re in the midst of finalising stages five and six. At the end of the process we’ll have 100 new affordable homes out of a total mix of 277 social and private homes throughout the project. We call it a salt and pepper integration where the properties have a similar look to each other so no one can tell who’s who, there is no difference between social housing and private housing. This project has been a great success for Haven; Home, Safe, for our new tenants and for the former residents at the old rundown property that was on the site. We’ve been able to retain those residents, a group of mainly older 70 to 80 year old single women to now provide them with brand new units but still keeping their existing community and connections to each other and the area. Haven; Home, Safe has controlled the entire development, including subdividing and selling off portions to private builders and home owners and private renters. Because we had oversight of everything, we’ve been able to really thoughtfully plan the development, including a mix of housing types, parks, playgrounds and community services and spaces. At completion we will have an extra $45 million of social housing assets for Victorians.

Chris Glennen

Executive Director Active Community Housing

Before joining the Executive Management Team on 1 July this year, I was the CEO of Active Community Housing. This is Active’s final Annual Report which celebrates another successful year of the team working hard to ensure our tenants have the support they need to sustain their housing and participate in community life. We enjoyed many successful tenant gatherings throughout 2018-2019 and received some incredibly positive feedback about our service provision. We have grown our property and tenancy management services by being selected to work with the Summer Housing at their new Fairfield apartments, as well as delivered our own new Specialist Disability Accommodation villa units in St Albans.

The NDIS remains a challenging environment for our clients and their carers, notably the gaps in support transition for many clients and we will seek to address these issues in the coming year. One of the highlights of 2018-2019 was the opening of the Assistive Housing Hub showroom and steady growth in our home modifications program. The merger at the end of the financial year was a long time in the planning and execution, but had a single, strategic focus to deliver more homes and more services to improve more lives of people living with a disability.