Australian Housing Institute Award Winners

Believe Housing Australia received three accolades at the Australian Housing Institute Awards in December. The wins were for:

Leading Housing Development – Fatchen Street
COVID 19 Nomination – Community Development and Tenancy
Inspirational Team Member – Ali Akbarpour

 

Leading Housing Development

Housing Developments in Fatchen Street, Elizabeth Grove

The Australasian Housing Institute (AHI) Brighter Future Awards recognise excellence in the housing sector and reward housing professionals who have made a significant and lasting difference to tenants or service users, their community, their colleagues, and the profession.

This Believe Housing Australia entry in the Leading Housing Development Project category recognises a residential development that offers an exemplary model to the sector for its outstanding quality and/or innovation and/or originality.

The award-winning Housing Development Project involved the redevelopment of properties at 7a, 7b, and 9 Fatchen Street in Elizabeth Grove. The sites were specifically selected based on their age, their condition, and their potential for housing yield uplift.

All three homes are designed to exceed Housing SA’s minimum design guidelines, as well as the National Disability Insurance Scheme’s (NDIS) ‘Improved Liveability’ design standards, to the point where they are eligible for Specialist Disability Accommodation – or SDA – compliance. This means the accommodation is fit-for-purpose for those who require specialist housing solutions, including supports that cater for functional impairment or very high needs.

The project itself involved:

  • The demolition of two corner-site vacant attached homes at the end of their useful life; and
  • The construction of three two-bedroom, free-standing homes that not only make more efficient use of the land but improve the housing quality and reduce ongoing maintenance costs

In partnership with project partners and Believe Housing Australia tenants – the Fatchen Street project has managed to deliver quality housing that is situated within an attractive, vibrant and safe community and provides flexible options for a wide range of social and affordable housing tenants.

COVID 19 Nomination – Community Development and Tenancy

The second award recognising Believe Housing Australia was the COVID-19 Nomination, awarded to the organisation that has made the most strides to improve housing and tenancy wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was the impetus for several innovative ideas to be implemented that highlighted the efficiency and nimbleness of the Believe Housing Australia Team.

Within weeks of COVID-19 restrictions being announced in Adelaide, all employees were set up to work from home, including our administration, maintenance, and tenancy teams.

The Believe Housing Australia tenancy team have always been available to communicate with tenants about any matters of concern and when necessary, processes were in place to facilitate face-to-face visits albeit, with face masks, social distancing and other applied COVID-safe initiatives.

With 90% of tenants living in isolation, the support Believe Housing Australia provides would prove significant to tenants’ mental health and wellbeing. Tenancy Officers endeavoured to check in regularly with tenants to touch base, ensuring they felt supported during the difficult isolation periods.

Tenancy Officers were able to identify those that required further ongoing support and assistance, others requiring assurance and a familiar, affirming voice to converse with.

Believe Housing Australia launched ‘lockdown projects’ – to increase tenant engagement and wellbeing. They include the following:

  • The Quilting Project – where tenants had the opportunity to design and create their own unique quilt covers.
  • Zoom cooking classes – the opportunity to prepare, share and enjoy unique recipes with others via Zoom.
  • A closed Facebook group – where tenants could share their thoughts, feelings and interests with others.

A screenshot taken during a Zoom Cooking Class, where tenants shared cooking experiences online

The key outcomes of the projects include:

  • Increased participation of tenants from 10 -13 per fortnight to 26 for Zoom cooking classes
  • Delivered a total of 760 meal packs – equivalent to 2920 portions, cooked over 28 sessions of Zoom cooking, with an average of 26 participants in each session
  • Increased tenants IT and technology skills, through regular interactions via Zoom and Facebook

Inspirational Team Member – Ali Akbarpour

Housing Options Coordinator, Ali Akbarpour

Believe Housing Australia’s own Housing Options Coordinator was recognised with the Inspirational Team Member award – for the significant part he has played in providing increased provision of housing for refugees on their arrival to South Australia.

Ali commenced employment with us as a Refugee Tenancy Officer in September 2008, following the completion of his degree from the University of South Australia (Master of International Studies, 2007). The position allowed Ali to use his knowledge and personal experience (having arrived in Australia in 2001 from Iran) to guide and provide housing education to new arrivals to South Australia.

In August 2014, Ali accepted the position of Refugee Housing Coordinator which allowed him to closely assess clients’ housing needs and allocate appropriate and suitable accommodation to new arrivals. Ali led a passionate team of volunteers, tenancy officers and administration officers to support housing refugees on arrival.

As Housing Options Coordinator, Ali has facilitated more than 200 tenancy transfers which have contributed to delivering a sustainable benefit to tenants and us as a Community Housing Provider. His enthusiasm and compassion, combined with his calm and empathic nature have enabled him to lead fellow team members and our customers through difficult situations to achieve their goals.

AnglicareSA

Formerly known as AnglicareSA Housing, Believe Housing Australia continues to be a part of the AnglicareSA family and remains a subsidiary company of AnglicareSA.

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Believe Housing Australia acknowledges the First Nations people as the traditional custodians of this land. We express our gratitude in the sharing of this land; our sorrow for the personal, spiritual and cultural costs of that sharing; and our hope that we may walk together in harmony in the spirit of Reconciliation.

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