The Board and staff of the Housing Trust would like to reassure our tenants, landlords, community partners and contractors that we have plans in place to address all of the compliance concerns reported in the media this week.

Most importantly we want to reassure our tenants that there is no possibility that they will lose their homes as a result of the Registrar’s findings.

The National Regulatory System for Community Housing provides tenants and the Government with a mechanism for ensuring organisations like the Housing Trust are able to meet the conditions of the National Regulatory Code. The Housing Trust has the highest level of accreditation and is known as a Tier 1 provider. All providers submit annual reports which are used by their state Registrar to assess ongoing compliance against the seven areas of the Code. The Housing Trust has demonstrated compliance with four areas of the Code being Tenant and Housing Services, Housing Assets, Community Engagement and Financial Viability. In February 2018 we must provide evidence of improvement in the areas of Governance, Probity and Management.

The Board shared the concerns of some staff and recognised the need to make improvements long before the Registrar’s investigation began in April 2017. A comprehensive renewal plan commenced in 2016 and includes actions such as

  • Undertaking comprehensive staff engagement surveys in December and August
  • The appointment of a new CEO in July
  • Training in the Code of Conduct, managing conflicts of interest and compliance.

As a result of the action already taken, and the plans that are in place, we are very confident of resolving the issues of concern.

Throughout the period of the investigation the Housing Trust has continued to provide safe, affordable homes to people in need. In the last six months our work received a Commendation for Excellence from the Urban Design Institute of Australia (NSW), White Ribbon workplace accreditation, and we were finalists in two categories of the Illawarra Business Awards.

In August 95% of staff participated in the culture survey. The Housing Trust met or exceed the Great Places to Work Best Employers’ Benchmark in five of the 11 categories.

We are building seven new homes in Flinders, five in Corrimal and 31 in Dapto, and we’re negotiating to buy 25 more homes in Bulli.

For the second year in a row we participated in the National Tenant Satisfaction Benchmarking Group. The Housing Trust scored at or above the national performance threshold on all 14 indicators. We ranked first in Australia in six categories and second in three categories.

These results would not be possible without a dedicated and highly skilled Board and staff. We don’t shy away from the need for continuous improvement. We look forward to working with the Registrar to address the outstanding issues and welcome feedback from our tenants and the community.