Introducing the Community Liaison Officer
Argyle Housing for many years had a Tenancy Action Worker position whose role it was to be a conduit between the tenant and support services. They were also able to help tenants become a part of the organisation by helping them to be involved in local events. In 2020, this role became a Community Liaison Officer and Simone Phillips was appointed to the position.
I am so excited to be in this new role where I will be working closely with tenants and staff from our NSW regions to support them and actively involve tenants with the planning of community events.
My role as the Community Liaison Coordinator is about bringing our tenants and community members together whether it be through a morning tea, BBQ lunch or a community event like the Premiers Senior Gala Concerts, RU Ok Day or NAIDOC Week. My responsibility is to make sure that our tenants do not feel isolated and attend events that they may possibly not have an opportunity to attend on their own. My responsibility is to organise where and when the outing will be to suit the target group, distribution of invitations, organising food and coordinating the transport to our destination.
One highlight this year was receiving 20 tickets to the Premiers Seniors Gala Concert and festival in the ICC in Darling Harbour. This event is for anyone over 60 years of age and is a way for the NSW Government to thank the senior’s community for their contribution to society. This year’s theme was ‘Love to Celebrate’, which encourages seniors to celebrate their achievements. As the event was on Valentine’s Day, I purchased a beautiful small heart shaped chocolate to give to each of our tenants.
Another way I have connected our tenants is with this year’s NAIDOC week celebrations in Wagga Wagga. Together with Wagga Wagga City Council we were able to celebrate NAIDOC week with a light lunch and a good laugh.
This year has been a difficult one for many and I plan on breaking the isolation many feel through group gatherings with consultation and advice from our tenants.
Seniors’ Gala Day Concert
On 14 February 2020, our CEO Wendy and I took 18 Argyle Housing tenants to the 62nd Premier’s Gala Concert and Seniors Festival Expo for NSW Seniors Festival week held at the International Convention Centre, Sydney.
The Seniors Festival Expo exhibition featured more than 65 exhibition stands and entertainment featuring an Elvis tribute, Dancercise, Chair Yoga, The Beatnix Beatles Tribute Show, Bunnings workshops and healthy food stalls.
A Gala concert hosted by Mike Munro showcased a musical cast that included John Paul Young, Paulini, Vanessa Amorosi, Alfie Arcuri, Lorenzo Rositano, backed by dancers from Brent Street Dance Academy.
The event brought together members of our community in an uplifting celebration.
NAIDOC Week 2020
Partnering with Wagga Wagga City Council
Argyle Housing has collaborated with Wagga Wagga City Council to celebrate NAIDOC Week 2020. On the 7th October 2020, 15 tenants and staff from both Argyle Housing and Wagga Wagga City Council gathered at our Wagga Wagga office outdoor area to celebrate NAIDOC Week, with this year’s 2020 theme ‘Always Was, Always Will Be.’
Due to current NSW Pubic Health Orders, and the evolving COVID-19 situation, Council in consultation with local Wiradjuri Elders have decided to celebrate NAIDOC Week virtually. Wagga Wagga City Council received the blessing of senior Wiradjuri Elders and commissioned a local Wagga-based Wiradjuri videographer to produce a collection of short videos and photos. These clips of Argyle Housing tenants will be launched one-by-one throughout NAIDOC Week celebrations from Councils webpage and social media pages.
Wes Bonney, the council photographer, took some lovely photos of our tenants and staff holding the NAIDOC Week celebrations tile surrounding their happy faces. Argyle Housing staff prepared a beautiful light lunch serving sandwiches, fruit, sweet treats and cookies that look like the Aboriginal flag. We had a mix of intergenerational ages including three generations of proud Aboriginal women who are Therese, our staff member, Maddison from Wagga Wagga City Council and Aunty Isabella, our tenant. This trio are Mother, Daughter and Granddaughter.
Mirjana Gamosh, Argyle Housing Tenant, Young
“ I thought all the doors were closed but soon found out that if I just knocked, they will open one by one.”
Mirjana commenced her tenancy with Argyle Housing in 2018. Mirjana’s story is an excellent example of resilience and demonstrates her ability to push through her personal anxiety issues to achieve some positive outcomes not only for herself but also for her community.
This is Mirjana’s story…
For approximately 15 years I had been visiting the town of Young and really loved it, some places you visit leave you cold but Young felt warm and it has a soul. Around two years ago, after walking out of a controlling relationship, I was given the opportunity to live in Young, and I love it.
At the start it was not easy. For the first five months I had some accommodation and some time to adjust to the change in my circumstances, but it was not enough. Emotionally I was a wreck. I was not eligible for the pension. I was placed on new start, I had to look for work. I was not skilled and knew very little English. I had been out of the workforce for more than 20 years and my primary role over those years was to care of my ex-husband.
Due to the mental abuse I had endured in my marriage, I had little to no self-confidence and did not even realise that I was capable of looking after myself. I continually doubted myself and at times could not even think straight. I was so used to being told what do to. I had to face the fact that I only had myself and this was very daunting. I found myself with practically no money and nowhere to live. I was unable to afford most rentals and not used to government institutions.
Where would I go? Who could help me? What should I look for? What did I need to ask for?
Slowly I was able to solve problems going step by step. Facing fear and panic attacks at each stage initially, I thought all the doors were closed but soon found out that if I just knocked, they will open up one by one.
I enrolled in TAFE to improve my English. I thank God that I was directed to Argyle Housing, they were able to solve my accommodation problem immediately. I am now living in an affordable house where I feel safe and secure that is part of a supportive community. I also received advice and encouragement on how I could improve my quality of life and build upon developing my resilience through the wonderful staff at Argyle Housing. They showed me ways in which I can apply for the Argyle Housing Scholarship and other services to help with my study and future employment. I have been successful in applying for the scholarship through Argyle Housing which helped me with my study.
Further to my study, I also started working with the Salvation Army, joined the local PCYC, and then I started serving food and coffee at the nursing home where I was able to chat to the residents. Getting involved in and being social in my local community has improved my mental state. I started to love myself again, rediscover my faith and gain self-confidence. Life is good and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I would like to thank all the people who have come into my life and for all the guidance and support they have offered me.
Mirjana encourages other people in a similar situation to reach out and know that things can change for the better.
Ray, Argyle Housing Tenant, Wagga Wagga – Kooringal
“The feeling of being able to assist this family at a critical time in their lives was amazing.”
– Staff member, Corina
Throughout Wagga Wagga, we have people waiting on the social housing list who have specific needs to assist them in their home. This could be making sure that the homes have wider door frames, bathroom rails or something as simple as placing the house on level ground. When Argyle Housing began planning the build for the properties in Kooringal, we did a lot of research into how to build an appropriate house to meet the gold and silver standards for accessibility.
All of this research was important to ensure that people like Ray were able to move into these homes and feel comfortable, safe and secure.
Ray has been on the social housing list for many years, awaiting a property suitable to his specific needs. Ray is wheelchair and scooter dependent but can move very restrictedly through a house using a wheelie walker. This has made his ability to find suitable properties to live in, at an affordable cost, very difficult for him throughout the majority of his adult life. For Ray, having the ability to hold onto a sense of control within his life, find a safe and secure home and move ahead in a positive manner was an important factor in him building resilience within his life.
Argyle Housing had been working with Ray for some time to find him the right house to make his home. He had seen many different properties previously in complexes that were close to meeting his needs but ended up not being suitable.
Ray has been lucky enough to be the first person on the list for our mobility accessible unit and was absolutely blown away at the amazing quality of the home. During the inspection he was overwhelmed with emotion, as was his mum and his carer who had both attended to make sure the property would be suitable for his needs. They also needed to check on the location of the property to ensure that they would be safe coming and going to look after him as this had been of concern in his previous properties.
Ray was so incredibly grateful and happy to have been offered the property at a time that the owner of his private rental had ended his tenancy agreement to take occupancy of the house back for themselves.
Ray very happily accepted the property. His mum cried at the end of the inspection thanking Argyle Housing staff profusely for giving him his first real chance at having a suitable, safe and comfortable home for the first time as an adult. Through many challenges, Ray has displayed resilience in persevering when setbacks may have been too much for others. With the support of his mother, carer and Argyle Housing staff, he now has a place from which he can look forward with hope.
John, Argyle Housing Tenant, Young
Words of wisdom from the wanderer.
“People can expect things in life; however, life may not always deliver.”
John’s life could be summarised in three words; traveller, worker, and communicator. John has had an interesting life working all over Australia in a variety of fields including agriculture and building. He has been known to put pen to paper as he has traversed the countryside, keeping connected to friends, family and the wider community.
Developing relationships and using his communication skills are the essential ingredients in his success. These skills have assisted him to go from one job or town to the next. He has found himself coming back year after year to work in jobs where he has developed a number of lasting friendships. He started work at 15 years of age and has continued to work throughout his life. He says, “I may not make the money I used to but at 61 years of age he has only missed three cherry seasons in Young”.
Leaving home at an early age, his mother gave him a dollar for the journey. John did a lot of research and arrived in Young, and before long met his father, who he was led to believe was not alive, and his extended family. He used this time with his dad to learn about his horticultural heritage.
John has seen many changes in the forms and methods of communication to keep people connected. However, his ability to hold a conversation with anyone has always been the key to his success. It has served him well getting through difficult and sometimes stressful situations and finding people he hasn’t seen for years. His knack of connecting with people has built a strong sense of resilience within John. Problems encountered don’t have to be a deterrent in life, and in John’s case, resilience and the power of communication has helped him along the way.
Generosity and hospitality have also been important in John’s life. He has always tried to pay forward the hospitality and generosity he receives, and still does this today.
John’s life has taken him to some interesting places, and he has crossed paths with so many characters, who have played a part in the person he is today. Seeing others go through illness and fighting his own health challenges, including recovering from a workplace accident at the age of 20 which saw him having to learn to walk again, has built resilience and determination. If John had given up at that time, he would never have had such an interesting journey.
John believes asking questions when you don’t know the answers is a great help and shares his knowledge in the hope this may help someone else. Overcoming challenges demonstrates John’s resilience and the ability to refocus his life after negative experiences and talking through hard times with the support of close friends is key to his success.
Never give up could be the motto for John’s life.
Kaitlyn, Affordable Housing in Wagga Wagga
“I honestly couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful home or easy process to jump start my future.”
– Kaitlyn McRae
When I began searching for a place of my own to start my little family of two, I wasn’t sure what I was looking for until I came across a place in Glenfield which was operated by Argyle Housing. The property was nice, affordable and within my budget, however, I realised that Argyle Housing has certain criteria to apply for this type of housing, but I loved it.
So, I decided to look into it and realised I would be eligible! I sent through the paperwork and got a call not long after from Argyle Housing saying that it had already been leased but they had this beautiful property in Kooringal which was brand new and they thought I’d love it. The Tenancy Officer at Argyle Housing was so lovely and organised a time for me to look at it straight away.
When I arrived, I thought to myself wow I never would have thought moving out for the first time at the age of 20, that I would even have a chance to live somewhere as nice as this. From the first glance it was perfect, I couldn’t fault it and decided that I would love to live here.
Argyle Housing made it so easy for me to sign the paperwork and made me feel so comfortable that if I ever needed anything they are there to help.
I bought all of my furniture, got the keys not long after and my dream came true. Now I wake up every day loving where I live, how quiet the area is, having the perfect sized home for me and my bub who is due in January. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful home or easy process to jump start my future.
Stacey, Affordable Housing in Wagga Wagga
Over the last year, I have been searching for the right house to call my home for my daughter and myself. I’m Stacey and I’m a Wiradjuri woman who is originally from Wagga. I’ve been given the opportunity to reside in one of the Argyle Housing affordable units in Kooringal. I’m a single mum of a beautiful 2-year-old girl, Luna. I’m ever so grateful for the opportunity, the homes are absolutely beautiful, and to have such a beautiful place to call home I feel truly blessed. So, thank you.
Since falling pregnant and having to leave work early due to the pregnancy being at high risk, I returned home to Wagga, to raise my baby. I haven’t had a home to call my own, I shared with family member after family member. It was never easy, and I always felt like I wasn’t were I needed to be. Being a single parent is hard. Basically, Surfing from house to house made things even harder. The pressure and the cost of living made me feel like it was impossible. So, when the opportunity was given to me to live in such a wonderful home at cost that I could actually manage I was over the moon.
It really has felt that since moving in, my life with my daughter has truly begun. I want to say thank you to Argyle Housing for giving me the ability to turn my life around and to make a home for my daughter.
Luna and I are extremely grateful.
Making a Difference
‘A huge thank you for giving me the chance for a better future learning new things, showing my daughter, no matter how many times you fall you get back up, keep smiling, stay strong, build resilience in yourself and keep going, whatever happens in life.’
The Argyle Housing Tertiary Scholarship Program (the Program) has been running continuously since 2015. During this time, 115 Scholarships (100 recipients in total) have been awarded to tenants and occupants of Argyle Housing’s properties to a total value of $141,813.00
The purpose of the Program is to empower and enable Argyle Housing tenants or household members to undertake education and training which will improve their chances of finding employment. Additionally, the Program has been successful in supporting positive social outcomes including improvements in mental health, health and in reducing isolation
The Program continues to grow each year, and with the support of sponsors, Argyle Housing funded 35 scholarships (up to $1,500 each) in the 2019/20 Financial Year.
- Scholarships were awarded across 12 Argyle Housing locations;
- Courses ranged from a Certificate 1 to a Master’s Degree; from funding for a Forklift Licence to gaining a Security and First Aid Qualification;
- Two recipients received their fourth scholarship payment during the year as they progress through their university degree;
- Five tenants completed their qualification during the year and four are now full time employed
- Almost overwhelmingly, scholarship funding has been used for computers, software and internet access as well as travel expenses
- COVID-19 has had an impact on tenant’s study experience with several courses being cancelled or brought online. This has caused problems for some who have had to either postpone or extend the length of their course.
‘I really enjoyed the area of study. It gives me the opportunity to work in a field where I can give back to the community and ‘pay it forward’ for all those who helped me.’
‘I just completed eight weeks of placement. It was a big highlight as it presented so many learning opportunities, especially on how to work with children.’
A HUGE thank you to our Scholarship Sponsors
Without you, so many opportunities would be lost!
During 2019/20, the Argyle Housing Tertiary Scholarship Program received significant corporate sponsorship from:
The Energy Industry Super Scheme (EISS)
EISS Super first partnered with Argyle Housing in 2018. Over the last two years a strong and respectful relationship has developed that supports both Argyle Housing tenants and employees. EISS Super looks forward to further strengthening its relationship and continuing to support the Tertiary Scholarship program for many years to come.
The Beyond Bank has supported the Argyle Tertiary Scholarship for the last two years and is also one of Argyle Housing business partners. The Beyond Bank is a strong supporter of communities. Over the years the Bank has invested a percentage of its nett profits in partnerships and programs, supported its staff to volunteer and has operated a community reward program across Australia.
Arthur J Gallagher is one of Argyle Housing business insurers and has been named one of the world’s most ethical brokers for eight years in a row. Arthur J Gallagher operates a little differently from other insurance brokers and strives every day to provide environmental, social and economic benefits to the communities in which it lives and works.
Castleton Technology PLC is the supplier and support provider for the Argyle Housing Finance and Housing management systems. Castleton’s technical experts assist the Argyle Housing IT team to ensure that our systems are up to date, efficient and functioning effectively. This support partnership assists Argyle Housing staff to continue to deliver a quality service to our tenants.
Mittagong RSL has developed an association with Argyle Housing that is about providing opportunity to people who may not necessarily be exposed to an environment where opportunity exists. There is a synergy between both organisations in that they are here to assist in providing connections for their communities to assist tenants to realise their potential.
Allianz is another of Argyle Housing’s insurers. Through its core business, Allianz contributes to sustainable economic growth and is focused on breaking down barriers to social inclusion for a better, more productive future.
‘I finished… in my dream job and no longer needing housing assistance from Argyle Housing’
“You do not know what you can achieve, until you do it. You will not know how far you can go, until you try.”
Introducing Tammy, an Argyle Housing tenant and tertiary Scholarship recipient. Tammy and her partner live in the Southern Highlands. They are a blended family with ten children with three teenagers still at home, and their first grandchild due in December 2020.
Tammy has shown remarkable resilience throughout the year. She has adapted to online learning due to COVID – 19, overcome her doubt in her own ability and survived studying at home with three teenagers who she referred to as being like ‘three puppies in a box’!
This is Tammy’s story…
I have survived a bad relationship and over three years of cancer treatment. I am now well, in a good marriage and have started to find myself again as a person who has a passion to help and support young people.
In February 2020, I enrolled in TAFE to do a Certificate 1V in Community Services with a view to finding volunteer or paid work in youth services. As a mum of ten, I have really noticed that there is a lack of support, mentoring and other services for young people in the Southern Highlands, especially for 11-14 year-olds. This is such a vulnerable age for kids and having access to positive help and support if needed is crucial to what type of teenagers and adults they become.
I had not studied for many years and had a lot of self -doubt about my own ability to go back to studying. Was I too old? Would I cope with the technology after being a pen and paper girl? Could I afford the costs involved with the course?
In February 2020, I applied for an Argyle Housing Tertiary Scholarship and was successful with the application. The first payment paid for course fees, supplies, transport and helped me to set up for study. I bought a good quality printer and ink with the second payment which I needed when TAFE went online. The third payment will help buy more supplies and pay for my internet connection.
I was very nervous in my first week at TAFE but by week two had settled in and found that I loved studying. I enjoyed being with other people from all age groups and actually talking about things that were not about family and children.
Then COVID-19 struck, and my study went online in March 2020. This was disappointing for me as I had been enjoying the face to face classes very much. However, I was determined to succeed. I mastered the technology, survived being in lock down with three high school teenagers and I am now, after lots of hard work, expecting to finish my Cert 1V in December this year.
The message I really want to share is that you do not know what you can achieve, until you do it. You will not know how far you can go, until you try.
Don’t listen to those who tell you that you can’t do something. I had so much self-doubt and it was only by focusing on bettering myself that I now feel better able to support others. Finding the confidence to follow my passion and return to study after what I had been through has proven to me that I am a strong and resilient person.
I would like to complete my Diploma next year and my teachers are encouraging me to do a bachelor degree further down the track. I have applied for one position in the youth support services and am just waiting to hear back. If I am unsuccessful this time around, I will keep volunteering to gain experience, continue to study next year and I know that I will eventually end up in a field of work that I am passionate about.
Don’t be afraid to find your passion and go for it 100%.
Tammy, an Argyle Housing Tenant
A place to stay and keep warm
Homelessness can affect anyone. There is no shame in reaching out, we’re all human and we all need help sometimes. During this time of COVID-19 restrictions, if someone is sleeping rough in Canberra in winter, there is help available.
In May this year, the ACT Government announced the details of $3 million in funding to provide support for people facing homelessness or domestic and family violence arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanks to support from the ACT Government, Argyle Housing and CatholicCare opened a temporary accommodation facility for people in Canberra experiencing homelessness. Argyle Housing is providing accommodation for men through the Winter Lodge, and CatholicCare is providing accommodation for women at MacKillop House.
Winter Lodge at Ainslie Village opened on 11 May 2020 during the height of COVID-19 and is a short-term housing program by the ACT Government and Argyle Housing. Together we have delivered accommodation for men sleeping rough during the winter months. It has 18 rooms and men are referred by the ACT support services sector or they can be assessed onsite.
Argyle Housing staff are on hand to give advice and assistance to those coming through Winter Lodge to get them into more permanent accommodation or to show them how to access support services that may assist them.
In the first few months of operation, Winter Lodge received 198 referrals in total. We have housed 144 clients into Winter Lodge.
Winter Lodge has been receiving referrals from different agencies mainly OneLink, Early Morning Centre, Red Cross Roadhouse, City Mental Health, Belconnen Community Services, ACT Police and Calvary Hospital. We also have had few self-referred.
All the referrals have been between the age range of 20-70 years-old. The youngest referral was an 18-year-old man and the oldest referral was 72 years of age.
Success Exit: 44 clients out of 144 housed have either transitioned into medium/long term accommodation within Ainslie Village or externally.
Argyle Housing has transitioned 36 residents from Winter Lodge into medium/long term accommodation into Ainslie Village. Three residents have entered into shared private rental from Winter Lodge, 4 into transitional house and one moved to NSW as his friend offered him accommodation until the end of winter.
A Resident’s Journey
Trevor has been a rough sleeper on and off the streets of Canberra for a number of years and was referred to Winter Lodge through local support services. He stayed the first night but found the experience daunting as Trevor felt the room was too restrictive and he ended up sleeping on the floor of the room. He did not come back for the second night. Some days passed and Trevor presented himself again to Winter Lodge after a couple of really cold nights in Canberra. This time, Argyle Housing staff were able to talk to Trevor further about his needs and were able to tailor the room more specifically to his requirements and make him feel more comfortable by removing some of the furniture.
Having a sense of control over his environment, Trevor was able to develop a more positive approach towards the experience and start to work through some of the issues that had blocked him in the past. Through further one-on-one sessions with Argyle Housing staff, giving him further tools to build upon his resilience, Trevor has now moved into more permanent accommodation onsite at Ainslie Village. He has found health advice through ACT Directions and uses the services of the Blue Door.
Givit and Winter Lodge
GIVIT is an organisation that connects those in need with people and companies that have products or services to give and donate.
The winter months in Canberra can be very cold and our friends at GIVIT know this too well. They provided helpful donations for the rooms of Winter Lodge including packs of toothpaste, personal hygiene products, doonas, towels, mattress protectors, and pillows. The team from GIVIT worked really well with Argyle Housing helping set up the 18 rooms within three weeks. GIVIT was able to contact third party suppliers for some of the major items such as bed frames.
Within a 48 hour period, the 18 rooms were set up, cleaned and the store room shelving constructed and stocked with consumable items ready for the first intake of residents to get a warm night’s sleep.
“GIVIT has had the privilege of working closely with the Argyle Housing teams for more than three years. From a pair of new socks to restore dignity, through to furnishing a temporary housing facility during COVID-19; GIVIT and Argyle Housing’s wonderful collaboration is making a tangible difference in our community.”
Caroline Odgers, Regional Manager ACT for GIVIT
Sean’s journey to stability
“We can be better even after we fall.”
Sean is now a resident of Ainslie Village, but it has not always been an easy road for him. Sean’s journey with the Winter Lodge program began when he found out about the newly set up accommodation for rough sleepers and Ainslie Village.
While at the Winter Lodge, Sean confided to the staff that he wants to turn his life around and make a new beginning.
Sean stated that he was a previous resident of Ainslie Village. He was served with Notice to Vacate some time mid last year for huge rental arrears. He stated that he did not make a right decision and did not make an effort to repay his arrears. Sean ended up couch surfing and refused to seek any assistance until he came to Winter Lodge.
Sean was assisted with a plan to repay his debit and get an accommodation in Ainslie Village again. Sean was excited and grateful to Argyle Housing for the opportunity to make things right this time and promised to be on top of his rent. Sean with little to no assistance, was able to repay his earlier debit and sign up for an accommodation with us.
Sean is now well in advance with his rent. He has proved that second chances are not given to make things right but are given to prove that we can be better even after we fall. He has successfully transitioned into Ainslie Village from Winter Lodge.
Well done Sean for remaining true to yourself.
Vale Ross Graham
Renaming Art Room in memory of Ross Graham
The Common Ground complex in Gungahlin ACT has a vibrant community of tenants that look after one another and contribute to make it a place they call home.
So, when a favourite tenant passes, there is great sadness.
Ross Graham was one of the first residents to move into Common Ground Dickson and was a well-loved tenant amongst the community. Ross passed early in 2020. He was an artist and spent many hours working at his practice within the art room of Common Ground. As a memorial to Ross, friends and family gathered in the art room to remember a man that had a huge influence in the many lives of the people he called friends. In honor, the Art Room has now been named after Ross Graham and a plaque installed for the community to remember him.
Western Sydney and Murrumbidgee regions
Together Home is a new program rolled out for Rough sleepers across NSW. This new program is the largest housing response dedicated to rough sleepers in NSW which will secure homes rapidly from the private rental market to house in need.
Argyle Housing have currently housed nine rough sleepers in the Campbelltown and Camden local government areas
Our goal is to find 12 people a place to call home, but the critical step is supporting them with the services they need to improve their health and wellbeing, in order to rebuild their lives.
Argyle Housing and Uniting will be working together in the next two years to help people take the first steps towards breaking the cycle of disadvantage and staying off the streets for good.
Together Home has been delivered by the NSW Government, in collaboration with 19 community housing providers, specialist homelessness services and healthcare workers.
Argyle Housing and Uniting’s aim is to give people a hand-up and set them on the pathway to independence, and that all starts with a safe and secure place to call home. Together we have been working hard to provide a wraparound service to help these clients sustain a tenancy and improve their wellbeing.
Chantell Wyszenko – Together Home Coordinator, Campbelltown
Together Home Program
Through the Together Home Program, the NSW Government is investing $36m for two years from 2020-2021 to 2021-2022 to expand the Community Housing Leasing Program (CHLP) to support people sleeping rough impacted by COVID-19.
One of the key differences with this new program is the engagement of a support provider through subcontracting arrangements to provide wraparound case management support to individuals housed through the program. This presents an opportunity to manage both immediate public health risks and create a lasting change to address street homelessness, in line with the Premier’s Priority to reduce street homelessness.
Across the Murrumbidgee, 10 assistance packages have been allocated to assist people into homes. These are not necessarily allocated to a single person but could be used to assist a whole family. People who are referred to the program are individually assessed as to what individual services they need, including drug and alcohol services and mental health support.
Wendy has been approached by The Daily Advertiser and ABC Riverina to discuss Argyle Housing’s involvement in the program for the Murrumbidgee region.
Wendy Middleton, chief executive officer of Argyle Housing, told The Daily Advertiser the program provided not only housing, but a range of other services to people for up to two years.
In regional areas, since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown, Argyle Housing is seeing an increase in people who have lost their job, cannot afford their rent and have left rental properties, she said.
“We know there are rough sleepers and all the agencies are working with them, putting them in temporary accommodation. But we are seeing another cohort of people coming through and they are people who cannot afford their rentals,” Mrs. Middleton said.
We first met Rhett after we received a referral from a local Wagga Wagga support service in September with the agency explaining that he was sleeping in a tent in Wilkes Park. After several failed attendances, Rhett was able to make it into the Argyle Housing Wagga Wagga for an initial meeting with our staff. Rhett was able to complete the required paperwork and we discussed calling Link2Home for temporary accommodation whilst we looked for his more permanent home.
Not long after this meeting we found and offered Rhett a property in an area of Wagga Wagga that is close to transport and local shops with a viewing closely following that same day. When Rhett viewed the property, he said he would be keen on the place as it had enough room for his son to visit.
Sign up happened in October with Rhett in tears after giving him the keys, as he explained he is overwhelmed with happiness and thanks. He said that he is currently trying to settle in and provide security and routine for his son Archer, who is 3 years old. He said that he is “grateful for the opportunity, beyond words.”
What are the Golden Crow Awards 2.0? Click here to visit the awards website.
WAGGA’S annual celebration of local businesses has been switched up this year with a new focus on people’s choice.
The Golden Crow Awards typically has 16 categories ranging from best customer service to outstanding tradie, as well as a lengthy nomination process.
In 2020 Wagga Wagga Business Chamber ran the Crow Awards 2.0 – a publicly nominated and voted awards program consisting of six awards. You can nominate as many businesses as you like or self-nominate. Once nominations close, all the businesses that have been nominated will be up for public vote in their category, the businesses with the highest number of votes wins.
Golden Crow Award Categories
- Outstanding Customer Service Award – recognising a business in the Local Government Area who you think is offering amazing customer service
- Outstanding Tradie – the best trades business – sole trader or business – open to all forms of tradies, eg. plumber, electrician, builder, mechanic, etc.
- Best Pivoted Business – the business who you think has shown outstanding sustainability and done an amazing job adapting to the challenges of Covid-19
- Best Business Leader – the business or person that you think has gone above and beyond to assist other businesses through the Covid-19 period and shown outstanding entrepreneurial spirit
- Outstanding Start Up – for businesses that have successfully launched a new business or venture in the previous 12-24 months
- People’s Choice Award – Facilitated by TripleM, tell us in 25 words or less who your People’s Choice business is and why
Southern Highlands Business Awards
The Local Business Awards aim to pay tribute to and reward the local community’s best businesses. It also aims to develop and strengthen the bonds between businesses and the community thereby improving the standards of local businesses.
The Local Business Awards are based within the local community. The awards give local businesses the opportunity to:
- Promote their business and its strengths
- Display their range of products and services
- Provide in-store displays of their Local Business Awards success.
The Local Business Awards brings together businesses, the local community and Awards sponsors to celebrate excellence and quality.