Vision and Values
To deliver quality housing options and connections to our community
We have regard for the feelings, wishes and rights of everybody
We seek out ways to improve and add value to the delivery of our services
We are accountable for what we do and how we do it
We face our challenges, we learn and we move forward
Assist people on low to moderate income by providing access to housing solutions
Encourage the involvement of people and organisations in the solution of problems affecting community
People and Culture
Foster an inclusive and positive workplace environment
Relationships and Partnerships
Develop strong and effective relationships and partnerships to achieve positive outcomes for the people and communities we serve
Growth for Sustainability
Increase housing options while sustaining current assets
Acknowledgement of Country
Argyle Community Housing acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders both past and present. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.
Welcome from the Chair
2019 – 2020 A year of fires, floods and pestilence
This year’s theme of resilience is fitting given we have had a year that no one could have forecast in July 2019. It has tested society as a whole in how we interact, socialise, shop, seek medical services and work.
If ever there was a time to develop resilience, it was over the last 12 months. Our staff, tenants, partners and supporters have demonstrated the ability to overcome challenges and always look to the future with hope, which is evident in the many positive stories contained in this annual report.
As much as an organisation can forecast and plan for different scenarios, the impact of fires, drought, floods and a worldwide pandemic would be more than most could predict. However, it is with pride, that Argyle Housing can say, we have faced each of these obstacles, persevered, and continue to deliver service and support across a society looking for security in an uncertain world.
The bushfires over the summer impacted some of our communities, in particular the Wollondilly and Wingecarribee areas. Whilst some tenants needed to be evacuated for safety reasons, it was pleasing that no tenants or staff suffered injuries or property damage.
Bushfires were replaced by the breaking of the drought which led to flooding in parts of NSW but thankfully spared Argyle Housing. Through both bushfires and floods, community spirit shone through and reminded us of our commitment to look out for each other.
Then along came COVID-19. In a rapidly evolving health crisis, the pandemic saw Argyle Housing adjust to the demanding new environment of sanitising, social distancing and COVID-19 testing for symptoms. During this period and ongoing we have been able to keep our offices open with minimal disruptions, deliver the services our tenants expect from us and keep our staff employed. With the exception of the suspension of property inspections and gatherings of groups of tenants we have been able to adapt to most needs.
Whilst health and safety are always a top priority, it has become evident in recent times, that due to social restrictions people have sometimes felt isolated. Wherever possible, Argyle Housing will facilitate building connections within communities and neighbourhoods and offer a friendly voice at the end of the phone if needed.
“It may appear the year was full of gloom, however a number of positive achievements occurred.”
Argyle Housing received NSW government stimulus funding in May that enabled us to bring forward repairs and upgrades to over 175 properties we manage. These works replaced items including stoves, hot water systems, heaters and kitchens.
As a Tier 1 Community Housing Provider, Argyle Housing is beholden to grow its stock of housing. To support this growth requirement, we successfully participated in a NHFIC bond issue borrowing $12m for a period of 12 years. This provides us with the financial capacity to acquire more houses in the regions we serve.
After a long period of advocacy by Argyle Housing and other supporters, the NSW government recognised the need to renew and drive social change in Tolland Gardens. An EOI was issued seeking partners to help create a new mixed-tenure community and achieve positive social outcomes. Argyle Housing are keen to participate in this exciting initiative.
In Griffith two projects are underway. At Wakaden Street Argyle Housing has four dwellings under development. At Griffin Green, incorporating Dave Taylor Park, Argyle Housing and Griffith Council are working together to deliver 20 new affordable dwellings.
Whilst these initiatives are signs of resilience and a future focus, they are much more than bricks and mortar, and represent our commitment to improving people’s lives through providing security and opportunity.
Finally, it is very important to acknowledge and thank the staff and management for their efforts, perseverance and good humour during a very challenging year.
Welcome from the CEO
Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.
– Margaret Thatcher
The theme of this year’s annual report is one of Argyle Housing’s values, Resilience.
Resilience is important for several reasons; it enables us to develop ways for protection against experiences which could be overwhelming, it helps us to maintain balance in our lives during difficult or stressful periods, and can also protect us from the development of some mental health difficulties and issues.
The number of times I hear that: let’s forget 2019 and welcome in 2020. Argyle Housing did persevere throughout the year and achieved many positive outcomes for tenants and staff. This annual report reflects on our tenant journeys and their outcomes as well as highlighting the resilience of our staff and their families.
Drought has been hard enough, particularly in our western areas and then the bushfires came, destroying people’s homes, belongings, animals as well as the loss of people’s lives. Throughout this time, we made sure that we kept in contact with all our tenants in these areas to ensure that they were safe. Our staff were evacuated in several areas and their livelihood was at risk as well. But we were able to come through with an energy and commitment to rebuild and recover.
Then in February/March came the impact of a pandemic. No one would have predicted that this would change our world completely.
Life is tough – there’s no one in their right mind that would disagree with that. We at Argyle Housing had to plan for what has been a traumatising six months, and it continues.
“Our staff have been incredible. Knowing very early on that we were an essential service, the planning and carrying out of the plan that was tenant centred has worked for us. Safety for everyone was our mandate.”
This a testament to the commitment and compassion of our partner agencies, our financial supporters, our volunteers, and our staff. It hasn’t always been easy. I think we all now see the past through different eyes since the COVID-19 pandemic changed so much of what we take for granted. We’ve had to adjust our processes and make hard decisions. Without the support of the Argyle Housing staff we wouldn’t be in the position we are currently in and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you them for their commitment and hard work.
I know we are going to be facing some big challenges in 2021 and beyond and with a committed team and Board we will continue to do the best we can. We will work though the immediate impacts of COVID-19, and make sure that tenants are safe and happy.
This organisation has a strong and committed tenant focussed Board. We thank them for making the tough decisions and keeping us focussed.
In particular, I want to thank Terry Downing, retiring Chair for his leadership, stewardship and resilience throughout his time at Argyle Housing and wish him well
Our success is the community’s success.
Resilience is the ability of our tenants and staff to maintain a sense of control over their environment and move forward in a positive manner, despite any knocks to the balance in their life. Some people cope with stress in their personal and work lives better than others and this is often due to their resilience. They push through the challenges whilst others around them crumble under the pressure.
Resilience is not something we are born with; it is something that can be developed over time.
For the Tenant
Efforts to build tenant and community resilience often focus on growing the capacity to bounce back from disruptions. Truly robust tenant and community resilience should engage and benefit all community members and consider the types of challenges the community might face – whether bush fires to a lack of housing or unemployment. It should be grounded in proven resilience practice, which tells us how complex systems – like human communities – can be flexible, adapt and persist through changing circumstances. Keeping a sense of optimism is difficult when times are tough but the ability to take one step at a time towards a brighter future is a key characteristic of resilience in both individuals and communities.
For the Organisation
Business resilience is the ability an organisation has to quickly adapt to disruptions while maintaining continuous business operations and safeguarding people, assets and overall brand equity. Business resilience goes a step beyond disaster recovery by offering post-disaster strategies to avoid costly downtime, shore up vulnerabilities and maintain business operations in the face of additional, unexpected adversities.
Business resilience begins with an understanding that the we work must be preserved in order for the organisation to survive unexpected events. An often-overlooked challenge of business resilience planning is the human element, whereby individuals in a chaotic situation must be prepared and educated on how to respond accordingly.
Board of Directors
Argyle Housing is governed by a Board of Directors who bring a diverse set of skills, experience and knowledge to guide the strategic direction of Argyle Housing, while our Chief Executive Officer and Leadership Team lead an organisation of dedicated individuals to implement this strategy.
Chairman of the Board
Resilience is knowing that no matter the challenges that today throws up, by focusing on what I can control or influence will produce a better outcome in the future.
Terry is an experienced non-executive director with current and prior positions in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. He brings extensive financial, risk management, corporate governance and commercial experience to the Argyle Housing Board.
Terry was appointed to the Argyle Housing Board on 4 April 2012.
Resilience means different things to different people. It includes a mindset like toughness, the ability to persevere and positive thinking. It includes taking action like self-care or problem solving to deal with personal challenges. [Loss, anger, anxiety or exclusion may be some of those challenges.] Resilience is the first step you take within or with others, and each step after that.
Susan is a non-executive director in the not-for-profit sector and previously in the public sector. She has over 30 years’ experience as a commercial lawyer in the private and public sectors including insurance and electricity. Susan has executive experience as General Counsel of Ausgrid and General Counsel and Company Secretary of Royal & Sun Alliance.
Susan was appointed to the Argyle Housing Board on 1 January 2016.
It’s easy to get comfortable doing the things we’ve always done. Sometimes things beyond our control disrupt our balance and we feel out of sorts, uncomfortable, disoriented and we don’t know what to do next. The global pandemic, bushfires and drought are all recent powerful examples of how things beyond our control can unsettle our balance. We have all been impacted in some way.
What we can control is our response to changes happening around us. Sometimes, trying to keep things the same as they were feels like a struggle, it’s hard, draining and leaves us with no energy for the things that bring us joy and for those we love.
Create a sense of perspective, step back and look at what is happening without being attached to the outcome. Rethink your position or approach, be open to change and consider how you can do things differently, without the struggle. Trying something different feels strange at first but adapting, recreating and evolving the way you do things or who you are in the world can be exciting. It becomes your new happy place. New people and ideas open themselves to you. Things you never thought possible. Embracing opportunities to change is resilience.
Donna is an experienced Company Secretary and Non-Executive Director with proven governance and risk management expertise. She has significant board level experience and leverages her strong record of accomplishment in leading change and resolving complex business issues. Donna’s rich experience, ranging from start-up businesses to large-scale organisations, enables her to engage effectively and credibly with a broad range of stakeholders and provide sound business leadership in changing environments. Donna has executive experience across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors including Qantas, Macquarie Bank and the University of Newcastle, where she has been responsible for achieving operational efficiencies, implementing significant change programs, establishing corporate service functions and governance frameworks.
Donna was appointed to the Argyle Housing Board on 1 January 2016.
In these challenging times resilience is being able to maintain a razor-sharp focus on recognising and working through the myriad of issues that will or could arise in such an environment, while always staying true to the mission. Innovation, effort, perseverance, empathy for those doing it tough, and finding a way to bounce back are all key.
Chris has 36 years of broad-ranging experience in the property industry, covering property funds management (both listed and unlisted); property and asset management; property investment (including acquisition and divestment); property development; project management; financial management; marketing; sustainability; and corporate governance and compliance. He has experience both on-shore (Australia) and offshore (as Regional Head of Asset Management for Asia-Pacific, based in Singapore, with LaSalle Investment Management).
During his career, Chris also has held senior roles with GPT Group, Lendlease, BT Funds Management / Principal Financial Group, Colliers International, Jones Lang Wootton (now JLL) and, early in his career, in the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments. Chris is a non-executive director of Harbison Memorial Retirement Village and is a member of Harbison’s Built Environment Development and Risk & Audit committees. He is currently managing director of Pindari Capital, a funds management company wholly owned by Mulpha Australia.
Chris was appointed to the Argyle Housing Board on 1 January 2018.
Resilience means to me the ability to overcome adversity or adapt to changing circumstances. Whilst the term resilience has become a common phrase over the past 12 months it is important not to diminish its value and to remember the personal strength that comes from being resilient, irrespective of whether the issues are personal matters or a global pandemic.
Yvette has over 25 years’ experience in public practice as a Chartered Accountant, working with private groups and not-for profit organisations.
Yvette is currently an independent member of the Governance, Audit & Risk Committee for Shellharbour City Council, and was previously a Trustee and Deputy Chair of Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust and a member of NSW Council for Women’s Economic Opportunity. Yvette has extensive experience in financial and risk management, corporate governance, business operations and commercial management.
Yvette was appointed to the Argyle Housing Board on 1 January 2018.
If I had to define resilience for me, three words come to mind – adaptability, flexibility and strength. This year in the wake of a pandemic, bushfires and other natural events, I have seen these characteristics emerge from various parts of our community with positive outcomes. This year has been one of adapting to change – how we work and play. We have all become more flexible and accepting of each other. Most importantly, there has been strength and compassion shown by all of us during what has been a challenging year.
Resilience is all about bouncing back from tragedies and difficult times and these skills have been put to the test this year.
Tracey has over 25 years in the property and finance sectors in strategic property and financial advisory, development and project management as well as asset and property management. Tracey has held senior executive positions in both the public and private sector nationally and internationally including with Landcom, Royal Bank of Scotland, CRI and Tamaki Regeneration Company.
Throughout this time, Tracey has been involved in a number of large scale social and urban renewal projects including most recently the Tamaki Regeneration Programme in Auckland, New Zealand. This is the largest social regeneration project in New Zealand seeking to improve the social and economic well-being of a key area of Auckland.
Tracey’s property and commercial background is coupled with a strong understanding of the social and community housing sector.
Tracey was appointed to the Argyle Housing Board on 1 May 2019.
As a board member I looked for the traits of resilience in the organisation such as courage, adaptability, compassion for our tenants and each other, teamwork and self-awareness; Argyle Housing clearly displayed these traits. However, to me the most critical trait is stress tolerance; the capacity to handle pressure, uncertainty and stressful situations time and time again and still turn up for work ready to go another day providing vital services and support to tenants. Argyle Housing literally has weathered the storm of bushfires, floods and Coronavirus. The stress on the organisation has been immense and it is not over yet; but we are still in operation and confidently looking to the future, aware that our services are even more necessary.
Julian Sawicki has a 25-year career in executive management and membership of boards. This experience covers financial management, strategic planning, risk management, human resources and culture, quality and compliance with a strong understanding of board governance principles arising from completion of the Company Directors course via the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Julian’s passion for community services is reflected in his senior and chief executive roles with values based organisations providing a wide range of community and personal support services throughout South Australia. His experience in community housing policy and practice arises from significant involvement with community housing companies such as Westside Housing and Unity Housing. This practical experience coupled with knowledge of government policy adds to his board experience in the superannuation, community services, community housing and disability services sectors.
Julian believes that access to safe, secure and affordable housing is essential for a fair community if its members are to participate fully in the life of their community.
Julian was appointed to the Argyle Housing Board on 1 May 2019.
Strategic Plan 2018/21
The Strategic Plan is tenant and community focused with an emphasis on how Argyle Housing can provide more housing options, exceptional tenancy experience and opportunities for tenants to achieve the best possible outcomes in their lives.
This current Strategic Plan is in its last year and the Board and our CEO will be in planning at the beginning of 2021 for the next plan that will carry Argyle Housing for the next five years. The review in 2021 will be an opportunity for Argyle Housing to plan how, as an organisation, it can meet the housing needs of the communities in which we operate. The Strategic Plan provides a framework for Argyle Housing to build local partnerships that fulfil and respect the specific needs of the community and to respond quickly and effectively to wider growth opportunities that may arise.
As an organisation we have achieved lot of what we outlined in this current plan and look forward to 2021.
Retiring Board Member
Argyle Housing thanks Pamela Edwards for her service
We would like to thank Pamela Edwards for her tireless contribution to the Argyle Housing Board. Pamela was appointed in April 2012 and brought with her extensive experience in the investment management business in Australia, the UK and Europe. Prior to that, Pamela was a partner in a prominent Australian law firm. She has also served the community on the boards of Australian arts organisations.
We wish Pamela all the very best for her retirement and future endeavours.
We would like to thank the Commonwealth, NSW and ACT Governments; and the organisations, agencies, contractors and local governments that have worked with Argyle Housing throughout 2019/2020. You have all helped us deliver great outcomes for and assist in building resilience in our tenants and communities.
We also acknowledge and thank our staff across all locations. We appreciate your effort and commitment throughout the year.