Appointment of Cherie’s position and what that has meant to operations
In October 2020 we created the Position of Operations Manager (Housing Services) seconded into this role was Cherie Tizzoni who was previously the Team Leader ACT and the Compliance Manager. Cherie’s depth of knowledge of our contracts and compliance obligations in NSW and ACT as well as operational experience has made an incredible difference in ensuring that all our Housing Services Team have increased training and support, we have strengthened our commitment to practice improvement, operational systems and most importantly service delivery outcomes to our tenants
In December 2020 NSW announced the accelerated redevelopment of Stage 11 of Claymore (Campbelltown). From January we have worked closely with the 42 impacted tenants and their families in this precinct to assess their housing needs and work with them to transfer to alternative housing. This has been an enormous effort from the Tenancy and Allocations teams, particularly during a prolonged lockdown. To date more than 30 households have been successfully relocated to social housing properties, affordable housing, or private rental. Thank you to all the tenants impacted by this redevelopment, your understanding and cooperation with our teams has been amazing despite the stress of having to leave your home and community.
Operations response to COVID
Our Campbelltown office has been the most impacted by COVID lockdown and restrictions during this year. We are incredibly proud of the team who have continued to work throughout the lockdown period as essential workers operating as a split team in the office and from home to ensure that we have continuous availability to our tenants and stakeholders during this time.
Campbelltown, like all our offices have been extremely active in maintaining contact with tenants, particularly those who we know are isolated and vulnerable. Regular phone calls, welfare checks, support referrals, emergency food relief, promoting online education and support options to tenants are among the supports provided during this time.
As essential workers our teams have maintained an incredible commitment to Argyle Housing and our tenants. Whilst sharing all the same concerns about their health, the health and wellbeing of their loved ones, and dealing with the frustrations of lockdown they have continued to come to work every day to ensure that we are supporting our Tenants and continuing to house those in need.
Our teams have gotten creative to ensure that we have continued wherever possible to get the job done. Everything from remote electronic lease sign ups, contactless property viewing, to virtual inspections.
Access and Allocations
Our Access & Allocations team have also been split with team working from home and in the office. Whilst it has been hard to be separated and not having their Team Leader onsite for around four months, they have made sure that they have met all their KPI’s and kept their focus on getting people into a home.
Inspections and PPE During COVID
There were a lot of new challenges completing inspections in the past year. Our Tenants have been very supportive of our teams asking COVID questions and wearing various items of PPE during inspections. As different LGA’s have gone in and out of lockdown we have also gone on and then off inspections sometimes on very short notice. Despite all this the teams were able to achieve 85% of the inspection target for the year with most of our regional offices achieving 100%.
During the past 12 months our teams rapidly brought online 2 new programs in NSW and ACT to provide services as a part of the Public Health response to COVID
Together Home Program – In South West Sydney and Murrumbidgee Argyle Housing were funded by NSW Government to provide housing and intensive support to 22 people who were homeless and sleeping rough. To deliver this program we partnered with Uniting in SWS and Marathon Health in Murrumbidgee as support partners. In less than three months we successfully housed all participants in long term housing, many of whom have been rough sleeping for more than 10 years. All participants remain engaged and have made incredible changes to their lives with the security of housing and the support offered by our partners.
The success of this initiative state-wide resulted in an expansion of this program and additional funding to Argyle Housing for the 2021/2022FY for a further 21 participants.
Winter Lodge – Late in 2019/2020 FY ACT Housing funded Argyle Housing to deliver a homelessness service onsite at Ainslie Village for men who were rough sleeping during the Winter months. Argyle Housing offered residents shelter for up to 7 days working with them during this time to obtain long term housing, where this was their goal. A number of residents had multiple short-term stays and during the 5 months of operation the Winter Lodge received 220 referrals, from which a total of 153 people were housed by this program. A total of 51 clients went into long term accommodation within the Ainslie Village complex or externally. They were all equally supported to receive any additional services needed to improve their quality of health and wellbeing. Following the success of Winter Lodge we were extremely pleased to be funded for Winter 2021/22
Thank the support services
We have had incredible support throughout the year from our Partners, We Are Community, St Vincent de Paul, Anglicare, St Saviours, Uniting, Marathon Health, Northside Community Services, YES Unlimited, Mission Australia, Pop-In, Barnardos, Challenge House, Linking Communities Network, TFRS, GivIt, CAHMA just to name a few. The support that you have offered to our tenants over the past 12 months has been invaluable, and for this we thank you.
To our housing partners DCJ, LAHC, ACT Housing, BlueCHP, and Real Estate Partners we thank you for your continued support in allowing us to continue to provide increasing opportunities to house our tenants in a safe and sustainable way. We are especially grateful this year to our real estate partners who continue to support us to lease properties at a time where there has been record low vacancy rates, this has been particularly important in Wagga and Campbelltown in housing THP participants.
Housing Operations Manager
COVID Safe Workplace
This year Argyle Housing launched its new staff incentive campaign “COVID Safe Workforce” to ensure that the safety and wellbeing of our tenants, their families and our staff are the highest priority. The aim is to get our staff to be fully vaccinated by 2022.
Pop In Launch
Over two years ago a group of community members approached Argyle Housing to seek interest and support to provide a service for women experiencing domestic violence. They had researched the options and services that would meet the needs of the Southern Highland’s women. After spending time with these energetic and zealous individuals, we saw an opportunity to be involved and work with them to make their vision a reality.
It’s not easy to sustain the energy and commitment to make this happen, but they did it. They never gave up and held true to their mission of getting Pop In up and running.
Argyle Housing commends the Pop In Board for having the courage and commitment to supporting women in the Southern Highlands who are in crisis, need support and feel isolated. In a very quick time, the Pop In Board have established and are operating a safe environment run by professionals, funded philanthropically, and are helping women in need.
Argyle Housing provides social and affordable housing in the Wingecarribee and deal with women who have or are experiencing domestic violence. Previously we have had to refer them up the highway for services. Now we can refer them locally.
Argyle Housing has provided assistance through our charitable status, providing employment and financial services so that Pop In could commence, and laid the foundations for the development of the website.
Argyle Housing wanted this to succeed, so the Board wanted to have an active and participatory role and volunteered Yvette to become an inaugural Board member of Pop In. Yvette is resident and business owner within the Southern Highlands and is passionate about the health and well-being of women in her community. Yvette actively bridges the relationship between Argyle Housing and Pop In
We would like to thank the Pop In Board for inviting Argyle Housing on this exciting and promising journey. The relationship that we have is unique and Argyle Housing aspires to ensure that other regional communities are afforded the same opportunity. We know that through sheer determination and hard work and the generosity of the broader community that it can be made a reality.
Argyle Housing is honoured and privileged to be associated with the development and opening of Pop In a safe place for women who are or have experienced family violence who live in the Southern Highlands.
Awards – PowerHousing Business Partnership
Category Seven – Business Partner Award
This nomination is an acknowledgment and celebration of the partnership between Griffith City Council (GCC) as Lead Agency and Argyle Community Housing Ltd (Argyle Housing) that commenced in 2019 to deliver a project for the development of the Dave Taylor Park Precinct in Griffith, NSW. The name of the Project is Griffin Green.
Argyle Housing would like to thank Brett Stonestreet, the General Manager of GCC, for his support of this Award Nomination to PowerHousing.
Outstanding Working Relationship
The unique working relationship between Argyle Housing and GCC on the Griffin Green Project commenced in 2019 when the two organisations worked together to prepare an application for Building Better Regions IV (BBRF) funding for the development of the Dave Taylor Park precinct (comprising vacant, LAHC owned land) situated within the Pioneer Housing Estate in Griffith. The Project proposed to deliver:
- 20 new Affordable Housing dwellings
- 42 housing sites available for new housing
- New and improved roads, stormwater drainage, kerb and guttering, street lighting, footpaths, and landscaping
- Enhanced green spaces and play areas; and
- A vibrant and inclusive community with enhanced amenity to enable positive social outcomes within an area characterised by high levels of social housing and disadvantage.
Both Argyle Housing and GCC committed to equal co-contribution funding to the proposal and, in 2020, were successful in being awarded dollar for dollar BBRF funding for the Project from the Federal Government. The total funding comprised of GCC $3m, Argyle Housing $3m and BBRF $6m.
During the BBRF application process, Argyle Housing and GCC sought and obtained support for the project from the State Government, and in July 2020, Minister Pavey confirmed this support and made the LAHC owned land needed for the development available for purchase.
GCC and Argyle Housing have collaborated continuously to progress the Griffin Green Project with Council undertaking responsibility for civil design and construction and Argyle Housing developing and overseeing dwelling construction.
As at the date of this Award Nomination:
- Four (4) separate DAs have been lodged
- Two (2) DAs have been approved
- EOI and tenders for the 20 Affordable dwellings have been called and closed by Argyle Housing through Council; and
- Work on the extension of the roadways by Council has commenced
Argyle Housing and GCC have jointly and separately consulted with the local community and DCJ tenants adjacent to the Project area. Representatives from the Local Aboriginal Land Council have been actively involved in the consultation process and sit on the Project Control Group.
Throughout the Community Consultation process, it became evident that the construction of a Community Hub and an active presence in the community would greatly assist to improve outcomes. As a result, Argyle Housing are funding the construction of a Community Hub adjacent to the new open space where Argyle Housing will house its Griffith Operations plus provide a landing space for outreach services and activities.
Receptiveness to the changing needs of the housing sector
The Griffin Green Project is a direct response to the regional affordable housing crisis in NSW and the changing housing needs of the Griffith community, as identified in the 2019 Griffith Affordable Housing Strategy.
The Strategy identified the challenge for the housing market to deliver for very low-income households and identified the need to consider alternatives. Griffith was, and still is, experiencing strong growth as a leading regional centre supporting the Riverina, and sought to ensure its community could continue to benefit from this growth.
Population growth has created increasing pressure on available housing stock, and this is being felt most acutely at the low-income end of the housing market. The Strategy makes the case for an additional 1,300 additional affordable dwellings in the LGA by 2036. The Strategy also emphasises the importance of partnerships to deliver affordable housing in the LGA.
Argyle Housing also identified that being a partner in the Griffin Green development was a good fit on its vision to deliver quality housing options, connections to community and enable positive social outcomes. As outlined above, to support its vision, Argyle Housing will build a Community Hub adjacent to the enhanced open space which will be accessible and available to the whole community. The Hub will offer onsite services and programs and will also become Argyle Housing’s operational space in Griffith.
Open communication and collaboration
Open communication and collaboration between Argyle Housing, GCC, Government agencies and community members has been key to the progress and success of the Griffin Green Project to date. Project Managers have been appointed by Argyle Housing and GCC to lead their respective project responsibilities and fortnightly Project Control Group (PCG) meetings are held and attended by:
- The Project Managers
- Argyle Housing representative
- GCC representative; and
- Representatives from the Aboriginal Land Council
The Griffin Green partnership demonstrates an authentic commitment to the community that growth in the region should not be at the expense of those who can’t access the housing market.
Explaining the delivery model and the long-term commitment of project partners demonstrates that this project is about building housing to support a vibrant and inclusive community with the support of Commonwealth and State Governments.
Contributes to an Increase in Affordable Housing
The Griffin Green Project will deliver:
- 20 new Affordable Housing dwellings owned and managed by Argyle Housing
- 42 building blocks available to further increase housing supply at an affordable level
- Housing typology and design that align with the recommendations of the Griffith Housing Strategy and matches demand
- Green space and recreational equipment for families. Basketball court and Community Hub
In addition to providing housing in this precinct, the project will create approximately 53 jobs during construction and directly expand the region’s capacity to deliver additional housing in the future. The project will create re-training opportunities in the construction industry and provide stimulus, training, and employment, transforming a disadvantaged precinct into a diverse community of social, affordable and private housing.
Enhancing Housing Outcomes for Tenants
The Griffin Green Project will create a diverse, inclusive, and vibrant precinct with amenities and opportunities that will be available to the wider community. It is envisaged that the new Community Hub will become a true community centre and gathering place offering multiple services and programs to all comers, including tenants, homeowners, and other community members.
The 20 Affordable Housing dwellings will provide a real chance for low and middle income earners to pay an affordable rent and work towards home ownership. The Affordable Housing will also provide a pathway along the housing continuum for the tenants who currently reside in the Pioneer Housing Estate and in the wider Griffith community. This opportunity does not exist in the Griffith area at the moment.
Additionally, Argyle Housing and GCC are committed to ensuring that at least 10% of the Affordable Housing and 10% of the new building blocks will be made available to Aboriginal people.
In the BBRF application, the partners identified the following outcomes which it believes can be achieved by improving the amenity, safety and diversity of the wider Pioneer Housing Estate through the Griffin Green Project:
- Improved quality of life
- Reduced crime costs, both as victim and perpetrator
- Increased human capital through improved urban infrastructure, revitalised parkland and connectivity
- Volunteering opportunities
- Education and employment opportunities run from the hub
- Tenancy support onsite
Adds Value to the Nominating Organisation
The Griffin Green Project will increase the value of Argyle Housing’s asset base by approximately $10.5m. Included in this estimate is the value of the 20 Affordable Housing dwellings, the Community Hub and land.
Argyle Housing is also considering the possibility of retaining blocks of the vacant land to develop additional Affordable Housing.
A value that is not quantifiable is the value of the partnership between Argyle Housing and GCC. The partnership is unique and a template that can be replicated by Argyle Housing and other CHPs as they seek to help resolve the unfolding housing affordability crisis in Regional NSW.
The Griffin Green Project must be completed by December 2022.
In August 2021 GCC and Argyle Housing were invited to showcase the Griffin Green Project and its wider potential at the Regional Summit held in Wagga Wagga. A summary of the Argyle Housing and GCC Griffin Green Project is on the Argyle Housing website at https://argylehousing.com.au/housing-top-priority-for-griffith/
The Griffin Green Project is a unique regional project between a regional Council and CHP that will be used as a template for future projects to enable the supply of more Affordable Housing in our regional areas.
LAHC Stimulus Funding
The project is part of the $3.8m tender awarded to Argyle Housing from the NSW Government to upgrade 300 social housing properties from Campbelltown to Yass through to Bowral, Moss Vale, Young, Crookwell, Goulburn, and Wagga Wagga.
In addition to the Argyle Housing Maintenance Expenditure, $3,364,513 in NSW Govt. Stimulus Funding was spent on Planned Maintenance works on NSW Land & Housing Corporation Properties that Argyle Housing are responsible for under the 20 Year Lease (Capital) Program. These works replaced over 467 components (roofs, windows, external paintwork, sewer & stormwater, and fences) on over 400 properties. This brings the total expenditure on properties where Argyle Housing has maintenance expenditure liabilities to $8,129,089. This is a 31% increase on last FY.
Upgrades to social housing properties in Crookwell, Campbelltown to Yass through to Bowral, Moss Vale, Young, Goulburn, and Wagga Wagga was part of the $3.8m tender awarded to Argyle Housing from the NSW Government which will improve the liveability of these homes for tenants. With the extreme cold temperatures that are experienced for long periods throughout the year in these regions, we hope these upgrades may contribute to supporting positive outcomes for our tenants throughout the regions.
Work began in June 2021 and funding helped in improving the quality, safety, and comfort of homes with new roofs, gutters and fences, as well as replacing windows and painting exterior walls.
This is an amazing opportunity from the NSW Government to improve social and economic outcomes of regional cities through the investment in social housing.
We engaged with local regional contractors and worked with them throughout the procurement process to ensure that they received the opportunity to realise the employment and economic benefits of this program.
“We’re improving the quality of homes for thousands of social housing tenants and families across NSW while supporting local businesses that supply workers with the tools, trades and building materials to give these properties a fresh lick of paint or building works.”
|Repair Type||Number of WO’s||Sums of actual cost inc GST|
|Painting – EXT||200||$1,145,314.62|
|Painting – INT||71||$278,082.41|
*Includes Stimulus works at 329 properties
Total Contractors used throughout the regions
LAHC Stimulus and our tenants
Matteo De Dominicis
A total of $3.8 million in state government funding was announced for Argyle Housing to put in new fences, paint peeling walls, patch leaky roofs, and replace broken windows.
One such house belongs to Ashmont resident Matteo De Dominicis, who “lost everything” when the banks repossessed his farm and home in Bilbul, near Griffith, more than 30 years ago.
The Italian immigrant said he was “very, very happy” to get social housing in Wagga, which is next in line to get the renovation treatment.
“It’s nice to see [my house] more clean, more beautiful, respectable. It’s going to be much better than before,” he said.
“It’s what I like. I like it very much. If I can buy this place, I would be very happy.”
Argyle Housing’s Wagga team leader Duncan Grosse said the renovations would help improve the quality of life for their tenants and give them a nicer place to live.
“For our tenants, for their quality of life, for the improvement of the houses they live in, this is a great program and we’re happy to be part of it,” Mr Grosse said.
“If it improves the lives of our tenants, we’re all for it.”
“This is an amazing opportunity to engage with local regional contractors and work with them throughout the procurement process to ensure that they receive the opportunity to realise the employment and economic benefits of this program,” Ms Middleton said.
Financial Performance and Repair and Maintenance Activity
Overall financial result for the Argyle Housing Maintenance Expenditure for the End FY was $631,353 under the Full FY Budget (88% of Budget Spent). Being a total of $4,764,576.00
- Responsive Maintenance was below the guidance
- Cyclical Maintenance was below guidance
- Planned Maintenance was above guidance by 3%
- Tenant Damage was below significantly below guidance.
The insurance excess absorbed two Fire Claims with the second fire event occurring with less than hour to go in the FY.
Argyle Housing’s Property and Assets Team also provides R & M services to properties owned by others and managed under “fee for service” style arrangements. The value of works completed under these programs during the 2020-21 FY were:
- BlueCHP – $189,147
- Eventide, Yanco – $21,683
- LAHC Home Purchase Agreement – $94,254
- DCJ Outsourced Maint. Program – $98,181
- DCJ COVID-19 Deep Cleaning Program – $185,719
- Total Value of “fee for service” R & M in the 2019/20 FY – $588,984
The total value of R & M works delivered by the Property and Assets Team in 2019/20 was $8,718,073. This is also 31% increase on last year.
Strategic and Operational Planning
The Strategic Asset Management Plan 2019-22 was reviewed and updated in November with all six of the Strategic Initiatives being progressed to varying levels. The SAMP 2020-23 introduced a new Strategic Initiative in relation to the 20 Year Leases currently being offered by NSW Land & Housing Corporation and provided updated modelling on our forecast costs and funding to replace components as they become due. The Development Pipeline Projects updated below advance these Principles and Initiatives.
The R&M Section continued to implement a strategy to improve tenant services and outcomes. These initiatives included introducing the Maintenance Manager Platform, commencing receiving R&M Calls into the team in Campbelltown and revising two key roles when departures occurred to modify the skills sought and roles focus.
Contractor Performance Surveys
The R&M Section have a target of receiving tenant responses to a survey regarding contractor performance on at least 10% of all completed Work Orders.
The results for WO’s completed during the 2020-21 FY are:
- Works orders completed – 10 160
- 10 % Survey Target – 1016
- Surveys Completed – 1000 (target 98.5%)
Survey Response Method
|Did the contractor turn up on time for the appointment?||97.3%||1.3%||1.4%|
|Did the contractor present a form of ID?||97.9%||1.3%||0.8%|
|Did the contractor present a form of ID?||98.7%||1.3%||0%|
These results are very pleasing and a noticeable improvement on previous results.
Development Pipeline Projects
190 Wakaden Street, Griffith
Argyle Housing has finalised designs for the two-storey houses, which are being built to help provide low to middle income housing in Griffith.
Last year, Griffith City Council gifted land on the corner of Wakaden Street and Crossing Street to Argyle Housing, as part of a strategy aimed at easing the current housing availability crisis.
The houses will be targeted towards families who earn too much to be eligible for social housing, but not enough to easily afford the market rental price.
Development Consent was received, and two rounds of tendering occurred on this project during the year. Unfortunately, both rounds of tendering were unable to deliver a construction cost that was below the completed valuation of the project. Currently an aggregated procurement is being pursued along with the proposed Community Hub as part of the Griffin Green project.
Griffin Green, Building Better Regions Project
Argyle Housing and Council have made considerable progress on this project with Argyle Housing preparing and lodging a Development Application for the construction of the 20 townhouses in early 2021. Community Consultation and Detailed Design and documentation were either complete or well advanced at the end of June.
34 Pollux Street, Yass
Argyle Housing continued to pursue the original demolition contractor to complete their remediation of the site without full success. LAHC have advised they believe Argyle Housing have undertaken all steps and processes with diligence and care and do not hold Argyle Housing liable for any further works. Argyle Housing is currently investigating and pursuing options to complete a development of the site.
Argyle Housing and our Consortium partners continue to progress Phase One of the Tolland project with LAHC and Aboriginal Housing Office with the Property & Services Manager being an active member of the Master Planning Working Group.
Gordon Street, Young
During the year Argyle Housing prepared concept design to construct 4 villa/townhouses on the site, partnered with a local NFP Margaret House to progress a partnership on the project where they could acquire one of the villas and provide DV Crisis accommodation for males. A Small-Scale Direct Dealing proposal (Argyle Housing’s first) was prepared and submitted to LAHC for consideration. The outcome of this proposal is not yet known.
In February Argyle Housing submitted a response to an EOI from Temora Council to partner with them to deliver affordable housing on land they owned in Apollo Place in Temora. Argyle Housing were the successful respondent to the EOI. Temora Shire Council is partnering with Argyle Housing with the intention to develop a new housing estate in Apollo Place, Temora.
The proposed partnership aims to provide affordable and accessible housing options for seniors and elderly residents looking to downsize and age in place, people with accessibility and mobility issues, and lower income earners looking to get into the housing market.
Argyle Housing have prepared Concept Designs for the site, undertaken a visit to some of Argyle Housing’s properties in Wagga with Councillors and Senior Staff and prepared preliminary costings and modelling for the development. Work is currently ongoing to pursue partnering opportunities between Council/Argyle Housing, Inland Rail and the Sydney Flight School to investigate options to provide short-term accommodation that may subsidise the delivery of affordable housing on the site.
CHIF & Fenwick Crescent, Goulburn
In February 2021 Argyle Housing started working with a developer in Goulburn to re design and purchase six units the Luxe Development in Fenwick Crescent. The purchase of these units was approved by Argyle Housing’s Board in June and the developer is working to have them complete ready for Settlement and occupation in December 2022. The Units are a mix of 2 & 3 Bedrooms and will made available to qualifying Affordable Housing tenants.
In March Argyle Housing submitted a tender to NSW DCJ in response to RFT’s under the Community Housing Innovation Fund (CHIF). Argyle Housing proposed to purchase six yet to be built units from a developer in Fenwick Crescent, Goulburn with four the properties being provided for Social Housing (CHIF funded) and two of the properties being provided for Affordable Housing (Argyle Housing NHFIC debt funded), with a rent-to-buy scheme for tenants. Unfortunately, the CHIF tender was not accepted in this round, notwithstanding Argyle Housing have approved for the purchase of these six properties to proceed as an Affordable Housing purchase for Argyle Housing utilising $2.55 million of the existing NHFIC debt funds.