Australasian Housing Institute

Emerging Practices in Housing Management Professional Practice Seminar

Emergent trends in housing and tenancy management

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The Emerging Practices in Housing Management one-day seminar showcases some of the new ways various social housing organisations are managing and supporting tenancies and provides opportunity to share our learning. Presentations and discussion topics are varied with focus on new and emerging trends and changing practices in tenancy management resulting in improved outcomes.  


19 September 2017, Perth, Western Australia


On Tuesday 19th September 2017, 46 Western Australian housing professionals attended the inaugural Emerging Practice in Housing Management Seminar. The Emerging Practices seminar series was designed to provide an opportunity for participants to learn about trends and new directions in service delivery, tenancy services and new policy in the housing sector. Eight speakers from Government and the NFP Sector, from NSW, South Australia and Western Australia shared their thinking and experience with the audience.

The day commenced with an overview of the newly created Department of Communities, which includes the Housing Authority. Greg Cash, Assistant DG of Housing provided an overview of the thinking that is occurring within Government as it moves towards an integrated service delivery model encompassing People – Place – Home. In addition to many “How” questions, Greg outlined some of the potential benefits of clients and opportunities that may arise for the NFP sector. 

Steve Altham, Regional Manager, Department of Communities, then outlined innovative housing management approaches being trialled in his region. Of particular interest was an Intensive Management approach for larger unit complexes. The IT-MAC involves large, multi-skilled teams attending complexes every thirteen weeks to undertake tenant engagement, property inspection and maintenance scheduling. Early data indicates the approach has resulted in reduced ASB and police attendance and increased tenant satisfaction.

The next session explored the relationship with landlord and support provider in supported tenancies, with presentations by Kathryn Moorey of Access Housing and Justine Colyer, CEO of the Rise Network. Kathryn identified the challenges for the landlord when support agencies did not recognise the landlord as a partner with a vested interest in the tenancy succeeding, and the unfunded cost to the landlord when tenancies do fail. Justine highlighted that landlord and support providers needed to clearly understand their respective objectives and roles in sustaining tenancies and achieving  success for the client. Effective communication is required between landlord and support provider, not just with the tenant.

Milan Ostojic of SGCH then presented on various initiatives of SGCH which aim to build community and enhance social inclusion. He provided examples of SGCH’s Place Making initiatives in Bonnyrigg which have built capacity and improved community perception of safety and belonging, underpinned by a comprehensive Outcomes Framework. He also outlined the role of the Support Coordination team which has had a 96% success rate in sustaining tenancies through early intervention and support partnerships. Milan also gave an overview of SGCH’s new program to connect tenants with employment opportunities and the comprehensive Tenant Engagement Structure which has established a Tenant Executive Panel and other mechanisms for tenants to provide feedback and direction to SGCH.

In the fourth session, we again explored an issue from two perspectives, this time the Housing First model. Sam Knight of RUAH Community Services and Tom Tolchart of Foundation Housing reflected on the experience of support provider and landlord in the 50 Lives 50 Homes program. Sam introduced the principles and evidence for the Housing First approach and outlined the structure and partnerships for 50Lives 50Homes. He provided early statistics for the program which indicate high levels of retention. Sam highlighted that the model seeks to remove judgement as to who may or may not succeed in housing and instead set people up to succeed, with safety nets in place to enable learning if the tenancy does not succeed. Tom identified that for landlords to participate in the program it required a commitment to the outcomes and an understanding of risk, noting that the financial risk carried by the landlord is not covered, whilst the delivery costs worn by other players were funded. Both Tom and Sam agreed it was not a housing at any cost model, and that an area of research is to quantify the cost of providing the housing and build that cost into the cost benefit analysis. 

The final discussion of the day was a panel considering Customer Choice in the context of social housing. A significant constraint in the WA market is the parameters regarding allocations via the housing wait list, which limits the capacity of clients to make informed housing choice and is not a needs based register. Andrew Davis from Unity Housing in SA made the point that supply was a significant limit to customer choice and driving increased diversity in supply would improve choice. There was also discussion that renting a house in the private market was significantly easier than renting via the social housing sector, there is a need internet real estate platforms that enables eligible consumers to access information about housing options in the social and affordable market, creating a more normalised market environment. The panel identified the need for Courageous Leadership to drive change in regards to increase choice for housing consumers, as had happened in other service sectors.

Positive feedback was received from participants, with a call for more frequent professional development seminars in the West.

Event wrap-up prepared by Su Groome | Board Director, Australian Housing Institute and

General Manager | Community Housing, Access Housing