Greetings and welcome to our first newsletter for 2023!

We have much to share and an ambitious program for the year. While, it remains a challenging time to operate, with increased demand for services and rising costs, we remain focused on consolidating our amalgamation last year with Prahran Malvern Community Housing. We've had some set backs to new housing we've been hoping to develop but also great to be again offering homes to people with the return of Layfield St. to our portfolio. We are also launching a fundraising appeal to support our community development activities. To learn more about our recent work and how to assist please get in touch. 

Charlie Beckley
Layfield St. Rooming House Upgrade Complete
It's been a long wait, but worth it. In mid January we received the handover from Homes Victoria of 24 rooming house rooms to 25 studio bedsits in Layfield St. South Melbourne.
The property now includes fully refurbished and more spacious self contained rooms (fully equip kitchettes/bathrooms), a large solar array, modern heating and cooling, and a community room with kitchen facilities. 

In February, we celebrated full occupancy after staff working intensely in the lead up with local referral agencies to interview social housing applicants for the new homes.

We've also been able to offer units to some long term residents in our Prahran rooming houses who have been overwhelmed with the improved amenity.

In 2017, the organisation made a considered decision to propose an upgrade of the property to Homes Victoria for conversion from 22 rooming house rooms and 2 x one bedroom apartments to 25 self contained rooms.
After a number of setbacks through the building process and COVID, it has been wonderful to be offering much needed new homes to people in need again.

The property has a remarkable history dating back to the Victorian Goldrush and holds great importance for the organisation, it being one of the first rooming house properties provided by the State Government for management in 1985. 

We are incredibly grateful to Homes Victoria for bringing the project to fruition, and particularly, former local MP Martin Foley, staff and our Board for championing the need for the safety and security upgrade for vulnerable renters. 
40 Years!
2023 marks 40 years of our organisations history and service in the local community. We are planning an event for later in the year. Stay tuned for more details and if you know of others that might like to be involved in the celebration please get in touch or forward this newsletter on.

New Board Members

We are excited to announce the recent appointment of two new Board members to the organisation. 

Rob McGauran is founding co-director of MGS architects and leading champion of affordable housing in Australia. Rob is currently a Professorial Fellow Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Melbourne and sits on the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation chairing their Affordable Housing and Homelessness Impact Areas.

Rochna Banerjee brings over 20 years experience working in the non profit and commercial sector and is a strong advocate for inclusion and social justice. Rochna is a Fellow Chartered Accountant, graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has been appointed our new Treasurer.

We are looking forward to working with them both to strengthen the organisation's impact in the years ahead. 

Homelessness to a Home Program
In March we mark two years of our partnership with Star Health (now Better Health Network) and Bridge It to deliver transitional housing and case managed support to 50 individuals homelessness in the period of lockdown in Melbourne.

It's been an extremely challenging program to deliver, particularly through the twists and turns of COVID and its impacts on the local economy and housing market. As we approach the end of the financial year, the program is now winding down and focused on bridging clients into long term housing offerings.

Overall we've sustained 47 clients in housing and support over the past two years. Reflecting on the partnership recently, in a workshop facilitated by Social Ventures Australia, it was agreed that the original objectives had been resoundly met.

Ahead of the Victorian budget, we hope for continued investment in innovative ways to address the issue of homelessness in Victoria, such as the H2H initiative. 

Insights from the SPCHG Youth Housing Team

The Youth Housing Support Program has recently supported a young person to return to their family home after many months of sleeping rough and in unstable accommodation. The young person was referred to the program at the beginning of the year and had been funded to stay in hotel/motel emergency accommodation for a short period.

The program used a range of networks, external referrals and outreach supports to assist the young person to feel safe and supported. This involved weekly care team meetings with a range of professionals as well as daily contact and with other workers involved in the client’s care. The program liaised with medical professionals, psychologists, counsellors and AOD workers.

The program advocated for the client to spend some nights in a refuge as a safe place for them to stay. There was also success in obtaining a longer stay at another refuge; however, this was unable to be sustained due to the client’s complex needs. During the case management period, the client was assisted with access to food resources as well as a top up of Myki credit to prevent any further transport fines.

This type of work highlights the importance of the interim response case management that the youth program offers. Often this type of case management is time sensitive and all-encompassing, requiring a great amount of work in a short period of time. The hope for interim case management work is to prevent young people from entering the homelessness system and the above story is a great example of this.

International Women's Day 2023
It was wonderful to be able to share and celebrate International Women's Day again this year with some of our residents. This year in our brand new communal room at Layfield St. 
Performance Indicators 2021-22
In February, the Victorian Housing Registrar released their annual performance assessment, publishing our indicators for the 2021-22 year. SPCHG was shown to be compliant across all measures standards and adhering to benchmarks for similar housing providers. Our focus in the current year is to improve our policy review and asset reporting times to the Registrar. 
SPCHG Performance Report
Rooming House Minimum Standards
In January we provided a written submission to the proposal for new minimum standards relating to privacy, security, safety and amenity in rooming houses. The new proposed standards were proposed as the current minimum standards were due to sunset on 23 Feb 2023. While supportive of the changes to increase safety and amenity, our submission highlighted the rushed and inadequate nature of consultation, the lack of consideration of non profit operators of rooming houses, and the need for greater consideration of business impacts.  

Click on the link below to read our submission. 
Support Us through GiveNow
We've updated our website and teamed up with Our Community's Give Now secure platform to offer a new way to donate and support our work.   

In 2023-24, we are seeking to raise $60,000 to fund our community development programs in support of individuals recovering from periods of homelessness. 
South Port Community Housing Group would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we operate, the Wurundjeri people, and we pay our respects to elders, past, present and future.
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South Port Community Housing Group · 259 Dorcas St · South Melbourne, Vic 3205 · Australia

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