National community housing organisation Community Housing Limited (CHL) has received a 12 month extension to continue its program of managing 235 homes throughout the East Kimberley.
In the initial nine month period, CHL has made enormous strides in establishing itself in the region, and has already chalked up some notable gains in improving the living conditions of the tenants it serves.
CHL has spent around $800,000 in upgrades, renovation, and maintenance work, with about 70% of the work consisting of carpentry and painting.
CHL’s hub of operations in Kununurra is steadily growing with a staff of eight that includes a Community Liaison Officer and a recently appointed Housing Services Manager. CHL has also leased a workshop area where a carpenter works fulltime.
“CHL has always taken the approach of engaging with the community first before starting any housing initiative. In a region like the East Kimberley, this approach is vital because we needed to build a certain level of local knowledge into the team. We have a team in Kununurra that has extensive regional experience and this is the main reason why the work we’ve completed has been appropriate and well received,” says CHL’s Managing Director Steve Bevington.
While the initial contract term of nine months and the extended contract of 12 months are short timeframes, CHL is operating on the basis of building a long term housing management strategy in the East Kimberley and is building up its capacity to manage a lot more than the 235 homes it is currently responsible for.
“CHL has made a serious commitment to this region. We will soon be expanding to a larger office in Kununurra and the staff we have hired will be proactive in their communication with local community leaders. Our Community Liaison Officer, for example, is a key player in negotiating improvements with local communities so that that our work is requested and valued,” says Mr. Bevington.
CHL HOUSING UPGRADE IN WYNDHAM SPARKS NEW MORALE
On Friday 20 May 2011, it gave CHL great pleasure in signing tenants from the Warrayu Community to three newly refurbished homes in Wyndham, about an hours drive north-west of Kununurra. A further four homes are due for completion shortly.
When asked what it meant to move into these new homes, the tenants Jean, Jonathon and Laura all said it was the first step in moving forward and was a very proud moment. They all agreed that it was important to look after their homes but more importantly when the newly-built community is completed, believed that it would bring everyone closer together which is critical particularly for the young and elderly. Jonathon pointed out that this was the first time in almost ten years that something had been done to lift the standard of housing in the community.
Consistent with CHL’s approach of engaging local community groups and the tenants to ensure that they experience a strong sense of ownership in the new properties, the tenants said it was important that the Warrayu community take responsibility for the properties.
Jean added that she and others are very happy with the service CHL are providing and had never experienced such quick responses to various needs or requests.
As part of CHL’s support plan, CHL staff will be visiting the community on a weekly basis to provide additional support to the community in conjunction with the Nirrumbuk service who provide the living skills training in maintaining a healthy home.
Community Housing Limited (CHL) is a national and international provider of affordable housing. Its mission is ‘to provide affordable and sustainable housing for all’. CHL is a registered Housing organisation in Victoria and an approved growth provider in NSW, Tasmania, WA and SA. Its international operations are located in Timor Leste, Chile, and most recently India.
CHL provides an end-to-end integrated operation that manages the entire housing lifecycle. This includes securing funding, locating suitable land, project managing, designing and constructing, then managing the tenancy for the long term which includes collecting rents and maintaining the property.
For more information on CHL, contact:
Coordinator – Marketing and Communications
t 03 9856 0021 m 0430 555 241