KEY RESULTS FROM OUR ANNUAL CUSTOMER SURVEY
OF CUSTOMERS WERE SATISFIED WITH US OVERALL
OF CUSTOMERS FELT POSITIVE ABOUT THEIR NEIGHBOURHOOD AS A PLACE TO LIVE
OF CUSTOMERS ARE SATISFIED WITH THE CONDITION OF THEIR HOME
OF CUSTOMERS FEEL THEY RECEIVE VALUE FOR MONEY FOR THE RENT THEY PAY
Responding to customer feedback
In response to these customer satisfaction results, in the first half of 2019, we have focused on the areas that are most important to our customers, as well as those areas that performed under the CHIA NSW benchmark. These areas were:
The Hume Services Guide
During the year, we developed the Hume Services Guide, to give our employees the tools to deliver a wholistic customer experience. The guide supports operational efficiency and effectiveness of our customer service teams through the implementation of best-practice policy, process and systems. This means that we can provide:
• a consistent level of service to our customers when they contact us
• the person they speak to can resolve their enquiry at the first point of contact
• all aspects of the interaction from conversation to administration completed.
The Hume Services Guide will be rolled out in the coming year.
Customer support coordination
During 2019, we developed our Customer Support Coordination Services Framework as part of our approach to an outcomes-focused delivery of our services.
The framework will be implemented in the coming year and will complement our objectives aligned to the Social Housing Outcomes Framework. This approach will enhance our customers’ ability to achieve tenancy sustainment and housing independence.
The Customer Support Coordination Services Framework is built on:
• a person-centred and trauma-informed approach
• assessing customer support needs
• referrals to support services
• planning and coordination of customer independence plans
• working with customers to achieve long term housing goals
• developing understanding of local supports, services and networks
• partnerships and collaboration
• ongoing monitoring and review
• measuring impact of customer and Hume activities.
Outlook for 2019–20
In the coming year, we will:
• implement our Customer Support Coordination Services Framework to complement our objectives aligned to the NSW Government’s Social Housing Outcomes Framework.
• embed our new organisational structure. The new structure is designed to include localised service teams comprised of specialist officers who are technically skilled in tenancy management, assets and allocations, and community cohesion services. Our aim is for customer experience to be captured across Hume and our services are relevant to the areas where our customers live. New social outcomes and customer experience teams will be created. The new structure will ensure our customers’ individual support needs can be met to sustain tenancies and reduce social isolation.
Creating community cohesion
At Hume, we believe that home is the place where people should feel safest, happiest and the most comfortable. The degree to which people feel at home is determined by the physical quality and level of maintenance of their buildings, the connection to their neighbours, and their connection to support services. We recognise that this has a direct impact on their health and wellbeing.
Within Hume, ‘community cohesion’ is a process where all community members can share in the creation of shared goals for what their community will look like, feel like and be like, as well as working together towards the realisation of those goals.
Our Community Cohesion Strategy, launched in 2016, underpins how we approach our delivery of our services to help us achieve our community cohesion strategic priorities. They are:
1. Sustaining Home—our customers will have the capacity and resilience to sustain their tenancies and have a sense of pride and safety in their homes.
2. Connecting People—our customers will be connected to their neighbours and local services, belong within their communities and have improved health and wellbeing.
3. Creating place—we will work with our customers and local services to create improved, activated local places and spaces that encourage community gatherings, socialising and that are safe.
4. Facilitating participation—our customers will be engaged, informed and supported to participate in community life and decision making.
Providing opportunities for customer participation
During 2019, we formalised the ‘Tenants’ Voice’ model of holding monthly customer forums, alternating locations between our communities in Fairfield, Liverpool and Telopea. Tenants’ Voice forums are open to all Hume customers, their family and friends. The forums are an opportunity for customers to have their say, learn about what’s happening at Hume and in their community, as well as getting to know their fellow neighbours and the Hume team.
We also introduced the Tenants’ Voice Leadership Group, which acts as a connection between our customers across all locations and our management and Board. This table shows outcomes from this customer participation.
IN 2018–19, WE ORGANISED 131 ACTIVITIES WITH 7,212 PARTICIPANTS. ALL ACTIVITIES WERE ALIGNED TO SOCIAL OUTCOMES:
PARTNERSHIPS WITH ORGANISATIONS TO DELIVER EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES FOR OUR CUSTOMERS
Issues raised by our customer leadership group and what Hume did in response to their feedback
Together with our customers, partners, and the wider community, Hume has developed Neighbourhood Plans for each of our communities. The plans include ‘block meetings’ to give our customers the chance to share information and discuss issues, identify areas for neighbourhood improvement and environmental, safety and security physical upgrades.
As part of our Neighbourhood Plans, we survey our customers and their neighbours to understand their priorities and connections to their community.
In our customer survey:
• 94% of our customers said they feel safe and secure in their home
• 92% feel safe and secure outside of their home
• 76% of customers feel comfortable speaking to their neighbours
• 70% feel connected to their community meaning they don’t feel so lonely.
Places to congregate
In 2018–19, we completed four of the seven projects funded by the Social Housing Community Improvement Fund (SHCIF). We were awarded a total of $299,532 to complete the upgrade projects to improve the physical surrounds, facilities and amenities in social housing communities.
The four completed projects were:
• Willian Drive in Cartwright—we installed a new barbecue area and outdoor setting.
• Woodward Crescent in Miller—we upgraded the outdoor area and installed a barbecue, privacy screens and landscaping.
• Sturt Street in Telopea—we installed fresh grass, seating and lighting, and we worked with customers to design artwork for the foyer and outside terrace.
• Glenroy Drive, Claymore—we installed a shade awning, cleaned up flower beds and walkways and installed accessible amenities.
Completion of the two remaining projects at Marshall Street in Bankstown, and Cumberland Street in Cabramatta is expected in the coming year.
Providing customer connections
In 2018–19, Hume hosted 45 social and community events for our customers and their friends and family. All activities were chosen in consultation with customers based on their interests. Customers tell us they love the social outings as it gives them something to look forward to, a chance to meet new friends and try something new. We have been able to offer most of these activities for low or no cost because of our partnerships with local councils.
Outings have included:
• Cherry Blossom Festival
• Nepean River Cruise to celebrate Christmas in July
• Bowral Tulip Festival
• Premier’s Seniors Concert
• Symbio Wildlife Park.
Employment, education and training
We understand the important role employment can play in the creation of stronger, safer and more cohesive communities that lead to more economic opportunities for the people who live in them.
Hume creates employment opportunities and supports customers to access them through our community cohesion services.
Our Employment and Learning Opportunities Program provides:
• Training and learning opportunities—like bar and barista courses, customer service, flower arranging, and construction, or any course that meets a customer’s interest and career aspirations
• Employment support
• Student work placement programs
• Volunteering opportunities
• Employment opportunities with our contractors and service partners
• Training spaces in our Telopea, Cabramatta and Claymore communities available to hire for customers and the local community.
IN 2018–19, HUME SUPPORTED:
JOBS CREATED THROUGH OUR PARTNERSHIPS
Outlook for 2019–20
In the coming year, we will:
• have dedicated employees to enhance opportunities for customers to prosper
• complete the remaining two community projects funded by our SHCIF grants
• embed placemaking activities for our customers in the Hunter region
• grow our services and activities in seniors and youth housing with dedicated employees in Sydney and the Hunter region
• grow our customer access to our employment and learning support with dedicated employees in Sydney and the Hunter region
• improve our measurement, reporting and sharing of our outcomes using the social outcomes framework.
OUR HOUSING PROGRAMS
Temporary Accommodation Program
The Temporary Accommodation Program (TAP) has been successfully operating in cooperation with the NSW Government for the last 13 years, during which time the program has provided services to more than 3,000 customers.
TAP provides customers with accommodation (alternative to motels) and support to look for other suitable accommodation. TAP also links customers with other services and provides transport to property viewings and assistance with rental applications. Participation in the program has shown to increase tenancy sustainment following completion.
AROUND 400 TAP CUSTOMERS WERE SUPPORTED WITH TRANSITIONAL ACCOMMODATION OF WHICH:
Housing Independence Program
Taking a ‘housing first’ approach, the Housing Independence Program (HIP) rapidly rehouses people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, for up to 12 months. Hume provides support to the household during that period, working with our service partners, we help our customers to develop the skills to sustain a tenancy, secure a private rental or seek social housing.
The core work of the program is to support our customers to gain living skills by addressing underlying issues like budgeting, including rent; negotiating payment plans for debts with real estate or social housing agencies; and building other essential skills needed to sustain a tenancy.
HIP is unique in that the properties used for the program are scheduled for renovation or redevelopment and would otherwise be vacant. The properties belong to the NSW Government or other community housing providers and are leased to Hume. This is a way to maximise the use of available housing stock and to keep communities stable during redevelopment.
Our customers have told us that they appreciate the positive support Hume offers, particularly that our employees are able to boost their enthusiasm for achieving their housing goals and broader aims to prosper in life.
HOUSING FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY
Hume delivers Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA), which is accommodation for people who require specialist housing solutions for their extreme functional impairment, or very high support needs.
There are several different housing solutions and support a customer can consider in relation to their individual circumstances and needs when determining the best housing solution for their situation.
Hume’s Housing for People with Disability program is intended to improve the choice and control over housing options for people with disability. We believe that a key element to disability housing and SDA service provision is listening. We are committed to giving our customers the opportunity to provide feedback on the things that are important to them. We are committed to listening to their needs to ensure that we deliver individualised and person-centred services to them.
Partnering to deliver Specialist Disability Accommodation
Hume has partnered with Northcott to deliver disability accommodation support services for 505 customers in 112 properties located in the Greater Western Sydney and Murrumbidgee regions, on behalf of the NSW Government. We have also partnered with Life Without Barriers to provide disability accommodation support and respite support services for 126 customers in 26 properties located in the Blue Mountains and Nepean regions, and the NSW Central Coast.
Through these partnerships, we provide housing and tenancy management services funded by the NDIS. At 30 June 2019, we had 137 properties for people with disability, many of whom have lived in their SDA homes for 30 years or more.
In 2018–19, we secured a further two partnerships with supported independent living providers serving customers in regional areas of NSW. These are:
• Ningana, which operates disability support services across the NSW Riverina. We have a joint portfolio of three properties.
• Central Coast Living Options, which provides disability accommodation and support on the NSW Central Coast. We have a joint portfolio of one property.
HUME IS ONE OF AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST SDA PROVIDERS WITH 137 PROPERTIES AND 559 CUSTOMERS.
HOUSING FOR PEOPLE WITH A DISABILITY—RESPONSIVE REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE WORKS
WORK ORDERS REQUESTED BY A CUSTOMER OR PARTNER
WORK ORDERS COMPLETED
Auditing our performance
As a provider of Specialist Disability Accommodation under the NDIS, Hume was required to undergo a re-registration process with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. We engaged a third-party auditor, SAI Global, to verify our compliance with NDIS practice standards. For further information on this process, click here.
We also contracted Disability Services Consulting to conduct an initial gap analysis of our policies and procedures. It was a challenging but rewarding process, producing customer-centred documentation and amended practices that are now more accessible and inclusive to our customers’ communication and support needs.
Outlook for 2019–20
In the coming year, we will:
• receive the result of our NDIS re-registration audit and implement any recommendations.
• expand the accessibility of our documentation for our customers with disability.
• seek further opportunities deliver disability accommodation support services.
DELIVERING OUTCOMES FOR ABORIGINAL PEOPLE
In 2019, we formally partnered with the NSW Government to improve outcomes for Aboriginal customers in line with the Government’s Aboriginal Outcomes Strategy. We have set out the key activities that Hume will undertake to meet our targets.
We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation in Airds to work together to improve housing and social outcomes for Aboriginal people and communities across Southwest Sydney. Under the agreement, we committed to supporting Tharawal Housing Aboriginal Corporation in their goal of achieving Community Housing Provider status. In return, Tharawal committed to develop Aboriginal Cultural Competency Training to build capability and awareness across Hume’s workforce.
As a result of our expansion into the Hunter region, the percentage of our customers who are Aboriginal will increase to 7%. We will actively recruit targeted Indigenous roles and in the coming year we will finalise our Reconciliation Action Plan.
All Hume employees and our Board of Directors have a role in communicating our purpose, values, activities and successes. We have a framework for the consistent delivery of messaging to our stakeholder groups, particularly on social media, to ensure that Hume’s brand and reputation are promoted and protected.
In 2018–19, Hume made a commitment to focusing on our Facebook presence and growing our following because the platform is used widely by our customers. Facebook is a low-cost yet effective communications tool that allows us to specifically target audiences that match our customer demographics.
We ran a successful real estate and educational campaign on Facebook which, through targeted posts, media and customer stories, grew our number of followers.
Real estate campaign
In February 2019, there were higher than usual rental vacancies in our affordable housing portfolio. This was particularly evident across fee-for-service and National Rental Affordability Scheme properties due to an increase in competition in the rental market. To reduce the number of voids and time taken to fill them, we implemented a strategy to:
• negotiate rent reductions in line with market rates
• use social media to target potential affordable housing customers
• raise awareness of affordable housing
• improve the pipeline of eligible customers applying for affordable housing by implementing an eligibility wizard on Hume’s website.
A range of content was created, including real estate video ads that were geo-targeted to key socio-economic audiences within a 10-kilometre radius of each property, as well as educational posts that talked about income limits for affordable housing. Both types of post linked through to the affordable housing eligibility wizard on Hume’s website.
This campaign produced the following results:
• More link click-throughs to the Hume website.
✔ As the campaign launched in January 2019, we had an average of 12,388 pageviews, a 34.3% increase from the first half of the year.
✔ There were 2,128 views of the eligibility wizard between its inception in April 2019 and 30 June 2019.
• Higher call volumes.
✔ There were 829 calls for Housing Options in February upon the launch of the campaign, an 60% increase from 519 calls in January 2019.
• A measurable decrease in our affordable housing voids from 32 to 8 in the first five weeks of the campaign.
• More potential customers at open home showings. We coordinated increased open-home viewings outside of business hours and on weekends to gain more applications. Open home attendance peaked in March 2019, with almost 200 attendees across the vacancies, as shown in the figure here.
Despite having character limitations and a smaller user base than Facebook, Twitter is an effective communication tool to talk directly to business partners and government stakeholders. The sector content we created for LinkedIn was also used on Twitter, but in appended form to fit the character limit.
Tenants’ Voice newsletter
Our Tenants’ Voice newsletter is released quarterly and features information about our housing programs, upcoming events and support services and programs. A copy of every Tenants’ Voice newsletter is sent to each Hume household and copies are available at any Hume office. It is also available on the Hume website, and the newest issue is promoted via Facebook.
CUSTOMERS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS ARE WELCOME TO MAKE CONTRIBUTIONS TO EACH NEWSLETTER.
NUMBER OF TENANTS’ VOICE
NEWSLETTERS DISTRIBUTED IN 2018–19:
AVERAGE MONTHLY SESSIONS
AN 18% INCREASE ON THE PREVIOUS YEAR
AVERAGE MONTHLY PAGE VIEWS
A 9% INCREASE ON THE PREVIOUS YEAR
AVERAGE MONTHLY USERS
AN 18% INCREASE ON THE PREVIOUS YEAR
SOCIAL HOUSING MANAGEMENT TRANSFER PROJECT
In 2018, Hume Community Housing secured the largest social housing transfer in NSW under the Social Housing Management Transfer (SHMT) program. The NSW Government awarded the transfer of more than 2,200 homes and 4,000 customers across the Maitland and Port Stephens local government areas to us.
The transfer is part of a broader program that saw around 14,000 properties across NSW transferred to nine registered community housing providers. These providers, including Hume, were selected through a rigorous evaluation process that assessed their capacity to deliver good outcomes for social housing customers.
In preparation for the transfer of properties and customers, we established our project delivery team called ‘Project Highway’ who worked closely with the NSW Government and other community housing providers to ensure we achieve a successful transfer that focuses on people, systems and best practice, minimising the impact on customers and delivering value for money.
We will extend our tenancy and property services and introduce new initiatives to the communities of Maitland and Port Stephens local government areas. The project includes the opening of our office in High Street, Maitland on Monday 2 September 2019, as well as delivering services from our Hume mobile office, and our new office in Raymond Terrace, which will open later in the year. Our entry into the region will also create more than 40 local jobs.
Our outcomes for this project will be measured in the next financial year. We have outlined below, our progress so far.
Highlights from 2018–19
An unknown entity within the Hunter, we utilised this period to introduce ourselves to the communities of Maitland and Port Stephens. In May 2019, we commenced direct engagement with customers transferring to Hume. We held drop-in sessions and home visits to meet our new customers and to assist them with paperwork required as part of the transfer.
With the expansion of our business in the Hunter region, and to support our customers to achieve life-changing results, we need a structured, consistent approach to how we coordinate service delivery across Hume. This is a whole-of-business improvement resulting from our entry into the Hunter.
Along with readying our business aligned with our contractual obligations, we identified continuous improvement opportunities along the way that would benefit the entire organisation. These included major IT and system improvements as well as designing new frameworks to deliver improved customer service, performance and reporting.
The community housing sector is increasingly being called on to provide evidence of our results, meaning measurability and return on investment are needed. We have improved our reporting framework with internal KPIs, and NRSCH and NSW Government requirements. To strengthen our ability to measure outcomes, we are developing a structured, consistent Social Housing Outcomes Framework that identifies set performance indicators, outlines what is measured, and how we report on our impact. We have also developed our Customer Support Coordination Framework, which will be implemented in the coming year. The frameworks provide Hume employees with a consistent customer support coordination approach and data-backed measurability documenting the outcomes we achieve.
BUSINESS READINESS FOR THE TRANSFER OF:
PROPERTIES TO BE TRANSFERRED TO HUME IN THE HUNTER REGION
NEW CUSTOMERS IN THE HUNTER REGION
NEW JOBS AT HUME TO SUPPORT OUR HUNTER CUSTOMERS
AT 30 JUNE 2019:
DROP-IN INFO SESSIONS TO SUPPORT CUSTOMERS WITH THE COMPLETION OF TRANSITION PAPERWORK
CUSTOMERS PER SESSION AVERAGE ATTENDANCE
HOME VISITS TO SUPPORT CUSTOMERS WITH TRANSITION PAPERWORK
RETURN RATE ON COMPLETED TRANSITION PAPERWORK
Recognising the organisational change that will occur as a result of our growth, we introduced a change management strategy that focused on positive change, as well as retaining our engaged culture and values alignment despite operating across an increased number of locations. The aim of this strategy was to ensure that Hume remained one integrated organisation. In preparation for our large-scale recruitment, Hume introduced our new induction program called Launch Pad, to give our new employees the best start to their Hume journey (click here for further information).
Outlook for 2019–20
In the coming year, we will:
• Deliver a successful transition of new customers from the NSW Government to Hume in the Hunter region on 2 September 2019, along with the opening of our new offices in Maitland and Raymond Terrace.
• Embed our integrated organisational structure across all our offices and service areas, underpinned by strong culture and values alignment and seamless service delivery.
• Embed our Social Housing Outcomes Framework and Customer Support Coordination Framework.
• Develop and implement a service-level agreement with The Benevolent Society for the design and delivery of tailored support programs for youth and women and children who are experiencing domestic violence.
• Provide a customer experience that delivers high trust, yet low effort for all our customers.
• Launch new initiatives and programs that create more opportunities for customers to prosper including our Crash Pad, Transitional Housing and Real Estate Engagement Program.
Hume’s SHMT project delivery team (L–R): Sririsay Vukovic, Rodrigo Gutierrez, Andrea Ritchie, Christine Malton, Selin Britto, Lynette Preston, Anna Nguyen.
FINANCE, IT, RISK AND BUSINESS SERVICES
In 2018–19, as we worked to expand our footprint particularly in the Hunter region of NSW, we focused on several key strategic initiatives to underpin the achievement of our organisational goals.
Highlights from 2018–19
Our highlights included:
• stabilisation and scalability of IT infrastructure and operations to enable our systems to cope with the huge growth in customers and employees from our entry into the Hunter region.
• establishment of Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) compliance regime to enable Hume to expand our portfolio of accommodation and services for people with disability.
• securing access to $35 million in finance through the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) for affordable housing.
Improving our IT infrastructure
In preparation for the transfer of more than 4,000 social housing customers from the NSW Government to Hume in September 2019, it was necessary for us to completely replace our IT infrastructure to ensure that we can continue to consolidate and deepen our footprint, deliver customer-driven services and strengthen organisational governance. This also included back up and disaster recovery systems and security penetration testing.
We reviewed and stabilised our tenancy and property management system, known as SDM, to manage at our new scale. Through the creation of champions meetings, we were able to resolve 30 system issues to connect SDM to FaCS in preparation for the Hunter transfer.
Internally, we implemented Workplace by Facebook, an internal communications platform, as well as Zoom virtual conferencing software to enable better connectivity between our offices. Click here for further information on how Workplace has improved our productivity.
We reviewed and improved our procurement processes by rationalising our suppliers and made savings by bypassing retails sales channels and implementing bid pricing on IT assets. We implemented Kyocera Print N Follow for consolidated print management and reporting which has significantly reduced printer wastage and improved document security.
We documented all facets of our IT systems and IT processes into one secure system ensuring knowledge is retained within the organisation. Our strong capable IT team is in place and recognised by our employees through positive feedback in our annual Employee Opinion Survey.
Establishing an additional compliance regime for housing for people with disability
As a provider of Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) under the NDIS, Hume was required to undergo a re-registration process with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, a new, independent agency established to improve the quality and safety of NDIS supports and services in NSW.
The commission is tasked with regulating the NDIS market to provide national consistency, promote safety and quality services, resolve problems and identify areas for improvement. The process assessed the suitability of providers to deliver NDIS supports and services to NDIS participants, and the providers’ compliance with the NDIS Practice Standards.
Hume was required to undergo a certification audit for the SDA Quality Standard, conducted by an independent third-party auditor, SAI Global. The audit involves two stages that focused on:
• demonstrated compliance to the Quality Standards through documented policies and procedures
• evidence of practical implementation of these policies and procedures.
Stage 1 involved Hume disclosing all policies and procedures related to our Housing for People with Disability portfolio for auditing. Stage 1 of this audit was completed on 22 April 2019, without any non-conformances. This result provided assurance that Hume has the structure and mechanisms in place to deliver quality services in relation to SDA.
Stage 2 is expected to be completed in August 2019. Following the audit result, the commission is expected to make a final decision on the re-registration of Hume as an SDA provider later in 2019.
Outlook for 2019–20
In the coming year, we will:
• review and assess our Housing IT platform
• identify alternate sources of funding to assist with our growth plans
• review our governance frameworks by our Board and management.
HUME SECURES $35 MILLION WITH NHFIC’S FIRST FINANCE DEAL
In January 2019, the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) made its first finance commitment of $35 million to Hume Community Housing. With secured growth into the Hunter region to manage a further 2,200 homes in addition to our current portfolio, Hume will use the loan finance to support our ongoing operations providing affordable homes and services to more than 9,000 customers.
The loan is provided under NHFIC’s Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator (AHBA) and will enable Hume to access low interest and long-term finance. Through the AHBA, NHFIC will continue to provide greater funding certainty and enhanced cash flow to support the growth of the community housing sector.
The finance represents an important milestone, not only for Hume but for the entire community housing sector, which will benefit from access to lower-priced finance and greater certainty in terms of future financing costs.
NHFIC operates the AHBA to provide better funding solutions for registered community housing providers. The AHBA aims to provide cheaper and longer-term secured finance for community housing by issuing bonds in capital markets.
NHFIC is an independent corporate Commonwealth entity dedicated to improving housing outcomes, with a focus on affordable housing.
7 Hamilton Road, Fairfield
Level 4, 79 George Street, Parramatta
2 Glenroy Drive, Claymore
464 High Street, Maitland
- Raymond Terrace
46 William Street, Raymond Terrace
Note: Maitland open from 2 September 2019 and Raymond Terrace to open later in 2019.