COVID-19 (coronavirus) and our services
We have plans in place for these challenging times and will be guided by advice provided by the Federal Government and the Victorian Department of Health & Human Services. The updates below provide people using our services and our support partners with the latest information about how BeyondHousing will operate to meet the guidelines in order to protect our communities.
As the impact of coronavirus continues to grow in Victoria, we encourage you to seek out reliable and up-to-date information about reducing the spread and when you should seek further medical assistance. You can get essential information on coronavirus from https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19 or by calling the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.
Please contact us for more information on any of the updates below.
BeyondHousing sees the impact literacy levels have on people’s ability to understand information about their housing, so on Wednesday is releasing key brochures in Easy English and translations into five priority languages.
BeyondHousing CEO, Celia Adams said with 44% of Australian adults (15-65 years old) not having well enough developed literacy skills to read a range of different documents, it is a big factor contributing to confusion around finances, housing and how to access services.
“We are committed to inclusion, so having these brochures will help more people understand housing and feel empowered in their housing decisions,” Ms Adams said.
“There are a range of factors that lead to homelessness. This can be made worse if people can’t understand leases, condition reports and essential information about their privacy and rights/responsibilities,” Ms Adams said.
“They often end up paying more in rent or having a poor rental history.
“Housing is a human right, but it’s hard to know what your rights are if the information is difficult to understand, so we have developed this information in Easy English and translated it into five languages. We have done this in partnership with Albury-Wodonga Ethnic Communities Council and the Ethnic Council of Shepparton with a grant from the Sidney Myer Fund.”
Albury-Wodonga Ethnic Communities Council Chairperson, Rupinder Kaur said the translated brochures will give people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds the ‘know-how’ to navigate housing issues and help them to understand tenancy rights and responsibilities in their own language.
“As the peak multicultural organisation on the Border, we welcome these new resources and commend BeyondHousing for the initiative in bridging the knowledge gap,” Ms Kaur said.
Chris Hazelman, Manager, Ethnic Council of Shepparton also acknowledged that for settling communities, an individual’s English skills can be a barrier to participation on a range of levels.
“This will improve over time, however it is important that information is available and accessible in first languages which enables people to make informed decisions and be less reliant on others for support and assistance,” Mr Hazelman said.
The Easy English and translated brochures will be launched at morning tea events at the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and Albury-Wodonga Ethnic Communities Council on Wednesday, 21 November at 10.30am.
The brochures are available on the BeyondHousing website and all BeyondHousing offices: Shepparton, Seymour, Wodonga and Wangaratta.
Work can now start on the construction of four new one-bedroom homes in Wangaratta, complete with solar panels and batteries, after BeyondHousing earlier this year announced its partnership with the Peter and Lyndy White Foundation (PLWF) to build homes for single people.
BeyondHousing CEO, Celia Adams said the partnership with the PLWF to build 11 homes in Wangaratta, Shepparton and Seymour would increase the supply of affordable rental housing for single people in the region.
“Last financial year, we assisted more than 3,600 people who were homeless or at risk of homelessness. Almost half of them were single people on extremely low incomes. There is a shortage of affordable housing for single people, so they have very few options,” Ms Adams said.
The Wangaratta homes which now have planning approval, will be built by Diverse Builders. They feature private spaces and will be affordable to run, due to the solar panels and batteries.
Diverse Builders, Director Neil Rose said his organisation is an active supporter of its local and regional community.
“We share BeyondHousing’s view that secure housing gives people more than simply a roof over their head – it supports their development and involvement in their community. We were really happy to contribute to this fundraising effort so that more people who need housing get the opportunities the rest of us have,” Neil said.
“It’s a great project to be involved with as we do a lot to support local communities and using our design and build skills is a perfect fit,” he said.
Ms Adams said the PLWF has a strong commitment to addressing homelessness.
“We are really grateful for their support - we wouldn’t have been able to deliver 11 homes without their generous support,” she said.
BeyondHousing and PLWF have been working together since 2015 and Ms Adams said the partnership demonstrates what can be achieved through collaboration.
“No organisation or group can address homelessness by itself. Collaboration is essential.
“We believe having a home is a human right and good design, energy efficient features and the latest technology will help make these units even more affordable for tenants.”
Rural Housing has responded to the first ever Rental Affordability Index in Australia that has been released. It shows damning evidence of a housing affordability crisis that cannot be ignored by any level of Government. Commissioned by National Shelter, the Rental Affordability Index tracks the affordability of rental housing in the state capitals as well as in regional Australia. It sets an RAI benchmark of 100, in which households pay 30% of income on rent.
For those families on the lowest 20% of incomes, earning approximately $500 per week and usually reliant on Government benefits, the affordability index is 48 – showing that rental accommodation is extremely unaffordable. For those in the bottom 40% of incomes (around $1000per week), often with low paid or casual employment, the RAI is 93 – still unaffordable and requiring families to pay more than 32% of income in rent.