It seems fitting that the theme for this year’s annual report is “Resilience” as 2020 has been a year in which we have seen people tested, often to their limits, by bushfires and smoke and then a global pandemic. A time when people and communities have needed resilience more than ever.
I congratulate our CEO, Celia Adams and the people who work at BeyondHousing for their ability to respond quickly as issues arose this year, and particularly since March. Ensuring the health and safety of our staff at a time when some of the most vulnerable people in our communities needed our help was not a simple task. However, our commitment to digital transformation over the past two years meant that the move to remote working was mostly seamless and effective. Making the transition was the first step. Maintaining service delivery and staff morale in the following months has required leadership and resilience. We have found new ways to provide services to people and new ways for staff to stay connected to the organisation and each other. I congratulate every-one in the BeyondHousing team for again showing their commitment to the work we do.
The Board has also faced some challenges as Directors have learned new ways to meet and attend to the business of the Board. This has not always been easy, but I thank our Directors for their patience and willingness to find solutions.
As happens most years, some of our Directors have resigned and new Directors recruited. I would like to thank Teigan O’Grady, Darran Stonehouse and Owen Webb who provided their knowledge and time to the Board and to our vision. During 2019-2020 we welcomed Alan Arthur, Ann Telford (who returned after a short break from the Board), Ben Ruscoe and Carly Martin. With skills that include governance, finance and architecture, our new Directors will continue to lead BeyondHousing with integrity.
There have been a number of highlights this year for the organisation. The partnership with Peter and Lyndy White Foundation to build affordable housing across the region continues into its second year. The Housing Registrar’s annual review report was exemplary. Additional resources in the private rental support programs ensures that we will continue to provide a suite of services for all people in housing crisis. The Board recognises that these achievements haven’t come easily but are the result of hard work and dedication by many people in BeyondHousing.
There have been a few focus areas for the Board and its committees this year, including redrafting the Constitution and most of the Board’s policies, cash forecasting and ensuring the financial sustainability of the organisation as we continue to grow. We also engaged a consultant to facilitate a review of the Board and how we might improve our collective performance. Despite some of this work being delayed by COVID-19, it has been a valuable experience for all Directors.
I am looking ahead to the coming year with some excitement. The development of a new strategic plan (2021-2024) is always a time to reflect on achievements and set new challenges. Board induction and succession planning will also be key objectives to ensure that knowledge and expertise is shared between long-term and new Directors, building on our resources and increasing our resilience.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge and thank all the people who contribute to the achievements of BeyondHousing – Directors, CEO and Management Team, and staff; but also our partners and stakeholders who share our vision of ending homelessness.