Welcome

Sue Paini

Chair

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.

Celia Adams

Chief Executive Officer

I am proud to share this year’s annual report with our stakeholders and to acknowledge the significant progress we have made in the past year, in spite of the extraordinary circumstances that we, and people in our communities, have found ourselves in, as a result of the Covid-19 global pandemic.

Our ongoing investment in digital transformation has served us well throughout the pandemic, enabling us to mobilise our workforce swiftly and efficiently to mimimise disruption to services. When offices closed in March 2020, more than 50 staff moved to working remotely within 2 weeks. I am confident that this investment will continue to provide flexibility for our team and greater choice for the people who access our services, whilst also increasing the protection of data and personal information.

Digital Transformation has also enabled our Board to meet remotely and participate in online committee meetings. It has been challenging at times but I thank our Directors for their willingness to adapt, and for their ongoing commitment to our organisation, throughout challenging times. Significant work has been achieved at a governance level which would not have been possible without the commitment of our Board of Directors.

We have made significant progress against our organisational review from 2017 and Growth Strategy endorsed by the Board in August 2019. To strengthen our capacity for growth we added new positions to our team in the areas of Asset Management, Project Management and Finance.

We ended the year with 100 properties approved for construction, with the support of the Peter and Lyndy White Foundation and the Victorian State Government. Our partnership with the Peter and Lyndy White Foundation is critical to the growth we have achieved to date and plan for the coming year. We continue to be grateful to the Foundation and look forward to continuing to increase the supply of affordable housing in our catchment with their support.

We participated in over 140 media articles across print, television, radio generating many media releases ourselves to highlight the issue of homelessness and lack of affordable housing. In particular, we are thankful for the support of Hit FV Goulburn Valley, for their campaign in Homelessness Week 2019, which raised much needed awareness of the realities of homelessness in regional Victoria and as always, the lack of appropriate crisis options and affordable housing for people. We also used social media extensively to promote our work.

We made progress against our environmental goals by installing solar units on 25 of our affordable housing properties, reducing paper usage by over 40%, and continuing to power our offices using 100% renewable energy sources. Our 8 star energy rated homes in Wodonga, funded by the Victorian Property Fund are well under way and we are proud of this development. It is important to us that our homes are not only affordable to rent, but also affordable to live in.

Significant preparation was made towards our DHHS Service Standards review scheduled for September 2020. A particular focus was work towards the Aboriginal Addendum of the Standards, and ensuring we provide services in a culturally safe and competent manner. Continuous Quality Improvement will always be a focus of our organisation and I am proud of the work we have done in this space.

Whilst it is tempting to think that soon we will continue much of our business as usual, we must learn lessons from our experiences of COVID-19. In particular we need to continue to focus on effective communication with our workforce, clients and stakeholders and to continue to find ways to stay connected despite being geographically apart. As an organisation we are looking for ways we can learn from COVID-19, such as flexibility in working arrangements and service delivery, by offering more opportunities for remote appointments, whilst maintaining face to face contact when we can.

I am incredibly proud of our team for the way they have maintained their positive approach to the work we do, for their high levels of motivation, the agility they demonstrated in the significant challenges of COVID-19. They continue to care very passionately and professionally for the people we work with. What started as a temporary pivot from usual work practices, could potentially become the new normal and I thank every one of our team for their ongoing commitment, knowing that whatever the future holds for us, we are prepared.

Our Strategic Direction

2018-2021

Our Clients

We will deliver services to our clients in ways that represent our values, promote the rights of people and ensure the best possible housing outcomes; prioritising for the most vulnerable in our communities.

Our Community

We will provide leadership, advocacy, and influence on the issues of homelessness and affordable housing within our catchment and beyond.

Our Team

We will be a values based organisation, with a positive team culture that promotes safety and well being; and supports each other in the pursuit of achieving our vision to end homelessness

Our Systems

We will have robust systems that enhance the experience for all stakeholders, drive strategic improvements and provide for an objective basis for decision-making and accountability.

Our Environment

We will minimise our environmental impact through the adoption of financially viable initiatives to improve resource efficiency, reduce waste generation and reduce the consumption of natural resources.

Our Assets & Growth

We will use evidence of demand to grow, recognising that it requires the courage to take some considered risks and the resources to develop concepts that, when tested, may not proceed.

Vision

All people to have a safe, secure, affordable and appropriate housing.

Purpose

BeyondHousing is committed to ending homelessness. We will work in partnership with Government, business, communities and individuals to develop and provide the full range of quality housing and homelessness services.

Our Values

Rights Housing is a Human Right

Fairness Housing Justice for all People

Creativity Seeking solutions

Quality Striving to be the best

Collaboration We cannot solve homelessness alone

Acknowledgement of Country

BeyondHousing acknowledges Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and their rich cultures. We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands and waters upon which we rely. We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters, and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Next: Impact