Haven; Home, Safe’s flagship social housing project has won the Australasian Housing Institute’s inaugural Anthony Hardy award for Excellence in Social Housing in Victoria and is now in the running for a national award in November.

The award was struck in memory of the long-serving Housing Registrar Anthony Hardy who died suddenly last year.

This is the second prestigious award Sidney Myer Haven has won after taking home the Excellence in Tenant Engagement and Social Inclusion at the national PowerHousing Australia Conference in Canberra last month and follows on from the Community Sector Banking’s Community Impact Award for innovation last year.

sidney myer haven
HHS Executive Director (South) Trudi Ray with Anthony Hardy’s widow Mary, SMH Program Manager Sue Farrell, and the Housing Registrar’s Manager for Regulation, Michael Forbes.

Operational since October 2015, Sidney Myer Haven is a unique initiative offering medium-term housing, within a contemporary 23-unit residential complex in Somerville Street, Bendigo, combined with a suite of life-skill support programs, which address housing and homelessness issues for program participants and sees them settled in affordable housing with the necessary skills to participate fully in community life.

Haven; Home, Safe CEO Ken Marchingo said residents entering Sidney Myer Haven had a need for sustainable and safe housing and the desire and drive to build better lives through personal development, education and training.

“This comprehensive, non-government funded approach of using a mix of formal training and personal development programs to address social, educational, life skills and other areas is the first of its kind in Australia,” Mr Marchingo said.

“The aim of this unique program is for participants to exit Sidney Myer Haven within 24 months into suitable accommodation in the public or private sector and with the life skills and ability to effectively maintain and succeed in that mainstream environment,” he said.

Since the program started, participants have accomplished outstanding results, for example:

  • Many have received on-site financial counselling enabling them to clear debt
  • All have participated in health and wellbeing activities as part of the AFL’s Ladder program
  • Participants receive life skills training at the level they need such as cooking, domestic, communication,  parenting and relationship skills as an example.
  • Participants have attended education and training programs which have included – ‘Introduction to Computers’, ‘Internet for Beginners’, ‘Getting Ready to Work’ and ‘Skills for Working and Living Well’.
  • RACV funding has covered driving lessons which has led to driver licences
  • There are six participants currently engaged in TAFE, one is in University, two have commenced apprenticeships, and four are in employment

Funding for this $7.5M project consisted of $4 million from the Victorian Government complemented by generous contributions from a range of philanthropic organisations and local community donations including $1.4 million from the Yulgilbar Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund as part of a social impact project instigated by Baillieu Myer in memory of his father Sidney Myer.   The William Buckland Foundation granted $750,000, the Ian Potter Foundation contributed $450,000, while community organisations Bendigo for Homeless Youth, Community Foundation for Central Victoria and Horizon House each donated $100,000.

In addition to the housing and social curriculum program, Sidney Myer Haven features an education centre with counselling rooms and training facilities, a recreation and barbecue area, 24/7 on-site support, and a secure children’s play area.

Haven; Home, Safe is keen to duplicate the successes of Sidney Myer Haven in other parts of Victoria.

“We have closely detailed and monitored the development of the Sidney Myer Haven program, capturing all aspects of the processes of planning, development, construction, implementation, operations, review and modification, through research, video footage, stakeholder feedback and tenant file notes,” Mr Marchingo said.

Best of all, he said: “Every day we are changing the trajectory of some of the most disadvantaged people in our community.”

“I feel very privileged to be a part of this awesome life changing organisation that is Haven; Home Safe.”

For more information:

Sue Masters
Communications and Marketing Director
0448 505 517
sue.masters@hhs.org.au