Welcome to Tenant News Summer edition. It’s that time again as we start preparing for the holidays, keeping our homes cool over the summer months and supporting our fellow neighbours to stay safe and have fun.

In 2019, we ran community engagement initiatives and tenant reference groups across our key regions, we listened to your feedback from our annual Tenant Survey and just launched our ‘Hello Neighbour’ event ahead of the Neighbour Day Awards 2020.

We look forward to another wonderful 2020 and we wish all our tenants a very happy festive and holiday season – have fun, stay safe and look out for one another.

IMPORTANT DATES

IMPORTANT DATES & OFFICE CLOSURES
Christmas Eve (Tue 24 December) – open from 9 – 5 pm
Christmas Day (Wed 25 December) – Closed
Boxing Day (Thurs 26 December) – Closed
New Year’s Eve (Tues 31 December) –  open 9 – 5 pm
New Year’s Day (Wed 1 January) – Closed
Australia Day (Mon 27 January – public holiday in lieu for Sun 26 January)
For urgent and emergency maintenance during these times contact 1300 100 242

Keeping cool over the long, hot summer

Experts have predicted that this summer is going to be a hot one, with an extreme heatwave on the horizon. Much of the state of Victoria at risk of bushfires and emergency conditions the like of which we have not seen since the Black Saturday fires of 2009. During the summer months it’s important to do all you can to stay cool. This includes:
Get your home ready
  • If your first thought was to open up the house for some ventilation, first check the outside air temperature. When it is getting really hot outside, your best bet is to use a fan to circulate the air, and close windows and doors to avoid the sun shining through.

  •  Once the outside temperature is lower than inside, opening the windows and doors is a good idea.

  • Identify the coolest room in your home, so you know where to go to keep cool, especially if you don’t have an air-con.

Smarter Air Conditioning
  • Air conditioning is usually the biggest drain on power bills and while cutting cooling costs delivers big savings, it’s easier said than done on a scorcher of a day. So rather than turning it off all together set the temperature to a moderate temperature, to reduce costs. Depending on where you live in Australia, the ideal air-con temperature should be set to around 25 degrees for cooling in summer for maximum energy efficiency.

  • If you don’t have air conditioning at home, consider spending the day somewhere that does, like a library, cinema or shopping centre.

Dress lightly
  • Lighter clothing helps your body stay cool.
    Light / white-coloured clothing reflects heat and sunlight keeping you cool for longer.

Stay out of the sun
  •  Take shelter. If you need to be out in the sun, wear a shirt, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Sunburn will affect your body’s ability to cope with the heat.

Stay hydrated
  • Make sure you’ve got water close at hand. Try to drink two to three litres of water each day and avoid alcohol and caffeine as this can dehydrate you.

Look after your pets
  • Make sure your pets have plenty of shade and enough cool water to last the entire day. Putting ice cubes in their bowl will help keep their water cool for longer. Try a wet towel on the ground for them to lie on – they’ll thank you for it! And remember, if the ground is too hot for your hand, then it is too hot for their paws.

Splash yourself with water when possible
  • Wet your wrists, neck and ankle with cold water. When they are cool, your body feels cooler. If you have to step outside your house, take a cool shower before.

Original article sourced via PowerShop. Credit: PowerShop

STAY SAFE DURING BUSHFIRE SEASON

fire safety image

 

If you live in a high-risk area, in readiness for the fire season we require you to check that any vegetation within 10m of your home meets the following requirements:

  • Grass is no higher than 10cm
  • No plant-based mulch or leaf litter more than 1cm deep
  • No shrubs over one metre
  • No shrubs next to or below windows
  • No overhanging tree branches

To further safeguard your home you can:

  • Remove or relocate flammable items such as boxes, crates, or old furniture from your property
  • Face the safety release valve of all LPG cylinders away from the building
  • Store fuel supplies and chemicals away from the house.

On an annual basis Haven; Home, Safe arrange for gutters to be cleaned out. If your gutters require attention, please contact the Maintenance Team on 1300 100 242 (THM Tenants contact your Property & Tenancy Manager).

OTHER RESOURCES

CFA Fire Ready Kit The CFA fire ready kit is a great resource if you would like to assess how well you have prepared your home in the event of a fire.  The site provides invaluable tips and links for bushfire preparedness, planning and for implementing measures to protect yourself and your property. We encourage you to complete the Fire Ready assessment via the following here.

Complete the Fire Ready assessment

For warnings and alerts visit the VicEmergency website www.emergency.vic.gov.au or call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667. Tune into your emergency broadcasters – ABC Local Radio, commercial radio and designated community radio stations or SKY News Television. For those who do not have an Internet service, we encourage you to visit your local library or internet café and make sure you know what Fire District you are in.

MAINTENANCE OVER THE HOLIDAYS

With the holiday season nearly upon us, it’s important to note that HHS offices will be closed on all public holidays and we will be attending to urgent maintenance only between Mon 23 December – Mon 13 January.

Non-urgent repairs will be attended too after this time, as many of our contractors close during the Christmas/New Year period.

All maintenance requests during this period will be directed to our after hours call centre.

URGENT REPAIRS are defined in the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and include

Burst water service
Failure or breakdown of any essential service or appliance provided by the Landlord for hot water or heating
Blocked or broken toilet system
Failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply
Serious roof leak
Any fault or damage in the premises that makes the premises unsafe or insecure
Gas leak
An appliance, fitting or fixture that is not working properly and causes  a substantial amount of water to be wasted
Flooding or serious flood damage
Serious fault in a lift or staircase at the rented premises
Serious storm or fire damage
 

FRIENDLY REMINDERS

REMEMBER – RENT PAYMENT PRIORITY!

With the festive season and the holidays upon us we know that expenditure this time of the year can increase considerably; however, rent payments must still be paid as a priority. Missing payments during December and January means that you will start the New Year with arrears.  It is important that you make your rent payment on time as to avoid you form jeopardising your tenancy.

Here are a few steps to avoid from falling into debt and to enjoy the festive and holiday seasons.

  • Decide how much you can afford to spend at Christmas in advance and stick to it – you will still then be able to make payments on essential bills such as rent.
  • As you know, it is a condition of your tenancy that your rent is paid in advance and in full always. However, if you are struggling to pay your rent, contact your Property & Tenancy Manager without delay.
  • If you are in debt and need advice, contact one of these organisations for free and impartial advice and assistance https://havenhomesafe.org.au/money-advice-and-debt-counselling-directory/

Make sure that you inform Centrelink of any change to your circumstances including reporting earnings. Centrelink will be closed for the public holidays and if you forget to report by the new due date, your payment from Centrelink may be affected. For reporting and payment dates and to view the Centrelink payment tables visit, www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/public-holiday-reporting-dates-and-payment-arrangements

AIR CONDITIONER SERVICES

Does your air conditioner need servicing? We are currently arranging to have air conditioners serviced for tenants living in the Mallee, Bendigo, Geelong, Warrnambool and Ballarat regions.

A contractor will be contacting you soon to arrange a suitable time. Whilst we arrange services, we encourage tenants to clean their filters as needed throughout the year.

If you unsure about where the filters are located, you will find the information in your air conditioner manual. If your contact details have changed, we encourage you to call the Maintenance Services Team on 1300 100 242.

TENANT survey update

Listening to our tenants and making our operations client-centric is important to us at Haven; Home, Safe.  We hope that the tenant survey is as useful for you to provide input into your housing as it is for us to gain insights into your level of satisfaction and suggestions for improvement.

Key highlights:

  • 89% of tenants were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with access to services from their home
  • 87% of tenants would recommend Haven; Home, Safe to a friend/colleague
  • 83% of tenants were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the rental affordability of their home
  • 79% of tenants were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with access and mobility in outdoor areas of their home
  • 75% of tenants were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the maintenance services provided by Haven; Home, Safe

Program/Project UpdateS
In the last year we have:

5,200

People housed in short-term and long term accomodation

1,000

People in Support Programs

2,700

People given food vouchers

Hello Neighbour community event

We launched our ‘Hello Neighbour’ community event on Saturday 16 November at MC Square Community Centre, Doncaster.
 

This fun, family-friendly event was an opportunity for our tenants to connect, have fun and engage with one another.

Thanks to everyone who came down and supported or participated in the event. This was a launch event ahead of the Neighbour Day Awards 2020.

We are now a “very neighbourly organisation”, due to our affiliation with Relationships Australia and Neighbour Day.

Good Neighbour Awards 2020

Is there a neighbour who you think has a positive impact to those living around them and goes above and beyond to support others and contributes to making our properties a happier and safer place?   If so, here is your chance to tell us!

Simply complete your neighbourly story at https://havenhomesafe.org.au/good-neighbour-awards/ for the chance to win $$ and share the great stories of connection within your area.

  • The nomination will go into a monthly draw to win a $50 Coles gift voucher
  • Finalists will be in the running for the annual good neighbour award to win a $200 Good Guys voucher
  • Nominations close last day of each month
  • Finalists will be decided by a panel of representatives from HHS
  • A certificate of recognition will be sent to each nominee and finalist

Monthly winners will be announced in our All Tenant Newsletter every quarter and the annual winner will be announced on March 29 2020. For further information and on how to get involved with Neighbour Day 2020 visit https://neighbourday.org/

Read more

Financial Crisis & Material Aid Support In Geelong Area

We are now able to support individuals and families with immediate basic needs in times of crisis in the Belmont, Corio and Hamlyn Heights areas of Geelong, thanks to a grant from the Victorian government.

This support includes providing food vouchers, supermarket vouchers, petrol vouchers or assistance to pay utility bills. This financial aid is designed to assist people experiencing financial crisis through the provision of short-term immediate financial assistance.

For further information and to make an appointment contact our Geelong office on (03) 5246 8912. Appointments are available on Wednesdays and Thursdays and are conducted at the HHS office at 6 Pakington Street, Geelong West.

Renters Insurance

Are you covered by renter’s insurance? There are many good reasons to investigate the option of renter’s insurance including liability cover and covering assets which are usually more valuable than you may realise. According to the Insurance Council of Australia, 74% of renters don’t have insurance but renters are twice as likely to suffer the effects of theft.

What about landlord’s insurance? There seems to be a myth that the landlord’s insurance will extend to the renter’s property or negate the renter from any liability if the renter accidentally damages the property. This is not the case.

Here is a real situation experienced by a tenant living in a Haven; Home, Safe property.

A tenant left a burning candle whilst leaving the bathroom. The candle fell into a nearby waste bin which caught alight and soon engulfed the entire bathroom. Nobody was injured however there was damage caused to the bathroom, nearby bedrooms and some of the tenant’s possessions were damaged as a result of the smoke/water throughout the property.

Whilst Haven; Home, Safe attended and assumed the cost of the repairs, under landlord’s insurance, the cost of our excess to make such an insurance claim remains the responsibility of the tenant which has been billed back to the tenant of approximately $10,000.

In this situation, having renter’s insurance could reduce the cost to the renter’s loss of possessions, loss of property and costs associated with the damage.

 

What about liability cover? If someone comes over to your place and they happen to get injured whether fixing an appliance or on a social visit you may be liable for costs arising from their injury. Typically, renter’s insurance will cover you for any legal liability up to a certain monetary limit, depending on your plan.

What are your possessions worth? Big ticket items are easy to identify like laptops, iPads, jewellery and your furniture. But don’t forget the small stuff – your clothes, kitchen appliances, utensils, linen, books. You might actually be surprised by the sheer volume of stuff you own.

If the idea of renter’s insurance appeals to you, do some research on the types and nature of policies available, get a few quotes from different insurers and make a decision that is right for you.

Free professional financial counselling for HHS tenants

Are you dreading the financial hangover that Christmas brings? Don’t wait until the New Year to get back on top of your finances! We have partnered with Good Shepherd Microfinance ‘Good Money’ to offer our tenants priority and free access to financial advice and counselling services.

This is a free, independent and confidential service.

To chat with someone at Good Shepherd you can call 1300 148 028 and select Option 4 (Option 4 is the direct referral pathway for HHS clients). Alternatively you can contact your Property & Tenancy Manager who can make a referral on your behalf.

$$$ ENERGY SAVING TIPS

What’s the difference between an urgent and non-urgent repair?

As we all know, saving energy is good for the environment and good for your bank balance.

This excellent online resource – ‘Energy Hub’ – is the latest initiative from the Victorian Government to support tenants better understand their energy bills, conserve energy and optimise the temperature of your home. 

FREE december events

Bendigo Christmas Festival

December 21, 3pm – 7pm
Bendigo newest Christmas event is coming to town. An afternoon filled with family-friendly Christmas activities, including face painting, local market stalls, food park and open-air cinema.
Cost: Free Location: Canterbury Park, Eaglehawk

Central Geelong Christmas Trail

Dec 1 – December 25
Check out a great range of Christmas activities in Central Geelong! There’s plenty to do for the whole family. 
 
Cost: Free   Location: Various, Geelong

Christmas Projections

November 29 – December 25
Melbourne comes alive with glittering light projections this Christmas, over three locations in the city: State Library Victoria, Melbourne Town Hall and Princes Bridge.
Cost: Free   Location: State Library Victoria, Melbourne

Festival of Lights at Adventure Park

December 1 – 25
See hundreds of state of the art sparkling light displays and 1.2 million shimmering lights that will illuminate the sky each night creating a dazzling Christmas wonderland that families will love.
Cost: Free  Location: Adventure Park, Geelong

New Year’s Eve Fireworks – Melbourne CBD

December 31, 9:30pm
Melbourne lights up this NYE! Fireworks will be launched from city rooftops, and free celebrations will roll out from Footscray Park to the Mornington Peninsula.

Cost: Free  Location: Melbourne CBD 

New Year’s Eve Fireworks – Mildura

December 31, 7pm – 12:00am
From live music acts and performances for children through to two spectacular fireworks displays, the New Year’s Eve celebrations offer something for all ages to help bring in the New Year.

Cost: Free  Location: Nowingi Place, Hugh King Drive, Mildura

FREE jANUARY events

Chinese New Year – All About Kids Geelong

Friday, 24 January 2020 – 10:30am to 11:30am

2019 is Year of the Pig. Join us for a special family story session to celebrate Chinese New Year with stories, songs and craft. All ages.

Cost: Free Location: Geelong Library and Heritage Centre

Summer in the Parks – Bendigo

Dec, Jan, Feb 2020
The 2019/2020 Summer in the Parks Program features over 100 free or low cost events and activities during the months of December, January and February.
Cost: Free and low cost  Location: Various Bendigo + surrounds

Australia Day Festival

January 26, 11am – 4pm
Grab a bite to eat from the diverse range of culinary delights, interact with displays from a broad range of community groups and enjoy a range of entertainment – including the Royal Air Force Roulettes flyover.
Cost: Free   Location: Kings Domain Gardens, Melbourne

FREE FEBRUARY events

St Kilda Festival

February 9, 10am – 10pm
In its 40th year, St Kilda Festival has become Australia’s largest music festival. Showcasing 60+ bands and DJ sets from the country’s hottest young talent against the spectacular natural beauty of the St Kilda.
Cost: Free  Location: The Esplanade, St Kilda

Pako Festa

29 February 2020, 09:00 AM – 05:00 PM

Diversitat Pako Festa is the largest free celebration of cultural diversity in Australia! Celebrate with  Geelong’s local and cultural communities from all walks of life for one huge, amazing street party to celebrate our multicultural community.
Cost: Free Location: Pakington Street, Geelong West