Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Connect Newsletter

June 2021

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of Connect News.

We hope you are keeping safe during this latest lockdown.  As challenging as it is, we hope you are supporting each other and if you need help, we are here, even if it’s just for a friendly ear, please do feel free to call us.

Touching base with our customers is at the heart of what we do and to that end we’d like to thank everyone who took part in our client survey. The response has been phenomenal and a great sign of how comfortable you feel sharing your views with us. We appreciate all your feedback and are currently compiling the results, to share with you about what we do well and where we can improve.

In this issue of Connect News you’ll find the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out, more details about the survey, how to win a copy of Welcome to Country as part of Reconciliation Week, read a heart-warming story from one of our green-thumbed tenants, and get some winter safety tips as we head into the colder months.

Please stay safe and take care,

The Team at Haven; Home, Safe

This Connect Newsletter includes information on

COVID-19 updates

Are you eligible to be vaccinated?

Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 not only protects you, but those around you as well.

The good news is, eligibility to receive the Covid-19 vaccine has now been extended to those 40 years and over and for people who are vulnerable or at high risk of contracting or developing serious illness, such as:

  • those experiencing homelessness, sleeping rough, or in emergency accommodation
  • those receiving drug and alcohol support services
  • residents of residential mental health facilities
  • those in sensitive accommodation including high rise/low rise public housing, supported residential services, community housing, rooming houses and others
  • prisoners in custody and detainees within corrections facilities

For a full list, visit: Who can get vaccinated against COVID-19 | Coronavirus Victoria

To see a list of centres open to all eligible people for bookings or walk-ins, visit vaccination centres.

And for the latest Covid-19 info, click here.

Reconciliation Week 2021

Reconciliation – more than a word

This year’s theme for Reconciliation Week is ‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action’.

It is a time for Australians to contemplate our shared histories, cultures, and achievements so that each of us can find meaningful ways to achieve reconciliation in Australia.

HHS recognises that access to a stable home is the foundation of a good life and a just society.  We also acknowledge our responsibility in supplying equitable housing solutions and access to homelessness services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across our service locations.

We are committed to producing a Reconciliation Action Plan, consultation will happen later in the year. We are also reviewing our services to be cultural safe and providing all staff cultural awareness training.

We recognise the Aboriginal communities’ inherent strengths and experience and are looking forward to having more conversations.

HHS staff mark Reconciliation Week 2021

We acknowledge the Latji Latji people in Mildura
We acknowledge the Dja Dja Wurrung people in Bendigo
We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people in Preston

Reconciliation Week competition - show us how you celebrated

We’d love to hear how you supported Reconciliation Week this year.

Just by sharing your pics and stories you’ll go into the running to win one of five copies of Marcia Langdon’s guidebook to Indigenous Australia and the Torres Strait Islands ‘Welcome to Country’. This book is perfect for anyone who wants to gain insight into cultures that have thrived for over 60,000 years and learn about what ‘Country’ mean to Indigenous people. It covers topics such as Indigenous languages and customs, history, art and dance, storytelling, and cultural awareness.

Show us what you did to mark Reconciliation Week, send us your photos and stories to and you’ll go into the running for one of these amazing guidebooks.

Our residents

Putting down roots - Janet shares her joy of gardening

When we moved into our new home, it was a big weight off our shoulders … knowing that our daughter would have stability and that this was a place where we could put down roots. It’s been a year since we arrived and that’s what we’ve done both inside and out. 

The garden was a bit bleak when we got here, everything was brown and not very inspiring. I decided to change that and, let’s face it, there was plenty of time to spend in the garden in 2020, rather than being stuck inside all the time. 

Although we couldn’t afford to spend a lot, I started working on cleaning it up and planting cuttings that I was able to collect on some of my “iso walks”. I was also able to get some free sunflower seeds from our local neighbourhood pantry.  

Gardening gave me something rewarding to work on and helped take my mind off all the drama of COVID. My daughter also loved pottering around in the garden with me, digging in the dirt, enjoying the sunshine and learning where fruit and vegetables comes from … we have been able to grow tomatoes and some herbs in pots. 

It took a few months, but eventually, the plant cuttings started to flourish. We now have a beautiful garden. There are purple and yellow daisies, poppies and sunflowers. Visitors say it cheers them up and that makes me feel proud of what I have achieved.  

I wasn’t always into gardening, but now I am happy to admit that it has become a bit of an obsession because it is so rewarding, helps keep you fit and is great for stress relief. 

My advice is that if you want to start a garden, start small. Set small goals and take it from there. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, just see what works and have fun in the process.

Janet – HHS tenant

Thanks for participating in our survey

A huge thank you to all of you who took part in our client survey. Over a third of households participated in the survey and your feedback will provide excellent insights into what we are doing well and where we need to improve.

It was great to see that 74% of you are satisfied with our overall customer service, but there is room for improvement, particularly when it comes to prompt responses to complaints.

You told us we have been better at keeping you informed about your maintenance requests, but our maintenance response times need improvement.

A number of results were lower than our 2019 survey and while it has been a challenging time (with our limited capacity to meet with you face-to-face), we have taken on board where we need to improve and will be working on putting improvement strategies in place.

The pandemic has been hard on you as well, satisfaction with community connectedness and wellbeing was lower. A lot of people wanted to find out more about what was happening in their neighbourhoods.  One way you can find out what is happening in your local area is to join the Next Door website or app where neighbours share updates about local events, issues, crime and services.

Resident workshop

We will hold a workshop with residents and staff to inform the development of an action plan to address the issues raised in the 2021 Tenant Satisfaction Survey. An invite will be sent to those who completed the expression of interest section of our survey.

If you would like to get involved, please email to register your interest.

We will keep you updated with our action plan.

31% of households responded to the survey

74% satisfied with our overall customer experience

HHS updates

HHS to deliver 151 new homes in New Epping

Construction has started on 151 new social and affordable rental apartments as part of the New Epping development. These new social and affordable apartments are part of the large-scale urban renewal project in Melbourne’s north with a focus on sustainability and wellness. New Epping will create a master-planned community transforming an old quarry into the heart of a living, breathing community.

The Stage 1 residences include social and affordable homes to be operated by Haven; Home, Safe and slated for completion in May 2022.

The plan for New Epping is one of the most ambitious urban renewal projects ever seen in Australia, spanning residential and commercial developments and a health precinct. This project will more than double the amount of existing affordable housing in the City of Whittlesea.

These apartments have been designed to the Better Apartment Design Standards and will meet modern design criteria, including a minimum Liveable Housing Australia (LHA) silver rating, with more than half targeting Gold (certification pending).

New Epping Development
Victorian Minister for Housing The Hon. Richard Wynne breaks ground at New Epping

HHS welcomes NHFIC to tour our Essendon property

We were proud to have the opportunity to host a delegation of investors from the National Housing and Finance Corporation (NHFIC) at our Mt Alexander Road, Essendon development.

It was a privilege to showcase not only our apartments, the excellent location of the property (which allows for easy access to public transport, shops, amenities, parks, schools, employment and a variety of facilities and services), but it was also a chance for delegates to meet some of our clients who kindly opened their homes to us and who generously shared their stories.

A common theme in our clients’ stories, was the impact having a stable, secure home has been on their lives and how it’s not only allowed them to get by, but to thrive.

Winter safety tips

As we move into the colder months, it’s good to remind ourselves of some key safety tips this Winter.

Smoke alarms – test your smoke alarms are working every month and make sure you replace the batteries every year.

Hot water bottles – use hot tap water, not boiling water and make sure the hot water bottle has a cover for protection. Check your hot water bottle regularly and if you see any cracks or if it looks worn in any way, it’s time to get a new one.

Wheat / heat packs – be careful when heating your heat packs, as overheating can cause the bag to ignite and start a fire.

Electric Blankets – check your blanket is in good working order regularly. If you notice any damage at all do not use and throw the blanket away. Do not sleep with the blanket turned on.

Candles – make sure you don’t leave candles unattended. Extinguish candles even when you leave the room. Keep candles away from curtains, bedding or clothing and make sure they are out of reach of children and pets.

Be part of our Newsletter​

We would love to hear from you and for you to contribute towards our Connect News client newsletter.

Feel free to share your story, photography, writings, musings, artwork, etc. by emailing