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Tenant News Autumn 2020

Welcome to the Autumn Edition of the Haven; Home, Safe All Tenant News.

The long, hot days of summer may be coming to an end, but there are still plenty of things to do in the cooler months, just rule out the pool until next summer perhaps. For properties with gardens, if you are finding that trees are overgrown, hanging over fences or edging needs trimming, we encourage you to be a green thumb, grab a pair of secateurs and prune those bits that need some tender loving care.


All HHS offices will be closed on:

Labour Day – Monday 9 March 
Good Friday – Friday 10 April
Easter Monday – Monday 13 April
For urgent and emergency maintenance during these times contact 1300 100 242

Day Light Savings starts Sunday 5 April at 3am


To ensure you always receive our newsletter and important notices, please update your email address with your Tenancy & Property Manager.

If you would like a paper copy, please contact your local HHS office.


It is important that we have your most current details including email and telephone numbers. This is so we can contact you and let you know about important changes or information regarding your tenancy and for maintenance contractors to contact you and arrange suitable times to come and complete repairs. If you think we may not have your current details, please contact your Tenancy and Property Manager and let them know.


We are delighted to announce that we have received funding from Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) to secure an additional 50 head-leases on properties for women and children affected by family violence as part of our ‘Moving On’ program. 

The aim of Moving On is to increase the supply of medium to long-term affordable rental housing in areas including Metro Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat, Warrnambool, Bendigo, Mildura and Swan Hill, so women and their families can access the support they need to stay safe and get back on their feet.

We will be working with specialised family violence agencies for referrals into the program.


We recently refurbished our Mildura office at 143A, Lime Avenue. We look forward to being able to offer support services for people experiencing homelessness in the Mallee from these operational headquarters in the future.

Australia is in the middle of a loneliness crisis, with many people experiencing a lack of social connection. To celebrate Neighbour Day in 2020 the focus is ‘Social Connection’.

When we think of loneliness, many of us will think of social and emotional isolation. We may consider a lack of important and meaningful relationships, perhaps an absence of companionship and social interaction with others.

Neighbour Day is an opportunity for people to start thinking about how they can put their energy into creating positive and meaningful social connections with people in their community.

These social connections might be brief or lasting connections that create one-to-one relationships or become the starting point for an ongoing group.


The Good Neighbour Awards provide HHS tenants with an opportunity to formally recognise the contribution their neighbours make to their lives, the tenant community in general and how these relationships can change communities through social connection.

Our winners so far this year include..

Monthly Winner (February 2020):
Sonia Emanual in Wonthaggi

Annual Winners (2020):
Helen Pedretti in Northern Region – Central
Ann-Marie Macleod in Southern Region – Metro

Congratulations to you all! You are all making a difference in the community and it is greatly appreciated.

If you know a good neighbour and want to nominate them for a monthly Good Neighbour Award throughout 2020, then now is your chance to tell us. Simply enter your neighbourly story at:

The nomination will go into a draw to win a monthly $50 Coles gift voucher. Nominations close on the last day of each month. Monthly winners will be announced in our All Tenant Newsletter.


Harmony Day is an annual celebration of cultural diversity, respect and a sense of belonging in our community and society at large.

Everyone Belongs’ is the continual message of Harmony Day. In Australia it is celebrated annually on March 21.

Harmony Day began in 1999, coinciding with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Each year, it is marked by people coming together and participating in local activities. The continuing message of Harmony Day is about community participation, inclusiveness, celebrating diversity, respect and belonging. The national colour for harmony day is Orange.

For further information of how to get involved and events occurring visit


Are you thinking about returning to study, changing careers or refining some skills to improve your employment prospects? If so, free TAFE is a Victorian Government initiative which includes free tuition fees for students wanting to train in Priority Courses that lead to jobs in demand.

For enrolment and eligibility details visit or phone TAFE and Training on 131 823.


In certain circumstances HHS may consider the sale of properties to tenants. To be eligible to buy an HHS property you will have held a tenancy for a period of three years and had good standing during that tenancy. You should have no outstanding arrears, a good maintenance history and low arrears throughout your tenancy. You will need to arrange your own finance either through a bank or other lending institution. Please note, not all properties will be available or suitable for sale.

For more information, please contact Cathy Goss, Project Officer, AHA Disposals & Sub-Divisions on 03 54449024 or via email


With the return to work or school now is an ideal time to learn more about how to positively and safely use online services. eSafety is the only government agency committed to keeping people safer online through the provision of educational resources and training on online safety. These include, cyberbullying, adult cyber abuse, image- based abuse and much more.

For further information visit


Scammers target people with a range of schemes including online selling, investment and lottery scams. Scamwatch is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and provides information on how to recognise, avoid and report scams.

For further resources and tools visit or


What is hoarding?

Hoarding is the persistent accumulation of and lack of ability to part with, large numbers of objects or living animals.  It results in extreme clutter in and around premises, compromising the intended use of premises and threatens the health and safety of people concerned, animals and neighbours. 

Hoarding is a progressive and chronic condition that does not happen at a specific age or to people of a certain gender, socio economic status, culture/ethnicity, education level or location.

What is squalor?

Squalor is an unsanitary living environment that has arisen from extreme/prolonged neglect. It poses substantial health and safety risks to people or animals residing in the affected premises as well as others in the community. 

Hoarding and squalor can exist in isolation or at the same time. The effects of hoarding can be apparent inside or outside the house or a combination of both. Commonly hoarded items include personal papers, newspapers, clothing, furniture, appliances, household rubbish, animals and hard rubbish.

What are the fire risks?

Every four – six days MFB firefighters respond to a fire or other types of emergency in a residential property where hoarding and/or squalor is present.

  • Accumulation of possessions results in an abnormally high fuel load and greater opportunity for ignition
  • Blocked exits and narrow internal pathways impede escape for the occupant and access for firefighters
  • Non-functional gas or electricity may result in unsafe practices for cooking and heating

Fires in hoarding homes increase the risk for the occupant, their neighbours and firefighters and may increase the risk of affected people in other kinds of emergencies in their home.

How can you help your friends or relatives reduce their fire risks?

Hoarding is a complex issue which requires intervention and long-term support form appropriate services/agencies. Encourage friends or family members to seek assistance from community or health services with long term treatments.

In the meantime, talk with them about the fire risks and encourage them to reduce their risks by doing the following:

  • Install smoke alarms and test them
  • Unblock exits
  • Widen internal pathways
  • Check utilities are connected
  • Prioritise removing clutter from around cooking area and stove tops as 39 per cent of fires in hoarding homes result from cooking
  • Ensure clutter is removed from around heaters and electrical items and discourage the use of open flame as combined these factors account for 44 per cent of fires in hoarding homes

For general information on hoarding visit or

For people affected by hoarding and or squalor and for family and friends of someone affected by hoarding or squalor contact the Community Resilience Department, At Risk Groups Team on 03 9665 4464 or


With the Easter break upon us, HHS will be attending to URGENT maintenance only between Friday 10 April through to Tuesday 14 April.

Non-urgent repairs will be attended too after this time as many of our contractors close during this period. If you have any repairs outstanding, please contact the Maintenance Services Team and report it as soon as possible on 1300 100 242.

HHS offices will be closed on all public holidays all urgent and emergency maintenance during these periods will be directed to our afterhours call center.

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

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


Light Globe Replacements

As landlords we often receive a lot of inquiries from tenants requesting us to change their light globes. During the tenancy, if a light bulb needs changing it is generally the tenant’s responsibility to have this changed. An exception to this would if the bulb is a specialist fitting, or where the light fixture is defective in which case HHS would be responsible for its replacement/repair.

For further information on cost effective and energy efficient light globes visit


International Women’s Day
Sunday, March 8

Harmony Day
Saturday, March 21

Neighbour Day
Sunday March 29

Victorian Youth Week
Friday April 3 to Sunday, April 12

Saturday, April 25

Pay it Forward Day
Tuesday, April 28

Mothers Day Classic
Sunday, May 10

Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea
Thursday, May 28

National Volunteer Week
Wednesday, May 20 – Tuesday, May 26

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