Chairperson’s Bulletin No. 1 – 2016

New 3-Year Strategic Plan for VPTA
The VPTA Board has endorsed the 2016-2019 Strategic Plan for our Association. The key focus areas are to: – Increase the reach, awareness and impact of the VPTA
– Grow the VPTA
– Engage with Tenants at a local level
– Have more influence with Decision Makers
– Improve the image of public housing
Read the complete Strategic Plan (available as a PDF file for download) on the VPTA’s website  strategic-plan

Extending our reach
All public housing tenants in Victoria received a VPTA flyer with their last rent statement from the Department. This generated many calls to the VPTA office and we were pleased to be able to assist tenants with their inquiries about their housing needs. Much of the feedback about public housing was positive, with tenants highlighting the ways in which secure and affordable public rental housing had improved their circumstances.

VPTA staff help tenants understand Departmental decisions and policies and, in some circumstances, advocate to the Department on a tenant’s behalf in order to resolve a problem.
Whilst the range of issues tenants contacted us about were many and varied, we have been able to broadly summarize the major issues as:
– Maintenance
– Communication with the Department
– Tenant behaviour – disputes between tenants
– Case Management and higher levels of support/engagement needed
– Housing shortage – waiting and transfer times are major concerns

‘Out and About’ Visitation Program
VPTA staff are getting ‘Out and About’ to chat with public housing tenants at a variety of locations as part of our scheduled Visitation service. We have recently met with tenants in Atherton Gardens, Richmond and Dallas and our next stop will be Braybrook. For information on when the VPTA will be in your local area, please contact the VPTA office on Freecall 1800 015 510.

Working with the Department
Our Visitation Program and our Tenant Mail-out enable the VPTA to provide evidence-based feedback to the Department on what is working and where improvements could be made to Departmental policies and procedures and service delivery. We are engaged with Departmental staff at Area, Regional and Central offices and have been able to influence a number of changes to policy.
Last year’s Tenant mail-out trebled the volume of calls to our office and we expect this trend to continue with future mail-outs. Likewise, the Visitation Program is resulting in an increased workload and the positive response from local area offices indicates a need to expand this service.

Working with Government
Our document “Blueprint for Affordable Housing” has been released and is being used as a basis for our on-going discussions with representatives of State and Federal Governments. A copy is available on our website:
We are also in regular contact with the Victorian Housing Minister’s office and are advocating for measures to increase supply of public housing residences – this includes both new developments and redevelopments.

Public and Proud Campaign
Our campaign to promote a positive image of public housing continues this year, most recently with Federal parliamentarian Anthony Albanese and head of the Australian Business Council, Jennifer Westacott, both of whom grew up in public housing.

Computer Training for Tenants to use on-line services – contact our office for more information if you are interested!