Chairperson’s Bulletin No. 8 – 2015

VPTA Visitation Service:
The pilot program conducted by staff from the VPTA at the Collingwood high-rise estate has been completed (4 visits in 8 weeks). We had multiple tenant contacts with issues raised about general maintenance in common areas and a number of individual concerns.
Publicity for the pilot was good, with room for improvement. It may prove more difficult to publicise visits to tenants when visiting areas away from ‘tower estates’ like Collingwood. We will need to have more flexibility around the hours of visits so that tenants who work or study will also be able to discuss matters with us.
Discussions are underway with several Housing Managers in regard to conducting visits to their areas. Sale (in regional Victoria) is likely to be the next area the VPTA visits.
Contact the VPTA on 1800 015 510 or email for further information.

‘Digital Literacy’ training:
The VPTA was awarded a grant from the Australia Post ‘Our Neighbourhood’ funding program so that we can help public housing tenants to better use computers for on-line services. Many agencies, such as Centrelink, Medicare and Housing, are moving to provide more of their services on-line. Some energy, water and telecommunications providers now offer incentives for signing up to on-line billing or charge fees for off-line accounts and payments.
The VPTA has purchased a number of laptop computers which are now ready for use in our training program. Tenants can learn how to use the internet, set up email accounts, send emails and access on-line services.
Initially we are conducting training at the VPTA offices for tenants living in Melbourne. In the future, we intend to take the (portable) lap-tops to regional areas (if there is demand).
Any public housing tenant can contact the VPTA on (freecall) 1800 015 510 to sign up for this training.

Waiting for Public Housing……
The September quarter Wait List figures were released at the end of October and show that there were 34,726 people eligible for public housing waiting to be housed, with a further 7,627 people waiting for a transfer. Many of these ‘people’ are, in fact, families, making the total number ‘waiting’ much larger.
The VPTA is preparing a paper, titled “A Blueprint for Affordable Public Housing”, that we will be using as a basis for further lobbying of Government. We aim to demonstrate that more public housing can be provided and the Wait List reduced, if Government is prepared to make changes in its approach to tackling the issue of supply.

National Housing Conference 2015
Both the VPTA Chairperson and the Executive Officer attended the recent National Housing Conference. This was an opportunity to hear what successful approaches to increasing the supply of affordable social housing have been implemented in other Australian states and overseas. A number of State and Federal politicians were in attendance, along with various representatives of the private sector, including financial institutions. We were able to have numerous informal discussions during the conference on a range of matters affecting supply of housing which provided us with a greater understanding of what is realistically possible and means we are even better informed when we deal with Government and the Department.

VPTA in the news
‘The Age’ newspaper has quoted the VPTA in a number of recent articles concerning public housing, whilst our social media sites – Facebook and Twitter – are gaining more followers. Our website contains regular news items, including profiles of current and former ‘Public and Proud’ tenants. Visit our Home page at for our latest news.