The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing hosted the 2023 Public Housing Forum and Workforce Awards recently.
Danny O’Kelly, Deputy Secretary, Community Operations and Practice Leadership, delivered a welcoming address and later took part in a panel discussion alongside Peta McCammon, Secretary Department of Families Fairness and Housing, Simon Newport, Chief Executive Officer Homes Victoria and Dannii de Kretser, Deputy Chief Executive Officer Homes Victoria.
“These awards provide an opportunity to recognise the dedication and hard work of our public housing staff and the impact they’re having on the lives of public housing renters,” Homes Victoria Chief Executive Officer, Simon Newport said.
The 2023 Public Housing Forum and Workforce Awards received 49 award nominations across five categories.
2023 Public Housing Workforce award winners:
Outstanding Commitment to Achieve Excellence in Client Services
Winner: Nick Elmes
As well as being a field service officer, Nick is a volunteer firefighter and trained first aid officer with access to the Good Samaritan app, which alerts trained first-responders to nearby life-threatening emergencies.
While at work, Nick received an alert via the app that a man was in cardiac arrest inside his home on the estate. Nick responded immediately and performed CPR while the man’s relative spoke to Triple Zero. Nick’s extensive first aid training and quick response saved the man’s life and by the time the ambulance arrived, the patient was ready to be transported to hospital.
Outstanding Achievement and Performance of a Newly Inducted Housing Services Offices/Housing Customer Services Officer
Winner: Chloe Broderick
Chloe has quickly adapted to her new client service role and is highly motivated to achieve positive client outcomes. Chloe works closely with renters to proactively work towards outcomes. For example, Chloe supported a renter experience escalating arrears due to the suspension of Centrelink payments. Chloe helped the renter through the process of using the MyGov app while at the property. In other cases, she has transported renters to local Centrelink offices.
During the flood recovery event in October 2022, Chloe worked with 47 affected households to make sure renters could access emergency payments and return to flood-remediated homes.
Outstanding Performance and Leadership
Winner: Natalie Dinler
Natalie embodies exceptional leadership. Beyond her job description, she’s on standby on nights and weekends, balancing family commitments and nurturing her eight-member team. Her compassion and empathy for vulnerable clients sets the office’s service standards.
Natalie’s leadership shines through in her extraordinary actions, from rehousing a family displaced by fire to assisting renters with complex needs. She’s a master at building trust with clients, even in challenging cases. Her compassionate outreach work ensures people experiencing homelessness can access vital services. Natalie’s leadership fosters a client-focused culture at Prahran Housing Office, inspiring her team to emulate her empathetic approach, resulting in improved long-term outcomes for both staff and renters.
Outstanding Collaboration Award (team or office)
Winner: Swan Hill Housing Office
The Mallee Housing Team faced a challenging neighbourhood dispute. Despite the complex circumstances, the team managed the situation methodically and established a legal foundation for intervention.
The Mallee Housing Team’s exceptional dedication and strategic problem-solving are a testament to their commitment to tenant wellbeing and community safety.
Outstanding Achievement and Performance (team or office)
Winner: Goulburn Housing Team, Shepparton and Seymour Housing Office
During the October 2022 Victorian floods, 668 public housing properties in Goulburn Area were at risk, affecting 1,372 residents. 117 residents were evacuated or relocated. Goulburn Housing staff contacted more than 700 potentially affected renters, conducting 568 welfare checks and resorting to door knocks when necessary.