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Mission Australia to replace TPRS and HCP Statewide in new TPCE

On 31 October 2018, FACS announced that Mission Australia had won the tender to provide the replacement service for the long standing TPRS and place based HCP programs. Mission Australia will run the new Tenant Participation and Community Engagement (TPCE) across the entire state from December 3 2018 after the existing TPRS and HCP programs end.

Prior to the announcement of the successful tenderer, REDWatch initiated a petition over the loss of services expected in Redfern and Waterloo from the change in programs. From all the information available there will be a loss of existing services to Redfern and Waterloo tenants, especially as a result of the loss of the Redfern Waterloo place-based HCP position. You can read why this is so at Sign the petition to restore support for Redfern & Waterloo tenant services following HCP and TPRS de-funding and you can sign the petition at Restore support for Redfern and Waterloo Public Housing Tenant Services! The petition is not designed to overturn the decision, but rather to ensure the Redfern and Waterloo public housing communities do not get impacted and lose services from the change.

The announcement of a state wide service provider who has not historically been involved in Tenant Participation Support Services and who does not have an on the ground presence in Redfern and Waterloo only strengthens our view that there will be significant gaps resulting from the change in tenant support programs.

We do not share the Minister's upbeat line in the media release below. While there may be a boost of services in some areas these will be at the expense of the place-based services provided by HCP in areas like Redfern and Waterloo and some of the functions undertaken previously by TPRS.

There is also a significant irony in the TPCE Fact sheet's claim that through "Mission Australia’s extensive networks, TPCE will link FACS housing tenants to outreach, advocacy and support services", when one of the areas in dispute between existing TPRS providers and FACS was around the advocacy role TPRS workers had played in the past. It will be interesting to see to what advocacy services tenants are now referred.

REDWatch would disagree with the Fact sheet statement "that FACS conducted an independent review of these programs in 2017". The only review of the HCP program undertaken, was a desktop audit after the decision had been made to end the program. Local HCP provider Counterpoint Community Services was not consulted with as part of any "independent review", or otherwise, and tenants involved in the TPRS and HCP programs were not consulted at all about what they wanted from a program focused on supporting their "tenant participation".

The real reason for the change seems to be covered in the Fact sheet statement that "FACS wanted to change these programs because too much time was spent on administration of contracts, taking resources away from tenants". What that says is that FACS had a preference for a state wide provider and that was more important than small place-based programs well connected into the public housing communities they served.

Does this logic mean that the FACS TEI reforms looking at targeted early intervention services, including community centres, might end up funding a single state-wide organisation to run local community centre's because the administration costs will be lower? This logic potentially results in community development absurdity for the state's diverse communities.

The Media Release by Minister and the Fact Sheet are below.

- Geoff Turnbull REDWatch Co-Spokesperson 2 November 2018.

Media Release: Boost in services for Social Housing tenants

Published on 31 Oct 2018 in Media releases

Social housing tenants in NSW will have access to improved services and support after Mission Australia was today announced as the successful provider of the social housing Tenant Participation and Community Engagement (TPCE) program.

From December, the TPCE program will strengthen community ties for people who are isolated in social housing, help tenants organise community groups, link tenants with support services and provide feedback to FACS on potential community improvements.

Minister for Social Housing Pru Goward said these services will improve the lives of social housing tenants right across the State.

“The new program will offer tenants more opportunities to access information, timely advice and find links to support services that will assist them to maintain a successful tenancy,” Ms Goward said.

“The program will also ensure that tenant voices are heard in the development and delivery of reforms.”

Mission Australia CEO James Toomey said Mission Australia is looking forward to delivering the Tenant Participation and Community Engagement program in metro and regional NSW.

“With this new program, the people and families who live in social housing will have better access to information, advice and opportunities so they can be more actively involved in any processes and decisions about improving their homes,” Mr Toomey said.

The program combines the current Tenant Participation and Resource Service and Housing Communities Program, with all funding from those programs included in the TPCE.

For more information visit: https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/media/imported/Tenant-Participation-and-Community-Engagement-Factsheet.docx

Source: www.facs.nsw.gov.au/about/media/releases/boots-in-services-for-social-housing-tennants

The Tenant Participation and Community Engagement (TPCE) Fact sheet:

What is the Tenant Participation and Community Engagement (TPCE) program?

The aim of the TPCE is to improve outcomes for FACS housing tenants. It does this by making it easier for tenants to access information and advice about their housing, and by providing tenants with more opportunities to be involved in decisions on their tenancies and communities.

FACS recently sought an Expression of Interest from non-government organisations (NGOs) to deliver an innovative tenant participation model. FACS deemed Mission Australia successful to deliver TPCE across NSW due to their strong ability to innovate and leverage their own resources to deliver the best outcomes for tenants.

Through Mission Australia’s extensive networks, TPCE will link FACS housing tenants to outreach, advocacy and support services that can assist them to manage their tenancies and participate in their communities.  Mission Australia also have well established links with health services and so can also help tenants with referrals for health services.

Why has FACS changed the program?

TPCE used to be made up of two separate programs, The Tenant Participation Resource Service and the Housing and Communities Program. FACS conducted an independent review of these programs in 2017 which included feedback from FACS local Districts.

FACS wanted to change these programs because too much time was spent on administration of contracts, taking resources away from tenants. In addition, FACS wanted to see more tenants who are not part of organised groups being helped through the programs and greater training of volunteers on the programs.

FACS also wanted to see more formal consultation sessions organised for tenants to make sure that their voices are heard and to see specific courses run which will help tenants with aspects of daily life which some find difficult, like financial management and dealing with neighbour disputes.

All of the funding from the two previous programs has been carried forward into the TPCE program.

How does it work?

From 3 December 2018, Mission Australia will work with each FACS District to identify local priority areas, and develop tailored District Priority Statements.

Each District will develop an annual service plan with Mission Australia that includes measurable outcomes they will monitor.

What are TPCE’s aims?

TPCE seeks to:

  • empower people in social housing to independently manage their tenancies and build their capacity to participate in work and their community
  • improve long term outcomes for Aboriginal people and families living in social housing by giving them a say about housing services
  • develop a greater, inclusive presence in locations with high concentrations of social housing that face significant community issues and change
  • create opportunities for tenants to volunteer and provide those volunteers with training because this may help some tenants ultimately to find employment or become leaders in their community
  • align its program of work to each Districts’ specific priorities and report on that work in a consistent format aligned to the Districts’ annual service plans
  • link services to Future Directions, the NSW Government’s 10-year vision for social housing
  • encourage tenants to participate in processes and decisions about their tenancy and improve outreach to tenants who are harder to reach.

How can I contact my local TPCE provider?

Mission Australia National Office

HSBC Building, Level 7

580 George Street

Sydney NSW 2000

PO Box 3515, Sydney NSW 2001

02 9219 2000

Sydney, South East Sydney, North Sydney District. Kirsten Harmer - Regional Leader.  0476 846 744 HarmerK@missionaustralia.com.au

South West Sydney District Saeli Masina - Area Manager.  0418 598 715 MasinaS@missionaustralia.com.au

Western Sydney, Nepean, Blue Mountains District Julie Jasprizza-Laus – Area Manager.  0425 210 213 JasprizzalausJ@missionaustralia.com.au

Mid North Coast, Northern NSW District Craig Westall – Regional Leader.  0439 647 189 WestallC@missionaustralia.com.au

Hunter, New England, Central Coast District Craig Westall – Regional Leader.  0439 647 189 WestallC@missionaustralia.com.au

Illawarra Shoalhaven, Southern NSW District Brett Fahey – Regional Leader.  0477 313 208 FaheyB@missionaustralia.com.au

Western NSW, Murrumbidgee, Far West District Ann Winterton – Regional Leader. 0408 478 845 WintertonA@missionaustralia.com.au

Source: www.facs.nsw.gov.au/media/imported/Tenant-Participation-and-Community-Engagement-Factsheet.docx