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HousingFirst development in St Kilda, a boost for vulnerable mums and bubs

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Brand New Social Housing and Maternal Child Health Support for St Kilda

Victorian Housing Minister, the Hon. Richard Wynne MP today launched the construction phase of an exciting $19.6m social housing development for mothers and children in St Kilda.

The “St Kilda Apartments” project, will see three rundown social housing buildings transformed into 50 architect-designed, secure and affordable homes for mothers and children in the area.

Developed and managed by Victorian community housing provider HousingFirst, the project will deliver 36 brand new apartments for mothers and children from the Victorian Housing Register. The two classic Victorian heritage-listed buildings on the site will be restored and upgraded to provide longer-term housing for families escaping violence and at risk of homelessness, and through Sacred Heart Mission’s Journey to Social Inclusion (J2SI) program. Support providers will deliver specialist health and community support services to residents.

The site will also include unique social and clinical services for homeless women and their infants. The residential accommodation will be managed by HousingFirst and the support and health services hub for mothers and babies will be delivered by project partners Unison, Launch Housing and subject to ongoing funding, the Royal Women’s Hospital.

The $19.6m development is the result of a collaborative combination of funding, including:

  • Port Phillip Housing Trust ($6.5m towards acquisition of land and construction).

  • Victorian Department of Health and Human Services ($5m towards acquisition of land).

  • Consumer Affairs Victoria’s Victorian Property Fund ($8m towards construction); and

  • Homes for Homes a social enterprise of The Big Issue ($120,000 to deliver one apartment to house a homeless person, through the J2SI initiative and contribute to the build of 36 apartments purpose-designed for pregnant women and their children).

HousingFirst Chief Executive Officer, Haleh Homaei said:

“Through our role as Trustee of the Port Phillip Housing Trust, HousingFirst is so proud to bring yet another vital social housing project to life that fulfils the incredible vision of the City of Port Phillip when it established the Trust.

 “Together with the support of State Government, the Victorian Property Fund, City of Port Phillip, Homes for Homes and Sacred Heart Mission, and in collaboration with our other project partners, our goal is to integrate specialist housing, social and health and wellbeing support for women and children in crisis, that will help lift them out of a cycle of adversity.”

Ms Homaei said by locating the affordable housing development for women and children alongside what will be a unique specialist support services hub, HousingFirst will create a special community for vulnerable mums and kids.; “A community built on long-term housing stability as well as safety and health.

 “We are thrilled to be partnering with the Royal Women’s Hospital, Launch Housing and Unison, working together to deliver health and wellbeing services for mothers and babies – especially those at risk of homelessness.

 “Safe housing for desperate women and children in St Kilda is at an all-time low. By bringing together the right partners, and with the fantastic support of government, this project has the capacity to lead the way in Australia,” Ms Homaei said.

Project completion is expected in December 2020.


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L-R: Victorian Minister for Housing, Richard Wynne MP, HousingFirst Chair Frank O’Connor, Royal Women’s Hospital Chair Lynne Swinburne, City of Port Phillip Mayor Cr Bernadene Voss, CEO Homes for Homes and The Big Issue Steven Persson, HousingFirst CEO Haleh Homaei

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Federal Housing Minister Michael Sukkar welcomes NHFIC's $72M funding for HousingFirst

HousingFirst residents and management were pleased to welcome the Hon Michael Sukkar MP, Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer, during his visit today to their residential housing development in St Kilda.

Minister Sukkar met with HousingFirst residents Jan and Roxane and heard, first-hand, about the positive impact that good social housing has had on their lives.

Jan has been a HousingFirst tenant for over 25 years. She is an active volunteer and a giving member of her community. She has been foster Mum to over 40 children.  Over the years, depending on her needs, Jan has been housed in various HousingFirst properties, and due to health and mobility issues (and her foster son Luke moving out of home) she moved to her current  Chapel Street apartment 7 years ago.

HousingFirst CEO Haleh Homaei and Chair Frank O’Connor were delighted to show the Minister over  the award-winning, modern, social housing development in Chapel Street, St Kilda. Completed in 2012, the development was built by HousingFirst with support from the Victorian Government and is home to 81 tenants and their families, who have created a supportive and vibrant community with the help of HousingFirst.

The development is typical of the 276, high-quality new and refurbished homes that HousingFirst and the Port Phillip Housing Trust will now build in St Kilda, Preston, Box Hill and Rowville, thanks to the $72million of low cost finance they were awarded in the second round of National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) funding, announced by Minister Sukkar. (To view the Minister's statement please click here).

In welcoming Minister Sukkar to the property, CEO Haleh Homaei acknowledged the vital role played by NHFIC, that operates the Australian Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator and provides cheaper and longer-term secured finance for community housing providers by issuing bonds in Australia’s debt capital markets.

“There are just too many people struggling to find good, safe housing that they can afford. The awful consequences of this shortage are only too visible on our streets; with the rising numbers of homeless, and the impact of unstable or unsuitable housing on them and on the community.
“Not for profit housing providers like HousingFirst are ready and willing  to build new homes for vulnerable people in need, and help them re-build their lives.

“Having access to low cost finance through NHFIC will jump-start our projects and enable us to build homes that will take people off the streets and into homes, where they can be safe and plan for the future,” Ms Homaei said.

HousingFIrst Chair Mr Frank O’Connor thanked the Minister for his commitment to HousingFirst and its tenants, and to the community housing sector.

“With practical support from both Federal and State governments, the community housing sector can genuinely help to resolve the housing crisis that has badly affected so many vulnerable Victorians,” he said.

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From L-R : HousingFirst tenant Jan, HousingFirst CEO Haleh Homaei, Minister for Housing The Hon Michael Sukkar, Chair of HousingFirst Board Frank O'Connor, HousingFirst Tenant Roxane 

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HousingFirst wins AHI award

HousingFirst is proud to announce that we have won the Leading Housing Development Project at the Australasian Housing Institute’s (AHI) Awards for Victoria.


The AHI Awards honour inspirational staff and successful programs that make a difference in their community. This year, a record number of nominations were received, outlining successful projects and inspiring stories from community housing providers and housing authorities.


HousingFirst’s Ashwood Chadstone Gateway Project (ACGP) was honoured for its successful people and place management approach. Following completion of the ACGP, 5-years worth of annual surveys (2013-2017) were conducted with tenants and the local community. These surveys provide evidence-based approach about the changing levels of social connection and the outcomes of local community building initiatives.


Key findings show levels of social connection between tenants increased over the 5 years, as did levels of social connection between our tenants and residents in nearby streets.


We are thrilled by the award, and as the Victorian winner, we are now entered into the Australasian Awards. Winners to be announced at the National Housing Conference in August, in Darwin.


Home News - Autumn 2019 issue out now!

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HousingFirst Announcement

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HousingFirst CEO Haleh Homaei features in Parity magazine

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Season's Greetings

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Tenant Art Show : The Space Within

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HousingFirst’s annual Artist Collective Group Show is on from the 4th of September to the 30th of September as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, at the beautiful GasWorks Arts Park, in Albert Park.

All are welcome.

The show attracts thousands of visitors each year and is an amazing opportunity for our tenants to get their art seen, and sold.

This year’s theme is “The Space Within” and showcases a broad range of mediums, including painting, drawing, photography, ceramics, sculpture and more!

All artists exhibiting are currently living in HousingFirst properties.

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Port Phillip Housing Association New Name and New Office




 A new name and a new office

ST KILDA, 04th MAY 2018 -   Leading Melbourne community housing provider, Port Phillip Housing Association (PPHA), has changed its name to HousingFirst, reflecting its operational growth and expansion as it continues to provide safe and affordable housing to hundreds of vulnerable people across Melbourne.

First established in 1986 as the St Kilda Housing Association, the agency was renamed PPHA in 2001 after local government amalgamations created the City of Port Phillip. PPHA was not directly associated with the City of Port Phillip, but at that time its housing and accommodation services had expanded beyond St Kilda and into nearby suburbs.

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ASIC approves resignation of auditor

On 17 April 2018, ASIC sent notice to PPHA (now known as HousingFirst) that it had consented to the resignation of the Company’s auditor, Lindsay Brown of L.B.A. Services Pty Ltd, Level 1, 250 Bay St Brighton VIC 3186. The Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) requires an auditor to seek ASIC’s consent before they can formally resign.

Lindsay Brown had been PPHA’s auditor since the organisation’s earliest days. The auditor’s formal resignation was received on 24 April 2018; the resignation notice did not give a reason.

The proposed incoming auditor is Crowe Horwath Melbourne, of Level 17, 181 William St Melbourne. Crowe Horwath is recognised as a leader in providing audit and consulting services to the Not-for Profit sector. The incoming auditor will be appointed on a temporary basis until the Company’s 2018 AGM, at which the Company members will appoint an ongoing auditor.