Hot on the heels of Access Housing collecting the prestigious 2017 UDIA (WA) Award for Excellence in the ‘Affordable Development’ category, the company last night collected two additional awards at the 2017 Australasian Housing Institute (WA) Awards for Professional Excellence in Housing.
The Australasian Housing Institute Awards showcase social housing success stories and formally recognise and reward excellence in professional practice. Awards go to housing professionals who are judged to have made a significant and lasting difference to tenants or service users, to their community, to their colleagues and/or to their profession.
Access Housing Information Technology Manager Tony Benson won the Inspirational Team Member award, while our environmentally sustainable affordable housing development at White Gum Valley won the Leading Housing Development Project award.
Tony’s leadership of Access Housing’s IT team and his passion for the effective and efficient use of technology has driven the company to evolve and innovate. His visionary thinking about how the business can embrace technology to improve customer service and the working experience of staff has enhanced all areas of our business. Not satisfied with ‘what is’, Tony continually seeks to identify our future requirements and ‘next steps’. He successfully oversaw the company’s transition to an enterprise software system and took the initiative to customise the platform to better suit our business needs. Other Community Housing Providers have also tapped into Tony’s knowledge and innovation to assist them with their IT needs.
Access Housing’s award winning Leading Housing Development Project at White Gum Valley is WA’s first affordable housing development to feature an embedded solar energy network.
The innovative development, featuring 12 residences and two art and creative studios, is one of Australia’s first strata residential properties to offer residents strata community-based solar energy capture, storage and shared usage infrastructure. The solar power network will go live before the end of 2017 and will become the primary source of electricity for tenants within their homes and the studios. This will deliver significant electricity bill savings to the development’s low-moderate income earning residents as they will not be solely reliant on the mains electrical grid.
In addition to being property developer and owner, Access Housing will administer the sale of energy generated onsite. This will see the company become an energy retailer to the property, selling tenants reduced price electricity. Excess electricity generated on site will be exported to the grid for wider community use.
The company hopes this project will demonstrate a viable model and business case for Access Housing to offer discounted solar energy to more tenants in the future and inspire other Community Housing Providers around the country to do the same.
The development is being tenanted by members of the Fremantle-based Sustainable Housing for Artists and Creatives (SHAC) cooperative. The group were active participants in the design of the project and will utilise the development’s studios as creative workspaces for residents and the broader community as well as for meetings, exhibitions, learning and events to create a hub for economic and community activity.
The company’s Creating Choices Program, which aims to remove barriers and streamline pathways to employment, education and volunteering opportunities for tenants to improve social inclusion and wellbeing, received a high commendation in the Leading Community Engagement Practice category.