Return to Home Page

The year in review

CEO Ken Marchingo AM
Deputy CEO/COO Trudi Ray
Zoom was our video conferencing platform of choice even before COVID-19.  Since March it has totally transformed the way we engage with our staff and stakeholders. We have used Zoom to reach out and connect with more people, more often in more places than ever before.

So it seemed only fitting that this year’s CEO and Deputy CEO reports were produced using Zoom. The recording is a little under 10 minutes and features Ken Marchingo AM in conversation with Trudi Ray about the year we will never forget.
Our Executive Team

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (00:03):

Welcome to the 2019- 2020 annual report, done a little bit differently this year, as indeed almost everything has been done a little bit differently this year. So my name's Ken Marchingo, I'm the very proud CEO ofHaven; Home, Safe. And joining me today is Trudi Ray, who is our Deputy CEO andChief Operations Officer. Morning Trude.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (00:30):

I'd like to kick off first with an Acknowledgement of Country, and I'd like to acknowledge and extend my appreciation to the Dja Dja Wurrung people in particular, the traditional owners of the land that I'm standing on, the land that I and my family live in, and make our living on.

I acknowledge that all of the participants today, dialling in from wherever, will be on country of many nations and tribes, depending on location. And we collectively acknowledge that as well. Today we pay our respects to leaders and elders past, present and emerging for they hold the memories, the traditions, the culture, and the hopes of the Dja Dja Wurrung and other peoples.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (01:02):

We express our gratitude in the sharing of this land, land that was never ceded, trade, sold nor given away, lands that were taken. And our sorrow for that, our sorrow for the personal, spiritual and ongoing cultural costs of that, and our hope that we always, together, walk forward inharmony and the spirit of healing.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (01:21):

So this has been one hell of a year, just quietly for us all; and it's easy for us to just focus on really what has been, in annual reporting terms, the last three months of the year, that period from March to the end of June, very easy to focus on that because COVID and its implications here in Victoria, perhaps more stringently felt than anywhere else in Australia and so very much dominated the conversation and the expectations and the reality of our lives for the last, what is now 10 months.

But it would be remiss of me to not pay tribute and acknowledge what happened in that first part of the financial year from July, 2019 through until March.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (02:09):

And so it's been an extraordinary year for Haven; Home, Safe and extraordinary year of growth of change, reflection, some different directions and enormous achievements. In a sense it's almost like many previous years, but ripped large.

As an organisation, we continue to grow, to morph, to develop, to reflect and react in different environments; and we are heading into a new and different environment, and we'll talk about that shortly. But I just wanted to particularly acknowledge the work that has been done by bringing Active Community Housing into Haven; Home, Safe on the 1st of July, 2019, that became a reality, enormous amount of work in merging organisations and bringing a new group into the organisation. We also launched our Assistive Housing Hub, at the time and probably still frankly, the most technologically advanced example of what living with assistive housing technology can bring for people with profound disability.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (03:14):

We have not exactly had that place flooded with people coming through, for all the reasons we know. We also achieved something that no other housing association has achieved anywhere in the world today. We achieved accreditation for asset management and maintenance under the international standard, ISO 55001, it is a staggering achievement and it is a staggering amount of work to achieve that.

We've delivered on our existing strategy, we've seen pretty much a compressed end of our 2022 plan, and we've delivered an enormous amount of work and achievement at every level in the organisation, including bringing on new programs, bringing on new housing, finishing off now what will be our longest, most impressive I think project, the Wattlewood project.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (04:05):

And then of course we get to March. We're fortunate that we have a very enthusiastic, a very interested, a very engaged Board of Directors and the Board have put a lot of thought into what our strategy needs to be as an organisation going forward. And in March we embarked on a 100 day action plan, and that necessarily has turned into a bit more than a hundred days given the realities of 2020, but we have fundamentally reshaped, with the Board, the strategy of the organisation going forward.

And what does that look like? Well,I mean, it looks like the fact that our environment, not only because of COVID, but our environment is changing, the demands, I think are well known. We've all seen the rough sleepers and we've seen the rough sleepers coming off the streets of Melbourne and major capital cities, that brings its own huge and interesting dynamics. So what we've actually seen is, we've seen attention paid to the people we've been the most interested in for a great many years, and we've played our role in that, we've assisted more than 600 rough sleepers off the streets.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (05:08):

And we have still a huge amount of them, in essence, lockdown in hotels and motels all around the countryside, and there are challenges now for us to make sure that those people don't end up back on the streets. And we've seen tremendous initiatives from government. I want to acknowledge in particular Trudi and her team, her Operations Team. They've done great work in most trying of circumstances with people who are in desperate need. We are talking about some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (05:38):

So what we've got however now, we've got a bold new strategy. It starts with: let's understand the problem we're trying to solve, and let's think of new ways that we can bring new partners and new stakeholders into our sphere so that we can begin to influence, not just operations on the ground that perhaps policy at a higher level.

Bringing in new stakeholders through a different form of strategic engagement, presenting and understanding the environment we work in, in new and different ways by developing, not only financial logic that identifies the sort of product that we want to put on the ground and why. But also tying that to the social impacts of the outcomes of what we achieve with people, the outcomes that they achieve by working with us to try and change their trajectory.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (06:26):

We've had enormous amounts of digital innovation that have been delivered over this year. Not all because of the sudden impact of COVID, but the fact that we were able to shift so many people to a full metal digital, if you like existence, shifting people out of our offices to work from home and do it so well. Testament to the work that was already underway, testament to the outstanding work of our very small IT team, led by Josh Nankervis. The outstanding work done through the business continually, the management team with Kerri Carr and every part of the organisation has just lifted to deliver digital innovation.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (07:08):

We've also embarked on changes to our organisational structure, and the changes to that organisational structure is entirely about working through this new strategy. It is about creating and focusing the office of the CEO, myself and a few others on the outward environment working as we like to say, working on the business, not in the business. But of course, in order to do that, you need someone who you can absolutely implicitly trust, who has the talent, capability, motivation, and capacity to run the business, to work in the business and we are very well supported by Trudi and her team there as well, outstanding work all the way through the year.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (07:49):

The Executive Team is I think one of the finer teams in this industry, and I think that's been pretty clear throughout this particular year. We're a tight team, we work well together, and we have, I think, very solid relationships and an absolute knitting together of intent and direction with the Board, now ably led by a new Chair, a very enthusiastic, a very energetic Chair, Damien Tangey. And you'll have heard from Damien in his Annual Report as well.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (08:22):

So we look forward to the new directions that the Board and the Management Team, the Exec and the organisation have embraced. And we think we are well set to continue to deliver on the four main tactical responses to achieving scale, to helping more vulnerable Victorians, to delivering better services, delivering more homes, delivering more supports, building new partnerships and creating more capacity, not just in the organisation, but capacity in the system and for our tenant’s and client’s lives.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (08:55):

So this is focusing on strategy has meant a fair bit of change. And that fair bit of change can I say, has been delivered at the same time that we have rejigged the organisation and work through COVID-19, which has dominated most of 2020, but that's my take on it. And so I think what I'd like to do now is probably throw to Trudi and get Trudi's view of this, not only as our Chief Operations Officer, but as our Deputy CEO. Trudi over to you.

Trudi Ray - Deputy CEO/COO (09:21):

Great, thanks, Ken. And yeah, what an absolute year it has been. And as I was listening to you, reflecting on the year from July through to now where we are, absolutely so much has actually occurred, but it's all been quite a steady and a steadfast commitment that we've always had to providing really great service delivery to the clients and the tenants that we are absolutely here for. And what's highlighted to me this year, is that so much of what we were working towards, so much of what was in our plan previous to March, the dreaded March date, was absolutely well underway and well in terms of how do we connect with people. So what it's actually really done is helped validate that we're always on the right path. We were always in sense of finding what is it that we need to do to keep our clients and our tenants and all stakeholders engaged in everything that we do.

Trudi Ray - Deputy CEO/COO (10:21):

So I've been incredibly pleased with the technology that we've been able to put in place. I've been terribly pleased with the way that our staff have been working, and the operational support services strategic framework is a great indicator of how we want our services, and the way that we deliver our services from transactional service delivery, into transformational service delivery, and how that goes in terms of that evolution of people's housing 10 years, but also in terms of how we provide our service across the access points in which we deliver. So it's been a really fascinating year, particularly, obviously we've talked about the pandemic and that certainly highlighted some differences, but it's also highlighted the absolute continuity of service delivery that we have across our organisation, and that's been fantastic. And operating three different access points, six different offices, all in different locations and with the Melbourne, Geelong, Mildura andBendigo, and seeing that service come together and how that's impacted the clients that have come into our service, in a really positive way has been incredibly rewarding.

Trudi Ray - Deputy CEO/COO (11:31):

So before COVID, what were we working on? We're working on the operational services support strategic framework, and that's a fundamental part, and I suppose leads the way to what we see in terms of operations that deliver upon the ‘Four Mores’, but deliver upon beyond that. So, yes, we want more partners, we want more homes, more supports, but we want our clients and our tenants to be the centre of that. We want them to be central to what it is that we deliver upon. So the consumer voice has been incredibly important to us this year. We've taken people through a tenant journey mapping, and we're looking at doing that in terms of customer service mapping with our clients as well. And the real point of that is to, how are we engaging with clients? How are they engaging with us instead of being on a passive journey with us leading that, how are they actively engaged in the service delivery that they themselves want?

Trudi Ray - Deputy CEO/COO (12:29):

And we've started a lot of that work. And particularly with the website development, which Sue and her team put through, had some really great feedback on, "You've listened. We needed this. And as a result, this is how we're supporting the tenants coming through."

With COVID, obviously we've really engaged with our tenants in a very unique and different way. So we started with kindness calls very early on with our tenants, which was about us ringing them and checking in and saying, are you okay? Are you up with the information? Have you got what you need? How are the buildings, how is it that we need to address your needs, talking to the tenant reference groups and the wider community. And the first call, we called 700 vulnerable tenants, and the second time round, we called about 500 of those vulnerable tenants.

Trudi Ray - Deputy CEO/COO (13:21):

And it has changed and moulded over the time because people have been less needing our service because they’re finding on the website, they're finding it through just contacting their tenant property managers. So we've had a really engaged last 12 months with our tenants, but particularly the last six months, which I think we will see some really great results coming forward.

Trudi Ray - Deputy CEO/COO (13:43):

So what is it been about this year, Ken? Well, I think the one thing that is been something that I've reflected upon quite, quite deeply is that as an organisation, such as ours, not-for-profits work on the rich tapestry of being together, staying connected. And I think our offices being opened along the way, we've absolutely led every single bit of our Purpose.

That way we are here for people, we are always open for when people need us. And that's been something that I think, you have led that way. You have made it really clear along the way that we are an organisation that will continue to stay open. We will continue to operate.

Trudi Ray - Deputy CEO/COO (14:27):

And for all those staff that have been in the office the whole year, for all of those managers that have been in the office the whole year, we thank you. We salute you. That work has just been tremendous. You've kept the doors open. You've kept everything going for those people that are so vulnerable and in so need of our service. And for that, I will be forever grateful. So thank you for that, because you have seen 600 plus people off the streets that we were rough sleeping the night before they presented to us. You have seen over 9,000 people coming through the service, either through phone calls or through prior to March the 17th, when things locked down. We have had over 17,000 phone calls into the service, this year. Majority of them have been from March onwards, Preston alone is seeing over 400 phone calls per day, which is double what the rest of the organisation is getting combined.

Trudi Ray - Deputy CEO/COO (15:26):

There is people with a lot of disadvantage, a lot of vulnerabilities, and for them to be able to reach out to an organisation such as ours, and get a service, and get a really good one is something that I'm incredibly proud of. So staying together as been important by phone, SMS, the website, HomeBase. We're trialling Live Chat on our website as well, so we can engage with people again. We don't want passive engagement. We want to be helping people as fast and as continuously servicing them as we can, rather than the, "Wait we'll give you 24 hours, we'll come back to you." We want to be as present in people's lives as we can to assist them on their journey, whatever that may be.

Trudi Ray - Deputy CEO/COO (16:12):

So that's been an incredible, massive job and something that we did have prior to COVID. But other than that, we've also bought ActiveSDA and the Active staff in to the fold of operations as of this year, with the merger of Active, with what the operational reports under the broader Operations Team, and that's been a really great initiative, what we're seeing is the ability to have that continuous of service across all of our housing modes in the one space. And there's a lot to do. There's a lot of work to go through, but we're seeing some really great results already. We are working towards transitioning the Asset and Maintenance Team and our operations as well, that will commence as of January next year and the slow, steady transition on that to make sure that everyone is comfortable with this. That everybody is onboard. And everybody understands what the plan is moving forward.

Trudi Ray - Deputy CEO/COO (17:10):

That's the one thing about this organisation that is fantastic. We have bold plans. We have big plans, but we do it in a way that its implementation is all about transition. It's about smooth. It's about making things integrated and that our continuity of service is upheld. And that is certainly something that we've been doing this year.

Trudi Ray - Deputy CEO/COO (17:29):

So I suppose there are just a few little things, Ken that we've been working on, but I suppose the main message there is, COVID has highlighted so many things for us, whether it be negative or positive, I think looking back, it's all been incredibly positive in the way that our services continued. Our clients have remained the focal point of everything that we do.And, it's only onward and up from here. And I probably will hand over to youKen and see, what you think we're going to do in the next 12 months?

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (18:06):

Thanks, Trudi. That's a great capture of just the myriad of activities that are underway in this organisation every day of the week. There are some things that are always worth reflecting, remembering, and repeating. We are not an organisation that commissions other entities to deliver services. We're not an advocacy body that is a think tank, that is replete with policy riders and analysts. We're a service delivery agency. We are and we always have been unashamed at service delivers. And so naturally our clients are foremost in our thinking and the needs of vulnerable Victorians, our market is a place called Victoria. That may change in the future, but to date and where we are right now, we are utterly and completely focused with a laser like focus on the market that we call Victoria and the needs of the people within that.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (19:02):

We have extraordinary relationships with most of our stakeholders. We don't always agree with them, but we have respectful differences when we do, but mostly we agree. We've worked very hard with our housing association colleagues to work with Government, to work with Treasury, to work with the Department of Health and Human Services. And in particular, the Office of Housing, what is now Homes Victoria within that. And we've seen some announcements in the last week that will change the world that we operate in, and it will change the trajectory of the people we operate for. But what it won't change, is it won't change who we are and how we go about the work that we do. And I almost forgot one very important thing, which is a piece of work that our organisation has embarked on now over a period of about 18 months and we launched in February; we launched Our Credo.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (20:00):

This is a snappy little fold-out version of it. And everybody who works for us will be aware of what it is. But organisations march on a set of shared beliefs. Organisations march on some aspirations about who it is we are and how it is we do the work that we do. Our strategy tells us what it is we want to achieve and how it is we want to get there. But the detail is always with the delivery. The detail is always with the people and what it is they buy into. And we have collectively bought into. And we have work-shopped this with our Board, we have work-shopped it with our Exec, we have work-shopped it with our entire staff group, and we have work-shopped it with specific groups within that staff group until we got to the development of Our Credo. And this is who we are.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (20:52):

And it says why we do what we do and how we go about that. This is probably the most profound document and biggest challenge for us going forward to live up to what this says every day. But this guides us. This guides us in how we deliver on our Purpose. And at the end of the day, our Purpose is about helping vulnerable Victorians. Housing more people they're changing their trajectories as best we can as well. So we do have a challenge in front of us, but the challenge in front of us is a challenge I'd like to have. It's a challenge that many of us have spent many years advocating for, understanding we're not an advocacy body, but we advocate nonetheless for the things that are important. And we've seen an announcement recently from Government, from the Victorian Government, the biggest announcement in social housing history in this nation.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (21:47):

And we intend to play a big part in that announcement. We intend to play a big part in the delivery of that announcement. And I think we've got some runs on the board, but what this announcement does is it gives us the one thing that's been missing from everything we've been doing, certainly for the last 28 years that I've been sitting here. It gives us certainty and it gives us a pipeline.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (22:15):

And if there's one thing that the investment community, the stakeholders in this huge integrated group of people and organisations that are interested in helping vulnerable Victorians, if there's one thing that we've always needed, it's certainty, the ability to plan for the future, to rack and stack delivery options. And with our financial and social logic tool that we're developing, we'll be able to identify where the best bang for the buck, if you like, is.

We're in a position that for the first time, our organisation has a very healthy balance sheet, extraordinary balance sheet. But we are also developing an investment fund where for the first time, as a result of the tremendous relationship we have with NHFIC, where they have replaced our core debt. We actually have some savings that we've been developing, some investments.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (23:08):

And so this gives us an opportunity to do things that we might not have been able to do in the past. This creates strength to not only our balance sheet, but creates capacity and opportunity to deliver on vision for the organisation. These are very exciting times I think for us. We know that during COVID our organisation, again, I want to reflect the work that Trudi and her team have done. And in fact the entire Executive, but particularly those people who stayed in each of our offices as we stayed open, as we kept our doors open, as we used technology as our friend to work with people rather than doing face-to-face delivery. But as we stayed in touch with our colleagues around the country and indeed around the world with our Life Emerging From Lockdown conversations with our peers and colleagues from around the world, there are I think two major lessons, two major learnings from that.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (24:08):

Every one of my colleagues either came out of the box with this very, very hard or wished that they had. And we came out of the box very hard on this. We started from a proposition that no one will catch this wildly infectious disease on our watch as a result of anything we did or failed to do.And to date, we've been very successful in that. We started with the proposition that we would do everything we could to make sure that our tenants and our clients remained as safe as they could. And we've delivered on that.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (24:44):

We also I think, learned that in talking to our national and international colleagues, and now we've seen this in reports that have been done conjointly by CHIA and AHOURI, that much of the work that we did was a long way in front of the curve from our colleagues. And in fact, may well have showed the way for a great many. So this is outstanding work by so many. It's been continuous. It's not over yet.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (25:11):

We're at day 23 of no new cases. Who knows where that will get to. What we do know is this thing is still here and we will adapt, evolve, change, and move forward with it. And that's pretty much what we've been doing for decades now and it's what we intend to do. So actually, we've got a very bright future here with the announcements. We've got enormous opportunity. The opportunity is ours to grasp or ours to lose. I reckon I know where I'd put my money on those two binary choices.

Ken Marchingo AM - CEO (25:44):

Trudi, thanks very much to you, to all of your people, to the whole staff of Haven; Home, Safe, to the Directors. We've delivered an outstanding year. Let's go and do it again. Thank you.