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Alexandra Nowak

Communities Connect for Neighbour Day 2019

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To celebrate Neighbour Day this year, Unity Housing held a range of events across the region.

Neighbour Day is Australia’s annual celebration of community, encouraging people to connect with those who live in their neighbourhood.

Responsibility for Australia’s Neighbour Day belongs to every person, in every community. Here at Unity Housing, we have a social responsibility to all our tenants in creating thriving communities.

This year, the official Neighbour Day date was Sunday, March 31, with the theme of ‘Loneliness – what neighbours can do to createconnections’. We had a total of seven events to make it a real week of connection.

Unity Housing tenants and staff worked together to provide pathways for tenants to contribute and drive these events, making them truly community-owned. We received more than $3,700 in donations and even more in in-kind support.

See the highlights from our events, from Seaford Meadows to Davoren Park, below.


Unity Housing receives $38m bond to deliver more social and affordable housing

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Leading South Australian not-for profit community housing provider, Unity Housing, has secured a $38 million low interest loan through the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) social bond issue.

NHFIC has raised $315 million in funds as a social bond to lend to community housing providers in Australia, of which Unity Housing is a recipient.

Offering providers 10-year loans with an interest rate of less than three per cent, the social bond will mean cheaper, long-term finance for community housing providers than they can typically access through traditional bank finance.

Providers involved in the first round of loans include BlueCHP, CHL, Compass, Evolve, Hume and Unity Housing.

The NHFIC expect the bond to result in up to 300 new affordable rental dwellings as well as enhanced support services and ongoing maintenance.

Unity Housing CEO, Matthew Woodward, says, “We are proud to be the first community housing provider in South Australia to take advantage of this new Bond Aggregator model to raise finance. We have now signed off and secured debt finance of $38 million fixed at an interest rate below three per cent for 10 years. Unity Housing will use these funds to underpin a development pipeline over the coming years to grow our affordable housing portfolio, offering more housing options to South Australians on low to moderate incomes.”

Unity Housing has a long and strong history of providing homes to some of the most vulnerable people in South Australia’s communities. Central to Unity Housing’s service model is the organisation’s capacity to create and deliver solutions and opportunities for people to live in affordable, safe and secure housing of their choice.

Unity Housing currently provides homes to more than 4,700 South Australians on low incomes.

Paying it forward for SALA Festival 2018

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Following the success of Unity’s 2016 award-winning South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival exhibition, 13 of our artistic tenants have stepped up again to showcase their artwork for the 2018 festival in an exhibition called ‘Artists in Residence’, which features textiles, photography, acrylics, watercolours, paper sculptures, and ceramics.

Unity secured an amazing venue for the launch of the exhibition on Friday, August 3 – Café Outside the Square – with more than 100 people in attendance. The launch included delicious homemade catering from the café, with local food and beverage providers sponsoring the event.

More than $2,000 worth of works were sold, giving around $600 straight back to the cafe to continue providing for the community.

“The SALA Festival provides a great inclusive platform for South Australian artists and we are privileged to be able to be a part of it again,” says Unity’s Community Development Worker, Mel Allsop. “Seeing everyone’s amazing artworks displayed on the wall for the community to see is so meaningful because the individuals are not defined by the problems they face (mental illness, domestic violence, homelessness, disability), they are defined by one of their many gifts.”

Plans are already being made for SALA Festival 2019.

Read all about the exhibition in the latest edition of our tenant newsletter Around the House here.

SALA Festival runs until August 30. Visit


Unity acknowledged for commitment to Works Program

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Unity has received a Certificate of Appreciation for our “shared commitment to and support of Renewal SA’s training and employment model, the Works Program”.

Now in its 10th year, the Works Program is celebrating a decade of partnerships and collaborations that have produced hundreds of training and employment programs across Renewal SA’s flagship urban renewal projects and has changed the lives of thousands.

The program’s enduring success in producing these significant training and employment outcomes has been built upon its many successful relationships and collaborations across government and industry, including the partnership with Unity Housing.


Blair Athol properties launched

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On November 21, 2017 we formally opened our most recent affordable housing project at Blair Athol.

Project summary:

  • sale of four obsolete SACHA-funded dwellings;
  • reinvestment on the Renewing our Streets and Suburbs site in Blair Athol;
  • building project delivered by Oryx Property as a partnership project with Unity;
  • two, three bedroom units (social housing for older South Australians or people living with a disability), built to ‘Silver Standard’ (Liveable Housing Design Guidelines), to be managed by EBL Disability Services;
  • six, three bedroom townhouses (two social housing, four market properties);
  • in total four social housing properties;
  • discounted rents set at a maximum of 25 percent of the tenants’ incomes (four social housing properties)

Mitchell Park tenants receive grant for community garden

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Unity tenants from Mitchell Park have been successful in winning a grant for $5,500 from the City of Marion to use towards a community garden project.

The aim of the project is to create a location where tenants can come together around a common interest. Unity Housing will sponsor the tenants to build and maintain the community garden. It will be a gathering place that strengthens networks through cooperation. In time it will become a source of pride among tenants and provide a healthier urban environment. The project will involve individual gardening plots which tenants will share and care for together.

The cheque was presented at a ceremony on Monday, June 19 at Marion Cultural Centre. Unity was represented by tenants Astra and Kym and Community Strategy Manager Michael White (pictured).

“We are very appreciative to have Michael on board and his help thus far,” Kym says. “We also feel very grateful upon receiving this generous grant and now we look forward to getting the project started.”

Unity recognised in AHI Professional Excellence Award

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On the evening of Tuesday, May 23, the Australasian Housing Institute (AHI) held its bi-annual South Australian Awards for Excellence in Social Housing at The Tivoli Hotel in Adelaide’s CBD.

Unity Housing were recognised for leadership and excellence in the sector by winning three of the eight award categories. Unity, our staff and tenants were awarded as winners in the following categories:

Category: Tenant Led Initiative
Winner: UnityTenant Art Exhibition
For the art exhibition that was planned and conducted as part of the SA Living Artists Festival by a group of Unity boarding house and community housing tenants, led by Sheree Lockwood (tenant) and auspiced by Mel Allsop (Community Development Worker).

Category: Excellence in Social Housing
Winner: Unity and Bedford Alliance
For the complex and collegiate planning and implementation process and the tenant outcomes achieved by the partnership Alliance between Unity and Bedford, the largest housing transfer of its type in South Australia.

Category: Outstanding Achievement
Winner: Matthew Woodward
Recognition of Matthew’s leadership of Unity to become the premier community housing provider in South Australia, and for his contribution to the broader social housing sector over 25 years.

This prestigious event was attended by the Minister for Social Housing, Zoe Bettison, and senior executives from across the Government and Community Housing sectors.

All Unity Staff are proud of these awards which recognise the collective efforts of Unity’s tenants, staff and leadership. Each of these award winners will be entered into the AHI’s Australasian Awards for Excellence in Social Housing that will take place in November in Sydney.

Vote for Unity’s community woodworking enterprise

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More than 80 South Australian community groups, including Unity, are seeking funding and it’s now up to YOU to decide which of these projects receive the funds.

More than 80 South Australian community groups, including Unity Housing, are seeking funding and it’s now up to YOU to decide which of these projects receives the funds.

Unity’s Community Connect Program at the Boarding Houses has applied for State Government funding through Fund My Community to expand its woodworking program into a social enterprise. The Project, ‘Cut It Out’ Social Enterprise, will provide woodwork classes and a secure platform for selling woodwork items as well as support and mentoring for those seeking employment.

Applications for funding through Fund My Community are successful if they receive enough votes from individuals who are registered. This is where your help is needed. Anyone living in South Australia can take part in deciding which projects get funded during the process called the ‘community assessment’. This involves South Australians creating and submitting a plan that outlines which projects they would support with the $1 million available. The community assessment for the 2017 round is now open.

To create a plan just log in to your YourSAy account (or create one if you don’t already have one), review the projects and select the ones you want to support while making sure that you meet the following guidelines:

  • select at least one project of each size (small, medium and large)
  • select projects from at least four categories
  • allocate between $700,000 and $1 million
  • submit your plan before 5pm Monday, May 29 2017.

The ‘Cut It Out’ Social Enterprise is a medium sized project (seeking $45,000 over 12 months).

Please register on the YourSAy website and submit a plan that includes the Unity Housing submission.

Unity welcomes Bedford tenants

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March 1, 2017 marked the formal commencement of a significant partnership between Unity Housing and Bedford – the largest, most recognised and trusted disability organisation in South Australia.

Unity welcomed more than 150 tenants from Bedford into our portfolio.

Unity’s ground-breaking strategic partnership with Bedford, which involved the transfer of their state-wide housing operations to Unity, will significantly improve the housing options and lives of South Australians with disability.

Bedford has chosen Unity to deliver housing services currently managed by Bedford, such as rent, leases and maintenance. Unity and Bedford will combine expertise to develop new and innovative housing models that will deliver new homes, which better meet the changing life-needs of people with disability, particularly as they age.

By providing the best housing service possible, the partnership will help build a stronger sense of community and improve the wellbeing of tenants living in Bedford properties.

Unity will work closely with tenants and their families, guardians or caregivers to provide them with all of the information they need for a smooth transition.

Unity looks forward to an exciting new era in the delivery of accommodation services to people living with disability.