Community Connect Strategy

The Community Connect Strategy 2017-2021 guides Unity‘s role in assisting our tenants in responding to, and managing, the many challenges they face and ensuring we are well-placed to provide this assistance. This strategy has been prepared at a time of considerable growth and change for the organisation, and is one more example of Unity being responsive to the challenges we face.

The Community Connect Strategy identifies the various ways that Unity can best respond to the changing needs of our tenants and contribute to improving their lives. Unity has established the following four streams of work to guide us over the next four years. These are:

  • Community Engagement and Participation Framework
  • Community Development Projects
  • Employment and Learning
  • Placemaking

With Unity focusing on these priorities, we believe that our existing and future tenants will be well-placed to become active citizens in the communities in which they live. This document also highlights the role that Unity has as a social landlord. Being a social landlord involves much more than just providing an affordable house or a bed to sleep in. Social landlords have a crucial role to play in promoting social inclusion and addressing barriers to accessible, safe and secure housing.

Social landlords need to embrace a philosophy that ensures all actions and tenancy management decisions promote social inclusion and the independence, preferences and individuality of people living in our properties.

To ensure tenants receive the support necessary to sustain their tenancies, Unity has also continued to develop close working relationships with support providers. The quality services provided by our support partners ensure the best possible outcomes, as we work together to respond to the needs of our tenants.

Through the Community Connect strategy and its companion document, the Community Connect Delivery Plan, Unity will make a difference by helping children get a better start in life; by supporting young people starting out on their career journey; by helping those on low wages having difficulty making ends meet; by supporting the large number of people in our community experiencing mental health problems to regain hope; and ensuring older people are able to feel safe in worry-free housing.

Community Connect Delivery Plan

The Unity Housing Community Connect Delivery Plan is a core document of our Community Connect Strategy. This plan outlines the strategies, actions, responsibilities and time frames (together with key performance indicators) that we will deliver over the next four years.

Over the past few years there have been some changes in our tenant profile and these are reflected in the Community Connect Delivery Plan. As our tenant profile changes we need to ensure Unity has the ability to cater to the varying needs of our tenants. Whilst there is still an emphasis on tenant engagement and achieving improved tenant outcomes, there is also an increasing emphasis on life skills and employment development with Unity facilitating opportunities for individuals rather than being a direct provider. There is also and increasing need for Unity to quantify what these changes are and to demonstrate the outcomes we are achieving.

Community Development Framework

Unity’s Community Development Framework has tenant outcomes at its centre. This framework is a set of ideas that explains the context for the provision of Unity’s Community Connect Program. It contains five core elements, which are: Housing Programs; Principles and Practice; Models of Delivery; Strategies; and Services.

The framework links our housing programs with the how, what and why of what we do. Achieving improved tenant outcomes is at the very centre of this work. This is important because tenants should be able to inspect our services and see clear lines of accountability and communication. We aim to provide comprehensive, tenant centred services that are open to scrutiny and can be measured and assessed over time.

Unity has established strong partnerships including Memorandums of Understanding with a large number of service providers. These facilitate effective referrals in order for tenants to receive direct social support services, as it is generally not the role of Unity staff to deliver these. Unity supports this approach because community development builds capacity for our tenants and strengthens the communities in which they live. Another emerging field is that of social enterprise development that Unity might sponsor or help facilitate and which leads to improved social outcomes for our tenants.