Junction Connect - Autumn 2020

June 03, 2020

Vale Mike

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It was with great sadness we farewelled our Chair, Mike Canny, in April. Mike passed away in hospital after a long battle with illness. He was 64. Appointed to our Board in 2011, Mike was one of the most genuine, wise, compassionate and committed people you could meet.

Growing up in Panorama, Mike was a keen sportsman whose passion for engineering also emerged from an early age. Following school he gained a degree in Civil Engineering and later, Urban Planning. He had extensive experience in the building, development and manufacturing industries holding a range of senior executive roles interstate and overseas during a 23 year career with CSR Limited.

In addition to his role as Junction Chair, Mike was on Assessment Panels for both the Mount Barker and Salisbury Councils as well as running his own consultancy supporting businesses with strategy formulation, growth and development. He also held Director and Chair roles for Committee for Adelaide Roads and Ennio International.

A man of the highest integrity with extraordinary astuteness, his approach, as our Board Chair, was to always seek ways to best serve our organisation, our staff and clients. His voice was strong, but gentle.

Even though he hadn’t been well, Mike’s passing still shocked us considerably. The reality was he was very much involved in leading the governance direction of our organisation right up until the end.

Mike chaired our March Board meeting. At Easter, he sent a message to our staff to ensure they knew how much the Board valued and appreciated the way they had worked to keep our services going through the pandemic.

This, alone, speaks volumes about Mike. Mike will be greatly missed by Junction – but no-one more so than his wife Gabrielle and their family.

His contribution will live on in our work, our service and our impact. Pauline Rooney is now Chair. A recruitment process will be undertaken for this role over coming months.

When Good Neighbours Become Good Friends

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Photo: Cherrilyn and Graham.

Neighbours, Graham and Cherrilyn share the same birth year, a love for rock and roll and, above all, a solid friendship.

While the Junction tenants “don’t live in each other’s pockets”, being able to count on each other has brought them both peace of mind.

“The day I moved in I met Cherrilyn and said ‘we’re going to be good mates’,” Graham said.

“Three years later, I’m right.”

The pair support each other with Graham often cooking for Cherrilyn and helping her with odd jobs around the house while Cherrilyn takes Graham shopping. "We have a chat, a laugh – not that we always agree on everything,” Cherrilyn adds. “We’re only four months apart but he’s like my little brother.”

Cherrilyn and Graham were nominated as part of Junction’s Neighbour Day project – an initiative designed to recognise and celebrate good bonds between neighbours with a focus on breaking down barriers to social isolation.

Loan Unlocks Housing for South Australians

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Photo: Rebekah in front of her new home.

Junction will build more than 340 new affordable homes for South Australians over the next four years after securing a $25 million low interest loan through the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC).

As well as refinancing existing debt, the loan will support 37 projects over the next 4 years delivering 341 new homes south of Adelaide. Of these 164 will be retained for social and affordable housing.

The loan provides Junction with increased certainty and security to grow its housing portfolio and offer more housing options to South Australians on low to moderate incomes.

“This is a long term, low cost stable and predictable funding solution,” Ms Palumbo said. “It is the key to unlocking home ownership for hundreds of individuals and families while freeing up the private rental market at the same time.”

Among new homebuyers is 29-year-old Rebekah Clayfield. Rebekah, who purchased into Junction’s Melrose Park development through the Affordable Homes Program.

It’s a dream come true for Rebekah, who had previously believed single home ownership was beyond her reach. “I had considered it for a couple of years,” she said.

“I started looking seriously in mid 2019 with the mindset to build so I could access the First Homebuyers Grant. I wanted to get out of the rental cycle and onto the property ladder as an investment in my future.”

Rebekah, a stock-broker’s assistant, said Melrose Park was the ideal location for her. “It’s halfway between my work and family,” she explains. “The infrastructure is fantastic. There’s plenty of parks and safe streets to walk around without having to live on a busy main road.

“Seeing my own home being built from the foundation up is really empowering.”

The NHFIC is a corporate Commonwealth entity dedicated to improving housing outcomes with a particular focus on affordable housing. NHFIC has raised $315 million in funds as a social bond to lend to community housing providers in Australia including Junction.

“Beyond four years, Junction has a further committed development pipeline expected to deliver another 234 outcomes of which 117 will be retained as social and affordable housing,” Ms Palumbo said.

“We are looking forward to working with the NHFIC to establish another debt facility to support this.”

Still a Strong Community

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Photo: HCC Co-ordinator Tammy Elvin with a food delivery for emergency packs.

Amid the uncertainty of COVID-19 and physical distancing restrictions, Hackham Community Centre (HCC) has been ahead of the curve in maintaining connections and supporting the most vulnerable.

From moving programs online, to drive-by drop offs of activity packs and emergency grocery supplies (largely thanks to our friends at Oz Harvest), the Centre has been a hub of help to many people and families already in challenging circumstances.

Regular assisted playgroup goers Jaime and her daughter, are among those to benefit for the continuation of programs – albeit in a different format.

“The staff have been great with the current situation, giving us calls to see how we’re doing,” Jamie said. “They even gave us a bunch of crafts for us to do at home. We’ve been following along on the Facebook page and there are some great activities on there. ”

Having found great support and community within HCC, Jaime misses having the opportunity to talk in person with the staff and other parents at HCC but looks forward to seeing everyone again. “Ellie misses it too. Recently she’s always asking me why she can’t go back, and I’ve had to tell her they’re on a very long holiday.”

Meantime, our Hackham Community Centre playgroup has been named in the top five best playgroups in Adelaide according to one of the most popular local parent websites. Our playgroup was voted five in the list of the best 13 groups on the Adelaide Mum’s Group site which comprises 15,000 members. Other playgroups on the list included several fee-for-service groups while ours is a free initiative, something we are especially proud of to ensure those in the highest need aren’t excluded from benefiting from the programs.

Fresh Start in Care

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Photo: Kids reading together.

Two groups of children and young people in our care have moved into new housing following Junction’s recent purchase of properties south of Adelaide.

One of the homes, at Onkaparinga hills, is brand new while the other, at Seaford Meadows, is just a few years old. Both provide an improved environment for therapeutic services to support our children and young people under guardianship.

Junction General Manager, Housing Services said the houses were “our first step in a bigger plan - a plan and a strategy to improve all the housing we have for young people in our care.”

“We are committed to giving our staff the best environment to care for these young people, and above all, to give these boys and girls every chance to succeed."

“By purchasing these properties, we are able to provide certainty and stability which is great for our organisation but above all, for these young people. In many cases, it’s been a key element missing from their lives.”

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Photo: A note from one of our young people.

Katy Whittaker, Lead Practitioner, Therapeutic Support Services said while it had sometimes been a challenge to get the young people to respect their living environments, things had changed.

“One of our girls, who wasn’t a fan of tidying usually, was taking things out to the skip and cleaning out everything in preparation for the move, she was so excited,” Katy said.

The Onkaparinga house has been named Ohana. ‘Ohana speaks to the concept of a larger family that is not necessarily connected by blood. A person’s Ohana can include their best friends, neighbours, or anyone else who is special in their life. An Ohana is special. The people within it are bound together by genuine compassion, culture, support, loyalty, and love for each other. To become a part of someone’s Ohana is a great honour.’

At Seaford Meadows, our new house has been named Koda - a fast growing tree, spread to Australia via Africa.

Finding Balance

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Photo: Junction tenant Joel.

"Find your own balance – however that looks for you.”

These are the pertinent words from one of our tenants, Joel.

The 19-year-old has taken his own advice amid COVID as he continues to balance work and study – while also staying in touch with friends and neighbours.

“It’s all a balance between work, studying, keeping connected and not getting too bogged down in the news,” Joel, who combines studies towards a double degree in Science and Engineering Science with employment as a supermarket customer service assistant, explains.

Life hasn’t always been easy for Joel, having been diagnosed with autism as a child.

However, he says he’s always tried his hardest to find the balance between education, friendships and family relationships.

Today, he’s feeling stronger than ever - both mentally and physically.

Meanwhile, Junction has, over recent weeks, been keeping in touch with tenants via phone to ‘check-in’.

Housing Manager Tiffany said it was an important initiative.

“Just by talking with someone, hearing their voice and listening, you can really get a sense for how they are travelling and it gives us the chance to support them or link them with help if needed,” she said.

“I want to maintain contact with my tenants throughout this pandemic, even those who say they are ok, because I genuinely care about them as people. Building a relationship with them is so important to getting the best outcomes for them and their tenancy.”

Innovate – Next Steps to Reconciliation

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During Reconciliation Week 2020 (May 27-June 3), Junction launched its second Reconciliation Action Plan, Innovate.

The plan is based on a strong belief across the organisation that reconciliation is everybody’s responsibility. It will guide us in staying accountable and on track in truly demonstrating our commitment to reconciliation.

For a copy of the plan, visit our Reconciliation Action Plan page or phone 8203 5700.