THE humble barbecue has come through for Homes North in helping its future tenants prepare for a looming change.
That was the view of chief executive Maree McKenzie on Wednesday, as the organisation wrapped up a series of lunches across the region.
She said a quarter of its future clients across the New England and North West had taken the opportunity to grab a bite, have a chat and complete their paperwork for the transition.
In May, the regional community housing provider will take over from the state government on the management of about 1700 social housing properties.
That includes some properties in Gunnedah, but “only a few, [after we] already had the majority of its social housing transferred to us in a previous project”, Ms McKenzie said.
She said the future tenants had been “really positive about the transition”.
“It’s going marvellously, better than what we could have planned.”
A further 25 per cent of tenants had mailed in their forms and the remaining 50 per cent – who could include the elderly or less mobile – would receive visits from staff, Ms McKenzie said.
One of the bigger changes will be how rent is paid, but the barbecues allowed face-to-face questions and the reassurance that “financially, people will be in the same position”.
Ms McKenzie said there would also be many benefits to the switch.
“One main reason [behind the transition] is to achieve better outcomes for tenants; that can be done by local planing and local service delivery, but also there will also be a modest amount of additional funding that will come in into sector through tenants being eligible for commonwealth rent assistance.
“Additionally, as a we’re not-for-profit, we can apply for additional funding to support tenants with other needs and for community-based activities.”