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Our House NT - Sept 2009

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					                                                                                          September 2009




                                                     HOMESTART NT is a Territory Government initiative
                                                     that is helping more Territorians buy their own home.

                                                     With financial support from HOMESTART NT,
                                                     Territorians earning low to middle incomes can buy
                                                     their home using no more than 30% of their income.

                                                     Loans are available for eligible Territorians who
                                                     • are first home buyers or
                                                     • are non first home buyers who do not currently
                                                        own property or
                                                     • currently live in public housing.

                                                     HOMESTART NT loans are designed for low to
                                                     middle income earners and feature:
                                                     • a competitive variable interest rate
                                                     • a low deposit
                                                     • no lender’s mortgage insurance premium
                                                     • no monthly service fees
                                                     • up to 35 year loan term to make repayments
                                                        more affordable
                                                     • low application fee
                                                     • assistance with associated costs to buy your
                                                        home.

                                                     Eligible public housing tenants may also be able to
                                                     purchase their home. To be eligible to buy a public
                                                     housing home you must:
                                                     • be a public housing tenant
                                                     • not have any current rental arrears
                                                     • not currently own another property or share in
                                                         a property in Australia (this also applies to your
                                                         spouse/defacto partner)
                                                     • be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
                                                     • intend to live in the property.
To find out more about HOMESTART NT, visit
www.housingnt.nt.gov.au, call 1300 301 833 or        To find out more about buying a public housing
visit a TIO branch.                                  home contact your local Housing Services office
                                                     (see back page).

                                                DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND HOUSING
                                                    Short term
Housing                                             accommodation
entitlements                                        boost for
                                                    Alice Springs
Housing Services has a range of accommodation
types and sizes in major centres across the         Central Australians at risk of homelessness
Territory to appropriately house as many            will soon have access to new services with
Territorians in need as possible. This ranges       the Territory Government announcing the
from one bedroom units to larger family homes,      allocation of two properties for short term
including some homes that are purpose built         accommodation.
and designed for senior residents or modified for
people with disabilities.                           Approval has been given to Aboriginal Hostels
                                                    Limited to operate the Mount Gillen Hostel and
Demand for family sized homes is especially         to Alice Springs Youth Accommodation Support
high. To help us offer appropriately sized homes    Services (ASYASS) to operate 9 Priest Street.
to families on our waiting lists, we may require
tenants whose children have left home to transfer   Aboriginal Hostels will use the 11 one-bedroom
to a home that better suits their household size.   units and 12 two-bedroom units to provide short
                                                    term accommodation to homeless Indigenous
Tenants who choose not to downsize to an            people and families who are travelling into Alice
alternative public housing residence when           Springs for medical treatment.
required to do so, may be charged an additional
amount of rent on top of their rebated rent.        ASYASS will use four two-bedroom units to
                                                    provide transitional housing for youth aged
If you would like more information about housing    between 16 and 21 years who are at risk of
entitlements or transfers, please contact your      homelessness.
local Housing Services office (see back page).
                                                    “The government recognises the need for
                                                    short term accommodation services across the
                                                    Territory and these two properties will provide a
                                                    total of 43 beds in Alice Springs,” said Minister
                                                    for Housing Rob Knight.




Territory Housing has a new name:

Housing Services
As of July 2009 Territory Housing will be called Housing Services.

The name change is a result of a restructure of the Department of Local Government and
Housing. The restructure was necessary to ensure the department is well placed to deliver
housing support and services in urban and regional areas, now and into the future.

You will find that the change will not affect you. However, if you have any concerns or
queries please contact your local Housing Services office (see back page).
                                   The Department of Local Government and Housing has had an exciting year so far




              Minister’s message
                                   with the NT Government targeting unacceptable behaviour in public housing and work
                                   underway to upgrade several properties.

                                   Budget 2009 increases our housing investment by 92% and will see new urban and
                                   remote housing built to meet our growing demand.

                                   Work has started on the construction of 22 new homes under the Australian Government’s
                                   Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan. Looking after our current stock is also important
                                   and we are continuing to roll out our refurbishment program. More than $11.2 million is
                                   being invested under the stimulus package to upgrade existing public housing properties,
                                   and build new homes to help meet our housing needs.

                                   We are committed to looking after our properties and our tenants - it is unacceptable
                                   to have a minority of tenants behaving badly in public housing properties. We have
                                   introduced four antisocial behaviour officers based across the Territory and these officers
                                   are already making inroads.

                                   Since the officers started they have investigated 88 tenancies and finalised three
                                   evictions, with a further two pending. While more work needs to be done, the officers
                                   complement other measures including Acceptable Behaviour Agreements, alcohol dry
                                   areas, increased scrutiny of probationary leases, and work underway with NT Police to
                                   target known hot spots.

                                   The NT Government is also committed to helping more Territorians to buy their own
                                   home. Several initiatives have been recently launched to make housing more affordable
                                   including HOMESTART NT and the sale of affordable housing properties at Emery
                                   Avenue in Palmerston and affordable housing lots at the new suburb of Bellamack. There
                                   will continue to be more affordable housing options made available to Territorians in the
                                   coming years.

                                   As part of its commitment to stronger regions, the Department of Local Government and
                                   Housing has recently undertaken a restructure to improve the support and services it
                                   provides, particularly in regional areas. One of the changes you may notice is that we
                                   will no longer refer to Territory Housing as a separate business unit – it is now called
                                   Housing Services. Although the name has changed, you will continue to receive the same
                                   services.

                                   This work will deliver real results for Territorians – improving our public housing and
                                   helping more Territorians get into the housing market.

                                   Rob Knight
                                   Minister for Housing




Win a $50 gift voucher
Do you have a great story for Our House NT?                          How to contact us?

Perhaps there is a community organisation in your                    Write to: Reader Contribution
area that you’d like to know more about? If you                                Operational Services
would like to share photos of your garden with other                           GPO Box 4621
readers, or have a question you’d like us to answer,                           Darwin NT 0801
please contact us with your ideas.
                                                                     Email: operationalservices.dlgh@nt.gov.au
If your story is published, you could receive a $50
Bunnings gift voucher for your contribution.                         Phone: (08) 8999 8406
  Aboriginal
             Interpreter
                                   Crossing language
                         Service
  (AIS)
                                   barriers
 Darwin
 Telephone:                        Interpreter and translating services
            8999 8353
 Facsimile:
            8999 8855              As part of the Department of Local Government and
 Website:
            www.nt.gov.            Housing’s commitment to customer service and cross
                        au /dlgh
Alice Sprin                        cultural issues, housing staff can now access interpreter
            gs                     services whenever necessary. An interpreter may help
Telephone:
             8951 5576             you understand information and processes relating to
Facsimile:
             8951 5244             accessing housing assistance.

                                   If you would feel more comfortable conducting your
                                   business with housing staff in a language other than
                                   English, our staff can arrange an appointment with the
                          ing      interpreter service.
Interpreting and Translat
Service NT (ITSNT)                 The Interpreting and Translating Service (ITSNT)
                                   provides an on-site interpreting and translation service
 Darwin                            throughout the Northern Territory.
 Telephone:   8999 8506
 Freecall:    1800 676 254         The Aboriginal Interpreter Service (AIS) provides
 Facsimile:   8999 8475            interpreting services to assist government and non-
 Email:       itsnt@nt.gov.au      government agencies to communicate with their clients.
                                   On-site interpreting covers the majority of Aboriginal
 www.itsnt.nt.gov.au               languages within the Territory. For more information,
                                   please refer to the contact details on the left.




2009 Public Housing                   Winners       announced
Garden Competition                    soon! Registrations forCompetitionPublic
                                            Housing Garden
                                                              the 2009
                                                                         have
                                                      now closed and the judging of
                                                      entries will start soon.
                                                      Judging will be across a variety
                                                      of    categories    including   Best
                                                      House Garden, Best Unit Garden,
                                                      Best Complex Garden and Best
                                                      Environmentally Friendly Garden.
                                                      The winners will be announced
                                                      in October. Prizes include home
                                                      improvement vouchers worth up to
                                                      $400.
                                                      This is our way of thanking you for the
                                                      time spent improving your garden and
                                                      showing ‘pride in your place’.
                                                      For information about the competition
                                                      visit your local Housing Services office
                                                      (please refer to back page) or go online:
                                                      www.nt.gov.au/housing.
     F I N D                      P T G                                                  Yo
                                                                                    could u
     N H O J                      S T E                                           $20 B win a
                                                                                         u
     B A D L                      G H M                                           gift v nnings
                                                                                        ouch
                                                                                             er!
     Z A J W                      O R D

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    Find the words listed below in the grid. They could be written in any direction. There is one word
    in the list that can not be found in the grid.
    Write the missing word and your contact details (including phone number) on the back of an
    envelope and send it to Department of Local Government and Housing, Operational Services,
    GPO Box 4621, Darwin NT 0801 to enter the draw. Correct entries will be placed in a barrel and
    the first entry drawn will receive a $20 Bunnings gift voucher.
    Good luck!

    affordable             bond                  home                  housing              income
    keys                   landlord              lease                 maintenance          neighbour
    newsletter             priority              rent                  safe                 secure
    tenant                 territory
Aboriginal
Hostels
Limited
A home away from home
Finding accommodation when you come to town
can be a problem for many Indigenous people
in the Territory. That’s where Aboriginal Hostels
                                                       ▪ Galawu Transient Hostel Darwin
Limited (AHL) might be able to help.

AHL has been around since 1973 and specialises
in providing temporary accommodation for
                                                       AHL tariffs are affordable if you are on a low
Indigenous people who are away from home. You
                                                       income and include three meals a day and clean,
can stay just one night if you are passing through,
                                                       comfortable rooms.
or for several weeks, for example if you have to
be near a hospital or rehabilitation centre.
                                                       AHL has hostels in all mainland states and
                                                       territories. In the Northern Territory, there are
Some residents come from a background of
                                                       hostels in Darwin, Alice Springs, Katherine,
homelessness and need a secure place to stay
                                                       Nhulunbuy, Tennant Creek and Yulara.
while they find something longer-term. AHL also
has special categories of hostel for students and
for elders who need a long-term alternative to         If you would like to know more, contact one of
living in their own home when that is no longer        AHL’s Territory offices or visit their website.
possible.
                                                       ▪ AHL Darwin - 8981 4388
Alcohol and drugs are not permitted at AHL             ▪ AHL Alice Springs - 8952 6544
hostels, helping to make them safe and secure for      www.ahl.gov.au
women, children, young people, the elderly and
men. Most staff are Indigenous and all are happy
to help.


▪ Topsy Smith Hostel in Alice Springs specialises in
  accommodation for renal dialysis patients.
                              Critter Chatter
Hi, I’m Annie. Welcome to the ‘Critter Chatter’ section    What should we teach first?
of Our House NT.                                           The first thing I teach my pups is what I call the ‘Kath
                                                           and Kim’ exercise, in other words ‘look at me’. Until
I hope you will write in and share your stories, hints     you can hold the pup’s attention it is hard to teach
and tips with us and get involved in this section of       much else. The object is to have a pup that will stop
Our House NT.                                              and look straight up at you when you ask for his/her
                                                           attention.
First, a little bit about me. I have trialled, shown,
bred and trained dogs to be companions for disabled        •   Put a lead and collar on the puppy.
people, as detector dogs and seniors companion/            •   Sit down on the ground at puppy level.
assistance dogs. I have worked with the Animal             •   Chat or play with the puppy and then say your
Welfare League of South Australia and as a Local               puppy’s name and ‘look’ in a very excited tone,
Laws Officer in Adelaide and Victoria.                         putting your finger to the tip of your nose.
                                                           •   Once the puppy looks, feed the treat and give lots
I am passionate about responsible pet ownership                of praise instantly.
and the great benefits there are for people sharing        •   Do this several times and finish with a little play
their lives with pets.                                         break.

Pet ownership comes with responsibilities, but then        Next issue we will look at some of the fun things you
so do most things worth having or doing in life.           can do with your pets. If you have any questions
Owning a well trained and sociable pet is certainly        please feel free to write to me:
worth the effort!
                                                           Our House NT
In past issues of Our House NT we’ve provided some         GPO Box 4621
information about rewarding your pets with treats. In      Darwin NT 0801
the dog training world this is usually referred to as      or email to: operationalservices.dlgh@nt.gov.au
positive reinforcement. It’s a kind, gentle and non
threatening way to train a pet. In fact it should be fun
for your pet!

Because we are practising positive reinforcement
and our pet is learning, we praise and make a big
fuss of good behaviour. We ignore the failures right
through until our pet knows the trick or exercise really
well.

Before you start:
• Think it through, what do you want to teach your
   pet?
• Break the lesson down into small ‘bite size’
   parts.
• Get your ‘props’ together, a favourite toy or a long
   length of line with a clip on the end.
• Train when you are in a good mood, never lose
   your ‘cool’ with your pet!
• Train your pet when it is hungry.
• Have a lot of tasty treats on hand to suit your
   pet.

Remember, a treat is something your pet really
loves, but does not get as part of his/her usual meal.
For instance, my Whippet (Clancy) loves cabana so
I cut tiny slices. Lots of dogs, and even some cats,
love cheese so you could cut tiny cubes of a hard
cheese.
                                                                Staff identification
                                                                All housing staff members are required to
                                                                have appropriate identification both in the
                                                                office and on field visits to clients.
                                                                Staff will clearly display their photo
                                                                identification cards when making home
                                                                visits and their name badge while on duty in
                                                                all housing offices.
                                                                You may ask to see any housing officer’s
                                                                identification before allowing the staff
                                                                member into your home.




          ▪ Matika Mitchell from Central Australia Housing
            Services displaying her identification.

                                                                                                                       Housing
                                                                                                                                                Se
Alterations and additions
If you are planning on making any changes to your rental
property such as putting picture hooks in the walls, painting,
installing air conditioning or light fittings or building garden
structures, it is a requirement of the Residential Tenancies Act
that you get approval from your landlord, the Department of
Local Government and Housing, before going ahead.

This may sound daunting but the department encourages
tenants to regard their public housing dwelling as their home
and will generally approve most applications for alterations
to rental properties.
                                                                              Alteratio
Please be aware that the Department of Local Government                                                       ns and A
and Housing will not reimburse you for any changes made
to the property and all alterations and additions must be in                 Making a
                                                                                             lterations
                                                                                                                                               dd
                                                                                                              or     additions
accordance with relevant building regulations.                              If you wo
                                                                                         uld like to
                                                                           property s                  make alte
                                                                                          uch as pu                  rations to
                                                                           condition                    t picture h                you
To request an approval to make changes complete an                                      ing or buil                   ooks in th r rental
                                                                                                      d garden                     e
                                                                          of the Re
                                                                                       sidential T                  structures walls, install air
Application for Alterations/Additions form and return this                your land
                                                                                       lord, the D
                                                                                                      enancies
                                                                                                                    Act that y
                                                                                                                                 , it is a re
                                                                                                                                              quiremen
                                                                          Housing,                    ep                        ou ge
to your local housing office with copies of any plans or                               before go artment of Local G t approval fro
                                                                                                    ing ahead                       overnmen
relevant approval from bodies such as the local council                  The depa                                  .                             t and
                                                                                      rtment en
or building authority, for consideration. If your request               housing d                  courages
                                                                                      welling as                  tenants to
                                                                        most app                     th                         regard th
is approved, the department will provide a letter with                              lications fo eir home and will                           eir public
                                                                                                   r alteratio                 generally
                                                                                                                 ns to renta                  approve
written approval and stipulating any conditions.                       What alte                                               l propertie
                                                                                        rations c                                             s.
                                                                                                        an I mak
                                                                      In additio                                       e to my h
Further information and forms are available from your                             n to the s
                                                                                               ituations                                ome?
                                                                      alteration                             above, fu
                                                                                  s that req                             rther exam
local Housing Services office (see back page) or visit                                         uire appro                                ples of
                                                                     • installin                              val includ
                                                                                  g carpet o                               e:
www.housing.nt.gov.au/public_housing/forms.                                                      r any othe
                                                                    • paving                                   r floor cov
                                                                                 the garde                                  erings
                                                                       including              n or build
                                                                                   garden sto               ing any g
                                                                       enclosure                   rage shed            arden stru
                                                                                   s                             s, shade               cture
                                                                                                                              structures                F
                                                                   • remov                                                                   or pet
                                                                              in
Water Safety                                                  Who qualifies for the program? Every
                                                              parent and guardian caring for a child
Awareness Program                                             under the age of five in the Territory can
                                                              take advantage of the program. Parents
                                                              and guardians must participate in the
                                                              water sessions with their child, and all
Keeping young children safe in                                sessions must be completed before the
                                                              child turns five.
and around the water is vital.
                                                              How do you access the program?
Water safety awareness is an important life skill and,        You can register online at www.nt.gov.
combined with active supervision and pool fencing, helps      au/watersafety or contact Water Safety
keep young children safe.                                     on 1300 301 059 to obtain a registration
The Water Safety Awareness Program provides free water        form.
safety lessons for parents / guardians and their children     After registration, you will receive
under five.                                                   information on resuscitation, emergency
What does the program include?                                recognition and safety strategies, as
                                                              well as a list of organisations providing
The program is delivered in two formats to ensure young       the program in your local area. Remote
children in all parts of the Territory can participate.       program participants will also receive a
                                                              DVD.
1. The urban/rural program includes five free sessions for
   parents and their children. The sessions cover emergency   It is your responsibility to contact local
   care, revival skills and water awareness with activities   providers and book into their sessions.
   both in and out of the water.                              Vouchers will be provided by the instructor
                                                              at your first session.
2. The remote area program includes a DVD
   about emergency care and revival skills and                More information For more information
   three in-water sessions when a Royal Life Saving           about the Water Safety Awareness
   Association   (NT)   instructor visits the  area.          Program or for advice on water safety in
   Please call 8981 2758 for the remote area visiting         general visit www.nt.gov.au/watersafety or
   schedule.                                                  contact Water Safety on 1300 301 059.
Ideas
to help you reduce
your electricity bill

There are some simple ways you can                       Power and Water sponsor CoolMOB, a community
reduce your electricity bill without changing            organisation that can come to your home and conduct
                                                         an energy audit ($10 or free for concession card
your lifestyle and save money.                           holders). They will show you which appliances are
                                                         using the most electricity and provide you with more
•   If you have an air conditioner, reduce the           ways to cut down on your electricity use.
    amount of time you use it each day and set the
    temperature between 24 and 27 degrees. Each          Power and Water also administers Pensioner
    degree colder you set it, costs 10% more to run.     and Carer concessions for electricity, water and
    Running a 1.5 horse power air conditioner 180        sewerage services on behalf of the Department of
    days for eight hours a day will cost about $435      Health and Families. Under the Northern Territory
    per year. Reducing running time to five hours a      Pensioner and Carer Concession Scheme, you can
    day will save about $165 a year.                     obtain a rebate on electricity charges of 50% of your
•   If you are not in the room, remember to turn off     quarterly account, up to a maximum rebate of $1.00
    the fan and lights as you leave.                     per day. (Water charges have a Pensioner and Carer
•   Install 15 watt compact fluorescent light bulbs      concession rebate of 62.5% of the quarterly account
    instead of standard 75 watt bulbs. If you have ten   or a maximum rebate of 27.4 cents per day, whichever
    light bulbs in your home, this can save up to $100   is the lesser amount).
    a year.
•   Out all day? Then switch off standby power – TV,     Power and Water Corporation also recognises that
    DVD player, stereo, microwave, computer and          there are people living in the community who may
    phone chargers. This could save you up to $100       at times have difficulties affording essential services
    a year.                                              such as power and water. Under its hardship
                                                         policy, customers can seek assistance, advice
•   If you are buying new appliances such as a
                                                         and assessment by a community welfare agency.
    washing machine or fridge look at the star rating.
                                                         Participating community agencies can provide $25
    A 4-Star rating will save about $70 a year in
                                                         vouchers that can only be used for Power and Water
    running costs over a 2-Star fridge.
                                                         accounts.
•   Use the clothesline whenever you can to dry
    clothes.                                             For further information on any of the information
•   Turn off your hot water system when you go on        above please call Power and Water Customer
    holidays. If you have a solar hot water system,      Service on 1800 245 092 or visit the website
    make sure the electric booster is turned off.        www.powerwater.com.au.
                                                                     New
                                                                     bank account
                                                                     number for
                                                                     tenancy
                                                                     payments


                                                                     We are introducing a new bank
                                                                     account number for all tenancy
                                                                     related payments:

Property assessments                                                 The new account number is:

The Department of Local Government and Housing has an                BSB: 035-301
extensive social housing asset portfolio in the urban centres of     ACCT: 510418-990001
the Territory and in mid 2008 assumed responsibility for remote
housing assets previously managed by Indigenous housing              If you make payments through
organisations.                                                       automatic transfers from a
                                                                     bank account or through payroll
The Department of Local Government and Housing is committed          deductions, you should arrange
to improving housing outcomes for current tennants and for           now to have the account number
people seeking accommodation in public housing throughout            changed. Contact your bank or
the Northern Territory.                                              employer and provide them with
                                                                     the new account number.
The department is on its way to develop a long term social
housing strategy to help us make the right decisions. In light       Always make sure your Housing
of this strategy the department will undertake a comprehensive       Services account number is
assessment of the current configuration and condition of our         listed on all payments.
public housing assets, in urban as well as remote areas.
                                                                     If you have any queries or need
Over the next few months, contractors will collect information on    assistance, please contact your
behalf of the department. They will carry a letter of introduction   local Housing Services office
and they will have photo identification to show they are working     (see back page).
on our behalf.

The purpose of the assessment is to break free of the cycle of
reactive maintenance and adopt a more effective and efficient
planned maintenance and renewal program. Better planning of
maintenance, asset renewals and growth will ultimately improve
outcomes for all tenants and prospective tenants.

If you have any queries about the assessments, please contact
your local Housing Services office (see back page).
What are my
responsibilities
as a tenant?

Housing Services provides you with a Welcome                      •   notify Housing Services of any changes in
Pack at the commencement of your tenancy                              your household income, assets or property
that contains an outline of your responsibilities                     ownership as well as changes in household
as well as helpful hints about living in public                       members and size of household.
housing.
                                                                  For further information in regards to tenant
                                                                  responsibilities please contact your local Housing
Some of these responsibilities are listed below.
                                                                  Services office.
Tenants must:

•   maintain the dwelling in a neat, tidy and
    undamaged condition
•   ensure the dwelling is kept free of pests such
    as mice, fleas, ticks and cockroaches
•   advise Housing Services of any white ant or
    termite infestations that might damage the
    structure of the dwelling
•   promptly inform Housing Services of any
    repairs required that are the landlords
    responsibility, such as internal and/or external
    repainting, upgrading of fittings (stove, bath,
    toilet system, cupboards, bench tops, internal
    doors, ceiling fans, floor tiles, etc)
•   pay electricity, gas, telephone and ‘excess
    water’ charges




Housing Services contacts

Casuarina - Ethos House, 270 Trower Rd, Casuarina                                                           p:   08 8922 5526
Darwin - Construction House, Cnr Mitchell and Briggs Sts, Darwin                                            p:   08 8999 8814
Palmerston - Highway House, Cnr Broadland St and Palmerston Cct, Palmerston                                 p:   08 8999 4767
Alice Springs - Cnr Leichhardt and Gregory Tce, Alice Springs                                               p:   08 8951 5344
Tennant Creek - Government Building, Peko Rd, Tennant Creek                                                 p:   08 8962 4497
Katherine - NT Government Centre, First St, Katherine                                                       p:   08 8973 8536
Nhulunbuy - Shop 2 Arnhem House, Endeavour Square, Nhulunbuy                                                p:   08 8987 0533
Client Relations Officer                                                                                    p:   1300 301 167
                                                                                                            or   08 8999 8853




                                                      DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND HOUSING

Our House NT is published by the Northern Territory Government. For enquiries or feedback please contact the Department of
Local Government and Housing on (08) 8999 8406, email to: operationalservices.dlgh@nt.gov.au or send a letter to Our House
NT, GPO Box 4621, Darwin NT 0801.
                                                                                                      www.nt.gov.au/dlgh

				
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