Accreditation Status Report
This report provides an overview of the performance of Break Through Community
Housing Service Inc. in relation to the National Community Housing Standards.
The report consists of two main parts:
Accreditation Status Report
Accreditation Evaluation Report
The Accreditation Status Report includes:
Recommended/current accreditation status.
Background information about the organisation’s work and history.
An overview of the Evaluation Team’s assessment of the organisation’s
performance, identifying major achievements as well as major areas for
It is important to note that the Accreditation Status Report for accredited
organisations only, will be made publicly available on the Community Housing
Standards and Accreditation Unit website. Go to http://www.chsau.qld.gov.au.
The Evaluation Team has assessed the organisation’s performance by rating each
Standard against a five-point scale, as outlined below:
Surpassed – Performance meets expectations in all three categories of
evidence (documentation, processes, measuring outcomes), and at least one
category has exceeded expectations.
Met – Performance meets expectations in all three categories of evidence
(documentation, processes, measuring outcomes).
Partially met – Where there are no categories of evidence (documentation,
processes, measuring outcomes) not met, and any of the three categories is
Not met – Where there is a not met rating in any of the three categories of
evidence (documentation, processes, measuring outcomes).
Not applicable – The standard cannot be met by the organisation because
external legislation, organisation definition or funding policy guidelines
prevents them from doing so.
Break Through Community Housing Service Inc. (Break Through) has been awarded
three-year accreditation for the period 4 December 2009 to 3 December 2012.
Summary of feedback from tenants and other stakeholders
The Evaluation Team considered the results of the tenant survey conducted in April
2009. Ninety-one (91) surveys were posted to tenants and 25 completed forms were
returned for analysis. Six completed Tenant Exit Survey forms completed in April-
June 2009 were also considered. Feedback was also obtained from 11 tenants who
attended the tenant interview. Some of the tenants had travelled for up to an hour
and a half by public transport to attend the interview. Tenants interviewed ranged
from several who had become tenants of Break Through in the past few weeks to
those who have been tenants for some years.
Overall tenants’ feedback from these three sources was very positive. The great
majority were very satisfied that staff were helpful and treated them with respect.
Tenants in general were very satisfied with the assistance provided in regards to
tenancy issues, such as rent payment arrangements and repairs and maintenance.
Tenants particularly commented on how responsive the organisation was to
feedback and requests. Tenants were positive about the newsletter, to which several
have recently offered to contribute, and the information and mail-outs about
community events received from Break Through.
Advice from the funding body indicated there were no compliance issues with the
organisation. External agencies contacted advised they had excellent working
relations with the agency and a high regard for the staff, who in all cases were
reported to be very competent and providing a good service. Several agencies
commented on what they saw as the obvious commitment of the staff at Break
Through to working cooperatively with other community organisations and agencies,
to achieve improved housing options for the people in their catchment area.
Overall summary of major achievements including areas of excellence
Break Through Community Housing Service Inc. provides evidence of an
organisation effectively providing community housing services to tenants across its
catchment area and within the resources currently available to the agency.
The organisation has well developed and documented systems for allocating
housing and establishing and managing tenancies within a framework of protecting
tenants’ rights. The Applicant’s Kit and Tenant’s Kit in particular provide useful and
relevant information. As an extra service, Break Through conducts an initial property
inspection visit at seven weeks, which is used as an opportunity for building
productive relationships with tenants and to review key information in the Tenant’s
Kit. In addition, the organisation undertakes innovative work supporting tenants with
mental health disabilities in conjunction with another community agency.
Tenant participation is supported via the Tenant Representative on the Management
Committee and the organisation has evidence of regularly obtaining and analysing
tenant feedback from a range of sources. Break Through provided evidence of being
a responsive organisation that adjusts housing stock to suit the needs of tenants’
changing demographic profiles. A great deal of evidence was also presented that the
organisation works conscientiously to ensure the housing properties it manages are
well maintained and kept in a good state of repair.
The Evaluation Team noted an area of excellence in Standard 1.4 - Ending
Tenancies. Break Through’s policy intention is that tenancies are terminated only
where no viable alternative is available. Consequently, a major focus of the staff’s
work is on preventing forced terminations through preventative strategies and the
provision of intensive tenancy support when a breach occurs.The General Manager
advised she personally calls tenants regarding the breach, explains the process and
works with the tenant to develop a plan to resolve the issue of concern. This may
include providing information on housing alternatives and advocacy services or
assisting the tenant to access support agencies. This approach is complemented by
Break Through’s effective debt recovery and arrears payment process, which
involves working with the tenant to develop a payment plan to manage repayments
in an affordable way. Many tenants have taken up the option of a payment plan and
the system has been very successful in clearing debts. The current approach to
intensive tenancy support was introduced by Break Through approximately five
years ago and has led to a large and measurable decrease in the utilisation of the
Small Claims Tribunal for the settlement of disputes with tenants regarding unpaid
debts etc. Staff recounted that, at a recent hearing, the Magistrate specifically
remarked on how rarely the organisation has appeared before his court over recent
A further area of excellence was noted by the Evaluation Team in Break Through’s
outstanding administrative systems (Standard 6.2). The Evaluation Team was
particularly impressed by the integrated tenancy and property files, which were found
to be very well-organised and accessible. All other administrative and management
records, such as Management Committee minutes, staff reports and financial reports
were found to be in a similarly comprehensive and well-organised state.
Break Through operates from very good quality, attractive office accommodation that
was noted as being another Area of Excellence (Standard 6.4 - Office Environment).
The office is centrally located, well furnished and equipped, wheel chair accessible
and spacious allowing for individual staff offices, a secure reception area and private
Overall summary of strategic recommendations
Allocation of housing
An outcome of the interview with tenants is the suggestion that the Applicant’s Kit be
expanded to include an easy to read summary setting out the details of what
applicants will be required to provide to Break Through if they receive an offer of
housing. The summary should include relevant information about bonds, rent to be
paid in advance and the five day time period in which prospective tenants have to
decide whether to accept an offer.
Establishing and maintaining tenancies
An outcome of the interview with tenants is the suggestion the Tenant’s Information
Kit be expanded to include information about the link that commonly exists between
an increase in rent and an increase in the bond payable by the tenant.
Planned cyclical maintenance and upgrade
The organisation collates the information from the individual property maintenance
reports into an overall long term, cyclical asset management plan.
The organisation develops a Register of Tenant Feedback in which tenants’
suggestions from surveys and other sources are collated and a record kept of any
resulting quality improvements.
Access to services of the organisation
The agency expands the message on the agency’s telephone answering machine to
include the contact number for the Homeless Persons Information Queensland
(HPIQ) call centre for callers seeking emergency housing.
Complaints and appeals
The complaints procedures are amended to include the appeals process.
The staff and management committee induction and training schedules are
expanded to include the appeals process.
The Complaints Register is adjusted to clearly record timelines as evidence that
complaints are responded to within the time frames set by the organisation’s
The Management Committee’s standing agenda is expanded to include a report on
the management of complaints.
The organisation’s complaints brochure is amended to include information about the
The organisation’s complaints brochure is amended to include information about
tenancy advocacy services.
The organisation considers developing an easy to understand flowchart to visually
represent the complaints process.
The organisation amends the complaints procedures, the complaints brochure and
the Tenants Complaints Form to make it more explicit that a ‘support person’ can be
someone from an advocacy service if desired.
Effective management and 6.1 Financial systems
The organisation considers summarising the financial and operational delegations
into a comprehensive table and places a copy of the summary in each staff
member’s work practice file so they are easily accessible.
Supervision, training and development of staff
The organisation considers the following suggestions:
Review and expand the staff induction topic list to include the role of the
Management Committee and the Staff Liaison Representative, workplace health
and safety and other topics. Include a section on the Induction List for the new
staff member to sign to acknowledge they have been provided with the
Ensure the General Manager’s performance assessment is conducted within
three months of the completion of the NCHS evaluation..
Amend the employment procedures to include the new requirement that staff
members sign a copy of the Ethical Code of Practice as evidence of their
agreement to abide by its requirements..
Develop a mechanism to formally record feedback on training.
The organisation considers adding a section to the personnel file audit form to record
the date when file audits occur.
Occupational health and safety
The organisation investigates the provision of driver safety training for the staff
member responsible for property inspections.
The organisation develops and articulates more clearly safe work practices for staff
responsible for handling and transporting cash, as required by the organisation’s
‘Working Safely in the Community’ procedure.
The organisation completes its 2009 formal safety audit as per its occupational
health and safety procedures to review environmental risks, equipment and training,
review the register of workplace accidents and incidents and devise a plan to
address any identified issues.
Background information about the organisation
History, location and the communities served
Break Through Community Housing Service Inc. (Break Through) is a community
based not-for-profit organisation that was first formed in 1993 under the name of Mid
Coast and Country Community Housing Service Inc. As a community-driven housing
organisation, the organisation turned to a local high school to identify a name that
would capture both the service’s aim and a meaningful identity. The winning
suggestion was ‘Break Through’ which remains the core component of the
Initially founded as a Community Rent Scheme program provider, Break Through
has over the last 15 years developed its capacity to provide housing options over a
dispersed catchment of urban, town and non-urban areas typical of the North
Moreton Bay region. Therefore, while the Break Through office is located in the
central business area of Caboolture, the organisation manages properties in Kilcoy,
Caboolture, Bribie Island, Morayfield, Burpengary, Narangba, Deception Bay and
Break Through has expanded the range of programs and services it offers, while
remaining grounded in the delivery of secure affordable housing options for people
experiencing a range of disadvantages, whether personal or situational. This has
included working collaboratively with other local services, as well as taking on
management of Long Term Community Housing properties.
Caboolture has historically been an area of primary production. The Kilcoy Meat
Works has been a significant local employer and complements the well established
dairy industry in the Caboolture corridor. Forestry and tourism also contribute to the
Although there has been considerable effort in the past to foster development of
small block low cost housing, cheaper land costs and the availability of rail services
led to growth in the establishment of more expensive housing. New developments
have proven to be particularly attractive to young families and couples who are able
to commute to Brisbane for work. The social impact of this change has been to lead
to an increasingly divided community between those who are unemployed or out of
the workforce (e.g. aged pensioners) and those on reasonable salaries and who are
Infrastructural changes that have impacted on the regional landscape include the
loss of the rail service to Kilcoy (although the corridor still exists), upgrade of the
Bruce Highway to freeway standard and electrification of the railway line to Brisbane.
This has been a particular advantage for the more recent settlers who commute to
Brisbane but has reduced transport options for those living in the hinterland who
generally have lower incomes and are more likely to be reliant on public transport.
The amalgamation of local governments to form the new Moreton Bay Regional
Council reflects this move to a regional focus. Break Through has also seen a
change in the housing needs of the local population as well as demographic shifts
There has been an increase in the number of older people who are in particular need
of housing, as well as a growing number of recent immigrants from a variety of
cultural backgrounds, many of whom come from quite difficult circumstances.
Services provided by the organisation
Break Through’s core business is to provide housing to those who are homeless or
at immediate risk of homelessness. Break Through delivers the Community Rent
Scheme (CRS) and Long Term Community Housing programs in the Caboolture
region. Each of these programs is funded by the Queensland Government.
Break Through also currently provides housing and tenancy management for people
with psychiatric disabilities. The organisation works in partnership with a local Mental
Health Support Service that provides Lifestyle Support Workers to assist clients to
develop the life skills they require to live independently and to achieve personal
In addition, Break Through works collaboratively with a local Supported
Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) service to respond to the housing
needs of clients. The aim of the collaboration is to maximise the opportunities and
resources available from each organisation to provide effective and responsive
tenant and property management that best meets client needs. The agencies
anticipate that, as a result of this collaboration, they will be better able to source exit
points for their clients.
Sourcing exit points in the region is a huge problem for both agencies and their
clients at present. Break Through also has an agreement with the Caboolture
Household and Budgeting Support Service to provide budget support to clients as
required, dependent on funding provisions.
Break Through recently entered into a joint venture to apply for housing available
through the National Rental Affordability Scheme and Economic Stimulus Package
Break Through provides services to members of the following target groups:
people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness
people with disabilities
domestic violence survivors
Indigenous people, and
people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds including refugees.
Number of staff employed listing job titles and identifying the hours allocated
to these positions
The current staff levels include a full-time (38 hours per week) General Manager,
reporting directly to the Management Committee. In addition, there is a 36 hours per
week Property Manager and a 29 hours per week Administration/Finance Officer.
The Property Manager and the Administration/Finance Officer report to the General
Working with local employment agencies, Break Through has also taken on short-
term administrative trainees from time to time.
Properties, programs managed and funding sources
Break Through manages the following housing properties:
72 Community Rent Scheme properties funded by the Department of
Communities (Housing and Homelessness Services)
7 Community Rent Scheme – Residential Closures properties funded by the
Department of Communities (Housing and Homelessness Services)
10 properties under the Long Term Community Housing Program supplied by the
Department of Communities (Housing and Homelessness Services) for which
Break Through holds title to the properties but nil equity.
All houses/units are located in Kilcoy, Caboolture, Bribie Island, Morayfield,
Burpengary, Narangba, Deception Bay and Redcliffe.
Break Through Community Housing Service Inc. is an association with a constitution
incorporated under the Association Incorporation Act 1981. It has a Management
Committee made up of the following positions:
Two Committee Members
One Tenant Representative.
Key issues over the past 12 months
The over-riding issue for Break Through is one of growth and unmet housing need.
The organisation has experienced an increase in the number of applicants for
housing and a lack of affordable appropriate housing options for tenants ready to exit
Break Through programs. An increase in lessor rents has added to the need for
quality financial management to ensure the housing Break Through manages
represents best value for money.
Key goals for the next 12 months
Break Through’s main objective over the next twelve months is to increase the
means by which it can secure the financial wellbeing of the organisation through:
utilising relevant philanthropic and public funding opportunities that will support
the development of organisational capacity
identifying and developing new partnerships with the private and local
developing new income streams through services to the community and
community sector, and
taking advantage of emerging opportunities to grow core program funding and
Another of Break Through’s objectives is to increase the ability of people to sustain
tenancies and to effectively transition to long term appropriate housing options. To
this end, Break Through will continue to identify and build strong partnerships and
relationships that generate improved outcomes for their clients, including pursuing
collaborative strategies with complementary Government agencies and services to
promote integrated service responses.
The Evaluation Team
Coordinator: Mary Barram
Peer Evaluator: Kai Dahl
Observer Evaluator: Leonie Swann, Senior Accreditation Officer, Department of
Communities (Housing and Homelessness Services)
Prior to the accreditation evaluation, Break Through used the Self-Evaluation
Workbook to evaluate its own performance. The Evaluation Team then conducted a
desk-top assessment of information and documentation provided by the
organisation. This was followed by an on-site evaluation.
The external evaluation process involved gathering and assessing an extensive
amount of information and documentation and included:
reviewing the organisation report and other documentation and evidence of
conducting a range of interviews with management members and staff
inspecting office facilities and equipment
assessing policies and procedures
reviewing the tenancy and property record audit reports
interviewing and/or surveying tenants
reviewing reports on the results of surveys of tenants and other organisations
undertaken by the organisation, and
interviewing or seeking feedback from key community agencies and the funding