Social housing tenants become strong leaders

Social housing tenants become strong leaders

The City of Sydney and TAFE NSW have welcomed their first wave of graduates of a new pilot community leadership program for social housing residents.

The 18 graduates from Redfern, Camperdown, Woolloomooloo and Surry Hills took part in a two-day community leadership course at the Eora campus in Redfern.

The program aims to create more cohesive and harmonious residential communities across the City of Sydney area.

“It’s great to see this diverse group of graduates refine their communication skills and gain confidence in resolving conflicts, public speaking and participation in community meetings,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“These valuable skills will help them become leaders in their communities and be actively involved in decision making, and I congratulate all our graduates for taking part.”

The community leadership program provides current and future social housing tenant representatives with the skills they need to take part in Neighbourhood Advisory Boards and tenant forums.

It encourages representatives to actively engage in the social life of their community and to provide advice, support and advocate on behalf of their fellow social housing tenants.

Participants in the pilot program are of different ages, educational levels and cultural backgrounds.

Charlotte Dobrovits has lived in Redfern’s McKell Tower for nine years and is the current tenant representative. She advocates for the rights of fellow tenants and offers support to her neighbours, including older people and those affected by domestic violence, mental illness or substance abuse.

“I grew up on Sydney’s north shore but I would not go back now, not in a million years. There’s so much to do and I love the people. That’s what makes me stay,” Ms Dobrovits said.

“I found the course taught me to assure common understanding, clear up conflict, establish a connection, get what I want and refuse what I don’t want.

“Understanding and knowing what to say increased my confidence, self-esteem and professionalism – and also the ability to tackle sticky situations with grace and ease.”

The City of Sydney is home to more than 9,700 social housing properties, one of the largest concentrations of any local government area in Australia.

While the provision of social housing and management of these properties is the responsibility of the state government and community housing providers, the City is a key partner in supporting residents.

The City is the only local government in Australia to employ a dedicated social housing liaison officer to directly respond to individual resident concerns and to represent the City at community forums, neighbourhood advisory board meetings and the regular Lord Mayor’s social housing forums.

The City delivers and supports a range of community projects in social housing neighbourhoods in partnership with state government and non-government agencies. This includes the Redlink integrated service hub in Redfern, local community safety audits and annual events such as the Northcott Pet Day in Surry Hills, Summer on the Green in Waterloo and Redfern Neighbourhood Day.

For media enquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Advisor Angela Dorizas on 0455 958 503 or adorizas@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Paul Mackay on 0432 182 647 or pmackay@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au