2017 Vinnies CEO Sleepout®

BHC CEO, David Cant will join in the fight against homelessness at the annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout® on Thursday 22 June.

More than 105,000 Australians experience homelessness every night — 27 per cent are children, and 23 per cent are faced with the situation due to domestic and family violence.

David will join 200 other business, government and community leaders at the Sleepout® to experience firsthand what it can be like to be homeless; sleeping in Captain Burke Park under Brisbane’s Story Bridge.

Join the fight against homelessness and help us get to the $5000 target by donating at: https://www.ceosleepout.org.au/ceos/qld-ceos/david-cant/ 

  • Every donation makes a big difference:
    • $50 = warm blanket + a meal
    • $100 = keeping a family’s power on during winter
    • $300 = life skills training for a struggling parent
    • $500 = establishing a homeless person into a Vinnies homeless accommodation service
    • $1,000 = saving a family from eviction.

Building Housing Options; Research Report Launched

After surveying over 150 seniors in Logan, BHC in partnership with Churches of Christ in Queensland and working with University of Queensland researchers, launched The Logan Research Project with Housing and Public Works Queensland Government.

The Logan Research Project provides insight on whether current housing and support services were meeting the needs of seniors in Logan and how they can be better met in the future.

To read the report in full, visit the link below:

Building Housing Options: Understanding the housing aspirations of public housing tenants aged over 55 years in Logan

Read media statement here: Logan research reveals seniors’ housing needs

End of an era as affordable housing leader announces retirement

One of the leading lights of Brisbane’s affordable housing industry will step down in August having delivered more than 1600 new affordable homes to low-income households over 15 years.

Inaugural BHC CEO David Cant will leave a legacy of vision and collaboration that saw him move away from reliance on government funding and develop innovative investment channels, such as partnerships with other charities and the combination of affordable housing and private sales in one development.

This allowed BHC to be a genuinely independent provider that was both a commercially minded organisation and driven by the need for delivering affordable housing to people priced out of an increasingly unaffordable Brisbane rental market.

At the outset and as a start-up organisation, BHC had no housing and at its 15th anniversary has sold 300 homes into the market, has built and manages 1300 apartments for affordable rental and manages 250 properties under the NRAS investment scheme.

Along the way, the not-for-profit won multiple national and international awards for its services, architectural design and commitment to putting a roof over the head of Brisbane’s most vulnerable citizens.

Mr Cant said whilst he was still passionate about what BHC does, after 15 years he felt the it was time for a new CEO to lead the company into its next phase.

“The need for affordable housing in Australia and Queensland is huge and, particularly with the upcoming State Government’s housing strategy, I hope we are entering a new era,” Mr Cant said.

“I strongly feel that now is the time for BHC to inject a fresh, long-term leader who will take on those challenges, help drive the public conversation and steer our approach for BHC’s second 15 years of growth.

“BHC is exceptionally well placed with a talented board of directors, a strong leadership team and skilled, dedicated staff. So it is an exciting time for a new leader to build on what myself and my colleagues have achieved and deliver more sustainable affordable housing for the city of Brisbane.”

Mr Cant arrived in Brisbane after a distinguished career in the United Kingdom’s affordable housing industry, with the Queensland Government recruiting his vast experience to build BHC from the ground up.

He quickly built a reputation as an industry leader, advocating across all levels of government for infrastructure for social and affordable housing. He was also member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness, which advised the Rudd Government on measures to tackle one of the nation’s most pressing issues.

Mr Cant said BHC’s Caggara House development in Mt Gravatt East was among his crowning achievements.

The purpose-built complex provides high-quality units for seniors that previously lived in underoccupied public housing and was recognised with awards from both the Urban Development Institute of Australia and the Australian Institute of Architects.

“Caggara house not only provided a new life for seniors struggling to maintain large public housing, but also freed up these houses for growing Queensland families desperate for larger properties,” Mr Cant said.

“It was one of the first Queensland developments built to tackle this issue of public housing underoccupancy and provided a template for how not-for-profit housing providers could work closely with the State Government and deliver projects with huge social benefits.”

BHC Independent Chair Eloise Atkinson praised Mr Cant’s legacy.

“Throughout David’s career at BHC he has provided exceptional leadership driven by an overwhelming desire to ensure the people of Brisbane have access to safe, secure housing,” Ms Atkinson said.

“Whilst driving the organisation to create new affordable dwellings, David has never lost sight of the importance of providing vulnerable Queenslanders with a safe place to live. A home that allows individuals to reach their potential.”

BHC is currently undergoing a rigorous CEO recruitment process and will announce Mr Cant’s successor at a later date.

BHC Wins Two AHI QLD Professional Excellence in Housing Awards

Tuesday night, BHC was proud to be the recipient of two AHI, QLD Professional Excellence in Housing Awards.

BHC accepted the Leading Community Engagement Practice Award for the Caggara House Social Buttons project which saw tenants and creative designers at Inkahoots work together to develop the interactive instalment which utilises technology to promote and organise social interactions; building community.

BHC was also thrilled to receive the Tenant Led Initiative Award for The Green Square Art Project, led by long term tenant Gerard Bargo. On the night we were proud to have Gerard in attendance to accept the award and speak about his art group, which stands as a safe and inclusive space to promote creativity, community and social inclusion.

BHC WINS STATE AWARD FOR ‘LIFE-CHANGING’ INNER-CITY AFFORDABLE HOUSING

BHC has won a coveted Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) QLD Award for Excellence for Affordable Housing for their redevelopment of a former Blue Care retirement village into a thriving inner-city for over 55’s community.

Bowen Court in New Farm has been a blessing for its 51 residents, many of whom would have been forced to move from the popular suburb due to rising rents.

The 1960s building was given an $11 million-dollar facelift thanks to a 2013 Development Agreement between BHC and Queensland’s leading not-for-profit aged care and retirement living service provider, Blue Care.

For tenants like Dave George, 54, a former navy veteran who found himself homeless after battling post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, Bowen Court has been a sanctuary.

“It’s a family here. I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy over the last 30-odd years as I am now”

Bowen Court’s open-living style apartments, attractive communal areas, high-tech security and mobility scooter charging stations were key factors in securing the award, BHC’s second in a row after last year’s win with the popular Caggara House seniors’ development in Mount Gravatt.

BHC’s Tenant Engagement Strategy

The strategy provides a summary of the key elements of the Tenant Engagement Strategy including our vision, our commitment, our major goals and how we will evaluate our success with this work.

Our Tenant Engagement work commenced in August 2014 and we will work progressively toward achieving our goals over a three year period.

Click here to download the BHC Tenant Engagement Strategy

Click here to download the BHC Tenant Engagement Goals 2014-2017

Green Square Gains International Recognition

The $17 million Fortitude Valley development provides homes for singles and couples that are either homeless or at risk of becoming so, while its bottom two floors feature a range of support providers and facilities. The 10-storey urban oasis was also shortlisted at the prestigious 2014 World Architecture Festival (WAF) awards, meaning it is one of the top 15 examples of affordable housing in the world.

Originally an old Brisbane City Council depot, the structure was created in 2010 by leading not-for-profit housing provider BHC and renowned architects Cox Rayner. Cox Rayner Architects Principal Michael Rayner said what is special about the building was a response to the uninspiring affordable housing designs he has seen become the norm in the past two decades.

Green Square narrowly missed out at the WAF awards on Friday to a Norwegian high-rise, however the development has already received a 2013 Australian Institute of Architects National award and a commendation for sustainable architecture.

The building features 10 individual studio and one-bedroom apartments on each of its eight residential levels. Crafted natural timber finishes were used, while the ends of the central space were kept open and part of the roof peeled back to expose the units to the atrium. There are communal areas that contain cooking and laundry facilities, however residents can also use facilities in their apartments for these tasks, giving them a choice between interaction and more privacy. Hanging gardens and eco-smart initiatives such as a giant rainwater tank, water-efficient appliances and bike facilities top off the architectural gem.

BHC CEO David Cant said Green Square may now become a model for affordable housing design in Australia. “We know that well-designed buildings can create a sense of community. “The Green Square housing model supports this philosophy by balancing a need for privacy with communal living and enabling trust to evolve gradually.”

Click here to download The Australian article – BHCs low-cost housing project in Brisbane shines

 

Funding for Mental Health Supported Accommodation

A proposed mental health supported accommodation project that aims to take the pressure off acute care wards in North Brisbane hospitals has received almost $200,000 in research funding.

Affordable housing provider BHC is leading the project in partnership with the Metro North Hospital Health Service (MNHHS) and various non-government health organisations.

The North Brisbane Partners in Recovery (PiR) Innovation Fund – an Australian Government initiative – has funded initial research into the project’s location, model and design.

BHC Independent Chair Professor John McAuliffe said the accommodation would provide early treatment that reduced admissions to acute facilities, and follow-up support for patients transitioning from the hospital to home. “The project would be built near an existing hospital and follow a ‘Step Up, Step Down’ model aimed at linking acute and community care and improve health outcomes for consumers,” Professor McAuliffe said.

“We’re committed to developing a financially viable model that meets the resources and needs of North Brisbane, takes pressure off acute health care workers and ultimately frees up State Government funds for other projects. “The PiR funding will allow us to work with stakeholders – including service providers and consumers – to evaluate existing ‘Step Up, Step Down’ models and facilities and assess potential locations.  “We’re also looking to craft a model that could be applied to other parts of Brisbane, Queensland and around Australia.”

The research report and recommendations are expected to be finalised by July next year.  Professor McAuliffe said collaboration with Government acute care mental health providers and project partners Open Minds, Communify and Footprints was at the core of the proposal.

“These partnerships will maximise the project’s access to expertise and networks in community-based mental health care,” said Professor McAuliffe.  “We look forward to working with these organisations to contribute to mental health care reform in Brisbane.”

North Brisbane PiR is a specialised initiative that seeks to improve outcomes for people who experience severe and persistent mental illness, and also have complex needs.