Habitat For Humanity Australia
1. Are the proposed funding amounts of between $500,000 and $8 million per project appropriate for Inclusion Round grants?
Yes. This should be sufficient funding for the types of projects that these Grants are focused upon. Some flexibility would be recommended in the event that a worthwhile project looks likely to exceed the upper limit. In such cases the Grant should be rewarded upon special consideration of the merit of the project proposed.
2. Should applications for mixed-use type proposals secure funding (e.g. loans, state funding, philanthropy) for the long term housing aspects of their proposal prior to seeking Inclusion Round funding?
No. This is an unnecessary barrier for many organizations that have the capacity to supply domestic violence centres (which are badly needed) but who don’t have the financial capacity to fund or risk limited funding without certainty of these funds being returned in a timely manner.
3. Is the proposed milestone schedule the best model for delivering capital grants under the Inclusion Round?
It is a good model but puts an unnecessary strain on the CHP or Grantee between the milestones. Often, building companies rely upon monthly cash flow and to require them to fund the payment of sub contractors until the milestone payments are received can often then build into the building costs the financing cost and risk.
Therefore, it would be better to release some funds within the milestone period to enable the CHP to pay the builder monthly. A combination of CHP cash and Inclusion Round funding would alleviate cash flow issues for the builder. Moreover, the current state of the building industry means that tradesmen who are not paid quickly and regularly are able to move on to other building sites that are able/ prepared to do this. When this happens, progress and quality suffers.
4. Will Development Periods encourage community-based FDV service organisations to apply for funding?
Development Periods are a good imitative. They give the applicant the confidence that appropriate effort and the commitment of precious capital appropriately deployed in good design and project development will result in a good chance of success in a Grant application.
Its best for both the Grantor and the Grantee to assess a well-designed proposal for the granting of significant public funding.
4a. Is 6 months an appropriate timeframe for the Development Period?
Usually six months would be enough, but unfortunately many local government planning authorities move particularly slowly and to even get to a point when there has been a pre–Development Application assessment, a number of months can elapse.
So, there should be an ability to extend the period to 9 months in such an event. It is recommended that this extension be formally applied and assessed on individual merit.
5. Are there other ways to support applicants to develop high quality proposals?
Direct consultation would assist. If an applicant is able to virtually describe and present the initial conceptual proposal and ‘Safe Places’ staff see potential, then discussion with an appropriately qualified taskforce of design experts within Safe Places (e.g. industry experts/ consultants) could help develop the proposal, thereby giving the intending applicant the confidence that at the end of the Development Period, there would be a high probability of success.
Also, communicating frustrations/ requirements with the local Council planners would give appropriate context for such a panel to guide the applicant to achieve mutual satisfaction i.e. between the approval Authority and the Safe Places Program.
6. Are the proposed eligibility and assessment criteria appropriate and able to be demonstrated?
Assessment criteria should exist and the criteria proposed appears reasonable if reasonably applied. Discretion is still necessary to ensure that good organisations and good schemes are not disgarded through clumsiness or box-ticking.
7. Are there additional criteria that should be considered?
Perhaps one more criterion should be added – Impact.
Being able to describe the impact that the proposed project will have should be a serious consideration in the allocation of public funds.
8. What are the best measures to determine an applicant’s suitability to meet the needs of First Nations women and children?
Perhaps the evidence of experience with Indigenous groups would be a good measure. Acknowledgement of some of the cultural necessities would be a good measure to determine suitability and capability to meet the needs of First Nations women and children.
9. What are the best measures to determine an applicant’s suitability to meet the needs of women and children from CALD backgrounds?
To be able to communicate with people from CALD backgrounds the ability to respectfully translate is necessary. Such experts can be found to consult as and when required and such costs are modest.
International experience and the ability to understand cultural differences is also a good pre-requisite. When communication is able to be fluent (though a translator) and an applicant has been required to understand the cultural background first and before such a meeting.
When the applicant appreciates the cultural background and can form a respectful relationship at least (through translation) trust can form, and an effective relationship can then occur.
So ability to verbally communicate and experience/ understanding of the cultural specifics should be measures used to determine an applicant’s suitability.
10. What are the best measures to determine an applicant’s suitability to meet the needs of women and children with disability?
An understanding of:
– pertinent legislation (deign-related);
– Consultation and endorsement from appropriate disability organisations;
– design experience in the disability sector.
11. What standard of the Livable Housing Australia design guidelines should emergency accommodation for First Nations women and children, women and children from a CALD background and women and children with disability meet?
Gold standard Livable Housing Standard should be met. Emergency accommodation should be design to a high standard to acknowledge the stress and emotional state of the First Nations people requiring it. A high standard will help comfort them.
12. Is the proposed designated use period of 15 years appropriate?
Yes. This is appropriate.
13. What is the best measure for determining an applicant’s ability to support clients using the emergency accommodation over the designated use period?
The best measure should be a Plan presented on its merit. Experience should be a consideration but the specifics of how to determine the applicant’s ability should be from the Plan specifying the particulars of how they intend to support these clients for the project being considered.
14. Are the definitions for ‘emergency accommodation’, a ‘safe place’, and a ‘specialist service’ appropriate?
‘Emergency accommodation’ – should also include the management requirement of keeping such space available for ’emergency’ cases. Too often such space is used for longer term needs and is not available for the emergencies it was designed for. Suggest that the term of 12 months should be reduced to 6 months.
‘Safe Place’ – The definition is sound on its own but would suggest that the requirement of maintaining some secrecy of location would also be appropriate into the definition.
‘Specialist Service’ – Suggest that this should also include the requirement that such a service only deal in the FDV field. This then ‘specializes’ that service.
14a. Should the definition of ‘emergency accommodation’ include longer stays?
No. Quite the contrary, the longer the stays, the less available such accommodation becomes for the unfortunate wave of future and continual victims of domestic violence.
An expectation that a post trauma solution of accommodation is required in 6 months should then focus all on the necessity to work with the occupant to ready them and work on the future accommodation solution with some urgency.
15. Are there alternative accommodation options that should be considered as eligible or not eligible for Inclusion Round funding?
Quite apart from emergency accommodation, there is a reason to look at longer term tenure for women/ children escaping domestic violence. It is accepted that there may be women who need longer than 6 months to recover. These victims should have a longer stay option where after 6 months they are required to contribute a structured rent to continue to live in such a safe place (managed by a specialist service provider).
16. What advice/templates/checklist items would assist applicants in developing quality proposals?
It would be appreciated if all templates to be used are exemplified by the illustration of completed examples to ensure that some of the unclear requirements are then correctly completed to DSS satisfaction.
A financial template would help to ensure that only necessary financial information related to the application is then provided on a Safe Places Grant application.
17. Is there any additional feedback you would like to provide?
The Safe Places Program is very valuable to the specialist service providers who are focused and equipped to help support domestic violence victims. The incidence of this scourge is on the increase and so the Safe Places Program is an invaluable social service from the Government.