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PACIFIC LINK NAMED HOUSING PROVIDER OF THE YEAR

:  Pacific Link’s Fiona Rossendell, Rob Kitchen, CEO Keith Gavin, Simone Lenihan and Daphne Wayland at the housing awards.

PACIFIC LINK NAMED HOUSING PROVIDER OF THE YEAR

Local community housing provider, Pacific Link has crowned an award-winning year by being named NSW Community Housing Provider of the Year at the top of a field of more than 120 organisations.

The Central Coast-based not-for-profit won two awards at the recent NSW Federation of Housing Associations annual conference, taking out the Excellence in Customer Service Award before being jointly named Housing Provider of the Year with development partner Sydney-based Evolve Housing.

Anticipating sweeping changes to NSW Government policies announced this year, Pacific Link and Evolve Housing formed a joint venture to tender for three unit blocks across the regions they service last year – winning contracts to develop and manage more than 80 new studio apartments.

“Providers have traditionally worked as separate units in separate areas, so the decision to put aside our boundaries and work together on projects that are of benefit to both regions was unique,” said Pacific Link Chairman David Bacon.

“New government policies now in place encourage cooperative ventures and collaboration between providers, private sector developers, the disability sector and all other participants with an interest in, or ability to help provide affordable and social housing. The award recognises our innovative approach and the benefits it will deliver to both regions,” he said.

In addition to increasing the availability of affordable and social housing, Pacific Link has also been ahead of the curve in developing services and programs to provide new opportunities for social housing tenants, support their ongoing education at all ages, and provide training programs leading to employment.

“Social housing should not be seen as a life-long entitlement,” said Pacific Link CEO, Keith Gavin, “and the programs we provide are there to help all those tenants who are able to build their skills, enter employment, reclaim their independence and return to private housing.”

Last year Pacific Link refurbished the 100-home Dunbar Way Estate in North Gosford officially opened by the Premier, Mike Baird. It has since begun a fill-in program to develop housing in regional areas of need including Cessnock and Raymond Terrace.

Now it’s managing the development of a 30-unit block in Woy Woy… and new projects under consideration as it aligns its services to support the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the government’s Future Directions policy. 

Though still relatively modest in size in comparison to many of the State’s community housing providers, Pacific Link has gained a major reputation for management and innovation in recent years – with a number of local, state and national awards to prove it.

Last month the organisation took out four honours including Employer of Choice, Excellence in Innovation, Business Leader, and Business of the Year in the local chamber of commerce awards, proving not-for-profit companies can compete with the best in private enterprise.

Earlier this year, it won the industry’s national peer group award for Excellence in Tenant Engagement and Social Inclusion announced in Melbourne.

Keith Gavin says the awards belong to all at Pacific Link’s Gosford-based office.

“We have 25 highly committed staff members who together manage more than 1000 properties; provide one-on-one support services to more than 2000 tenants and their families; are managing new developments and projects with a value in excess of $20 million and while doing all of that have managed to maintain tenant satisfaction ratings above 90%, – the highest in the state – over six consecutive years.

“The awards belong to them as a reward for their commitment to our organisation and our tenants,” he said.