ahi Brighter Future Awards WA Winners

The Australasian Housing Institute (ahi) Brighter Future Awards which recognises the wonderful contribution made by dedicated housing professionals across Australia and New Zealand were announced this week.

Since 2004 the ahi Brighter Future Awards have recognised the wonderful contribution made by dedicated housing professionals across Australia and New Zealand. Awards across 12 categories go to housing professionals who have made a significant and lasting difference: to tenants or service users, to their community, their colleagues and profession.

WA Members

A great outcome for WA and Shelter WA members with worthy programs and housing professionals recognised for their contribution to the sector and excellence. These include:

  • Winner – Inspirational Team Member – Sarah Tutolo Noongar Mia Mia
  • Winner – Excellence in Social Housing – Wungening Aboriginal Corporation, Reset Integration Program
  • Notably Mention – Future Leader Award – Paula O’Leary, Shelter WA

Inspirational Team Member

Sarah Tutolo has become a real force for transformation as Noongar Mia Mia’s Tenancy Management Coordinator. She led the design and implementation of a whole-of-person tenancy support service. She goes above and beyond to support and advocate for tenants and families by proactively looking for opportunities to make lives better for tenants and their families.

Sarah acts with cultural awareness and sensitivity, getting to know people to build relationships of trust with them so she can guide, support, educate and empower. She has turned her own role to become so much more, in a way that’s shaped Noongar Mia Mia, its direction and the day-to-day of what they do.

Excellence in Social Housing

ReSet Integration Program is a consortium consisting of four frontline agencies, Wungening Aboriginal Corporation as the lead agency, Centrecare, St Bart’s and the Wirrpanda Foundation.

It provides support to men and women while in prison and after leaving prison, so that they can have a new beginning that is meaningful and breaks the cycle of offending. For some prisoners being released, residing in the home of a family member, friend, or significant other is not an option. This may be the result of family conflict, the reluctance of family members to welcome an individual back into their lives, or the lack of family or friends. In some cases, there are legal conditions to consider.

ReSet runs nineteen single site properties with outreach onsite support. Support provided can vary from low to high intensity, in line with the client’s needs. The provision of tenancy and support services are integrated. All clients residing in ReSet Transitional Housing are actively involved in their recovery journey and are seeking longer term housing.

The uniqueness of the program which was recognised at the awards is the inclusive approach of assisting the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people who are being released after serving a period of incarceration. This client group are often overlooked or discriminated against in the private rental market due to their criminal history or not being able to successfully evidence previous tenancies or employment.

Future Leader Award – Notably Mention

Shelter WA’s Paula O’Leary joined Vinnies WA in 2016 as a Tenancy Officer. Through her work they realised a different approach was needed to approach how their properties were managed and to understand the complexities of managing tenancies.

In 2017 a new role was created for Paula as a Housing Services Manager where she project-managed key issues and introduced processes to bring the service in line with current practises and ensuring both legislation and compliance are addressed.

Since September 2021 Paula has been working for Shelter WA leading our ACHO Capacity Building Project to build the capacity of the four WA-based Aboriginal Community Housing Organisations (ACHO), thanks to a COVID-19 Grant by Lotterywest. The aim of this project was to optimise current assets and drive professionalism and understanding the impact of the pandemic and how these organisations can structure their businesses to mitigate future risk.

In January 2022, Paula has been in the role of Head of Policy and Sector Development at Shelter WA.