Healthy Housing Survey

Case Study

Location

Arrernte

What was the issue?

TF.A had a number of conversations with Tangentyre Council and the Central Australian Affordable Housing Company (CAAHC) about their challenges providing home Repairs and Maintenance (R&M) services to Town Camp communities around Mparntwe (Alice Springs) during the COVID-19 lockdown. These communities face ongoing challenges maintaining working health hardware and relatively minor issues like blocked plumbing can quickly pose a serious health risk without repair. The lockdown further exacerbated these challenges with increased numbers living in houses (due to ‘return to country’ programs and already high baseline occupancy) and a reduction in the ability of routine service providers to enter homes.

What did we do?

Drawing on Healthabitat’s decades of research into the relationship between domestic infrastructure and health outcomes, we co-designed a digital app and paper-based survey that could be used to assess maintenance issues within individual homes. The survey can be distributed by housing managers or tenancy support staff and operates in place of the planned inspections approach. Underlying our work was the “no Survey without Fix” philosophy, originally established by Dr. Fred Hollows and built upon by Healthabitat.

What was the outcome?

The survey was piloted across a number of the larger town camps and the response rate was exceptionally high. Many repair issues were identified that would have otherwise gone unreported, with follow up by R&M teams (including plumbers) either on the same day or within 48 hours. Based on this success, Tangentyere Council will roll out the survey to all Town Camps and community housing over the coming months.

The success of the pilot program has prompted Tangentyere Council to consider expanding the survey to examine ‘whole-of-camp’ issues including rubbish, ‘dead cars’ and damage to public spaces. TF.A will continue to work alongside Tangentyere Council and CAAHC to update and adjust the survey based upon field work and surveyors feedback.

If your organisation would like to find out more about the survey, or talk to TFA about how a program such as this could be rolled out in your community, get in touch.