- starting the feasibility stage by meeting the local community
- the survey fix team starts work at a house
- testing the hot water temperature....too hot ....too cold?
- recording the results
- proud local team 'fixers' show off their work
- fixing the kitchen by the local team members
- Licenced trades work on the house
- a survey team decides ... on to the next house....
Number of Staff Employed to date = 1,785
Local Indigenous Employment
People will be living in the houses long after the Housing for Health project is finished. Healthabitat sees the necessity of working with the residents and requires that over 70% of all project staff are local Indigenous people. The proportion of local community staff staff is over 75% of all staff for works completed nationally from 1998 to 2011.
Community members, who are also house residents, undertake the following types of paid work:
Careful planning of each project
Local residents, often through a community council, will decide when the project should occur. Times will avoid difficult work periods such as tropical wet seasons, hot desert summers or school holidays. The local community involvement will help negotiating with different skin (or clan) groups and improve access to houses. There will be local knowledge about infrastructure services (power water and waste) and local housing faults caused by the environmental conditions (eg high levels of mineral salts in the water will mean more plumbing repairs).
On the tools training of new staff
Healthabitat takes highly skilled community workers at the end of one project to assist training new community staff in the next project. This enables the sharing of skills and common experiences and greatly boosts the self esteem and status of the skilled local staff members.
Testing and fixing houses at Survey Fix 1 and 2
This work is the grinding, dirty day to day work of testing and checking 250 items in every house. This process greatly raises the awareness of housing function (or the lack of function) in the participating community staff and the residents. Local staff are trained and encouraged to fix around 50 of the 250 items in each house that they are legally able to work on during the survey fix visit.
Assisting licensed trades with the major fix work
Local residents who have worked on Survey Fix 1 are often engaged by the licensed trades to act as trade assistants both during the Survey Fix weeks and for the major fix works. Local staff can speak the local language/s, know the residents and are keen to have meaningful employment. There has been a trend that local trade assistants to the licensed trades go on to undertake and complete apprenticeships and trades courses.
Entering data using the on site office
This work gives young women particularly, a play an important part in each project. The data is entered from each Survey Fix Team's completed survey sheets. These are regularly returned to the 'on site' office and entered into the Housing for Health database which immediately produces work lists for the licensed trades to complete. Local women working in the temporary office are seen as directing the trades to complete urgent housing repair work. This raises their status within the community and often leads to employment opportunities in the health clinic office or store when the Housing for Health project is completed.
Talking with householders in their own language
The effort required to achieve the high participation rate by local residents in the projects is rarely understood by government agencies or bureaucrats. Healthabitat has consistently looked at ways to engage, encourage and make the work place safe for local Indigenous people to be actively involved in all aspects of the work. One way of reporting back to each householder is the providing a simple report on the condition of some critical parts of their house before and after the Housing for Health project.
Healthabitat stresses to each participating community that the Housing for Health program is a health improvement program with real jobs and real wages offered to local community people.
HH Director Paul Pholeros
Speaking about linking data with people to improve the living environment
For more visit housingforhealth.com