About Focus Housing Services

Moving into a new home, the right home can be a big and emotional decision with many factors coming into play. That’s where Focus ACT Housing is able to help. Our aim is to help our clients find a home where they are able to live independently in a secure, long term home that meets their individual needs and expectations. We take pride in the high standard of service we provide all our clients, their wellbeing is our highest priority and offer housing in several locations across Canberra.

Our Promise

Focus Housing makes sure our clients’ home is safe and will work with them to ensure the house and garden is maintained. We will help our clients keep rental and utility payments on time and up to date and we offer assistance to manage repair services, yard and garden maintenance.

What else does Focus Housing Services do?

  • We can take care of the little things that are difficult to arrange like garden maintenance and any general repairs that are not the tenant’s responsibility.
  • We keep a repairs/maintenance register and conduct tenant satisfaction surveys.
  • We ensure that the tenant’s privacy and confidentiality is respected and that personal and/or sensitive information is handled appropriately.
  • We ensure all of our operations continue to be ethical, accountable and transparent by meeting regularly with the Focus ACT Management Committee and the ACT Official Visitors to make sure our tenants’ rights are being protected and that we continue to meet our responsibilities to them.

At Focus Housing Services

  • We can help you to find a home that meets your needs and expectations.
  • We will help you to maintain a secure, long-term tenancy.
  • We arrange for you to meet and get to know the other residents before you move in.
  • We can assist you with benefit claims and help you to keep your rent up to date.
  • We help you to keep up to date with utilities payments, like gas and electricity.
  • We can provide easy-read versions of information about your tenancy, rights and responsibilities.

Eligibility

To be eligible for a Focus Housing Services house, you need to be at least 18 years of age and be living with an intellectual disability. You may also need to be on the Social Housing Register if the home is a Housing ACT (HACT) property.

Tenants are allocated to one of three Focus Housing Services programs – Independent Living; Shared Living or Carers Living Program.

These classifications assist Focus Housing Services to provide adequate, relevant support without unnecessary intrusion. These programs allow Focus Housing Services to assist tenants meet their independent living goals while remaining responsive to a tenant’s changing needs.

Independent livingIndependent Living

 

These tenants are living alone and may, or may not, rely on disability support services from Focus ACT or another disability support provider. This group may receive informal support from family, neighbours or friends who live separately.

SharedShared Living

 

This applies to housing for non-related adults, with their own room and shared rights to all common areas. Support arrangements for individuals living in this type of shared accommodation ranges from limited i.e. a few hours a week, to significant formal support.

Our CarersCarers Living

 

This program involves housing where the person relies on significant levels of unpaid family support to assist them maintain their ability to live independently in the community. Family support members maybe a parent, partners, siblings, children or friend who are living with them. The carer’s income is included in the household rent assessment.

What is Focus Housing?

Focus Housing is a Canberra based, non-profit, non-government incorporation. The team at Focus Housing are committed to providing personalised, high quality housing to people with intellectual disabilities.

How do I access a house through Focus Housing?

To access a house through Focus Housing, you will need to register your interest or phone our Housing Manager on 6282 9422 to organise an appointment to discuss your needs and circumstances.

Where are Focus Housing houses located?

Focus Housing houses are located throughout Canberra. These houses are leased through Housing ACT. Our Housing Manager will discuss available homes and locations with you directly.

Which house will I be living in?

This will depend on your individual requirements and availability of houses/rooms at the time of your application.

Do I need to complete any paperwork?

Once a house has been found for you, there is important paperwork that will need to be completed before you can move into your home. Your Housing Manager will contact you to schedule an appointment to explain the documents and the processes involved. These documents include:

  • Tenancy Agreement
  • Rental Rebate Form
  • Property Condition Report
  • Centrepay Form
  • Bond Lodgement Form

If you accept our offer:

We will need:

  • To see your NDIS plan
  • Proof of income, if applicable, that is less than two weeks old
  • Proof of assets, if applicable
  • Proof of identity
  • A letter from a Doctor, Psychologist or Disability Support Provider with evidence of disability.

How long am I able to live in a Focus Housing house?

A standard arrangement with Focus Housing is for a period of 12 months. After this time, your agreement will automatically roll over to the next year. As long as the conditions of your agreement with Focus Housing are followed, you are able to live in the house for as long as you would like to stay or until you notify Focus Housing that you wish to move out.

How much rent will I pay?

Rent is calculated using a percentage of your income. This is called a rebated rent.  It is usually 25% of gross income. You will also pay 100% of your entitlement to Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA). CRA is a non-taxable income supplement paid through Centrelink. Your standard rent will be the Rebated rent + CRA.

How do I pay rent?

You are required to pay rent two weeks rent in advance, before the start date or you’re your Focus Housing rental agreement. You must then continue to pay rent on a fortnightly basis. Rent payments must be maintained two weeks in advance always.

You may pay your rent by:

  • Centrepay – this is a free service for anyone receiving a Centrelink benefit where the rental amount is automatically deducted from your Centrelink payments and sent to Focus Housing directly. This process is the preferred method of payment for Focus Housing. 
  • Direct deposit – you can transfer the rental amount from your bank account into the Focus Housing bank account electronically. Or you can deposit the amount into Focus Housing account at a Commonwealth Bank Branch closest to you.

Do I have to pay a bond?

Yes. Focus Housing requires new residents to pay a bond equivalent to four [4] weeks rebated rent, paid prior, or at the time of signing the tenancy agreement. If you are unable to afford this, arrangements to pay the remaining amount over an agreed period can be negotiated with the Housing Manager.

What should I do if something needs to be repaired?

It will be your responsibility to notify the Housing Manager of any repairs which are required. Focus Housing will coordinate these repairs for you and will notify you before the maintenance contractor comes to your home.

Will there be house inspections?

Focus Housing aims to complete two property inspections per year.  You will be notified of the date two weeks prior to the inspection date.  We may carry out general inspections to address any specific concerns you may have or to address urgent repair matters.

Who is responsible for garden maintenance?

As an occupant of a Focus Housing house, you are responsible for looking after the garden.  If you are able to maintain the garden and yards on your own, you may do so. You may also choose for Focus Housing to manage the garden on your behalf.  In this instance, you will be required to pay a fortnightly fee to Focus Housing.

You can speak to the NDIS regarding these payments and how these funds can be included in your NDIS plan. A statement of accounts will be sent quarterly to highlight all transactions.

Who is responsible for utilities?

As an occupant of a Focus Housing house, you are responsible for the utilities (gas and electricity). If you feel you are able to maintain the house utility account and bills on your own, you may do so.  If not, your Focus Housing is able to manage utility accounts and pay bills on your behalf.  In this instance, you will be required to pay a fortnightly fee to Focus Housing.

You can speak to the NDIS regarding these payments and how these funds can be included in your NDIS plan. A statement of accounts will be sent quarterly to highlight all transactions.

What should I do if I want to move out?

You should notify your Housing Manager 14 days before the date you would like to move out. When you leave, your house is to be left in the same condition as when you moved in – clean and tidy, with the exception of fair wear and tear.

How do I contact my Housing Manager?

  • You can call on 02 6282 9422, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
  • For after hour emergencies, phone 0434080495
  • Email contact is housing@focusact.org
  • In writing to PO BOX 135 Deakin West ACT 2600

How do I provide feedback?

Focus Housing is committed to ensuring all occupants of Focus Housing homes have fair and reasonable access to its services.  If you are not happy with any of our services, standards, practices or policies, we encourage you to contact our Housing Manager. This can be done in person, over the phone or by writing (on the details above).

Register your interest

Send Focus Housing a message to organise an appointment to discuss your needs and circumstances.

If you are interested in Focus Housing, please contact the Focus Housing team at Focus ACT on (02) 6282 9422 or complete the form to the right

  • Name
  • Please provide an email address or phone number so we can contact you.

DownloadNRSCH Charter

 

The Charter sets out the overarching vision, objectives, regulatory principles
and philosophy of the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH).

NHRSC Housing Directorate, 2014

DOWNLOAD THE CHARTER

DownloadFocus Housing Charter

 

Our Charter provides an overview of the standard of service you can expect from us, how you can help us to deliver the best service to you, and what you can do if our services do not meet your expectations.

DOWNLOAD THE CHARTER

DownloadTenancy Manual

 

The Tenancy Manual outlines Focus’ code of practice and is relevant to all areas of its operation, including property management.

DOWNLOAD THE TENANCY MANUAL

Download formProperty Maintenance Request Form

 

Is there an issue with the property you are living in? Submit a request for maintenance online.

SUBMIT THE ONLINE FORM