Seasoned pair bring new vigour to Housing Trust

The Housing Trust has a new chief executive officer and chair.

Joan Ferguson took on the role of chief executive of the not-for-profit organisation in January after working for more than 25 years in the housing sector, including work with Aboriginal Housing and the peak body of NSW Community Housing.

"Prior to taking on this role I was CEO of the Australasian Housing Institute, which is the professional body for people in social housing," she said.

"Prior to that I was an executive director of housing services with Housing NSW [and before] that I was with the NSW Federation of Housing Association, which is the big body for community housing providers. I have also worked in one of these organisations in western Sydney and before 1988 I worked in London in women's refuges.

"I suppose I bring a real understanding of what social housing and affordable housing is all about and know how to deliver it."

Former NSW MP and Wollongong Innovation Campus director David Campbell was elected chair in late March after becoming a director last August.

"For a long time I have recognised the importance of decent community housing for people," he said.

"To have the chance to come on the board and look at it from a housing perspective is great. By making sure we have got a modern corporate governance approach here means we can allocate the resources to provide the housing stock and social support is important to me."

Mr Campbell was excited about the experience Ms Ferguson brought.

"There is an opportunity for us to build on what we have got which is a strong reputation locally and a strong record of delivery," he said.

"There is an opportunity now to grow. The state government has transferred some properties to the trust. The Nation Building housing that came to the trust means we have got an asset base that we can lever off to grow in the traditional provision of housing. It also gives us a chance to look at how we support people in the housing we have."

The Housing Trust has close to 1200 properties in the Illawarra and close to $50 million in assets it either owns or manages.

It leases 244 properties ($4 million a year) from the private sector, employs 35 people locally, turns over $12 million in goods and services, and spends $1.8 million on maintenance using local contractors.

The Housing Trust is presently building 75 units of accommodation called Central Gardens in Shellharbour. The project is providing work for 270 people.

It is hoped the first villas in the $24 million development can be occupied by Christmas and a larger number of apartments by April 2015.

The Housing Trust also expects to acquire a minimum of five to 10 properties a year.

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