Bridge Housing held its 2020 Annual General Meeting today, marking the end of a 2019-20 year that was unique in the organisation’s 35 year history.

The COVID Safe virtual event was run by the Chair, Directors and the CEO from a professional recording studio while residents, staff and other stakeholders joined the meeting in real time via email link. Online polling on the meeting resolutions was provided, as well as a question and answer forum and two virtual lucky door prizes.

Bridge Housing Chair Mark Turner described 2019-20 as “a rollercoaster year of success and challenges”. This included the successful management transfer of some 1,200 tenancies from the NSW Government to Bridge on the Northern Beaches and tackling the local impacts on our business of the global COVID-19 pandemic. “Because of the nature of Bridge Housing, we are financially strong and have maintained our workforce,” he said.

CEO John Nicolades outlined some key program successes, including:

  • The Northern Beaches transfer, incorporating establishment of a new service support system with other local community housing providers, a review of the support vulnerable tenants, new local partnerships and a tenant engagement
  • Sustainable portfolio growth, including 30 new dwellings purchased under a Community Housing Leasing Program acquisition strategy
  • Year Two of the Building Bridges tenant engagement program
  • Our second Reconciliation Action Plan to engage with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and make Bridge Housing a culturally safe organisation for them
  • Year Two of our STEP to Home housing first homelessness program, housing 82 people and setting us up to deliver 45 tenancies under the new NSW Government Together Home program by mid-October

John said: “Despite a 30 per increase in staff and the challenges of working during COVID-19, we had our highest staff engagement level of 84 per cent and won a Voice Project Best Workplace award,” he said. “Bridge Housing can’t do the work we do without the commitment of our staff and I thank them.”

The AGM also acknowledged retiring Director Dick Persson, who was on the Board for 12 years. “We’ve really appreciated your insights and knowledge and clarity of thought,” Mark said.