What it takes to keep a TAAS running - Interview with Carol Allen, Administration and Finance at Murra Mia Tenant Advocacy Service
What does Murra Mia Tenants Advocacy Service do?
We advocate on behalf of Aboriginal tenants in our catchment area, which covers Wollongong down to the Victorian border, across to Griffith and Wagga Wagga and Dareton. We are currently working with other Aboriginal organisations in the area to form an alliance to ensure Aboriginal clients are able to access services available through different Government and non-Government organisations.
What does it take to keep the service running on a daily basis?
It takes dedicated and knowledgeable staff! We also must ensure that we work within our budgetary constraints and that there are people in the office to deliver the services and answer and return tenants calls. We also have to report to the relevant funding bodies and Fair Trading around the services provided.
What are some of your challenges that you face in your role?
The budget is a big issue- we cover such a large area and the travel costs associated are really high, these costs includes staff travel, accommodation and vehicle maintenance. The long travel hours also have a negative effect on the staff as it is draining and creates a backlog of work on our databases and recording systems. We could do with more staff to help cover the remote areas and maintain staff numbers in the office.
What is your opinion on the current state of Aboriginal housing in your area?
There is currently a housing shortage for Aboriginal families; there has been an increase in the younger generation of families needing housing but not an increase in the housing supply. There are also a large number of repairs and maintenance issues through FACS Housing that need to be completed. There needs to be an increase in emergency accommodation for the most vulnerable people in our community.
Some Aboriginal tenants have told us that they are most likely to go to family for tenancy advice - if a family member or friend asked you for tenancy advice, what would you tell them?
I would refer them to one of the Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services to give them the best advice possible.
What does ‘home’ mean to you?
A place where my family is; a safe place. Somewhere that offers stability and a roof over my head.
What is the best thing about working at Murra Mia Tenant Advocacy Service?
It is rewarding to see the work that the tenant advocates do and the challenges that they face everyday. I like working with the team as everyone is empathetic to all of our client’s issues and to each other. It is a family friendly organisation and there is great flexibility and great support.