Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA May-Jun 2011 Contents My career
Affordable Housing Coordinator, James Brown Memorial Trust
HOW LONG HAVE YOU
BEEN IN THIS POSITION?
WHAT IS THE NATURE OF
YOUR JOB - YOUR ROLE
I manage six sites with 79 cottages across
metropolitan Adelaide. A large percentage
of the residents have been or are at risk of
homelessness and have multiple issues when
referred to us. The most important part of my
role, apart from the normal duties of tenancy
and maintenance management, is to work
toward enhancing the life of each resident in
conjunction with support agencies.
Our residents come from a variety of age
groups, from people in their 20's to those
in their 90's. Unfortunately many "younger"
residents have prematurely aged due to
previous lifestyle and health issues.
WHO DO YOU WORK
WITH AND REPORT TO?
I report to senior management at the Trust.
Critically in my role I work in conjunction with
a large number of agencies who provide
ongoing support to our residents, therefore
ensuring the best possible outcome for
WHAT KEY WORK
YOU HAVE OR NEED
FOR THIS JOB?
I have a bit of a mixed bag of experience
having come from a farming background.
I spent 17 years working in rural real estate
(Diploma in Real Estate Management),
during which time I also completed a
certificate in community services and also
did volunteer work with an agency assisting
homeless youth. My work experience,
combined with life experience, has helped
me in my role.
HOW DID YOU FIND/GET
INTO THIS POSITION?
Prior to major back surgery, I was assessing
my ability to continue to travel tens of
thousands of kilometres over the state. I had
always had a passion for assisting others
less fortunate than me, so when I saw the role
advertised (then as a part-time position), I was
fortunate enough to get it. I did this job as well
as a job in real estate until I became full-time
four years ago.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE
ABOUT YOUR JOB?
The James Brown Memorial Trust was
established in 1892 with a clear mission from
our benefactor to "Assist those most at need in
society". I work with great people at the Trust
and within support agencies to achieve this
mission. In helping others you generally reap
more than you sow.
DESCRIBE YOUR GREATEST
MOMENT IN THIS POSITION,
There are many given the number of
residents over the last nine years but to see
older individuals re-engage with family and
community after years of non-involvement is
particularly satisfying. Part of the catalyst for this
is finding appropriate housing for the person.
So to be a small part of the redevelopment and
capacity increase of the Affordable Housing
programme by the James Brown Memorial
Trust is also one of those moments.
WHAT ASPECT OF YOUR
JOB DO YOU FIND THE
The fact that there are men and women who
are homeless in their 70's and 80's is a sad
situation. Maintaining ongoing support for
people with mental health issues can be
challenging when support agency funding is
difficult to maintain. A little support can go a
long way and no support can be dire.
HOW DOES YOUR JOB MAKE
A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES
OF OLDER AUSTRALIANS?
The provision of a secure, stable and caring
environment can make a huge difference to
make people feel valued again.
WHAT KIND OF FUTURE
CAREER PATH IS THERE
Personally I have followed a variety of pathways
to get to this satisfying point of my career, some
not directly involved but providing valuable life
experience. After hours volunteer work also
helped clarify my career direction.
ANY ADVICE ABOUT WORK-
ING WITH THE ELDERLY?
Treat people with respect and dignity; talk
with them and not to them; and understand
the individual and their needs. A sense of
humour can help break down barriers. Don't
take your work home with you otherwise your
ability to help your clients in the long-term will
In retirement living and aged care, there are
plenty of interesting positions with great
career paths and enormous job satisfaction.
AAA asks people working in the industry
to share some of the interesting aspects of
their jobs with readers.
"The fact that there are men and
women who are homeless in their 70's
and 80's is a sad situation...A little
support can go a long way and no
support can be dire."
AAA | MAY--JUNE2011 | 81
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