This not-for-profit is one of nine organisations in South East Queensland (SEQ) that received a grant for education programs to help clients understand energy bills, access hardship programs and find the best deals.
Mangrove Housing, a provider of housing solutions within the SEQ community, used its funding to mail-out information to tenants, hold training events at housing complexes, run one-on-one education sessions and create materials to distribute to all new clients.
The immediate value was obvious, but for Ms Reed the benefits of Switched On Communities extend far beyond energy education.
“The biggest single thing that Switched On Communities has done for us is make us take a really good look at how we do our asset planning,” Ms Reed said.
“We have spent the past two years moving to a case management practice for service delivery, so it isn’t tenants and property any more – it is just about people.
“It helped us recognise that we need to provide financial advisory services, so I have had our guys trained to be financial advisors.
“It has also made us reach out to other organisations and make connections we didn’t see before.”
These new connections sparked Ms Reed’s push for collaboration on other projects.
“For us we are now on this bandwagon of join with us and let’s get economies of scale,” she said.
“If Coast2Bay, Horizon Housing Company and us were to work together, we would represent around 1000 properties and you would get a mega deal for whatever you are after for the community housing – equipment, solar panels, white goods, things like that.”
Switched On Communities is funded by AGL in partnership with Queensland Council Of Social Service and the Queensland Government.