June 20th, 2024


As always, thank you for your interest, generous donations, and volunteer support.  Your continued support allows our team to do more, and the projects to have a bigger and broader impact.

We’re excited to share that we’ve now surveyed and improved 10,378 houses across 276 Housing for Health projects, employing over 2,800 Indigenous staff.

Since our last newsletter in December, we’ve been busy on the ground with various projects and advocating for more functioning houses. One major highlight was the government’s announcement in March of a $4 billion investment to build 2,700 houses in the NT over the next 10 years, aiming to halve overcrowding. While new houses are essential, we’ve emphasised the importance of ensuring existing houses are fully functional. Our 40 years of data show ongoing repairs and maintenance are crucial for reducing functional overcrowding. You can read more here.

Don’t forget to check out our news page and follow us on social media for the latest updates, stories, and articles.

Lastly, please remember our ongoing commitment to the Nepal school sanitation projects. We continue to support them with regular maintenance, and your direct donations make a big difference. You can read more below and contribute to this work here.

Until next time…

HH Team


Below is a snapshot of what HH has been up to and project updates…


Figure: Healthabitat director, David Donald and Project Manager, Bobbie Bayley

Image: Healthabitat director, David Donald and Project Manager, Bobbie Bayley

HH, represented by Dave and Bobbie, recently joined Aboriginal housing leaders, workers, residents, and organizations to address key issues in NT housing, homelands, and homelessness. They discussed 10 recent Housing for Health projects completed over the last 4 years, sharing insights from their findings, lessons learned from data analysis, and advocating for enhanced preventative repairs and maintenance programs across all NT housing initiatives.

Read more about it here.


National Indigenous Housing Guide (NIHG) Assessment Tool Update!

The NIHG Assessment Tool was developed by Healthabitat and is a resource for evaluating house design documents. This tool ensures that proposed house designs and specifications align with the best practices outlined in the NIHG (National Indigenous Housing Guide).

We’re excited to let you know that the tool is now updated to reflect the latest NIHG guide (Housing for Health – The Guide). We’ve been busy assessing housing designs from government departments, providing valuable feedback on what meets the mark and what needs tweaking.

This is another crucial tool we use to try to inform better housing from day one.

Image: NIHG Edition 3  – published 2007 – Housing for Health: The Guide (accessible online)

Our Team & Training

Lucy Minter - Head shot

Image: Lucy Minter

Healthabitat is excited to announce that new projects are in the pipeline for East Arnhem Land, NT. This means we will be running Team Leader training up in this area in the coming months.

We are also pleased to officially welcome Lucy Minter to the HH team as a Program Manager. Lucy is both a lawyer and carpenter and has been working with Healthabitat on a volunteer basis for over 10 years. We are incredibly excited to have Lucy working with us.


Housing for Health (HfH) Projects

HfH projects continue across Australia. We currently have 16 projects underway in remote and regional communities with survey-fix work being done on 399 houses.

Since our annual national managers meeting in December, we have been reviewing, reflecting, and implementing the feedback into our processes, tools, and projects. We find it crucial to regularly take the time to stop, think and discuss both challenges and opportunities to continuously enhance our work and its impact.

Some of the key work we are doing is:

  • Developing and trailing a simplified version of house Survey Sheets for teams with low English literacy and numeracy
  • Updating financial systems and house databases, along with training for national Project Managers.
  • Collaborating with expert volunteers to review and update The Guide.


Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory alone, we’ve had the privilege of training and working alongside 170 Aboriginal community team members, totalling 1,218 person days. We continue to advocate within these communities for local organisations to invest in these newly trained teams in ongoing housing maintenance programs once our projects are complete.


New South Wales

We currently have 11 projects underway across NSW with survey-fix work being done on 252 houses.

Image: Team Photo on regional NSW Housing for Health project


HfH Brownsville NY, USA

The team with the Brownsville Partnership have completed 80 referral-based survey-fix’s, throughout a mix of housing in Brownsville.  United Healthcare, one of the projects funding bodies have commenced analysis on the health impact on residents from these targeted works.

Read more about the Brownsville project here.



Other HfH work and updates

NT Pest control & bulk clean-up projects – Update & Data!

In our December 2023 newsletter, we announced the collaborative trial Pest Control and Household clean-up projects in 3 NT communities.

Health research shows there can be negative effects of having animals, insects, and vermin in the living environment, including diseases like Japanese Encephalitis, Asthma, Skin infections, Giardia, and Diarrhoeal disease. Additionally, damaged wiring and safety switches pose electrical safety risks.

Following two rounds of pest control treatments and clean-ups alongside house surveys, we’ve gathered compelling data demonstrating the impact of this work.

This data has been instrumental in influencing the NT to incorporate Pest Control into its ongoing preventive maintenance strategy, now fully funded by the Government. The initiative is expanding to numerous communities across the region!

Image: The data shows that after the treatments & clean-ups, many houses reported significantly less evidence of mice, rate, cockroaches and ants.

Nepal Sanitation Projects Update

It’s the wet season in Nepal, and Bishnu Shrestha, Healthabitat’s Nepal Program Manager, is using the time to organise the next round of survey-fix trips to revisit previous school toilet projects. Bishnu will work with each school to assess facilities, replenish tool kits, and coordinate trades for necessary repairs to ensure toilets, water supply, and handwashing facilities are fully operational for the upcoming school term.

Ongoing maintenance is crucial to sustain sanitation systems that continue to keep people healthy by removing and treating wastewater safely. Many of these schools lack resources even for basic cleaning supplies. Our ongoing goal is to raise funds for maintenance, training, tool kits, and cleaning products.

Learn more, purchase The Nepal Toilet Design Guide (100% proceeds support maintenance), or donate directly via the HH website. If you prefer, you can request the book to be sent to our Nepal team to distribute to schools and organisations.

Images: Nepal Project Manager, Bishnu, teaching school staff (dedicated maintenance managers) how to complete the tests and fixwork when needed.


Other items of interest


Update! ‘Race to 2030’ APY Lands Energy Efficiency Retrofit Pilot Project

HH continues to be involved in this exciting initiative as an Industry Project Partner.

The Pilot aims to provide solutions to challenges for energy performance and thermal comfort faced by people living on the APY lands. Current work by the project team includes; modelling the impact of modifications being made to the houses, monitoring existing houses, construction of “Test Rooms”, developing building envelope modifications, community engagement and trade training. Retrofit installations are scheduled for later this year.

Read more about the project here.

‘Overcrowding’ vs. ‘Crowding’

We have talked on this topic many years ago, but we think it is worth discussing again what this is, how it is measured and why we use the term ‘Crowding’, not ‘Overcrowding’.

Read more here.

Research: Why build homes for a climate that no longer exists?

Recent research has shown that the energy needed to cool homes is set to double by 2050 and that a ‘7-star home built in Queensland today will score zero stars by 2090…’.

We are increasingly thinking about the importance of HLP8: Controlling the temperature of the living environment, and the bigger priority this needs to have in our work.

Read more about the research here.

Architects keep an eye out for formal CPD points with us in 2024

Developing CPD content for Architects is still on the cards! Stay tuned.


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