CEO Talking Points
With a Federal election in July 2016, we hope that measures to address housing unaffordability will feature prominently in all the parties’ strategy papers.
In NSW, the Treasurer, Gladys Berejiklian, announced the release of the FUTURE STATE: NSW IN 2056 - Intergenerational Report 2016 and provided an insight into what NSW will look like in 40 years. The report will show that by 2056, NSW’s population will have grown to 11.2 million people – almost 50 percent higher than today’s population of 7.6 million.
Last week we saw the release of the latest Anglicare rental snapshot which showed that working families on the minimum wage, aged pensioners, job seekers and people with disability are still struggling to find an affordable place to rent in almost every area of Sydney, the Illawarra and the Central Coast. So it is hardly surprising that in its most recent polling, Essential Media found that housing unaffordability had risen to become one of the top five issues that will influence voters’ party preference.
Already we have seen a debate on tax reform, and newspaper reports have suggested the Prime Minister will be unveiling a policy on Friday 29 April (possibly similar to the UK City Deals initiative) designed to promote investment in key infrastructure that will ‘boost housing supply’.
As we and many others have argued many times, increasing housing supply without recognition of demand pressures won’t make sufficient impact on housing unaffordability. In a recent seminar at Sydney University Professor Glen Bramley from Heriot Watt University spoke compellingly on the subject. As he noted “part of the problem is that the way the market works means that you have to increase supply an awful lot over a long time period to have a moderate impact on affordability”. He gave an example generated from his sub-regional housing market model as it applied to Greater Bristol (in the SW of England). An increase in planned supply of 18,900 (22.2%) leads to a change in ‘affordability’ (% of under-40 households able to afford to buy) from 28.0% to 29.3%, that is a change of 1.3% points or a proportional change of 4.6%.
We therefore hope this new initiative incentivises projects which include specific measures to promote actual affordable housing development as part of the mix. And maybe alongside it an improved version of the National Rent Affordability Scheme (NRAS) to reinvigorate investment.
Affordable Housing Conference 2016 – Registrations and Award nominations open
What would it take to build 100,000 new affordable housing homes in New South Wales? – This is the topic of the 2016 Federation’s conference, being organised in collaboration with Homelessness NSW and the University of Sydney. This year provides an excellent opportunity to push the need for affordable housing higher on the political agenda, and the conference with its excellent line-up of international and Australian speakers will aim to do exactly that. We are excited to announce that several renowned international speakers will be at the conference: Piers Ackerman (Chief Executive of The Housing Finance Corporation in the UK), Prof. Geoff Meen (Head of Economics, University of Reading), Prof. Suzanne Fitzpatrick (Herriot-Watt University) and more!
Registrations have already opened – be sure to check the conference website for the program, news updates and to secure your early bird ticket here.
There is also the opportunity to nominate your organisation or a project for one of the Awards for Excellence in Community Housing.
There are seven award categories to choose from, covering all areas of community housing providers’ business. The application process is completely online, streamlined and easy to use. Nominations will close on Monday 30 May 2016.
Travel and accommodation subsidies - sponsored by FACS-
will be made available again this year to community housing providers in NSW, including church-based providers and cooperatives, Aboriginal community housing providers, and their tenants. Details will be available on the conference website soon.
Link Housing obtains an international certification in customer service
Link Housing has become the first community housing provider in Australia to be certified to the International Customer Service Standard (ICSS: 2015-2020). Focusing on a ‘whole of business’ approach to customer service for tenants and stakeholders, its aim is to influence and raise the industry standard.
Andrew McAnulty, Link Housing CEO, said, ‘Becoming certified against the International Customer Service Standard sets a benchmark by which Link Housing can measure and set goals for continued improvement.’
As a first in NSW, Link Housing used its own tenants to review and assess the effectiveness of its processes and levels of customer satisfaction. The outcomes allowed for a comprehensive assessment that identified areas for improvement, as well as opportunities for constructive staff training.
The CEO of Customer Service Institute of Australia (CSIA), Anouche Newman, commented, ‘It is really heartening for us to work with an organisation that is truly taking on board what it means to become a customer-focused leader in its industry’.
Link Housing provides compassionate, client-centred service for people who are at risk of homelessness or are unable to afford market priced private rental. It works with clients along every step of the journey, from placing tenants into their new home all the way through to managing the sustainable maintenance.
The organisation is one of the oldest not-for-profit community housing providers in NSW and manages approximately 1,400 homes with over 2,500 customers across Northern and metropolitan Sydney.
Caption: Link Housing Customer Service Project Team: L to R: Deon Wyngaard, Kath Cain, Suzanne Sheerin, Michael Bacon.
SGCH welcomes working families into new energy efficient, affordably housing
Two families are thrilled to be moving into SGCH’s new, energy efficient, homes in Carss Park.
The Miowera Avenue property includes two, three bedroom town houses and is part of a pipeline of 240 new Affordable Housing properties that SGCH is currently building across the Sydney Metropolitan region. All of these dwellings will have energy efficient initiatives.
CEO of SGCH Group, Scott Langford, said “we are very proud of this project and excited to welcome these families to their new homes”.
The site was one of 100 properties vested to SGCH under the NSW Government Asset Ownership Program. As an Affordable Housing property, Miowera Avenue provides additional options for families who find the private housing market in Sydney increasingly unaffordable.
“More than half the lower income households in the private market in Australia are in housing stress – paying over 30% of their income in housing costs. When you add to this, the rising costs of living, there are a lot of people who are really struggling.
“SGCH is committed to sustainable housing design, ensuring tenants who are vulnerable to rising energy costs can benefit from savings now and in the future,” he said.
ABS data shows that in 2012, Australian households spent over $2,000 a year on energy costs (electricity and gas).
“This is a large cost, so saving money on energy bills would make a real difference to our tenants’ lives and improve their health and wellbeing,” Mr Langford added.
The two properties will each have more than a 7 star rating under the Nationwide Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) and a range of features that will reduce energy costs for tenants. These include solar panels on the roof, LED lighting, wall and ceiling insulation, ceiling fans and rainwater harvesting.
Chris Minns, member for Kogarah commemorated the completion of the Miowera property with a tree planting.
“Today is a great opportunity to acknowledge the wonderful work SGCH do and welcome two new families to our inclusive, diverse community,” he said.
Federation’s new peer group - Aboriginal Community Housing Network
The Federation is excited to announce the establishment of a Community Housing Aboriginal Staff Network. The first meeting will be held on Thursday 5 May and will be convened by Adell Hyslop, the Federation’s Aboriginal Project Officer.
This forum is about bringing the sector’s Aboriginal staff together to provide support, mentoring and a place to discuss the challenges and the positives of working in the industry. It’s also an opportunity for members as a collective group to provide comments and feedback on industry’s strategies and initiatives that have an impact on Aboriginal tenants and communities, tenancy management and employment. There are also a number of FACS initiatives focussed on improving services to Aboriginal people, tenants and staff. These are just some of the policies where input and views of Aboriginal community housing staff will be important in enhancing or improving the overall service delivery to Aboriginal people in housing.
If you or your staff members wish to join the Network please contact Adell Hyslop at the Federation: AdellH@communityhousing.org.au or phone 02 9281 7144.
News from the Centre for Training in Social Housing (CTSH)
Recently the training we delivered in Canberra to Housing ACT staff culminated in a Graduation held on the 22nd April. We had 41 students in both the CHC40912 Certificate IV in Social Housing and the CHC50812 Diploma of Social Housing. We are very proud of the completion rate of 95% with thanks going to the students for their commitment to the training as well as Julie Whellum and Rick Vivian for their support to us and their staff.
Community Sector and Development Industry Reference Committee (IRC)
Our Training Manager, Kevin has been appointed Vice-Chair of the Industry Reference Committee (IRC) and will be in touch with the whole sector from time to time, requesting feedback or comments on various aspects of training packages. Also, any feedback you have on any community services qualification can be forwarded to Kevin who will take it to the Committee.
IRCs are the industry engagement mechanism at the centre of training package development. They provide a conduit for industry feedback to government on industry trends and for promotion of VET to employers. IRCs are the formal point through which industry requirements for skills are considered and defined in training packages. The Community Sector and Development IRC is comprised of industry representatives with expertise from a cross-section of the industry. The primary purpose of the IRC is to provide advice to the Australian Industry Skills Council (AISC) about the skills needs of their industry or sector, based on their experience and expertise.
On the 6th August this year the current CHC40912 Certificate IV in Social Housing becomes the CHC42215 Certificate IV in Social Housing. Many of the assessment requirements for the Units have changed and some Units have been merged. CTSH is currently preparing a schedule for delivery of the new qualification expected to be from 1st June 2016. If you are close to completing the CHC40912 Certificate IV in Social Housing you will need to have this completed by Friday the 8th July 2016 to allow us time to mark your assessments and issue you with your Certificate. If you have just started your CHC40912 Certificate IV in Social Housing Qualification we will transition you to the new CHC42215 Certificate IV in Social Housing Qualification. Note that any enrolments from today onwards will be in the new CHC42215 Certificate IV in Social Housing qualification unless you just want to do single Units. If you have any questions please email Kevin at KevinS@communityhousing.org.au
Every Australian Counts – NDIS campaign
Hundreds of Every Australian Counts supporters have picked up their cameras and smart phones to let Treasurer Scott Morrison know they’re expecting the NDIS to be fully funded at the 3 May Federal Budget. The Federation has joined too:
The campaign was initiated as the Federal Budget is less than a fortnight away. All images sent it will be included on a giant card to deliver to the Treasurer in person.
You can see the full gallery here.
Announcing our Facebook page
The NSW Federation now has a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NSWFHA/.
Read the latest updates and news, like and share to help us bring even greater awareness of housing unaffordability to wide audiences.
Pacific Link video series: 'Coming Home'
Pacific Link Housing has been working with its service partners and young tenants to better understand their view of the world and the empowerment they experience once they enter assisted housing. Six young tenants went on to tell their stories in short videos to celebrate ‘coming home'.
is the last in the series. The full series is available on Pacific Link's Facebook page.
Online Crowd Funding with Community Sector Banking
Members may be interested in a new online crowd funding platform from act. (a division of Community Sector Banking) as an alternative way to raise funds.
The crowdfunding platform letsact.com.au allows Bendigo Bank customers the opportunity to pledge ‘impact dollars’ (earned through everyday banking) to any community project of their choice featured on the platform. Currently act. has over 2,500 people supporting a variety of community projects.
All non-profit organisations are invited to set up a crowd funding project, you don’t need to be an act. or Community Sector Banking customer.
act. are also keen to promote their other partnerships which include:
- Home loan referrals – earn income for your organisation by referring staff members to act. banking
- Staff benefit package – gives staff members discounted loan rates and fee free accounts and credit cards
For more information on act. or to launch a crowdfunding project visit letsact.com.au or contact Fiona Thomas, Business Development Manager act. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 02 8243 3024.
Social Impact Investing – Applications for the Expert Advice Exchange 2016
Do you need help to prepare for new ways of funding social services?
Are you eligible for advice through the EAX?
A new round of the EAX will open on 2 May 2016!
After strong demand for the Expert Advice Exchange (EAX) in its first year, the NSW Office of Social Impact Investment is pleased to open a new round of applications for 2016.
The EAX is a platform to connect social sector organisations with pro bono advice and support from leading law firms, professional services firms and financial institutions.
The EAX aims to build capacity in eligible not-for-profits and social enterprises by helping them develop a good understanding of relevant legal, financial and management issues so they are better equipped to participate in new approaches, like outcomes-based contracts and social impact investment.
Under the EAX, an applicant could seek to build capacity in, for example, setting up governance arrangements, or preparing for and participating in new business opportunities.
For more details, please visit the Social Impact Investment Knowledge Hub or contact the Office via email.
The EAX is an initiative of the NSW Office of Social Impact Investment.