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August 2016

Contents

  1. 2016 Affordable Housing Conference
  2. IPART: Review of the Local Government Rating System
  3. Industry Led Project – Strategic Commissioning of Social and Affordable Housing
  4. Federation’s response to the NSW Labor Party discussion paper: How community housing can deliver solutions to the NSW’s housing affordability challenges
  5. The Bays Precinct Reference Group: Innovation District Workshop
  6. Centre for Training in Social Housing -August Housing Matters- New Qualifications
  7. Independent Review of Social & Affordable Housing Rent Models
  8. Industry Development Strategy – Capacity, capability and resources to respond to domestic and family violence
  9. Social Housing Reform in New Zealand
  10. NSW Regional Homelessness and Housing Support Summit. 
  11. NCAT member recruitment
  12. Report on tenancy laws reviews released
  13. EAX- Apply for pro bono advice and support from 5 September
  14. City West Housing recognised for latest affordable housing development by Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW (UDIA NSW)
  15. In the News

2016 Affordable Housing Conference
Thank you to the 600+ delegates (from over 280 organisations) for attending the 2016 affordable housing conference and making it such a successful and memorable event worth tweeting about. Over the two days we heard from expert speakers from across the globe talk about clear directions ahead for the sector and calls to action.

Some key moments included the launch of the Financial Intermediary Paper and The Housing Finance Corporation’s Piers Williamson’s suggestion about a future campaign based on #wherecanmychildrenaffordtolive. It is essential that this positivity is harnessed by the sector and we hope to continue the conversation and planning at the Federation Exchange - to be held on the 21st and 22nd of September.

Special thanks to our many sponsors for making this event possible.

Photos from the Conference and Awards Dinner are available HERE. The slides used by the presenters and video recordings of all plenaries and some sessions are available HERE. Award winners are published HERE. We are also preparing a conference report which will be available on our website in mid-September. 


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IPART: Review of the Local Government Rating System
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has reviewed the local government rating system in NSW. The review sought to design a rating system that would collect revenue more equitably and efficiently from ratepayers including CHPs. The Federation provided input to the report with a submission which is available to view HERE.

IPART has put forward that general rate exemptions should be based on land use not land ownership. That is, rate exemptions should be determined by land use, irrespective of ownership. IPART has recommended that land used for residential purposes should be rateable. This would include residences such as Community Housing developments and thus, community housing providers would have to pay rates. IPART has suggested that NSW Aboriginal Land Councils would be exempt from rate exemptions.

Submissions on the draft recommendations are being sought until 14 October 2016. Public hearings are scheduled for Sydney on 19 September and Dubbo on 10 October 2016. The full IPART report is available HERE.

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Industry Led Project – Strategic Commissioning of Social and Affordable Housing
The Federation is excited to launch a new, industry led project we have contracted with the support of our members. The objective of this project is to produce a framework for commissioning of new social and affordable housing that will be used to influence government at the State and Federal levels.

The project will put forward a proposal for a strategic commissioning framework for new and replacement social and affordable housing that is underpinned by robust needs analysis articulated in housing plans. The intention is to minimise procurement and management costs to government and community housing providers at the same time as optimising the supply of new homes and delivery of other government policy objectives. The project will comprise of the following three parts but with the focus on the third point:

  • Assessment of existing practice in comparable Australian and international jurisdictions
  • Review of practice and potential - analysis of documentation and consultation with key stakeholders in NSW and any other relevant Australian jurisdictions
  • Development of a proposed strategic commissioning framework

We would like to thank the following CHPs for making this project possible:


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Federation’s response to the NSW Labor Party discussion paper: How community housing can deliver solutions to the NSW’s housing affordability challenges
The Federation welcomed the opportunity to provide feedback on behalf of its members to NSW Labor’s discussion paper. The Federation was pleased to see an open and consultative approach by the Labor Party as we can achieve more through political consensus than division. In the submission, the Federation advocated for:

  • Affordable Housing Targets: The Federation believes little can be achieved in transforming NSW’s dysfunctional housing market unless clear targets are set. These should encompass all parts of the housing system, though be flexible enough to encourage innovation and diversity such as shared equity schemes.
  • Funding New Housing Supply: State Government is unlikely to be able to directly afford the cost of delivering 100,000 properties through direct grant subsidy. We therefore need to co-fund through: raising private finance, cross-subsidising social housing from the selected sale of private market dwellings and establishing a new financial intermediary.
  • Using the Planning System: The Federation recommended an affordable housing component should be mandatory on all new large residential development projects in metropolitan Sydney. A good way to proceed would be to encourage partnerships between private developers and community housing organisations.
  • Government Land: We suggested that in place of a full land audit, more existing land data should be publicly available. FACS should also make more information available on waiting lists by district available. Government owned land holdings should also be surveyed progressively.
  • Housing Ministers: Both the Commonwealth and States play significant roles in housing markets. It is therefore logical that both levels of Government should have a dedicated Minister.
  • Incentives: Successful delivery of the affordable housing targets we have suggested will need to be supported by a variety of approaches such as density bonuses and smoother transitions of complying developments.
  • Affordable Housing Intermediary: We encourage the establishment of an affordable housing finance intermediary which will create a new avenue for the community housing sector to access efficient, lower cost and stable institutional funding.

The full submission can be viewed HERE.

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The Bays Precinct Reference Group: Innovation District Workshop
UrbanGrowth NSW hosted another consultation workshop this month for the White Bay Power Station which is set to become Sydney’s newest ‘innovation district’. UrbanGrowth NSW would like to transform the White Bay Power Station into a knowledge-intensive and high-technology hub with the aim of spurring export-focussed entrepreneurship and supporting the growth of the NSW economy.

During the workshop we discussed how an innovation district could work in this location. We focussed on Strategy 6: Creating a master plan for the site and discussed how affordable housing is crucial to the success of the site as a whole. The timing is critical with targets for the development of affordable housing needing to be set in advance of any plans. UrbanGrowth NSW have been working on a housing diversity strategy for the Bays Precinct that could contain delivering housing products at lower than current market prices. We understand that a draft strategy has been prepared and is under consideration - however there is no detail available as yet. We will continue to update you on the Bays Precinct Reference Group Meetings.

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Centre for Training in Social Housing - New Qualifications
Enrolments continue for the following Qualifications
•             CHC42215 Certificate IV in Social Housing
•             CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services

Part Qualifications Subsidised Funding
CTSH has been successful in our application to deliver a number of Skill Sets as part of the State Governments Smart and Skilled program.

Over the coming weeks we will be releasing information and enrolment details on these Skill Sets. All the Skill Set Units are from either the CHC42215 Certificate IV in Social Housing or the CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services
 The Skills Sets are delivered at no cost to the organisation or the student.

 Transition from CHC40912 to CHC42215
 We have finalised the arrangements for all students studying under the previous CHC40912 Certificate IV in Social Housing.

All certificates and Statements of Attainment for the CHC40912 Certificate IV in Social Housing have been posted. Please contact us if you were expecting to receive a certificate or statement and it has not arrived by Fri 2nd Sept 2016.
 We are now working on the transition to the new Qualification CHC42215 Certificate IV in Social Housing and are finalising RPL applications associated with transitions from old to new. If you have any questions about the process or feel that your situation has not been covered then please let me know as soon as possible.
As always we appreciate your on-going support in maintaining a high level of training for workers in the social housing sector. 

For any information on any of the above areas please contact me at KevinS@communityhousing.org.au

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Independent Review of Social & Affordable Housing Rent Models
In July 2016 the NSW Government requested the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to undertake an independent review of social and affordable housing rent models, mentioned in the Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW actions:

  • “2.1 – Remove work disincentives – Commence an independent review of different social and affordable housing rent models in 2016.  The review will identify options to minimise disincentives in the current income based model.  It will also consider possible changes to eligibility criteria whilst ensuring social housing remains affordable”.

IPART will be recommending an appropriate rent setting framework for both social and affordable housing ‘that improves incentives for workforce participation; and consider the eligibility criteria, and wait list and prioritisation policies for social housing and other subsidised housing assistance’.

The review will consider different rent setting models from Australia and overseas ensuring such models are adaptable to different population cohorts, including circumstances and needs of Aboriginal people living in social housing, and consider geographic differences in housing affordability.

The review will also consider potential impacts of any change to the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA); Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) and potential impacts of any broader welfare reform undertaken by the Commonwealth.

Consideration by IPART will need to be made on the impact of different rent models on the financial sustainability of the social housing system and ensure the housing assistance system is affordable and easy to understand for clients.
The Federation recently met with IPART who indicated that they would like to consult with CHPs who:

  • Have a large affordable housing portfolio
  • Undertake stress testing

We expect a draft report to be released in March 2017 based on the findings of their consultation. If you wish to be involved please contact helenk@communityhousing.org.au. There may also be the opportunity to consult with IPART during the Federation’s Exchange Network meetings. We will keep you informed about the progress of the review.

http://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/Home/Industries/Other/Reviews/Review_of_Social_and_Affordable_Housing_Rent_Models

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Industry Development Strategy – Capacity, capability and resources to respond to domestic and family violence

The Federation is managing a project to build the capacity, capability and resources for CHPs to effectively respond to domestic and family violence (DFV).  The objectives of this project are:

  • To enhance the industry’s capacity to effectively support tenants and their household members who experience DFV
  • To assist frontline staff develop new skills to be able to recognise and engage with victims of DFV
  • To assist CHPs develop and enhance their organisational policies to deal with the often difficult intersection of DFV and effective tenancy management practices
  • To help develop mechanisms to assess outcomes from improved working practices.

The Federation has engaged consultants Sue Cripps and Zed Tintor to develop appropriate tools and resources to assist CHPs.  Such tools and resources include: a template DFV policy that providers can adapt to suit their organisation; a DFV toolkit to assist frontline staff effectively and appropriately identify and respond to DFV experienced by applicants and tenants; information and advice for tenants and applicants about behaviour change programs for perpetrators; information for managers about supporting employees throughout the pilot stage; and a template to assist providers to collect data to assess outcomes from improved working practices.

The pilot for the toolkit commenced on 01/08/16 and will end on 14/10/16.  There are 6 CHPs involved in the pilot: Bridge Housing; Housing Trust; Evolve Housing; Homes North; Women’s Housing Company; and Compass.

The toolkit is currently in the process of being expanded to include decision making flow charts to give further guidance to providers when exploring DFV victim’s options of staying in the property; transferring to another property or leaving the property.  The Federation will be hosting a forum on 29/08/16 with the pilot providers; Homelessness NSW; DV NSW and SHS representation to further explore the development of such decision making flow charts.

Following an analysis of the pilot phase and further review/refinement of the toolkit, information will be provided to members about the rollout of the toolkit to the broader CHP sector.

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Social Housing Reform in New Zealand

New Zealand has a long history of the Government providing low-cost housing for people in need of assistance. The goals and priorities have changed over the decades but, in general, housing support has focused on those with low incomes. Social housing in New Zealand today is designed to help people who are unlikely to either attain or sustain a tenancy in the private rental market through a combination of low income and other factors. In 2010, the Government commissioned a review by an independent Housing Shareholders Advisory Group, which concluded that outcomes for tenants would be improved if social housing was provided by a broader range of organisations to complement the efforts of Housing New Zealand Corporation (Housing NZ). In response to the Housing Shareholders Advisory Group report, the Government established a Social Housing Reform Programme in 2010. Read about the key themes of the social housing reform programme here.

Opportunities in the New Zealand Social Housing Market

The New Zealand Government is seeking to establish a vibrant market for social housing in New Zealand that consists of a diversity of niche/specialist and large-scale providers (including Housing NZ). A key challenge in achieving this aim is that the current community housing sector in New Zealand is, for the most part, comprised of numerous small, thinly capitalised, niche providers with limited capability and no experience of large scale housing provision.
Only Housing NZ and registered CHPs are eligible to receive the IRRS. One of the quirks of the current social housing legislation is that councils are expressly excluded from registering as CHPs unless they establish arms-length entities to operate their social housing stock.

Australian providers are able to become registered and operate in New Zealand without establishing a New Zealand entity provided that they register as an overseas company. To be eligible to contract to provide social housing with MSD and receive the IRRS, a CHP must first be registered with the Community Housing Regulatory Authority and satisfy the authority that the CHP is capable of meeting and maintaining performance standards for governance, management, financial viability, tenancy management and property and asset management. Read more on the range of opportunities here.

Morrison Low is well placed to assist and advise any Australian CHP that is interested in exploring opportunities in the New Zealand social housing market. We have in-depth experience of the New Zealand market and are well connected with key decision makers and providers in the New Zealand community housing sector, local and central government. If you would like to know more, please contact Greg Smith at g.smith@morrisonlow.com or call us at +61 2 9211 2991.

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NSW Regional Homelessness and Housing Support Summit
On the 24th and 25th of October 2016 Dubbo RSL Club Resort will host the NSW Regional Homelessness and Housing Support Summit. 

Specific details on presenters and times will be updated regularly over the coming weeks. Please find below a list of issues and subjects which will be covered in key Note Presentations, Panel Discussions and Workshops. 

  • Premiers Priorities in Action, Reducing Youth Homelessness - Key note
  • Launch and Homelessness NSW Housing and Debt Project - Key note
  • Systemic Foyers - A Youth Housing Model - Key note
  • Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients in housing and homelessness services - Panel Discussion
  • Responses to Domestic and Family Violence - Panel Discussion
  • Links to Mainstream Services - Panel Discussion
  • Trauma Informed Care - Panel Discussion
  • Supporting Refugee and Migrant Clients in housing and homelessness services – Workshop
  • Lead Tenant Model – Workshop
  • Communities of Schools and Services youth housing model – Workshop
  • Exiting Custody - Workshop 
  • Establishing Systemic Foyers – Workshop
  • Supporting clients of diverse genders, sexes and sexualities in housing and homelessness services - Workshop

*Please note that this preliminary program may be subject to change. 
Don't forget that registrations for the NSW Regional Homelessness and Housing Support Summit is free! Register Here

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NCAT member recruitment
The Attorney General is calling for applications from qualified persons for appointment to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal as Senior and General Members of the Consumer and Commercial Division.

The on-line application forms and information packages are accessible now on the iworkfor.nsw.gov.au website.

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Report on tenancy laws reviews released
(From The letter box – Fair Trading newsletter)

Improvements to tenancy laws have been identified in a new report tabled in the NSW Parliament.
The report on the statutory review of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 details findings from consultation conducted between October 2015 and March 2016. The report makes 27 recommendations to modernise and enhance the laws, including strengthening protections for victims of domestic violence.

Amendments to the tenancy laws to implement the recommendations should be introduced into Parliament in the first half of 2017.

Learn more about the review and download the report from our Residential tenancy law review page

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EAX- Apply for pro bono advice and support from 5 September
The NSW Office of Social Impact Investment will open a new round of the Expert Advice Exchange (EAX) on 5 September. 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 help eligible not-for-profits and social enterprises develop a good understanding of relevant legal, financial and management issues so they can 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.

Do you want help to prepare for new ways of funding social services? 
Are you eligible for advice through the EAX?
Applications open on 5 September!
Visit the website for more details, including eligibility criteria, available advice areas, and participating advisory firms. Applications will close on 23 September.

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City West Housing recognised for latest affordable housing development by Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW (UDIA NSW)
City West Housing is proud to have won the Affordable and Not-for-Profit Housing Award in the 2016 UDIA NSW Awards for Excellence for its latest development, The Exordium Apartments in Zetland, Sydney. 

The Exordium Apartments provides contemporary, high quality accommodation and comprise 104 apartments, in a mix of one, two and three bedroom units, which cater for the primary needs of key workers in Sydney, including nurses, police and teachers. There are also communal gardens, shared BBQ areas, a small café, bicycle storage and a single level basement with parking for 40 cars.

Janelle Goulding, CEO of City West Housing comments: “We’re thrilled to win this award, for the second successive year running. The vision for this development was to create a high quality and sophisticated building which sits comfortably and respectfully in its surroundings. The Exordium Apartments provides a mix of residential dwellings to help support the ever increasing demand for affordable rental accommodation in Sydney, whilst still delivering a top quality housing development.

“By the end of 2017 we plan to have over 1,052 properties in our portfolio. Our next development in Harold Park is already underway and is projected to open in 2017”. Read more here.

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In the News
Over the last month, the Federation and Wendy Hayhurst have been referenced in the following news articles:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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