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May 2016


CEO Talking Points
This month the Community Housing Tenants Network timed their own lively version of Q and A well (read more later) with a Federal election announced a few days before.  A national alliance of peak housing, homelessness and welfare organisations launched their VOTE HOME campaign to widen debate about housing unaffordability beyond struggling first homeowners- read more below.

A couple of weeks ago one of the Federation’s members, Compass Housing, convened a Housing Symposium in Canberra which attracted an eclectic mix of peak and representative organisations, (recovering) academics, opinion formers and service providers to work on what actions are needed to get a coherent national housing plan up and running. David Adamson from Compass Housing writes more about this later in this newsletter.

On 26 May FUTURE STATE NSW 2056 was released. It forecasts the NSW population will grow by 1 per cent per year from 7.2 million now, to 11.6 million in 2056. The population will also change in composition with one quarter of NSW's population projected to be older than 65 in 2056, compared to 16 per cent now. The ratio of those of working age (15-65 years) to those aged 65 or over (and presumed to be retired) is projected to fall from 4:1 to 2:1. The report assumes supply on its own will solve unaffordability (which is barely acknowledged as an issue at present) in spite of substantial evidence to the contrary.
While we need campaigns and plans we know some of the actual action we need to take and industry-led concrete proposals are coming forward. The business case for the Affordable Housing Financial Intermediary will be launched at the Affordable Housing Conference on 29 July 2016. Further information on this project follows below.

The Federation and its members have finished off the month with four days of debate and design work at its asset management and CEO forums. Topics included how to measure social and economic outcomes from housing investment, the use of the planning system to support affordable housing delivery, the structuring of a property transfer program and exploring ways to strengthen the relationship between Real Estate agencies and CHPs.

This month we have to say au revoir to one of the longest serving community housing Chief Executives, Karen Andrews, from Housing Plus is leaving for pastures new, but not before she made one final great effort to get a much needed domestic and family crisis service established in Orange.  She leaves a wonderful legacy and we all wish her the very best for the future.

The Affordable Housing Financial Intermediary Project
The objective of the Financial Intermediary Project is to improve access of the affordable rental housing industry to wholesale institutional finance. This will:

  • provide the industry with a range of financing options
  • develop institutional recognition that the community housing industry is a safe and credible investment option
  • provide a better capacity to match the debt length to asset (property) life, and reduce both the costs of arranging finance (and refinancing).

The project proposes to develop a business case for the establishment of such a vehicle covering:

  • legal structure;
  • governance;
  • regulation;
  • operational structure;
  • investor and government engagement; and
  • budgetary framework.

It is intended that following completion, this business would provide the basis for the industry-led establishment of the intermediary vehicle. The project is funded by the Community Housing Industry Development initiative of the NSW Government, delivered by the NSW Federation of Housing Associations. We have also received pro bono support from Corrs Westgarth Chambers in the form of recommendations and advice on the legal structures.

The project acknowledges the importance of scale in engaging with institutional markets and implies that the intermediary concept has national application. We are aligning the project so far as possible with investigations by the Commonwealth Treasury’s Affordable Housing Working Group into financing and structural reform options to increase the provision of affordable housing.

The detailed work has included development of a cashflow model displaying affordable housing financial feasibility plus bond issuance profile via the proposed intermediary for the proposed framework of 100,000 dwellings over 10 years (to reflect the larger Federation conference theme in July); canvassing is being done with Federation members to assess and determine their appetite and engaging with the investors and rating agencies about the Intermediary’s specifics.   

We are really pleased that The Financial Intermediary business case will be launched at the annual conference of the NSW Federation of Housing Associations in July 2016, which is accompanied by the visit to Australia by Piers Williamson, CEO of the UK’s Housing Finance Corporation.

Piers Williamson

Award Nominations for the 2016 Awards for Excellence in Community Housing close tonight at Midnight, Monday 30th May 2016!
It's not too late to nominate for the 2016 Awards for Excellence in Community Housing! Please visit www.2016ahc.org.au/Awards to apply. The application process is completely on-line and feedback so far indicates this is a much faster process than previous years. 

Guidelines can be downloaded here or through the conference website.

The Awards are open to all non-government and local government organisations involved in the development and provision of 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 close: Midnight Monday 30th May 2016
Awards ceremony: Thursday 28th July 2016, Rydges World Square
Tickets to the Awards Ceremony and Dinner: book and pay online www.2016ahc.org.au//Registration/RegisterNow

Award sponsorship opportunities
There are still opportunities available to sponsor Awards. See more here.

Contact for enquiries
Kirsty Hayes, NSW Federation of Housing Associations
P: 02 9281 7144 ext. 207
E: kirstyh@communityhousing.org.au

Travel & Accommodation Subsidy

Family and Community Services has generously made available funding for subsidies to assist representatives from community housing providers to attend the 2016 NSW Community Housing Conference. The subsidies are available to community housing providers in NSW, including church-based providers and co-operatives, and their tenants. 

Applications close 1st July 2016.
Please refer to the Travel & Accommodation Subsidy Guidelines + Application for further details.

Sponsorship and Exhibition booths still available

There are still opportunities available to sponsor Award Naming Rights, Refreshments, Speaker Sessions and Mobile Phone recharging booths.

Only 8 Exhibition Booths remain!

Please see our Prospectus for further detail

Large Scale Property Transfer Position Paper launch
In early May 2016, the Federation launched its Large Scale Property Transfer Position Paper.

The event included presentations from guest speakers including Emilio Ferrer (Managing Director, Sphere Company), Nicola Lemon (CEO, Hume Community Housing Association) and Scott Langford (CEO, SGCH) who spoke about how the community housing industry is ready to embrace the NSW Government’s transfer of additional public housing to community housing providers’ management. Emilio illustrated what additional new housing could be built by community housing providers under a range of different scenarios. Compelling was the case where in addition to transfer, providers have access to government land at no or low cost. Over a thirty year period and constructing a mix of social and affordable housing, providers could conceivably add up to 20 percent more units. Scott spoke about SGCH’s experience from the large regeneration initiative at Bonnyrigg and also showed the audience the new housing being built by SGCH, enabled by the leveraging capacity resulting from previous transfers.

Nicola got into the detail of what had been achieved even from small scale transfers. At Cabramatta they had taken on the management of a senior’s complex in the middle of which was a child care service using a community centre. Hume had to work through issues around an unused office space, rental income shortfalls, lack of access to the community centre and property repair issues. She reported that they had worked with the tenants and had received a 80% satisfaction result from customers with Hume’s management of change, repairs and support by the end of the transfer process. They’d also maximised rental income; made good use of a community centre by encouraging activities for aged and culturally diverse customers, carried out a series of property upgrades and turned the redundant office into an additional unit of housing.

John Nicolades, Emilio Ferrer, Scott Langford, Nicola Lemon and Wendy Hayhurst discussing the design of the property transfer program.

The presentations were followed by a Panel Q and A facilitated by the Federation’s chair John Nicolades, CEO of Bridge Housing. There were plenty of searching questions, not least from Julie Foreman CEO of the Tenants Union who wanted to know how tenants had influenced what providers provided under a transfer program. Scott who has recently arrived from Junction housing in SA gave a useful example from his experience there about how they had facilitated retainment of a threatened Australian Post shop after tenants had highlighted how much they needed this.

As the property transfer program moves forward the key message from the event is that a collaborative approach to designing the property transfer program will deliver the best outcomes for tenants, government and the broader community.

The event was well attended and we have received excellent feedback. We would like to thank Corrs Chambers Westgarth for sponsoring this launch.

National Housing Strategy Symposium
On the 17th May a group of academics, housing providers and peak bodies met in Canberra at the Towards a National Housing Strategy Symposium.  With presentations from a number of experts, including Wendy Hayhurst of NSWFHA and Saul Eslake the leading Australian economist, the emphasis was on collaboratively developing an Action Plan for Housing that would be presented to the incoming government in July.  

The Symposium recognised the urgency of a housing crisis in Australia which ranges from difficulties of first time purchasers to record levels of homelessness.  The key elements of an Action Plan identified at the Symposium included the appointment of a Housing Minister, a national program of house building, the use of inclusionary zoning and the development of innovative financial models to bring institutional financial investment into the housing sector.  The Symposium also identified a critical role for community housing providers and the transfer of public housing stock into the sector. The Symposium set in motion a process to develop a longer-term, national campaign for housing solutions that would combine the efforts of the housing peak bodies and peak bodies for related services.  The campaign will seek to raise the political profile of housing issues and ensure that there was a strong voice for achieving adequate housing as a basic human right.

The Towards a National Housing Strategy Report is available at. https://www.compasshousing.org/towards-national-housing-strategy

Eamon Waterford, Committee for Sydney,  Kerry Skellern Compass Housing and Angie Bletsas, ACTCOSS planning a housing advocacy campaign.

On Friday 20th May the VOTE HOME campaign was launched. The Vote Home alliance of housing, homelessness peaks and welfare organisations launched a petition that calls “for a national strategy to address housing affordability and a vote for political parties to commit to end the housing crisis by 2025.”

The launch attracted fantastic media, including The Guardian and Sydney Morning Herald before the launch of the second petition on homelessness that calls on all parties to commit to halving homelessness by 2025. 

You can sign the petitions here:

If you wish to be involved in promoting the VOTE HOME campaign, please email kate@chp.org.au.

Vote Home Forum- 7th June
Shelter NSW is holding an election forum which will provide you with an opportunity to hear from the parties. Ask how do they see the problems with housing? What are their solutions?
The forum also provides an opportunity to hear about the national campaign Vote Home – let’s end the Housing Crisis! The discussion will include consideration of the ways everyone who cares about this issue can do their bit to influence the policies of the incoming government.
Speakers will include:

  • Richard Dennis (The Australia Institute)
  • Alex Hawke (invited from the Liberal Party)
  • Jenny McAllister (Australian Labor Party)
  • Scott Ludlum (The Greens)
  • Adrian Pisarski (National Shelter)
  • Kelly Williams (Cancer Council)
  • Sarah Agar (Choice)
  • Kate Colvin (Council for Homeless Persons)

Book tickets for this event here.
Date: Tuesday 7th June
Venue: NSW Teachers Federation Conference Centre -37 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010

Time: 9am – 3:30pm

Please see the full flyer here

Shortlisted applicants from the Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF) Phase 1 EOI
The NSW Government has announced that nine parties have been shortlisted to develop proposals to tap into the Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF), which will deliver an additional 3,000 social and affordable homes in its first phase and slash waiting lists for vulnerable families.

Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian said the shortlisted parties consist of partnerships between non-government organisations, landholders and the private sector.

“The SAHF represents an innovative opportunity to boost social and affordable housing stock, while at the same time helping to improve the lives of the most vulnerable across our State,” Ms Berejiklian said. “That is why it is so promising to see such a strong response to the Expression of Interest process.”

Read the full media release and shortlist here.

Tenant Network Future Directions briefing session held
The Community Housing Tenant Network recently assembled an all-star panel to provide a briefing for tenants on Future Directions.  The 18th May event, hosted by SGCH, was an opportunity for tenants to put questions to decision makers and those responsible for implementing the strategy.

The panel included Tania Mihailuk MP, Paul Vevers, Professor Peter Phibbs, John Nicolades, Wendy Hayhurst and Ned Cutcher form the Tenants’ Union and the event was also attended by a representative from Minister Hazzard’s office.

Tenant Network committee members developed a series of questions for panel members to answer so that Network members can better understand Future Directions in Social Housing and the impact it will have on social and community housing tenants.

The Tenant Network have now developed an excellent Facebook page – to find out more about their work please visit https://www.facebook.com/tenantnetwork?fref=ts

Centre for Training in Social Housing – News

From Training Manager, Kevin Saide

New Qualifications
As I mentioned last newsletter and in line with national changes to the Community Services Training Package and endorsed by the Australian Industry Skills Committee, the CTSH now has the following new qualifications on scope:

• CHC42215 Certificate IV in Social Housing
• CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services (Social Housing)

The VET Training Regulator – Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) requires that from 6th August 2016 these qualifications will supersede the following:
• CHC40912 Certificate IV in Social Housing
• CHC50812 Diploma of Social Housing

Smart and Skilled
Shortly we will be calling for new expressions of interest in the Government Subsidised Smart and Skilled program under our new certificate IV in Social Housing qualification. This program on averages covers approximately 65% of fees.

Middle Managers
I will be at the next Middle Managers meeting in June to discuss and answer any questions you may have about training.

New Training in Canberra and Tasmania
We are preparing to deliver  training under the new Qualifications in both Canberra and Tasmania beginning in June.

Certificate IV in Social Housing – entry level qualification?
Recently through our members survey we asked if the Certificate IV in Social Housing should be an entry level qualification in the social housing sector. Over 60% of responders agreed that this should be the case.
I would be interested in your views on this.

CHP visits
Between now and the end of the year I would like to visit as many CHPs as I can to discuss your training and professional development  needs, especially in light of the new qualifications and changes in the sector. I will be in contact with you to arrange suitable times.

K Saide

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

CHFV Conference 2016

This one-day conference will present an exciting mix of content including political and academic perspectives as well as practical viewpoints to challenge your thinking and expand your knowledge. 
When: 16th June
Where: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf

Book and see the program: http://chfv.org.au/conferences/

Expert Advice Exchange
Expert Advice Exchange – an initiative established to connect eligible social sector organisations with pro bono advice from professional service firms including law firms, financial institutions and consulting firms- is running again 2016.

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. This will better equip them 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.

Applications are now due on 21 June 2016. More information on eligibility criteria and the application process is available on the Office of Social Impact Investment website or contact the Office via email or on (02) 9228 5333.

Bridge Housing’s Hand Up program
Leading Sydney community housing provider Bridge Housing has begun a unique program to
enable tenants facing eviction for significant unpaid rent to save their tenancy and get their
lives back on track.

The Hand Up program launched in Sydney today involves Bridge offering tenants alternative,
non-monetary ways of “repaying” their rental arrears, including by enrolling in study,
volunteering in the community, or undertaking treatment to address their underlying issues.
Hand Up was launched on Tuesday 3rd May.

See full media release here









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