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August 2017


  1. CEO’s Report
  2. FedEx Update
  3. CTSH Update
  4. Launch of Homelessness Good Practice Guidelines
  5. Sleeping Rough Count
  6. Bridge Housing Home Ground Project
  7. Conference: Doing Things Differently - Aboriginal Housing in NSW
  8. Youth Homelessness is the Northern Rivers – Social Futures
  9. 2017/18 Industry Development Projects
  10. NSW Federation congratualtes Mission and Frasers Propert on Ivanhoe
  11. Right to Home Campaign
  12. What are we missing without the National Housing Supply Council
  13. Macarthur Gardens Development
  14. Passing of Nazha Saad
  15. In the News

CEO's Talking Points

This month has concluded with a blistering piece of prose by Prof Bill Randolph in the Conversation warning everyone with an interest in building homes - affordable or otherwise - of the perils associated with poor quality and poorly planned high density homes. In a few hundred words it neatly sums up three reports commissioned by NSW Shelter on Equitable Density at the block, neighbourhood and metropolitan scales.

If we are to meet the rising demand for affordable homes without increasing urban sprawl, then building at higher densities is necessary.  However, the reports illustrate we can do this in ways that ensure that short term profit does not compromise longer term sustainability, and recognise that it is usually lower income households who are most at risk of suffering the consequences of poor design.

In the same week another publication examined ways to reduce construction costs to make homes more affordable. Probably the most significant savings come from reducing apartment sizes and parking space provisions for smaller households happy to trade amenity for a location near to jobs, transport and other facilities.

The Shelter projects highlight the need to maintain high design standards and retain features that reduce running costs, ensure estates are well integrated into surrounding areas, and do not put a strain on other community infrastructure. The Federation will shortly be publishing work on best practice in multi tenure design and management, based on evaluating projects in Australia and the UK. We focused on the UK because of its long history of this type of development, in order to identify those that had definitely not become vertical slums.

Positively, the first Communities Plus scheme was announced by the NSW Government at Macquarie Park and awarded to the Aspire Consortium, which includes community housing provider Mission Australia Housing and development partners Frasers Property Australia.  It is a high density scheme that seems to address the concerns raised in Shelter’s work.  The 10-12 year plan will see construction of a mixed 3000-unit redevelopment (with 950 social housing homes and a further 128 affordable units) will also include aged care facilities, childcare facilities, a new high school and $21 million towards social housing programs within the estate. Plans and visuals are available here.  It should set a benchmark for the many more affordable homes needed to meet the growing demand throughout NSW.

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Federation Exchange Update

We are excited to announce the release of our new look FedEx Program! The Program features a new easy-to-read format and in-depth session information to help you plan your sessions.
You can view the program through our website here!

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Centre for Training in Social Housing update

The past month has seen a rise in requests for both nationally accredited training and professional development. It’s good to see the sector supporting staff by offering these invaluable opportunities.

Some of the areas we will be delivering on include:
•             Training in the Aboriginal Cultural Competency Standards
•             Communication in the workplace – helping identify issues.

We have also been approved for another Part Qualifications program – we will be calling for registrations at the end of September. Training will be in 5 Units of Competency towards the Certificate IV and must be completed by April 2018.

At the next Federation Exchange the Training Manager, Kevin Saide, will be explaining how our training program works and how employers can support staff.  Kevin will also be facilitating a discussion on whether we should have a national workforce development strategy given that the sector is growing nationally, and whether the Certificate IV in Social Housing should be a required qualification.

As always our Training Manager, Kevin Saide, is happy to meet with you and discuss your training needs.  Please contact him at kevins@communityhousing.org.au or phone 02 9281 7144 (ext. 215).

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Launch of Homelessness Good Practice Guidelines

On the 7th August the three homelessness peaks - Homelessness NSW, Domestic Violence NSW and Y Foundations, launched the new good practice guidelines designed to give workers in this sector access to best practice resources. The guidelines cover outreach practice, responding to domestic and family violence (DFV) and working with young people. Although the guidelines cover three different areas of practice, they share common practice principles, such as trauma informed care, services being culturally informed and person-centred in their practice.  We’ve very briefly summarised the guidelines below.

These guidelines will equip practitioners with the necessary tools and resources to deliver effective assertive outreach responses to people who are sleeping rough, helping them recognise and address the complex challenges involved in supporting this group, engaging with individuals to better design the response, and ensure better housing and health outcomes.

The DFV Practice Guidelines provide a framework to support the delivery of high quality, consistent responses to victim-survivors from a diverse range of backgrounds, while at the same time emphasising the importance of flexible service responses to individuals’ specific needs.

The Guidelines aim to provide services with a framework to deliver quality responses, demonstrate the value of specialist service provision and benchmark against other similar services with the intention of supporting continuous sector improvement.

These guidelines inform policies and procedures for all organisations working with and supporting unaccompanied children aged 12-15 years, who will have distinctive experiences, strengths and developmental needs and therefore require service providers to have tailored, holistic and outcomes-focused service responses.

The new guidelines are available here.


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Sleeping Rough Street Count

In the early hours of Tuesday 15th of August two Federation staff members took place in the City of Sydney Sleeping Rough Count to contribute to the City’s ongoing planning and strategy in the homelessness sector.  Data collected revealed 386 people sleeping rough across the LGA and 600 people occupying homeless hostel beds or temporary accommodation.  A further 33 people were occupying beds at St Vincent’s Hospital.  The August 2017 result represents a 10% decrease on the February 2017 count of 433 people sleeping rough and a 2% decrease on the 2016 winter count.  There is a significant increase in the number of people staying in temporary and crisis accommodation.  

Homelessness is a complex issue with no single solution. The City of Sydney's Homelessness Unit works 7 days a week in partnership with government, non-profit philanthropic organisations and the corporate sector to reduce homelessness and its impact in Sydney.  Two street counts take place in February and August every year, between the hours of 1am and 3am. Each count relies on the goodwill and participation of more than 150 volunteers.  More information about the City of Sydney Street Count can be found here.

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Bridge Housing Home Ground Project

Bridge Housing will launch a new not-for-profit real estate agency to increase the supply of affordable rental accommodation in inner city Sydney. The agency will be part of the Home Ground Real Estate brand established by Launch Housing in Victoria. It will enable private landlords to support people seeking affordable rental housing by offering their properties for rent to Bridge Housing. Bridge Housing will receive $100,000 in start-up funding from the City of Sydney to establish the new agency as part of the City’s response to homelessness and housing affordability in the Sydney local government area. Council approved the funding in early August and the agency is expected to be fully operational by March 2018.  Read more about Home Ground here.

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Conference: Doing Things Differently - Aboriginal Housing in NSW, 26-27 September 2017

The future of Aboriginal Housing in NSW is on the agenda at the Doing Things Differently - Aboriginal Housing in NSW conference.  The aim is to shift the conversation from simply “how do we house Aboriginal families and communities” to “how do we partner to create a real difference to the Aboriginal future of NSW”.

This event brings together leaders from housing, health, education, investment and employment to talk about how to create real change for Aboriginal families by working together.
Aboriginal community housing providers can register to attend at: ahosector.eventbrite.com.au.  Other sector participants can register at: ahoconference.eventbrite.com.au.   Not-for-profits and registered charities get a special ticket price by entering the code NGOcharity to their registration. Proof of your charity status maybe required.

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Youth Homelessness is the Northern Rivers – Social Futures

‘Public Act’ uses a theatre style based upon The Theatre of the Oppressed, which uses theatre as means of promoting social and political change whereby the audience becomes active - they explore, analyse and ideally transform the issue at the heart of the theatre.  The theme of the current Public Act performance at the Byron Bay Community Centre is affordable housing. The Performance, titled “Another Day in Paradise” aims to help the audience develop solutions to the affordable housing issue locally.  The new short film about youth homelessness in the Northern Rivers can be viewed here.

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2017/18 Industry Development Projects

The Federation is being funded by FACS to deliver a number of capacity building projects under the NSW Community Housing Industry Development Strategy (IDS). The three main projects are:

  1. Financial Inclusion: effectively preventing and managing rent arrears in community housing
  2. Approaches to managing anti-social behaviour
  3. Tenant Service Assessors; delivering high quality services that respond to tenant needs and expectations.

These projects build on earlier work that focuses on supporting community housing providers to manage some of the most difficult and challenging areas of their activity. The Financial Inclusion project will focus on how community housing providers can think about financial management issues for tenants from the start of their tenancies as well as in relation to their lives as a whole, not just their tenancy. It will provide resources and strategies for community housing providers to use to prevent and manage debt more effectively, including the development of a provider financial inclusion strategy. The Anti-social behaviour project will review international and national best practice in the management of anti-social behaviour. It will look to define ASB for community housing providers and to create an ASB typology to help providers work out the best way to respond. This project will deliver practical tools and resources to support improved practice. The Financial Inclusion project will commence in October 2017 and the Anti-social behaviour project is already underway. If you would like any further information please contact Deborah Georgiou on 9281 7144 (ext. 204)

The Federation is also looking to support community housing providers to engage tenants to assess their performance in key management areas, resulting in insight and good ideas about how to improve practices. Tenants as service assessors is a model that has been used overseas and has been demonstrated to deliver administrative and financial efficiencies as tenants provide valuable insight into how well things could work if they were done differently. This project will work with two pilot community housing providers to implement a tenant service assessor model including training tenant oversight panels and developing a practice guide. This project will be commencing in September with an Expression of Interest process to select the pilot CHPs for the project.  If you would like further information about the project please contact Adam West 9281 7144 (ext. 211).

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NSW Federation congratulates Mission Australia and Frasers Property on Ivanhoe

The NSW Federation of Housing Associations congratulated community housing provider Mission Australia Housing and development partners Frasers Property Australia on their winning tender to build 950 social housing units and 128 affordable rental units on the Ivanhoe Estate site at Macquarie Park.  CEO Wendy Hayhurst said the new partnership would ensure that social and affordable housing is included in a well-designed and properly planned community.  “It’s a fantastic benchmark for the rest of the Communities Plus projects in Riverwood, Telopea, Waterloo and Arncliffe. We’re looking forward to seeing the first homes on the ground as soon as possible.”  The Federation is calling on the NSW Government to ensure a diversity of housing types, sizes and price points by:

  • Extending the Greater Sydney Commission’s proposed 5-10% affordable housing target to cover all new developments;
  • Requiring all tenders on government owned land to include 30% affordable housing;
  • Clearly defining the term “affordable” and framing planning laws to ensure properties remain affordable in the long term.

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Right to Home Campaign

The Right to Home campaign seeks to get the NSW, Commonwealth and local governments to deliver more housing that is affordable, sustainable and connected to adequate transport and community infrastructure.  While there is a housing construction boom in NSW, almost none of the new units are affordable.  The Right to Home petition is asking the NSW Government to change the State’s planning laws so that at least 15 per cent of new residential developments are set aside for affordable housing – that’s 1 in 6 homes.  The Right to Home petition, signed by over 16,000 people, was presented in Parliament on 3 August.  Read more about the petition and The Right to Home here.

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What are we missing without the National Housing Supply Council

Resuscitating the National Housing Supply Council (NHSC) has long been a priority for many housing policy experts with the call now also being echoed by some politicians. So why is this and what difference could it make to tackling housing unaffordability in Australia? To get some answers we went to Professor Hal Pawson, Associate Director at City Futures Research Centre at UNSW. This is his explanation.

The NHSC was set up back in 2008 by the Rudd government as part of Labor’s package to respond to the growing housing unaffordability problem with an evidence based policy approach. In design it closely paralleled the UK Government’s National Housing and Planning Advice Unit (NHPAU),

NHSC’s remit was to publish annual state of supply reports  to forecast and analyse adequacy of land supply and construction activity to meet demand and improve affordability over a 20 year forecast period. The reports had to incorporate an assessment of factors inhibiting sufficient housing supply output including development control issues and infrastructure provision. Its terms of reference specifically focused on supply and affordability for households in the lower half of the income distribution.

The NHSC was popular not just with planners, the affordable housing lobby and academics but also with the development industry, leading one former member to suggest it had become ‘a resource for industry’.  That said its membership included respected housing economists such as Saul Eslake and Judy Yates, senior planning experts including Sue Holliday and Dyan Currie, as well as representatives from the house building industry e.g. Stockland’s CEO.

In practice its main focus was on quantifying the relationship between overall housing supply and household growth. In its last State of Supply report (2011) it estimated that the gap between total underlying demand and supply to ‘have increased to a cumulative shortfall of 186K dwellings since 2001’. To ensure robust analyses and housing supply forecasts the NHSC enhanced data availability on such crucial factors as land supply pipelines, demolition and contributors to underlying demand.

It was not all plain sailing, and its momentum suffered somewhat from a rapid succession of housing ministers each with different priorities. Perhaps the lesson is that any new NHSC would be better established as a statutory authority independent of ministers.

Proposals coming forward for a ‘re-energised’ NHSC  from Labor would expand its original remit to also monitor state/territory performance against housing affordability targets enshrined in new National Housing and Homeless Agreements (NHHA).  This would be welcomed by anyone concerned about the absence of any robust housing needs information.

Affordable housing shortage estimates and projections are needed to underpin national and state level strategies to address the problem and to support the case for significant market interventions to generate affordable housing, whether these are planning mechanisms such as inclusionary zoning or financial subsidies.

The new NHSC must also explicitly reject the assumption that addressing housing unaffordability requires simply more housing supply. The problem is also about the distribution of housing, the type of housing required to meet changes in household types and not least tax and benefit systems that have contributed to growing ‘housing inequality’.  A rejuvenated NHSC will have a lot to do.

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Macarthur Gardens Development

Last week at the Urban Development Institute of Australia, Federation member BlueCHP received a commendation for its Macarthur Gardens development.  The award was received in the Excellence in Affordable Development category.  Affordable housing is of critical importance, given more than half a million Australians are living in housing stress. The supply of affordable housing must keep pace to help those in need.  The Macarthur Gardens project is an excellent example of how we can deliver more affordable housing to help key workers, like nurses, police officers and teachers.

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Passing of Nazha Saad

Everyone at the Federation was deeply saddened at the news this Nazha Saad the former CEO of SGCH had passed away after her two-and-a-half year battle with cancer. Nazha achieved so much during her career and not only SGCH but also community housing is many times stronger for her contribution. She led SGCH from 2007 to 2015 in which time it grew from just over 1000 homes to well over 4000.

Throughout her illness she remained very engaged with the sector and worked with us to set up an award to recognise the achievements of women in the sector which will forever bear her name. The Federation’s heartfelt condolences go out to all her family and friends. She will not be forgotten.

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In the Media

Over the past month the Federation and CEO Wendy Hayhurst have been mentioned in the following news articles:

24 August 2017: Innovative affordable rental housing solution comes to Sydney Concerned about the housing affordability crisis and fed up with government inaction? Why not rent out your property at a discount? That’s what community housing provider Bridge Housing is asking property investors to do, and it has launched a new not-for-profit real estate agency to manage the process.  Bridge Housing is involved with industry peak bodies, such as the NSW Federation of Housing Association, to try to get some broader changes to the social and affordable housing policy.  Read the full article here.

23 August: Forum releases plan on how to tackle housing crisis That Sydney is the second-most unaffordable city in the world was not lost on close to 200 people who came together to discuss practical solutions to the chronic underinvestment in social and affordable Housing crisis in Sydney.  Wendy Hayhurst, CEO of NSW Federation of Housing Associations, said that it was important to “ensure that housing created through the planning system are dedicated as affordable rental housing in perpetuity, and managed by a registered Community Housing Provider”. Read full article here.

22 August: One in 10 inner west homes standing vacant as investors leave properties as “ghost homes” Thousands of homes are being left empty as vulnerable people wait more than 10 years for accommodation. Data from the 2016 Census show a record 10,525 homes were vacant in the Inner West, Canada Bay and Burwood and Strathfield council areas on Census night — a rise of 1525 from 2011.  Chief executive Wendy Hayhurst said: “If you’re not using the home as a place for people to live ... in this crisis — it’s reasonable there’s an extra charge”.  Read full article here.

15 August 2017: Industry applauds new sustainable public housing at Ivanhoe, but is the model sustainable?  Frasers Property Australia, Citta Property Group and Mission Australia have won the tender for the $2.2 billion redevelopment of the Ivanhoe public housing estate in Macquarie Park, in north-east Sydney. The project is set to achieve high sustainability outcomes, such as carbon neutral operation.  It is not clear at this stage who will own the affordable rentals, nor what timeframes may apply to their affordable status, NSW Federation of Housing Associations chief executive Wendy Hayhurst told The Fifth Estate.  Ms Hayhurst said the plans attempt to take into account the fact housing costs were more than the cost of the dwelling by minimising costs for heating and cooling.  Read the full article here.

14 August 2017: ‘A big deal’: Affordable housing development Ivanhoe Estate in Sydney gets government go-ahead The massive new social and affordable housing renewal development just given the go-ahead by the NSW Government in Sydney’s north has been greeted with cautious approval by experts.  Wendy Hayhurst, chief executive of the NSW Federation of Housing Associations, welcomed the news of the project, but said the 128 affordable rental properties were too low in number.  “It’s hard to be mealy-mouthed about this as it is ground-breaking, and we welcome any increase in the provision of affordable housing,” she says. “But there are a lot of essential workers experiencing significant housing stress.”

3 August 2017: Shared home ownership based on affordable housing models could help housing crisis Surging house prices are locking young people out of the market, with less than 20 per cent of Sydneysiders owning a home, while average incomes have also declined.  "What we need is a variety of different housing types," Wendy Hayhurst, chief executive of the NSW Federation of Housing Association (NSWFHA), said.  "We've got a range of people who are priced out of any secure housing, from people who are homeless to people who are working but on very low income.  There are different options like shared home ownership”.  Read full article here.


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