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October 2017

Contents

  1. CEO’s report
  2. Community Housing Providers to manage nearly a third of social housing in NSW
  3. National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation
  4. Save the date: Affordable Housing Conference 2018
  5. Next Federation Exchange
  6. CTSH Update
  7. Evolve Housing launches Safe Foundations for women and children escaping domestic violence in Western Sydney
  8. Improving Access to Community Housing for People with Intellectual Disability
  9. Kicking off the Affordable Housing Prequalification Scheme
  10. In the Media

 

CEO's Report

In October we learnt which community housing providers were successful in the latest transfer of homes from the public to community housing management (see more below).

In October we also learnt more about the second phase of the NSW Government’s Social and Affordable Housing Fund. It is anticipated this phase will enable an additional 1200 homes to be provided with a welcome focus on older women; a group that is increasingly at risk of homelessness. More information is available here.

In October, the Greater Sydney Commission released its revised District Plans and draft Greater Sydney Region plan, on exhibition until 15 December 2017. The Plans can be found here. They reaffirm the original plans’ recommendation for between 5-10% affordable housing on the additional floor space generated through rezoning to meet the needs of households on very low to low incomes. They now also acknowledge that many moderate income earners also struggle to find housing that consumes no more than 30 percent of their income and invite the market to innovate. Like many others, the Federation recognise the work the GSC have done but will be arguing for robust government controlled feasibility tests, an additional percentage to meet the needs of moderate income earners, and far higher affordable housing targets on Commonwealth, state and local government owned land to be used to meet.     

In October the Commonwealth introduced the Treasury Laws Amendment (National Housing and Homelessness Agreement) Bill 2017. The Bill sets out the framework for the multilateral and bilateral agreements between the Commonwealth and States that will set the conditions on which payments will be made from July 2018.  In essence the states will need to have in place ‘credible’ housing and homeless strategies to address social and affordable housing need, housing affordability issues and reduce homelessness. The states will also need to provide publicly available information about housing and homelessness so that performance can be tracked.  On the down side there is as anticipated no additional money from the Commonwealth and no overarching national housing strategy, but comprehensive state strategies based on an analysis of needs that bring together separate initiatives and more public reporting must be positive.

In October the Productivity Commission’s five year review Shifting the Dial was published. This examines what ‘may affect Australia's economic performance over the medium term’ to guide Government policy making. It focuses on the role of cities and it acknowledges that the cost of housing (or moving house) can be a drag on productivity. The report recommends moving from stamp duty to a broad based land tax. It could however have gone further by examining all the economic effects that are attributable to housing  such as the various workforce impacts, saved travel time, and the impact on consumption spending and the consequent productivity effects from rising rents and house prices. If it had there would have been more to say on how Australian cities can better meet the needs of all parts of their growing populations. Here is Sunday’s debate  on the topic.

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Community Housing Providers to manage nearly a third of social housing in NSW

On 17 October 2017 Pru Goward MP announced the ten community housing providers selected to manage properties in the nine transfer locations.

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Work begins in earnest now to ensure the smooth transfer to community housing management with a focus on tenant engagement. Community housing providers already manage well over 32,000 homes throughout NSW and routinely achieve high rates of satisfaction with their services. The sector is subject to independent regulation against performance standards encompassing asset management, tenancy services, governance and financial viability and additionally will need to meet specific additional ‘social housing’ outcomes as part of the contract. It should be good news for the tenants.

The successful providers, the locations they will manage and the proposed transfer timetable is below.

Local Government Area

Community housing provider

Transfer timeframe

Maitland and Port Stephens

Hume Community Housing Association

Jul – Sep 2019

Singleton, Cessnock, Dungog, Mid-Coast, Muswellbrook, Upper Hunter

Compass Housing Services Co

Apr - Jun
2019

Gunnedah, Tamworth, Walcha, Liverpool Plains, Armidale Regional, Glen Innes, Gwydir, Guyra, Inverell, Moree Plains, Narrabri, Tenterfield, Uralla

Homes North Community Housing

Apr - Jun 2019

Shoalhaven

Southern Cross Community Housing

Oct - Dec 2018

Coffs Harbour, Bellingen

Mission Australia Housing

Jul - Sep 2019

Nambucca, Kempsey, Port Macquarie-Hastings

Community Housing

Oct - Dec 2018

Ryde, Hornsby, Ku-ring-gai

Link Housing

Oct - Dec 2018

Northern Beaches and Mosman

Bridge Housing working with the Women’s Housing Company

Jul - Sep 2019

North Sydney, Hunters Hill, Lane Cove, Willoughby

St George Community Housing  (SGCH)

Apr - Jun 2019

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National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation - NSW Federation of Housing Associations Response to Consultation Paper September 2017

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The NSW Federation of Housing Associations (the Federation) fully supports the Australian Government’s intention to establish the National Housing Finance Corporation (NHFIC). In our submission to the consultation paper we focused on key themes important to the community housing sector and critical to the success of this initiative. Critical is a long term social and affordable  housing program that requires financing. The point is not lost on the Australian Treasury. Their  Affordable Housing Working Group  September 2017 paper on ‘Supporting the implementation of an affordable housing bond Aggregator’ is an excellent summary of what is required and the Federation wholeheartedly endorses its recommendations on the need for a program of robust, recurrent subsidy and a reformed National Regulatory System for Community Housing. Our full submission is here.

 

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Save the date: Affordable Housing Conference 2018

The Federation is delighted to announce the return of the Affordable Housing Conference, to be held on 27th and 28th June 2018.  The conference will feature a new half day caucus on the 26th of June.  The 2016 conference was an outstanding success with record attendance, a wide-ranging program of high quality speakers and presentations along with excellent delegate feedback. The 2018 conference is expected to be even better, with the theme:  Everybody’s Home.  Mark the date now to ensure you don’t miss out.
The Conference Sponsorship and Exhibitor prospectus will be distributed later this week.

Date: 26-28 June 2018
Venue: Sydney Masonic Centre, 66 Goulburn Street Sydney

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Federation Exchange Update

The Federation Exchange is back in 2018 with exciting guest speakers and content.  As always, FedEx is a unique opportunity for the sector to get together to share ideas, experiences and best practice. 

The Federation has recently restructured its events program to ensure we continue to deliver content of the highest possible standard.  Due to a number of factors, including the December Federation AGM and AHURI National Conference, there will not be a Federation Exchange held in December. The next Federation Exchange will be held on the 14 and 15 of March 2018.  For more information please get in touch with Molly O'Halloran (MollyO@communityhousing.org.au). We look forward to seeing you there.

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CTSH Update

As we come towards the end of the training year we have had many requests for professional development training.  This means our formal training will finish about mid-December.

Some highlights:
More providers have contacted us to deliver training in the new Domestic and Family Violence Toolkit. We now have a number of options in the type of training we offer and one of these includes linking the training to our accredited unit which carries a nationally recognised Statement of Attainment. 

Our first delivery of training to CHPs in the Aboriginal Cultural Competency Standards was very successful and this continues with another provider in November. Again, there are many ways we can deliver this training so please contact us for more details

Work continues on the training handbook for Employers. This will be ready for 2018.

The preparation of our new program “Foundations in Social Housing Practice” is on-going and we expect to be ready to deliver the first of these modules in February 2018. As mentioned in the last HM this program focuses on a range of topics delivered in 2 hour blocks.  

We are working on our 2018 Training schedule at present and I will email all providers once this is ready and up on our website. At this stage, it is expected to be the last week in November.

Finally, we will be sending out an Expression of Interest for our Orientation to Social Housing Unit “Work with clients within the social housing system” on 30th October. The planned day for the training is Thursday the 30th November 2017.

As always, our Training Manager, Kevin 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) or 0418716463

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Evolve Housing launches Safe Foundations for women and children escaping domestic violence in Western Sydney

Evolve Housing have launched Safe Foundations which will commence with a pilot program providing medium term housing and positive social outcomes for women and children escaping domestic and/or family violence.

Safe Foundations aims to provide women and their children with an opportunity to stabilise their lives while being supported and feel safe whilst exiting from crisis accommodation; engage in employment and/or training opportunities while receiving subsidised rental accommodation; and exit into private rental marketing with a view to be living independently within three years.

Families will be connected to Evolve Housing’s support coordination unit where staff will identify support needs for each family including children. Families will also have access to all of Evolve Housing’s support programs such as kick starter packs which include household essentials such as kettles, toasters, blankets; Evoloans (no interest loans) to purchase whitegoods; and education grants worth up to $10,000 over three years.

Annabelle Daniel, CEO Women's Community Shelter said, “We are delighted to be partnering with the highly innovative Evolve Housing to be delivering Safe Foundations for women and children leaving domestic and family violence. We know that moving on from crisis can take years, and that safe homes, ongoing support and social inclusion are the keys to success. We very much look forward to working together!”

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Improving Access to Community Housing for People with Intellectual Disability

The Federation has submitted a grant application in partnership with the NSW Council for Intellectual Disability to support the conversion of a number of key community housing tenancy and property management documents into Easy Read for people with an intellectual disability. The project, titled ‘Supporting Independent Living by Improving Access to Community Housing Services for People with Intellectual Disability’ was designed in consultation with some community housing providers. It will also offer providers one to one support and training in implementing the Easy Read documents.

If the application is successful the project would start in July 2018 and we would then be looking for representatives to be on a project reference group, but also of some indication of which providers might want to work with CID on developing the Easy Read material.

We hope this is just the start of work we can do in partnership with CID as we really need to highlight and respond to the needs of people with intellectual disability in the community housing sector.  For more information contact Deborah Georgiou at deborahg@communityhousing.org.au or on (02) 9281 7144 ext. 204.

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Kicking off the Affordable Housing Prequalification Scheme

The Community Housing Providers Prequalification Scheme is seeking suitable applicants to provide services as Community Housing Providers (CHPs). The intent of this scheme is to support Affordable Housing outcomes.  This scheme gathers relevant information regarding registered Community Housing Providers so that any private or government organisation wishing to procure Affordable Housing development and/or management services can readily locate Community Housing Providers that are suited to their project needs.  Only applicants that are successfully registered in the Australian National Regulatory System Community Housing (NRSCH) will be eligible for prequalification in this scheme.

If successful in attaining prequalification in this scheme applicants may then be invited to tender based on their suitability to work in a geographic location, the scale of project and other attributes, for example the type of accommodation.  For more information, or to apply, click here.

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In the Media

NSW transfers 14,000 homes to community housing providers

NSW has transferred nearly 14,000 social housing dwellings to community housing providers, boosting the growing sector of professional management by not-for-profit organisations.  But at a time when research body AHURI estimates NSW has 373,000 households – out of 1.3 million nationally – currently unable to afford housing without financial help and that the number will rise to 678,000 by 2025, the transfer arrangement effectively prevents the community housing providers from borrowing against the rental revenue they gain to develop more housing.

The NSW Federation of Housing Associations, an umbrella body, said both services and new supply were needed.  "We really need to be tackling both the shortfall but also planning for what will be increasing demand as household formation increases and as the population increases," Federation Chief Executive Officer, Wendy Hayhurst, said.  “While ownership of the property gives a provider the most secure asset they can use to back a loan, revenue streams can also count and the affordable housing sector is pushing for revenue from three-year leases, which can be extended, to be included in the mix of acceptable assets”, Ms Hayhurst said.  “All of these things are in play at the moment.”

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