Welcome to the May 2019 edition of Housing Matters – my first as CEO of CHIA NSW.
I am excited to take on the role here at CHIA NSW, and the first few weeks have already indicated that there are plenty of opportunities and challenges for us to address on behalf of our members and community housing tenants across NSW.
Both the NSW State and Federal elections have returned incumbent Governments, but a range of Ministerial and departmental changes mean there is plenty for CHIA to do in forging new and strengthening existing relationships with Government. The new Federal Government Ministerial appointments are welcomed by the community housing sector and these developments are outlined elsewhere in this Edition.
At the State level, CHIA has been busy engaging with the new Government. We have already met with Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward and will meet both Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes and Water, Property and Housing Minister Melinda Pavey in early June. We are working hard to understand the ramifications of these Ministerial changes as well as working with our departmental and other stakeholders to see how we can best collaborate to improve community housing policy and outcomes.
Elsewhere in this Edition, there are some great articles on new research from AHURI on the business case for social housing as infrastructure, the opening of the new round of AHO grants and CHIA’s visits with Councillors from the Hills Shire to community housing developments in Western Sydney. Don’t forget also the CHIA Exchange and NDS Accommodation sub-committee Roundtable on June 11th (details below).
I look forward to working with our members and stakeholders to promote the positive role of community housing in NSW.
Mark Degotardi, CEO
Federal election outcome
The Liberal-National Coalition’s federal election win has been met with mixed feelings by the community housing sector. Significant progress was made in the previous term of government with the establishment of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation.
The community housing industry was hoping that NHFIC signalled the start of broader government support for social and affordable rental housing growth. In the build up to the election, the Coalition was largely silent on its plans for social and affordable housing. Labor on the other hand, took a potentially game-changing affordable housing policy to the election, announcing it would launch a program to deliver 250,000 new affordable rental homes over the next decade.
The Coalition victory means then that there is uncertainty about national housing policy, certainly it would appear that an NRAS mark 2 is off the table. There may though still be cause for optimism. On 26 May, the Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison announced that his new Ministry would include the Hon Michael Sukkar as Minister for Housing, under the Treasurer.
CHIA NSW is hopeful that this signals that the Morrison-McCormack Government recognises that housing is a key economic issue. This is the argument that CHIA NSW has been making through its research agenda and we think the evidence is clear that affordable rental housing is positive for the economy.
Mr Luke Howarth MP has also been appointed Assistant Minister for Community Housing, Homelessness and Community Services which is the first time community housing has been part of a title in a Federal government ministry.
The productivity benefits of affordable rental housing means that it should be a bi-partisan issue and CHIA NSW looks forward to working with partners and the new Coalition Government to shape effective housing policies that benefit all Australians.
The Business Case for Social Housing: AHURI Report
AHURI has released its next report in the Social Housing as Infrastructure series. The business case for social housing as infrastructure looks at how to develop a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) for new social housing investment proposals, and it works through some of the challenges of CBA for social housing.
CBA are common for infrastructure projects, and they provide a clear framework for analysing social housing projects. They can also clearly present the productivity benefits of social and affordable housing.
But AHURI notes that CBA often exclude the non-financial benefits of social housing and the outcomes that cannot be easily monetised. The report looks at a range of ways of estimating housing benefits.
Other appraisal methods could suit social housing projects better, including an avoided cost methodology. This approach considers how the security of social housing can deliver avoided costs for other public services, for example the public health and justice systems. It is often used in the public service and is accepted by Treasuries when it is backed up by a rigorous evidence base.
Ultimately this research finds that policy decisions and the intersections between analysis and political decision making are complex and are not as driven by economic rationalism as is assumed. Could it be that investment in social housing is a political call after all?
Hills Shire councillor visits
This month, councillors from the Hills Shire visited three developments in Western Sydney to see firsthand how community housing providers are delivering quality homes for people.
This day was organised by CHIA NSW in partnership with the GSC, which is engaging with councils about affordable housing. Visitors included 5 councillors from the Hills Shire, staff from the Hills Council, commissioners and staff from the GSC and a group from Landcom.
The party was hosted by SGCH at its Westmead development, Wentworth at its St Marys development and by Evolve at Harts Landing. The councillors seemed impressed by what they saw and they certainly engaged on the issues, asking questions about tenants, management, planning processes and design.
Local councillors are a key stakeholder for CHIA NSW and finding creative ways like these visits are a valuable tool to influence them about affordable housing. Getting support from local government councillors for affordable housing will be critical as councils explore ways to address need through local planning systems. Support from councillors can also make the difference when community housing providers are working to deliver projects in local communities.
If you are interested in working with CHIA NSW to engage with local councillors please get in touch with Tom Kehoe (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Aboriginal Partnerships: building cultural competence
Adam Hansen, CHIA NSW’s Aboriginal Partnerships Specialist has been working on rolling out the Aboriginal Cultural Competency Standards self-assessment tool to CHPs and providing support to CHPs who are using it to promote culturally competent practice. He has also been providing advice and practical guidance on how CHPs can build stronger relationships with local Aboriginal communities, tenants and organisations.
So far Adam has run five cultural competency standards sessions around the state and has four more scheduled in the next two months.
He also held or took part in seven sessions designed to bring CHPs closer to Aboriginal CHPs and the wider Aboriginal community, as well as re-energising the Aboriginal Staff Network.
Please get in touch with Adam via email@example.com if you would like advice or an Aboriginal Outcomes workshop.
There is plenty of work to be done in this space and while Adam has made a good start, he would like to invite any CHPs who haven’t contacted him already to get in touch if they would like advice on supporting Aboriginal Outcomes or implementing the Aboriginal Cultural Competency standards. Adam can hold workshops or just provide informal guidance.
Adam will also be sharing some best practice case studies from the sector, re-convening the reference group and the Aboriginal staff networks and working with the Aboriginal Housing Office on their peer learning and mentoring initiative.
Round 2 of AHO’s IT Grants Program is now open
We are pleased to announce that Round 2 of the AHO’s grants program is now open and you can submit applications via CHIA NSW’s website. Applications can be accepted until 5 p.m. on 5 July. Grants will range from $15,000 to up to $70,000 depending on how many homes you manage.
The IT Grants Program is aimed at Aboriginal Community Housing Providers (ACHPs) that are registered or intend to become registered under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH) or the NSW Local Scheme (NSWLS). The IT grants will allow your organisation to invest in technologies that improve performance and reporting, increase access to IT training to make the best use of new technologies, and become as efficient as possible in the areas of tenancy and asset management.
The objectives of the grants program are to:
- Provide funding to access the latest technologies to increase productivity and competitiveness
- Access to IT training to help you use new technologies more effectively
- Funding to create business efficiency through the introduction of technology in the areas of tenancy management and asset management
What are the assessment criteria?
To help with your application please read the following documents. These are also available here
What can the AHO IT grants be used for?
Your organisation can decide what the IT grant will be used for as long as it falls under at least one of these areas:
- Organisational capacity: improving the capabilities of your office and IT systems
- Reporting systems: IT system(s) to maintain asset/properties/tenancies and to create and provide reports to different agencies
- IT training: to improve the IT skills of your organisation’s workers and make their workplace more IT friendly
- Digital capability: specialised digital technology or software (business specific), content development (web site and pages, mobile applications, visual and audio media etc.) and related training
To find out more information, including what IT grants are available, please visit the CHIA NSW website
AHURI National Housing Conference
Register now for the National Housing Conference (NHC), which will be held in Darwin for the first time August 27–30. This year’s program will shine a spotlight on Indigenous housing, drawing on the unique experiences and opportuneness facing the housing sector in the Northern Territory.
The NHC is the largest gathering for the social and affordable housing sectors in Australasia, convened every two years by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI).
The NHC plays an important role in guiding the national dialogue on housing and homelessness priorities, providing a platform for housing practitioners, policy makers and researchers to share, debate, celebrate and promote impactful ideas. Delegates will have the opportunity to be a part of the conversation, forge new partnerships, and work towards innovative housing solutions.
Attended by key decision makers from all sectors, this is a must-attend for anyone wanting to be a part of Australia’s housing future. Register now: www.nhc.edu.au
Partnering to ensure better SDA outcomes: a CHIA Ex and NDS Roundtable
Date: Tuesday 11 June 2019
Time: 9.30am- 3pm
Venue: Mercure Sydney, 818-820 George St, Chippendale NSW 2007
Register via Eventbrite
CHIA NSW is partnering with NDS, the peak body for disability service providers, to deliver a roundtable event bringing together community housing providers and supported independent living providers (SILs) who work together to deliver specialist disability accommodation.
With a practical focus, the event will be an opportunity to unpack the key challenges for CHPs and SILs to identify how can we work together to deliver the best possible outcomes for people with disability living in SDA. The idea is to develop a shared advocacy position that CHIA NSW and NDS can take forward.
Review of CHC42215 Certificate IV in Social Housing
A Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has been established by SkillsIQ to review the current CHC42215 Certificate IV in Social Housing. The TAC comprises a number of representatives from community housing providers, homelessness support services and training organisations. Others will be able to review and comment on the proposed changes in the near future as the proposal is finalised. To date the proposal is for a Certificate IV in Housing with specialisations in Social Housing and Homelessness Support Workers. It is expected that there will be an increase in the number of units’ studied from 15 to 18 and more emphasis on client care. The following outlines the proposal to date.
|Current Certificate IV in Social Housing
||Proposed Certificate IV in Housing
|15 units with 8 core and 7 electives
||18 units with 12 core and 6 electives
||Specialisation in Social Housing and Homelessness Support Work
|Removed from core units:
Manage and maintain tenancy agreements and services – removed to specialisation
|New units in core are:
Provide brief interventions
Respond effectively to behaviours of concern
Promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural safety
Provide services to people with co-existing mental health and alcohol and other drugs issues
New Unit – Sustainable Tenancies
The units for social housing which will make up the specialisation include:
|Social Housing – Group A Electives
||Homelessness Support Work Group B Electives
|Manage and maintain tenancy agreements and services
||Provide advocacy and representation services
|Manage housing application processes
||Develop, facilitate and review all aspects of case management
|Manage housing allocations
||Recognise and respond appropriately to domestic and family violence
|Manage tenancy rent and rent arrears
||Work effectively in trauma informed care / Implement trauma informed care
|Manage vacant properties
|Respond to property maintenance enquiries
The issue that has been raised by some organisations is the inability to include the unit Represent the organisation in a court of tribunal in the Certificate IV.
CTSH will be sending out a questionnaire shortly to discuss the proposed changes.
Fantastic Training Opportunities
CRA Training Returns
Jennifer Townsend will be leading a workshop on CRA at CHIA NSW offices on Tuesday 18th June for $300 per participant. Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea will be provided. There is a limit of 15 participants. Training will commence at 10.00am and conclude by 4.00pm.
To enrol please contact Sadhona at SadhonaM@communityhousing.org.au
Sustainable Tenancies Toolkit
Jennifer will be leading participants through the Sustainable tenancies Toolkit and how it can be used. This is particularly useful for new starters who have heard about the resource and would like to find out more. Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea will be provided. There is a limit of 15 participants.
To enrol please contact Sadhona at SadhonaM@communityhousing.org.au
NCAT Training at a Reduced Price
NCAT Training will be run at the offices of CHIA NSW on Tuesday 23rd and Wednesday 24th July from 9.00am until 4.00pm for both days. The cost of the workshop will be $250. Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea will be provided. There is a limit of 15 participants.
To enrol please contact Sadhona at SadhonaM@communityhousing.org.au
In the Media
CHIA NSW Chair, John McKenna: Housing system is ‘monumentally messed up’ warns political party
CHIA NSW Chair, John McKenna: Strategy needed to address ‘chronic’ housing stress
Author of the DFV Toolkit Sue Cripps: Domestic violence victims to remain home, perpetrators given crisis housing in SA trial