Category Archives: What’s New

Housing Matters July 2019

CEO Report

Community housing providers have been in the news this month with Hume Community Housing signing a MOU with the Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation and Tharawal Aboriginal Housing Corporation to work together to improve housing and social outcomes across South West Sydney.  I was fortunate to be able to attend the ceremony and it was a great celebration of community and the culmination of an enormous amount of hard work.  More details on the partnership are below – congratulations to all.

Congratulations also to the team at St George Community Housing for winning the Affordable Housing Award at the Urban Taskforce Development Excellence Awards – another example of quality and sustainable housing development being undertaken by the community housing sector.  Well done SGCH!

The RBA Board’s 2 July decision to further lower interest rates points to continued concerns about domestic economic performance with the Board pointing to continued low growth in consumption and demand and low wages growth as ongoing issues.  With the cash rate at 1.00%, debate will likely increase about whether further rate decreases will be effective in stimulating growth and demand.  It was interesting to see the article in the Sydney Morning Herald from the Grattan Institute following the RBA decision on rates around the most effective ways of boosting the economy.

As the article points out, The best fiscal stimulus policies are temporary, fast to roll out and involve “no regrets” – in other words, spending with a solid policy rationale.”  The Grattan Institute’s view?  That the construction of social housing should be the number one priority for any Government considering fiscal stimulus.

Of course, there are a range of actions that could be considered to boost the supply of social and affordable housing to meet the significant unmet demand in the community.  Land, planning instruments and incentives, partnerships and financing support and innovation are all important factors and the community housing sector will continue to work with government and other stakeholders on solutions to improve the lives of individuals and families in housing stress in the community.

NHFIC’s Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator (AHBA)

To help provide better solutions for registered community housing providers, the National Housing Finance & Investment Corporation (NHFIC) operates an Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator (AHBA). The AHBA provides low cost, long-term finance to registered community housing providers (CHPs) to support the provision of more affordable and social housing.

NHFIC have issued a new factsheet for AHBA loans, to explain the application process and outline key areas such as eligibility and what the loans can be used for. The factsheet is available for download here.

On July 1st NHFIC’s Capacity Building Program opened which is administered by CHIA. This program, which will run until September 2020, is aimed at Tier 2 and 3 CHPs. It provides a grant for professional advisory services to assist in applying for NHFIC finance. More info can be found here.

Partnership to deliver Aboriginal-led community housing announced

NAIDOC Week celebrations saw the signing of a unique agreement between Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation, Tharawal Housing Aboriginal Corporation and Hume Community Housing at Tharawal’s centre in Airds. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)  between the  two organisations  cements a new partnership to improve housing and social outcomes for Aboriginal people and  communities  across South West Sydney.

Tharawal CEO Darryl Wright and Hume CEO Nicola Lemon signed the agreement, witnessed by representatives from Family and Community Services and the Aboriginal Housing Office.

Under the agreement, Hume, a veteran community housing provider with more than 30 years’ experience, committed to supporting Tharawal Housing Aboriginal Corporation in their goal of achieving Community Housing Provider status. In return, Tharawal promised to develop Aboriginal Cultural Competency Training to build capability and awareness across Hume’s workforce.

On 14 June 2019, registration under the National Regulatory System Community Housing (NRSCH) was achieved with Tharawal Housing Aboriginal Corporation approved to operate as a Tier 3 provider, delivering housing solutions for their Indigenous customers. “Today is the result of genuine commitment, trust, respect, and shared values between us. This is true reconciliation in action. With Hume’s support we’ve combined our joint resources, knowledge, and experience to achieve important, long-reaching objectives for both organisations,” said Mr. Wright. He cited the work of his team, including Alison Croall and Karen Fischer, in supporting Tharawal Housing Aboriginal Corporation to be recognised as the first NRSCH approved provider in the Sydney South Western district for the Aboriginal Housing Office.

“Our long-term goal of better supporting and improving Aboriginal people’s health is driven by a holistic approach which acknowledges the critical role good quality housing plays in a person’s well-being. Knowing we can not only provide healthcare but also return people home to a better standard of living will significantly improve their quality of life and in turn their health outcomes,” said Mr. Wright.

Ms. Lemon told those at the signing that the opportunity to support Tharawal Housing Aboriginal Corporation in their endeavours was a natural step for  Hume.  “Our organisation provides opportunities for our customers to prosper. We want everyone to have access to safe, secure housing and we are advocates for  Aboriginal  controlled service provision. Combining housing with health and well-being is revolutionary and we expect to see long-term benefits for generations to come. I’m pleased we can play a role in achieving better outcomes for Aboriginal people.”

Under the agreement, Hume will also provide support to ensure Tharawal Housing Aboriginal Corporation’s new housing customers receive reliable, high-quality repair and maintenance services. “We know the importance of having a home that is well maintained and Hume have the expertise and capacity to assist Tharawal. However, this is a mutually beneficial partnership and with Tharawal’s expertise and support, Hume have an Aboriginal Cultural Competency plan and training program that Tharawal will deliver, to build capability across Hume’s workforce,” said Ms. Lemon.

Tharawal Housing Aboriginal Corporation is currently in discussions with the Aboriginal Housing Office and hopes to be managing their first properties by the end of the year.

Photo: L-R Rodrigo Gutierrez, Nicola Lemon, Darryl Wright, Jody Broun, Alison Croall

SGCH: Westmead development wins Affordable Housing Award

St George Community Housing were a winner at the Urban Taskforce Development Excellence Awards on 24 July.

Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson, said “SGCH won the Affordable Housing Award with their 67 unit affordable housing apartment building on the Great Western Highway at Westmead that sets new design standards for affordable housing.”

This development at Westmead provides social and affordable housing and demonstrates quality urban development. SGCH has transformed a former petrol station site to deliver a 4-star Green Star standard against the Green Building Council of Australia’s rating system for buildings which also achieves a 6.8 star rating under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS).

SGCH Group CEO, Scott Langford said “We are proud that the efforts of our team and partners have been recognised by the judges and Urban Taskforce in respect of the quality of the building and the outcomes we are delivering for social and affordable housing tenants.”

Completed in October 2018, the 67-unit development provides social and affordable housing. The Westmead project demonstrates quality urban development that has contributed to improved economic, social and environmental outcomes in Westmead.

City Futures research: Build-to-Rent

City Futures has published research into Build-to-Rent that it undertook in collaboration with Landcom.

Build-to-rent schemes are apartment blocks built to be rented, usually at market rates, usually owned by an institutional investor providing an ongoing revenue stream.  Build-to-rent is an established asset class in other parts of the world but is very much in its infancy in Australia.

The City Futures research looks at how build-to-rent could work in Australia and considers if there is any potential for build-to-rent developments to boost affordable housing supply.

Analysis in the research report compares the costs of developing affordable housing for profit developers and not-for-profit community housing developers demonstrating the advantages community housing providers have.

The report also considers the public policy objectives that can be achieved by supporting the build-to-rent sector, including creating stability in the construction industry and property markets and boosting rental security.

Ultimately, the report suggests that significant changes are needed to tax settings to support the growth of a build-to-rent sector in Australia.  It also highlights how governments can use its own resources to support affordable housing in build-to-rent schemes.

Read more about this report here and download the report here

Affordable Housing Infrastructure Booster

CHIA NSW, BlueCHP Ltd, Evolve Housing and National Affordable Housing Providers Ltd commissioned Urban Transitions, Swinburne University of Technology to develop a policy blueprint for creating investment in affordable housing.

The Affordable Housing Infrastructure Booster aims to increase the supply of affordable rental properties by providing a tax credit that affordable housing developers can use to raise capital from investors and form equity partnerships.

To read more about this policy proposal, please click here.

Local strategic planning statements

Sydney councils have started consulting on their draft Local Strategic Planning Statements which will set out land use priorities over the next 20 years.

Local Strategic Planning Statements are significant for the community housing industry because councils will use them to indicate how they intend to prioritise the issue of housing affordability and whether they will use their powers to deliver affordable rental housing for their communities.

Over the next several months, all Sydney councils will need to exhibit their draft Local Strategic Planning Statements publicly to seek their community’s views.  These consultation processes are an opportunity for our industry to highlight the importance of affordable rental housing to local communities and to stress the need for councils to make it a planning priority.

We are expecting the draft Local Strategic Planning Statements to range in their support for affordable housing.  We think it is important to advocate where councils are largely silent on the issue but we also know that it is important for councils to hear that organisations like yours are supportive when they do propose to develop evidence-based local affordable housing strategies or affordable housing schemes to implement inclusionary zoning.

Our priorities for the draft Local Strategic Planning Statements are that they:

  • Explicitly identify affordable rental housing as a strategic priority for the community
  • Acknowledge the economic and social benefits of affordable rental housing and the role it plays in supporting job growth and economic prosperity for local communities
  • Acknowledge the directions established by the Greater Sydney Commission Plan and the affordable housing targets it proposes
  • Commit to developing an local housing strategy which quantifies housing need now and into the future and includes a focus on the need for affordable rental housing
  • Identify mechanisms for delivering affordable rental housing through the planning system and/or by leveraging other opportunities available to the council such partnering with registered community housing to redevelop council owned land
  • Identify how the council will work in partnership with community housing providers and the NSW and federal governments to deliver affordable rental housing in their communities

CHIA NSW has already made submissions to Campbelltown and Canada Bay councils and we are urging community housing providers to make submissions to all the local councils they operate in to advocate and show support for providing more affordable rental housing supply through the planning system.

See our submissions here

AHO IT Grants Program Round 2 extension

We have extended the submission deadline for Round 2 until Weds 14 August . If you would like to submit a late application to the AHO IT Grants program please do so using this link or call Joanna on 9690 2447 for more details.

In the Media

Poor housing leaves its mark on our mental health for years to come

‘Real outcomes’: Super fund invests in affordable housing for ambos, nurses, police

Australia lost 20,000 public housing units in a decade, study finds

GROWING THE SOUTH-WEST | NHFIC announces first construction loan with community-housing provider

NHFIC in social housing financing spree includes first construction loans

Community housing providers can grow build-to-rent sector

Call that a housing slump? As prices rise again, many will be stuck renting

NSW government commits $5 million to housing in Dubbo to address ‘social outcomes’

Housing Matters June 2019

CEO Report

The community housing sector has seen some welcome news this month with NHFIC announcing the launch of its Capacity Building Program which we hope will help support our ability to deliver more social and affordable housing in the community.  More details on the program are provided below.

CHIA NSW also welcomes the Premier’s statement that homelessness is one of the areas that will receive her priority focus.  Providing critical support to the people in the community that are sleeping rough should be a priority for the community and the Government.  It should be recognised however that the provision of safe, secure and affordable housing is a key part of preventing homelessness, and the community housing sector will continue to advocate to Government for coordinated strategies and actions that include systemic and crisis responses to the significant problems facing people without secure and affordable housing.

CHIA NSW is part of the Government auspiced Community Housing Industry Council (CHIC) which met this month to discuss a range of challenges and opportunities in the housing sector in NSW.  This is an important forum for bringing together a range of Government and non-Government stakeholders in the housing sector.  CHIA NSW hopes the CHIC will lead to even stronger collaboration between Government and community housing providers as we work to grow the sector and support more families in social and affordable rental housing across the State.

I was delighted to be able to attend the official opening of the Housing Trust’s new offices in Coniston this month, marking a new stage in Housing Trust’s growth and fantastic work in the community.  It was great to see the Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, the Hon. Gareth Ward, MP conduct the formal ceremonies and to see many of his State, Federal and Local Government colleagues attend as well.  Great recognition of the important role the Housing Trust and the many other community housing providers across the State play in supporting the NSW community.

NHFIC announces launch of $1.5 million Capacity Building Program

The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) is pleased to announce the upcoming launch of its Capacity Building Program, a $1.5 million grant program to help community housing providers (CHPs) access NHFIC’s transformative financing to support the delivery of additional social and affordable rental homes.

Funded in the 2017-18 Federal Budget, the program is part of a broader package helping Australia’s CHPs grow in scale. Under the program eligible CHPs will be able to access grants of up to $20,000 for professional advisory services to help them with the upfront finance and business planning work required to support a NHFIC loan application.

The Community Housing Industry Association Limited (CHIA) will administer the Capacity Building Program on NHFIC’s behalf. The program opens for applications on 1 July 2019.

“In the less than 12 months since commencing operations, NHFIC has made rapid progress and achieved tremendous early success in helping expand and accelerate the delivery of more social and affordable housing in Australia,” said Nathan Dal Bon, NHFIC’s CEO.

“By providing a grant program that funds professional advisory services we aim to strengthen the ability of CHPs to access NHFIC’s lower cost, longer tenor finance and unlock more housing supply.”

CHIA CEO Wendy Hayhurst said the Association was delighted to be working with NHFIC to deliver the grants program.

“There are many smaller specialist and regionally based community housing organisations that have potential projects that will deliver great benefits to their tenants and communities,” Ms Hayhurst said. “Being able to get upfront advice to help prepare the proposal could turn the idea into reality.”

Michael Lennon, CHIA Chair said “These grants are a fantastic resource available to the community housing sector, at a time when it is growing rapidly. There’s huge unmet demand for affordable housing in Australia, and NHFIC’s social bond-funded loans are cutting-edge by world standards”.

The design of the Capacity Building Program was finalised following a comprehensive stakeholder consultation process which included workshops in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The program will provide consultancy services covering four key areas:

  • Finance: project and business financial modelling, fund raising, financial risk analysis and key ratios
  • Business planning: project and business planning, preparation of business cases, forming partnerships, monitoring results
  • Property development: developing or procuring new social and affordable housing, mixed tenure, sustainable and accessible property design, urban planning, place making
  • Risk management: understanding risks (business, financial, policy, governance etc.) and managing, monitoring and mitigating risk.

UNSW Housing lectures now available as a stand-alone course

UNSW’s ‘Housing Management and Markets’ (HMM) short course runs once again in Sept/Oct 2019. This lecture suite, highly-rated by the 2018 class, runs as six full-day sessions in three Friday/Saturday blocks at UNSW’s Kensington campus. It aims to provide students with in-depth insight into (a) housing professional practice in Australia’s real estate, social/affordable rental and strata management industries, and (b) the functioning of residential housing markets.

As well as introducing rental and strata housing law, and exploring residential property and tenancy management practice, HMM covers rental housing business management and regulation. Students are grounded in the principles of housing economics, residential property valuation and housing asset management.

HMM is convened by Dr Tony Gilmour, a highly experienced housing consultant well-known across the affordable housing industry. It also features contributions from several UNSW City Futures Research Centre staff including Prof Hal Pawson and Associate Prof Hazel Easthope, as well as guest lectures from a cast of industry professionals.



Further information on enrolling for HMM as a single course is available on the UNSW website.

Social housing legal responses to crime and anti-social behaviour: impacts on vulnerable families

AHURI has released a report which examines legal responses to crime and anti-social behaviour in social housing.

The report explores how responses to antisocial behaviour in social housing have changed and considers how emerging policy approaches to responding to anti-social behaviour impact on vulnerable families.

Findings highlight how emerging approaches can manifest as a series of escalating threats which can like a three strikes approach may have short term can sometimes be ineffective

It is also identifies that some law, policies and practices have not adequately considered the potential impacts on the most vulnerable tenants, in particular:

  • On women experiencing domestic violence whose tenancies are often placed at risk by legal responses which create expectations to control the misconduct of male partners
  • Children who are placed at risk of homelessness because of the types of action taken against their parents
  • Indigenous people who experience barriers to accessing support
  • People who problematically use alcohol or other drugs who might have their recovery interrupted by landlord responses or who be subject to more punitive responses

Read the report here.

Don’t miss Round 2 of the AHO’s IT Grants program: open until July 5

There is just over another week to go for eligible organisations to submit applications to the AHO’s IT grants program via this website . Round 2 of the program will close at 5 pm. on 5 July.  Grants will range from $15,000 to up to $70,000 depending on how many homes your organisation manages.

The AHO 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

For further information, including assessment criteria and useful resources to help in your application, please click here

Information Session: Hawkesbury- Nepean Valley Flood Risk Management Strategy

This month, Infrastructure NSW and Inner Sydney Voice launched the Get Ready for Flood Social Housing Sector project in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley.  This project falls under the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood Risk Management Strategy which aims to reduce the risks to life, property and impacts on the community from regional floods in the valley.

Tenants living in social housing are a highly vulnerable community to the impacts of disasters and emergencies such as floods. Much of the housing stock in the valley is built in areas exposed to flooding, yet there is low flood awareness and limited coordination between services around emergency planning.

This project will develop and strengthen partnerships between local stakeholders in the social housing sector to increase the level of flood awareness and preparedness of social housing tenants in the valley. Key collaborators include community housing providers, tenants, government agencies and emergency services and local councils.

An Information Session is being held in July 2019 to brief stakeholders on floodplain risks and hazards in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley.


Please contact Josephine Zappia at Inner Sydney Voice for details of the briefing, or with any project questions including how to be involved.

Phone: (02) 9698 7690
Mobile:     0411 747 194

Partnering to ensure better outcomes for people with disability: CHIA Ex and NDS Roundtable

On 11 June CHIA NSW partnered with National Disability Services to host a Roundtable event for CHIA NSW members who are Supported Disability Accommodation providers and NDS members who provide Supported Independent Living services.

The Roundtable brought the two sectors together to talk about how they can partner more effectively to ensure better outcomes for people with disability.  Discussions covered issues such as managing quality and safeguarding effectively, looking at the roles and responsibilities of different organisations in the system and how to work with partners to maintain a strong focus on client centred practices.

The discussion was also an opportunity for organisations to share experiences and good practice and explore how to work though issues in partnerships to get better outcomes for clients.

CHIA NSW will continue to work with NDS to build a shared advocacy platform that supports our members to deliver high quality Specialist Disability Accommodation.

Conference Report: Working Together to end Men’s Family Violence, May 22-23, Melbourne

Written by Jennifer Townsend, Consultant

I started working with perpetrators of domestic and family violence in the late 1990s.  It was a controversial area to work in back then and there simply wouldn’t have been enough of us working in the area to justify having a conference.  Being able to attend the Working Together to End Men’s Family Violence conference in May 2019 showed me how much attitudes have changed over the last 20 years.  The conference brought together approximately 300 people from women, children and men’s services.  It was particularly pleasing to see the high number of men at the conference which shows there is a growing understanding that domestic and family violence is a men’s issue – not just a women’s issue.  The CEO of No To Violence, Jacqui Watt, summarised my own thoughts perfectly – “We can talk about this now”.  There is far greater recognition now that the intention of working with perpetrators of domestic and family violence is for the safety of women and children.

There were many stand out moments from the conference, the main one for me was the level of honesty being shared.  This included recognition of current issues such as:

  • the need to improve the manner in which the service system works together in order to hold perpetrators in view and hold them to genuine account and make change. 
  • the need to ensure culturally appropriate Men’s Behaviour Change Programs for CALD and Indigenous perpetrators that includes a healing approach and recognition of the different power structures. 
  • the need for further improvements in the way that women, children and men’s services work together.
  • the need for all parts of the system to take responsibility, recognising that the Men’s Behaviour Change Programs are just one part of the system, not the only part of the system. 
  • The lack of evidence based results and analysis about the Men’s Behaviour Change Programs and the need for further evidence. 
  • The need to continuously review Men’s Behaviour Change Programs and make changes based on evidenced results. 

The role of housing, and in particular re-housing perpetrators (where appropriate), so women and children can remain in the family home was mentioned throughout the conference but (in my opinion) there wasn’t enough focus in this area.  There were some programs mentioned that included access to housing such as crisis and transitional housing for perpetrators, for example the Room4Change residential program in the ACT whose intention of housing perpetrators is for the safety of women and children. 

The conference recognised issues with data sharing and particularly when the perpetrator is homeless, and it was recognised that housing is a key issue to keep perpetrators in view.  I have suggested housing should be a topic to be explored further in next year’s conference, particularly in relation to integrating social housing further into the system and investing in housing for perpetrators to be kept in view.  We have a critical role in this area, and I don’t think there is enough focus on working on this together.

Finally, there were so many inspirational presentations and discussions but the words from Rosie Batty will remain with me.  Rosie’s 11 year old son was brutally killed by his father in 2014.  She has been a tireless advocate ever since, raising the awareness of the reality of domestic and family violence.  Rosie expressed her views clearly during the conference about the need to ensure we (as a society) recognise and remember that victims aren’t responsible for perpetrators behaviour and the system is responsible for following up with perpetrators.  Also, that it is important that we don’t demonise perpetrators and that there is a need to work with perpetrators to stop violence against women and children.  For a woman who has lost so much to hold this view, I think this says it all.

If you would like further information about the conference, please contact Jennifer directly:

For further information about responding to domestic and family violence and working with perpetrators, refer to the Toolkits on the CHIA NSW website:

Working with perpetrators of domestic and family violence: A toolkit to support community housing providers in NSW

Strengthening practice in responding to domestic and family violence: A toolkit for community housing providers

(Please note that these Toolkits are currently under review following the domestic and family violence reform changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, which came into effect in February 2019).

Please refer to the following article for an interview with Sue Cripps, author of the domestic and family violence Toolkits, in relation to the trial in South Australia to provide perpetrators with crisis accommodation.

The following link shows the Ngukurr School, White Ribbon Australia and Indigenous Hip Hop Projects partnership to make this powerful and important music video / resource touching on the powerful messages of the White Ribbon campaign – Break The Silence.

In the Media

New-generation boarding house not delivering for low income earners, survey finds

‘Not here to mark time’: Berejiklian to focus on key social issues

10 ways cities are tackling the global affordable housing crisis

Smart home monitors your every move and then uses data for science

If it’s voluntary for developers to make affordable housing deals with councils, what can you expect?

Not all older people are lonely. This hidden factor is often overlooked

Government invests in independent living villas to ease affordable and social housing needs in Port Macquarie

Housing Matters May 2019

CEO Report

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 (

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 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:

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
No specialisation 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

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

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

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


Housing Matters- April 2019

The annual Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot has revealed an alarming picture of Australia’s private rental market, and the results for people on low incomes and income support are dire.
Contrary to what some commentators have been expressing the recent downturn in house prices, particularly in major metropolitan areas of NSW, has not led to an increase in the amount of affordable rental housing available.

Continue reading →

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Good Growth collaboration unveiled – a sign of what’s possible in South-West Sydney

A concept for a South-West Sydney development that combines diverse housing, green space, access to a university and transport and community gardens will be unveiled today by the Good Growth Alliance – a coalition of peak industry bodies and NGO leaders in Sydney.

Prepared as a case study, the concept will be presented at the Good Growth Housing Conference today (Monday 15 April) in Sydney.

Working with city and community shaping experts, Urbis, the proposed hypothetical development – Converge at Macarthur – seeks to benefit all in the community, whilst exemplifying liveable, sustainable and inclusive growth, all set within a commercial and economic reality.

Converge at Macarthur is a demonstration of good growth at its best: a development that benefits all in the community, exemplifies liveable, sustainable and inclusive growth and is set within a commercial and economic reality.

The design includes a provision for 30% social and affordable housing; 7,000+ sqm open space, 1.3km walking/cycling trail, public plaza and community hub site, all on a site that is currently unusable for the community. The residential development will include opportunities across the housing spectrum for people of all ages and life stages.

The commercially viable development model is based on an 13ha case study site in Macarthur and includes collaboration from all levels of government. The site is nearby to Macarthur Square Shopping Centre, Western Sydney University Campbelltown Campus and TAFE NSW Campbelltown campus.

The design has been developed in consultation with all Alliance members: The Property Council of Australia, Committee for Sydney and the Sydney Business Chamber; Community Housing Industry Association of NSW, Homelessness NSW and Shelter NSW. Landcom also provided input to the design, and intend to draw on the outcomes of the collaboration for future consultation and inform future planning of the site.

Moreover, the City Futures Research Centre at UNSW are running affordability modelling to develop the proposal.

The Good Growth Alliance was established in 2018 as a partnership between organisations representing Sydney’s business sector alongside housing NGOs to promote the benefits of good growth. The Alliance advocates for a sustainable plan for growth in Sydney, based on transparent, consistent and evidence-based decision making by political parties, local government and planners.

Media contact: Hannah Craft, 0423 377 965

Below: Current artist’s impression of Converge at Macarthur development

Quotes from:

“Good growth thrives on, and is a result of, collaboration, trust, transparency and a clear vision. Together with the Good Growth Alliance, Urbis is excited to demonstrate how a development can be responsive to community needs, well designed and commercially viable. We believe the learnings generated through this project can inspire the property industry, community housing providers, communities, peaks and all levels of
government to work together to shape cities and communities for a better future.”

Rachel Trigg, Community Planning Director, Urbis

“Keeping our communities diverse and liveable is beneficial to us all and Converge at Macarthur is proof that good growth is achievable when planned. Incorporating plans for affordable housing at the beginning of a project, rather than in retrospect, should be the norm. I look forward to working with policymakers at all levels of government to encourage the innovation that will ensure everyone, regardless of income, has a good home that they can afford.”

John McKenna, Chair, Community Housing Industry Association NSW

“Converge at Macarthur takes a piece of land that is vacant and unusable by the community and turns it into a design for a development that is a great place to live, has access to transport and contributes to the local area – it demonstrates the key principles of good placemaking and good growth. Now is the time for all levels of Government to have an open and honest conversation about how our city is growing, engage with industry and community, and get better planning outcomes.”

William Power, Acting NSW Executive Director, Property Council of Australia

“Growth can only be good if it stays true to its purpose and vision – to create communities that are inclusive, diverse and vibrant. We can and must change the conversation from the barriers and obstacles to the possibilities – how can we adapt, innovate and harness our collective talents to make our neighbourhoods work for everyone in our community.”

Karen Walsh, CEO of Shelter NSW

“Landcom were pleased to support the Good Growth Housing Conference which is why we put forward a site to be a case study. Although this was a hypothetical exercise it was clear that having all voices at the table made a great proposal. This will inform the actual planning of the site in consultation with the community in the next few years.”

Tasha Burrell, Executive General Manager Projects, Landcom

“This is a great initiative that brings together expertise from across Sydney to build a visionary, economical and sustainable development. As Sydney grows, The Committee supports this kind of development to establish new liveable, walkable and cohesive communities.”

James Hulme, Director of Advocacy, Committee for Sydney

Download the PDF version here

Industry calls for cross-cabinet approach to boosting affordable housing

Industry calls for cross-cabinet approach to boosting affordable housing

NSW’s not for profit community housing peak body, CHIA NSW, is urging new Ministers under the Berejiklian Government to prioritise building new social and affordable housing amid soaring rental stress across the state.

Premier Berejiklian’s new cabinet sees management of the housing sector split between two portfolios, with Melinda Pavey as Minister for Water, Property and Housing under the Planning and Industry cluster and Gareth Ward overseeing social housing as Minister for Family and Community Services under the Stronger Communities cluster.

CHIA NSW chair John McKenna has urged the NSW Government to develop a comprehensive evidence-based housing strategy to boost affordable housing supply and guide cross-portfolio collaboration.

“Housing that people can afford is essential infrastructure and including it in the Planning and Industry cluster is a promising shift for the new state government,” says Mr Mckenna. “A co- operative and fully-funded housing strategy between Minister Pavey and Minister Ward will serve as a critical link between clusters.”

“Minister Pavey’s new portfolio presents an opportunity to leverage more investment into Aboriginal housing and to deliver a better range of housing solutions for Aboriginal communities and low-income households across NSW.”

Recent modelling by the City Futures Research Centre found that Sydney needs almost 200,000 additional social and affordable homes by 2036.

And while the city remains the focus of housing debates, regional NSW fares little better, with over 117,000 additional social and affordable homes needed by 2036.

This will take years of sustained investment to fix, and Premier Berejiklian’s new government must start now with a plan to deliver the housing that NSW needs.

“CHIA NSW looks forward to working with the new state government and with Minister’s Pavey and Ward to ensure that everybody in NSW has a home they can afford.”

Media contact: Hannah Craft 0423 377 965

Industry calls for cross-cabinet approach to boosting affordable housing PDF

Housing Matters – March 2019

NSW Liberals on the cusp of majority government

The Liberal Party were successful at the recent NSW Election and are set for another four years government in NSW. So what does their re-election mean for housing and homelessness in NSW?  

While much is still up in the air, the one certainty is that there will be a new Minister covering the social housing portfolio in light of former Minister Pru Goward’s retirement from politics. Although any major changes in the current policy direction are unlikely, a new minister will come with a new approach and potentially new priorities for us as a sector to respond to. 

In terms of policy, the Liberal Party has reaffirmed its commitment to delivering the housing targets in Future Directions – 24,000 properties of which 7,000 are new social housing properties  as well as the two rounds of the Social and Affordable Housing Fund. Whilst this is a welcome contribution, the current shortfall of social and affordable housing in NSW, as calculated recently by UNSW, is 316,766. 

In 2017 the Government announced its Housing Affordability Strategy with their priorities being to increase the supply of housing and the introduction of a first home owners grant. CHIA NSW supports young people being able to enter the home ownership market affordably, but we have also consistently argued that whilst housing supply has been at record levels in NSW over the past few years this has not led to increased rental affordability for many families. 

In relation to homelessness just prior to the election the NSW Government committed to reducing rough sleeping across NSW by 50% by 2025. This is to be done through the ‘A Place to Call Home’ initiative founded by the Institute of Global Homelessness. There is no additional funding for housing associated with this initiative which aims to support homelessness services in Sydney to set goals and strategies to reduce rough sleeping numbers and to measure and track their progress. 

 So we have to keep up our advocacy for more subsidised affordable rental housing in NSW – speaking to local members about what it means for the communities they represent and working with councils and the NSW Government on affordable housing strategies and contribution schemes that deliver local housing outcomes.  

Filling the Gap: Australia needs 1 million social and affordable homes

CHIA NSW published a UNSW report jointly commissioned with Homelessness NSW looking at how much it would cost to meet the shortfall in social and affordable housing over the next 20 years.  

This research shows that Australia needs 728,600 social housing properties and 295,000 affordable rental homes by 2036 – of which 316,766 are needed in NSW.  

The cost of meeting the shortfall has been assessed in the report as being $8.6 billion a year – $5.3 billion per year for social housing and $3.3 billion per year for affordable rental housing. To put that into perspective Australia currently spends $11.8 billion on negative gearing and capital gains tax subsidies. With a third of the shortfall NSW would need to see at least an investment of around $3b and probably more given the higher cost of delivering new homes in this State. 

The project costed the delivery of new supply of social and affordable housing based on needs estimates developed by earlier AHURI research for social housing extended to estimate the need for affordable housing. This research focused on an assessment of housing needs, rather than who strictly qualifies for housing assistance, or is on a formal wait list for social housing.  

The analysis centres on two sets of people. The first is households deemed to be in need of ‘social housing’ and includes only those households in the bottom income quintile (Q1) for Australia and who are in private rental stress, and including homelessness figures. The second category is households in need of ‘affordable housing’, which includes those assessed as being in housing stress who are in the second income quintile (Q2) for Australia. 

The report also looked at what the relative benefits of funding that additional supply – comparing the cost to government of using different financing mechanisms such as capital grants, financing through the NHFIC, an annual service subsidy etc. 

The main findings of the report are: 

  • Australia needs 1,023,888 social and affordable homes by 2036 – that equates to 36,400 social housing properties a year and 14,800 affordable rental homes a year. Read the media release for a detailed breakdown of housing need by location.
  • The Government will save $3.2 billion a year delivering the affordable housing through the not for profit sector ($1.1 billion) than the for profit sector ($4.5 billion) – because it removes investor return and equity
  • The cheapest way to deliver the housing we need is through a combination of capital grants and financing through the National Housing Finance Investment Corporation (NHFIC), which would reduce the money CHPs need to borrow and provide access to cheaper financing 

Check out In The Media below for more articles about the report. 

2000 people pack Sydney Town Hall

Almost 2000 people from all walks of life packed Sydney Town Hall in March to call for change on housing and energy policy from NSW state and federal politicians. The Assembly, convened by Everybody’s Home, Sydney Alliance and Vinnies NSW, put the spotlight on decision-makers, calling for public commitments ahead of the NSW and federal elections. 

Many existing policy commitments – including Labor’s plan to deliver 250K additional affordable homes were reaffirmed on the night  but there were a few new announcements, including a commitment from both the major parties in NSW to conduct and energy efficiency audit of NSW social housing properties. Sydney Alliance has published a summary of commitments 

The success of the event and policy commitments achieved on the night were based on the power of community represented in the audience. Among housing, homelessness and community organisations, the community housing sector was well represented on the night, with staff and tenant delegations from Uniting, Compass, Link, Bridge, SGCH, Women’s Housing Company and more in the audience. There were also large delegations from Filipino, Jewish, Muslim, South Asian, Vietnamese and Pacific Islander communities, as well as unions and church-based delegations. 

It was a fantastic evening – the energy in the room was palpable as a truly diverse community of people and organisations joined forces to collectively demand action in two of the most pressing policy areas. The networks and relationships formed through the process of bringing everyone together under one roof will serve us well as we continue to push for change on energy and housing policy in the lead up to the Federal election in May. 

Delivering effective regulation for a diverse and dynamic industry – what we want from the Review of the Regulatory System for Community Housing

CHIA NSW has submitted its response to the Review of the National Regulatory System for Community Housing Discussion Paper. We support regulation for our industry, but we want it to be proportionate to reflect the diversity of the industry and to represent a reasonable regulatory burden. We want it to be sophisticated enough to regulate the growing complexity of our industry, but also to drive performance improvement through a transparent approach to the provision of information.  

We particularly want to see the system integrated across Australia with a nationally consistent approach. We want it to be culturally competent in responding to the registration of Aboriginal community housing providers, as well as in the regulation of mainstream providers providing housing for Aboriginal people. We want it to take a more risk based approach to regulation and to rethink the current tier classification, and we really want there to be a reasonable allocation of compliance burden between contracting arrangements and regulatory requirements. 

In order to do this, Registrars’ offices need to be resourced effectively and have the right mix of staff capabilities to undertake consumer assurance activity as well as the asset and prudential aspects of regulation.   

The main principles underpinning our submission are:  

  • the NRSCH should operate independently of the government agency the commissions/funds community housing organisations and have new governance arrangements that reflect and reinforce that independence
  • there should be an integrated and consistent national approach to regulation of the community housing industry  
  • there should be adequate resourcing of regulation and registrars’ offices assisted by the redirection of resources from the rationalisation of other regulatory functions such as contractual compliance
  • any reform to the system should look to reduce the regulatory burden and to redistribute resources currently used 
  • the classification of community housing providers under any new arrangements reflect a more nuanced approach to risk
  • the system should deliver improved information about the role and performance of the community housing industry in meeting regulatory and community expectations 

FACS is holding a stakeholder consultation on 28 March and the deadline for submissions has recently been extended to 5 April if you still want to send in comments. 

The CHIA NSW submission can be found here. 

Making sure that all growth is good growth: the Good Growth Housing Conference 2019

It’s just over three weeks until the CHIA NSW Good Growth Conference on April 15The theme of the conference is ‘Planning for our Future’: how do we plan, fund and build our cities and regional centres? 

We are looking forward to bringing you a fantastic day of panels and debate, rounded off with our Networking drinks. We’ve had a very positive response to the news that we’ve re-opened our special early bird registration rate for bookings of 5 or more! To take advantage of this offer, contact us at for group bookings.  

Program update: What is Good Growth? Our last session of the day, What is Good Growth? is shaping up to be really inspiring. The Good Growth Housing Conference will close with a panel discussion about what we mean by Good Growth. The Good Growth Alliance is working with Urbis and Landcom to design a hypothetical Good Growth development. Based on a real site in Macarthur, the Urbis design will bring to life the principles of Good Growth. 

To introduce the final session, Urbis will present the design and describe its features and benefits as well as what has been traded-off to deliver on what the Alliance sees as Good Growth. The panel discussion will reflect on the development of the design and the broader ideas that have featured in the other conference sessions. This session will include facilitator Councillor Jess Scully (City of Sydney), Tasha Burrell (Landcom) William Power (Property Council), Karen Walsh (Shelter NSW) and is sponsored by Landcom.  

The Good Growth Housing Conference is of interest to people working in all tiers of Government, the not for profit sector, private industry and communities who want to work together to create a city based on equitable, sustainable, and liveable growth.  

You can register yourself and/or staff from your organisation here and each ticket includes networking drinks from 5.30-7.30pm 

For all program and registration information, please visit 

ACHIA Aboriginal Caucus Day and Breakfast: April 16

Join us after the Good Growth Housing Conference for the ACHIA Aboriginal Caucus Day and Breakfast. The NSW Aboriginal Community Housing sector is undergoing a period of rapid change and the Aboriginal Caucus day will give the sector an opportunity to discuss and workshop three key elements designed to strengthen the sector and develop stronger ties with non-Aboriginal partners.

These are: • The development of a new Aboriginal peak organisation- the Aboriginal Community Housing Industry Association (ACHIA) to provide an independent voice for the sector, • Work with Aboriginal community housing providers to strengthen their organisations to prepare for registration • And a focused approach to support non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal housing organisations to further develop mutually respectful partnerships. The Caucus day will also include national and international speakers on First Nations housing and sector development.

The ACHIA Caucus day will include:

* An Aboriginal Women’s Leadership Breakfast and

* A Brothers in Housing Breakfast (Note: this will be held at Australian Hall 150 Elizabeth Street, Sydney)

This event is open to all ACHPs and Aboriginal staff members from the sector.

COST: Free, thanks to sponsorship from the NSW Aboriginal Housing Office Register here:

Training: new short courses coming up

Centre for Training in Social Housing is launching a new course in Mental Health First Aid. Many members have asked for this course and we will be running our inaugural course on the 1st – 2nd May 2019 with our experience and qualified trainer Chris Wilson. Please register your interest on the website or through 

Mental Health First Aid 1st May- 2nd May 9am-4pm, Centre for Training in Social Housing, 619 Elizabeth St Redfern NSW 2016. Booklet & Lunch provided. $270 per participant. 



De-escalation in the work place and in the field has become an issue of concern for many staff. This short course will discuss and role model how to identify behaviours of concern, what to do to de-escalate a situation and how to ensure you are in a safe environment.  An important part of this course is how to debrief after an event and how to support your staff.  The course cost is an amazingly low $250. Please register your interest on the website or through 

Work safely: de-escalation in the workplace and in the field. 2nd May 9am-4pm, Centre for Training in Social Housing, 619 Elizabeth St Redfern NSW 2016. $250 per participant. 

We come to you: CTSH has expanded its course offerings. We come to you if you have more than 7-8 students. Call and discuss your training needs on 02 9690 2447 ext 215 and speak with Catherine Tracey Head of Learning and Development or go to our website at 

Everybody’s Home gears up for the federal election

With the Federal election tipped for May, Everybody’s Home is ramping up activities as housing shapes up to be a key issue on the campaign trail. Organisations that are yet to join as campaign supporters can do so on the sign up page – we want to have as many NSW community housing providers on board as possible! 

To boost the profile of the community housing sector and the role we have to play in delivering the social and affordable housing that Australian communities need, Providers are encouraged to invite local candidates to visit their offices. This is great way to show the work that we do and build support for policies that will enable us to expand our work within the grass roots of political parties. 

Another campaign strategy is hosting housing and homelessness community forums in key marginal electorates, with candidates from all sides invited to spruik their party’s position on the five Everybody’s Home asks.  

In regional NSW, key electorates include Page (Lismore), Richmond (Tweed Heads), Lyne (Forster), Gilmore (Nowra), and Robertson (Gosford), while in Sydney key electorates include McMahon (Fairfield), Bennelong (Ryde), Reid (Canada Bay) and Lindsay (Penrith). 

For organisations interested in hosting or supporting a community forum or arranging a candidate visit, Everybody’s Home has some materials available including electorate level housing data, branded doormats for photo opportunities and more. For information please contact Robin Fletcher at Link Housing or 

Community Housing Innovation Fund (CHIF)

Information and Design Workshop Rydges World Square

FACS recently held a very well received information and co-design workshop on the new Community Housing Innovation Fund (CHIF). The CHIF is a NSW Government program that is offering $50 million in grants over three years to Community Housing Providers (CHPs) to boost the supply of social and affordable housing.

The CHIF is open to all registered CHPs and aims to encourage regional and smaller providers, who may not have had the opportunity or capacity to participate in large-scale tenders.

The workshop demonstrated a strong commitment to co-design – participants were able to make recommendations about program design, minimum and maximum bid sizes, evaluation criteria and the procurement methodology to be adopted amongst other issues. The workshop demonstrated that FACS has adopted a new and very welcome approach to commissioning this program. Participants agreed that procurement design should be as simple as possible whilst still meeting all probity and value for money requirements.

Value for Money – CHIA NSW welcomes Societel to the project

CHIA NSW is delighted to announce that consultants Societel have joined the project team for the Value for Money (VfM) Industry Development Strategy project.

VfM is important in the light of the need to demonstrate both efficiency and effectiveness and is an essential element in making the case for the industry’s future growth. The project will develop a set of VfM indicators and definitions that measure the sector’s efficiency and effectiveness that have been agreed with CHPs. The project will also include a pilot first data collection round.

Societel have recently completed the NSW Registrar of Community Housing’s review of community housing sectoral viability and offer the skills and proven experience necessary to deliver this important project. Societel will be running a series of consultation events to develop an industry definition of VfM, to identify a wide range of possible VfM indicators and to develop an industry led VfM prioritisation process.

CHIA NSW will be reconvening the project reference group shortly and we will be back in touch with further information on the project stages. If you would like to register your interest in the project or have any questions, please contact

Staffing changes at CHIA NSW

There are some changes at CHIA NSW as we say goodbye to some long standing staff – even if temporarily – and welcome new people.

Leoni Lynch, our stalwart survey manager, hotline guru and asset and community development network facilitator is having a baby (yay) and will be leaving us in mid-April. She will be returning after 12 months maternity leave and to cover her role, at least partially, Zed Tintor will be joining us for three days a week – big shoes to fill!

Lacy Barron has joined us for two days a week until June just to help tide us over whilst the search for a new CEO continues. Lacy was most recently a senior director with FACS and has significant understanding of the community housing industry having been Manager of the Affordable Housing Unit for many years.

Jane Worrall has resigned to go travelling and return to her home in Queensland – we wish her well! Sally Dumbrell has been engaged to provide high level support in the development of training resources for the next 3 months. Sally comes to us with a wealth of experience from vocational education and housing.

In the Media

It’s been a big month of media with the release of two major landmark UNSW studies and the announcement of the first round of National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) finance for community housing providers.

Australia will need 1 million more social, affordable homes by 2036 – Australian Financial Review 

Sydney faces shortfall of more than 200,000 homes for low to moderate-income earners, report shows – Domain 

Build social and affordable housing to get us off the boom-and-bust roller coaster – The Conversation 

Illawarra will need thousands of new social and affordable rental homes by 2036: report – Illawarra Mercury 

One Million Social and Affordable Homes Needed to Combat Rental Stress – Pro Bono 

1 million affordable homes needed by 2036 – Architecture & Design 

Australia needs one million new affordable and social homes, researchers say – The Mandarin 

Affordable housing bond four times oversubscribed – Australian Financial Review 

Affordable housing body offers first loans – Blue Mountains Gazette 

Australia’s largest social bond tackles affordable housing shortage – Pro Bono  

Affordable Housing Close to City Brings Billions in Economic Benefits – Sourceable 

Upcoming events

All upcoming events are listed on our calendar here

April 9 Energy Training, Penrith. Info here

April 15 Good Growth Housing Conference. Info here

April 16 ACHIA Aboriginal Caucus Day and Breakfast. Info here

Review of NRSCH


Review of the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH)

The CHIA NSW submission to the National Regulatory Review highlights some key principles to be applied to any reform of the system, including that there should be an integrated and consistent national approach to regulation, that reform should look to reduce regulatory burden, and that the NRSCH should operate independently of the government agency that commissions or funds community housing providers. The submission can be found here.


Australia needs 1 million new homes to beat rental stress

Australia will need to build 1 million new social and Affordable rental homes for low and middle- income households over 20 years to meet current demand and keep pace with population growth, new analysis UNSW City Futures Research Centre released today shows.

Estimating need and costs of social and affordable housing delivery shows the scale of rental stress across the country means Australia will need 728,600 social housing properties and 295,000 Affordable rental homes by 2036.

Lead researcher, Laurence Troy said 22.5% of all housing growth will need to go towards social housing while a further 10% of growth needs to be below market Affordable rental homes.

One third of all homes – 316 766 – are needed in NSW, however regional Tasmania and South Australia have the highest rate of growth needed in social housing for households in the most chronic rental stress

“Our analysis shows that the sheer number of households in rental stress across the country means that if we’re going to meet the need, at least 12% of all our housing by 2036 will need to be social and affordable housing – which is a very reasonable ambition in global terms,” Mr Troy said.

“To cover the backlog of unmet need and future need in Australia two in ten new homes will need to be for social housing over the next 20 years, and a further one in ten for below market Affordable rental housing.”

The UNSW CFRC research is the first to model current housing shortages and the projected need for Affordable housing across Australia; and look at how the homes can be delivered, using different funding models.

It builds on analysis of social housing need released by AHURI in November.

The study shows it will cost Governments $8.6 billion a year to deliver the new social and Affordable rental homes in tandem with the not for profit sector.

“To put that into perspective Australia spends $11.8 billion a year on negative gearing and capital gains tax subsidies,” Mr Troy said.

“Based on our modelling, the best and cheapest way for governments to deliver on our unmet housing need is to fund it through a combination of upfront grants and low interest government supported financing.”

“Delivering below market rental housing through the not-for-profit sector, as opposed to the private equity model, will save $3 billion a year by removing developer mark-ups and shareholder returns.”

The needs analysis and financial modelling was commissioned by the community housing sector.

CHIA NSW Chair John McKenna said it was valuable data that would help the sector and governments plan housing where it is most needed.

“The study gives us a very clear picture of exactly what housing is needed in local communities not just in NSW and across Australia, which is invaluable information for developing desperately needed housing strategies at both a state and a federal level,” Mr McKenna said.

“The research indicates that delivering below market rental housing through the not for profit sector is the most cost effective option.

“It also shows is the cost of delivering homes will vary according to land prices – in Sydney for example, land makes up 72% of the cost of development.

“The number of homes that we need is clearly enormous but it can be delivered if all levels of government work together and recognise that subsidised housing is not possible without government subsidy in some form.

“State and local governments need to step up to provide the housing their communities need – either through capital grants in cash or government land, and planning mechanism that recognise housing as critical local infrastructure that will help their local communities thrive.”

Key points:

  • Australia will need 1, 023 888 social and affordable homes by 2036
    • 36,400 social housing properties a year
    • 14,800 Affordable rental homes a year
  • The scale of rental stress for people on low and middle incomes means that just 46% of Australian households in need of social housing are receiving it.
  • The Government will save $3.2 billion a year delivering the affordable housing through the not for profit sector ($1.1 billion) than the for profit sector ($4.5 billion) – because it removes investor return and equity
  • The cheapest way to deliver the housing we need is through a combination of capital grants and financing through the National Housing Finance Investment Corporation (NHFIC), which reduces the money CHPs need to borrow, and provides access to cheaper financing.
    • Social housing $5.3 billion a year
    • Affordable housing $3.3 billion a year
  • The cost of delivering homes needed will vary according to local land prices – the biggest development cost.

NB national and NSW housing needs tables below

Media contact: Hannah Craft 0423 377 965

State Social housing shortfall 2019 Affordable housing shortfall 2019 Protected extra social housing needed by 2036 Projected affordable housing needed by 2036 Total need by 2036
ACT 3,100 2,400 5,200 1,100 11,700
NSW 137,100 79,400 76,100 24,100 316 800
NT 7,500 1,500 7900 500 17,300
QLD 102,700 54,700 73,000 23,900 254,300
SA 33,100 10,200 16,200 2,300 61,900
TAS 11,100 3,400 3,000 500 17,900
VIC 103,800 42,700 62300 16,800 225,600
WA 39,200 19,300 47,200 12,600 118,400
AUSTRALIA 437,600 213,700 291100 81,600 1,023, 888

Download the PDF version here

Energy Training

CHIA NSW is announcing another round of free energy training for community housing staff and tenants.

The training has been developed in partnership with The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON), and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) to help tenants reduce energy costs and promote energy efficiency.

The next training dates are:

  • Redfern: 27th March 2019 – CHIA NSW, Suite 5, 619 Elizabeth Street, Redfern
  • Penrith: 9th April 2019 – Wentworth Community Housing, Borec House, Suite 1002, Level 1, 29-57 Station street, Penrith

Click here for the energy training flyer and registration form. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

For more information contact Leoni Lynch on 9690 2447 ext 203 or email