Category Archives: What’s New

Housing Matters – November 2019

Housing Matters

CEOs Message

Welcome to the November issue of Housing Matters.

This month is of course AGM season and it has been great to watch so many of the community housing providers report such fantastic results, most importantly in terms of how they have continued to grow and help more low-income families across NSW obtain safe, secure and affordable housing.  With more than 50,000 properties across the State, the sector is now a critical part of the social and affordable housing framework.  Our collective job is to work to continue to grow as the demand for housing is also increasing and too many individuals and families don’t yet have a place to call home that they can afford.

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Housing Matters – October 2019

Housing Matters

CEO Report

Welcome to the October edition of Housing Matters.

CHIA NSW and its members are working hard with partners in Government and the private sector to reduce the number of NSW low-income families in housing stress.  The challenge is a big one – with considerable unmet demand for low-income housing in communities across the State.  The community housing sector will continue to use all the resources it can to meet this challenge, because whilst we build, own and manage houses, what we are most focused on is providing homes to people.  Community housing providers own or manage more than 50,000 homes across NSW, and we are proud of the work we do in helping low-income families to find secure and affordable housing.

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Housing Matters August 2019

Housing Matters

CEO Report

Welcome to the August edition of Housing Matters. You will notice that we have changed the format and presentation of Housing Matters to make it easier to access on smartphones and tablets. This is the first step in improving the access to the newsletter – more changes will be coming over the coming months to allow you to access Housing Matters wherever you are and not miss out on the important sector news each month.

In this edition, CHIA NSW is delighted to announce the dates of our CHIA Exchanges for the financial year ahead.  With a shorter format, CHIA NSW is looking forward to the Exchanges once again delivering fantastic learning and networking opportunities for our members and partners.

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Housing Matters July 2019

Housing Matters

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.

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Housing Matters June 2019

Housing Matters

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.

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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.

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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