Category Archives: What’s New

MEDIA RELEASE: HILDA highlights urgent need for more social and affordable housing to beat housing stress

The 2018 HILDA report highlights the urgent need for more social and affordable housing in NSW the state’s peak community housing body said today.

Acting CHIA NSW CEO Deborah Georgiou said the report showed housing stress is at an all time high in Sydney, with skyrocketing housing prices and rents hitting low income earners, single parents and older renters the hardest.

People are usually considered in housing stress if housing costs make up 30% of a household’s income and that places the household in the lowest 40% of income distribution.

“HILDA shows that single parents and older people are doing it particularly tough,” Ms Georgiou said.

“There are very, very few affordable rental options in Sydney for people surviving on a minimum wage or government support.

“Yes real estate prices in Sydney have dropped slightly, but whether a house is 12 or 11 times the average income is immaterial when you’re a renter struggling just to keep a roof over your head and your income hasn’t gone up.

“It’s putting pressure on people, and it’s putting pressure on our social housing safety net, which just doesn’t have enough homes to support people who need urgent relief.”

Modelling for CHIA NSW shows that NSW needs 12,000 new social and affordable homes a year to keep place with current demand and expected population growth.

CHIA NSW is calling for planning reforms in NSW to encourage more investment in not-for-profit social and affordable housing in local communities across NSW.

“Between 2012 and 2020, 18 of our largest community housing providers will have delivered $1 billion in new projects in 34 local government areas, with capacity to deliver much more,” Ms Georgiou said.

“The NSW Government has some programs in place to deliver more social and affordable homes on the ground but we need a real commitment at all levels of government to secure planning reforms and more funding.”

Download PDF: HILDA highlights urgent need for more social and affordable housing to beat housing stress

Recruitment for two new Aboriginal positions

Aboriginal Partnerships Specialist – Community Housing

This is an identified position and applicants must provide Confirmation of Aboriginality

Position type: Two-year contract full time (36.75 hrs per week)

Salary range $ Negotiable depending on experience

CHIA NSW is the peak industry body for community housing in NSW.  CHIA NSW is supporting the development of an Aboriginal peak for the Aboriginal community housing sector and now has around 60 Aboriginal member organisations.  We are looking for a dedicated and skilled Aboriginal Partnership Specialist to help us extend our work with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations.

The Aboriginal Partnerships Specialist will focus on building genuine partnerships between the Community Housing sector and the Aboriginal Community Housing sector and other key stakeholders, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal.  This work is essential to support improved outcomes for Aboriginal tenants living in mainstream community housing.  Community Housing Providers (CHPs) are committed to providing better services for Aboriginal tenants and to building on their commitment to Aboriginal cultural competency and safety in their workplaces and service delivery.  This position will provide practical support and build partnerships to facilitate this process, working closely with the Aboriginal Coordinator ACHIA, and Aboriginal Specialist.

Position Description
Full advertisement

How to apply

If you would like to be considered for this position, please submit your resume together with your responses to the above criteria to:

Closing date for applications is Tuesday 31st July 2018

For further information contact Deborah Georgiou PH: 02 9690 2447 (x 204).


Aboriginal Co-ordinator – ACHIA (Aboriginal Community Housing Industry Association NSW)

This is an identified position and applicants must provide Confirmation of Aboriginality

Position type: Two-year contract full time (36.75 hrs per week)

Salary range $ Negotiable depending on experience

ACHIA is the new peak industry body for Aboriginal community housing providers in NSW.

The ACHIA co-ordinator will be responsible for providing support to the ACHIA committee and assisting them to make progress towards the organisation’s strategic aims.

This will include building ACHIA’s profile, communicating with its members and providing practical Secretariat support for the Committee.  It will also include support to develop ACHIA as an organisation – for example by consulting members to develop a strategic plan and to investigate funding opportunities.  The Co-ordinator will also develop policy positions with the Committee and contribute to submissions on behalf of ACHIA, working closely with the Aboriginal Specialist and Aboriginal Partnership specialist.

Position Description

How to apply

If you would like to be considered for this position, please submit your resume together with your responses to the above criteria to:

Closing date for applications is Tuesday 31st July 2018

For further information contact Deborah Georgiou PH: 02 9690 2447 (x 204).




MEDIA RELEASE: Housing, finance, community leaders highlight solutions

June 29, 2018

Housing, finance, community leaders highlight solutions

Sydney’s Everybody’s Home Affordable Housing Conference highlighted the unanimous agreement from housing, financial, and community leaders that Australia faces growing homelessness, social inequality and costs to the economy unless urgent action is taken to deliver investment in more social and affordable housing.

The two-day conference attracted speakers and delegates from Europe, New Zealand, the US and around Australia.

Speakers including Saul Eslake, Industry Super Chief Economist Stephen Anthony, Landcom CEO John Brogden, CHIA Australia and leading academics joined local councils, and organisations such as the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, Domestic Violence NSW, and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council to discuss solutions.

CHIA NSW CEO Wendy Hayhurst said the conference showed there’s agreement from across the spectrum that Australia must change tack on the way we are addressing housing affordability now to avoid catastrophic consequences in coming years.

“What is interesting is the diversity of people saying the same thing – we need to do something now, we already have the solutions, we can learn from the rest of the world, we just need the political will to see housing as critical economic infrastructure,” Ms Hayhurst said.

“There was furious agreement that we need more social housing on the ground for those who desperately need it, and to start thinking smarter about how we encourage large scale institutional investment in below market affordable rental housing.

“The Senate has just passed legislation to create the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NIFIC).

“The next step is to make it work through mechanisms such as the affordable housing tax credit system proposed by Stephen Anthony to close the financing gap and unlock institutional investment in affordable rental housing projects.

“The US housing credit system has delivered 3 million homes benefitting 7 million households since 1986. It’s not the only answer, but it’s certainly a very good one.”

Homelessness NSW CEO Katherine McKernan said it was encouraging to see the level of commitment to solving housing issues across the board.

“A healthy housing system is vital for a healthy economy and creating an Australia that cares for everybody in its community no matter where they live, or how much they earn,” Ms McKernan said.

“People who are homelessness are at the pointy end of a housing system that is broken.

“The solutions are there to fix it, but we need everyone to work together to make that happen so that everybody has a home.”

Download pdf of Media Release here.

Media contact: Jenny Stokes 0478 504 280

MEDIA RELEASE: NSW needs an extra 12,500 social and affordable homes a year

One in three new social and affordable rental homes Australian needs will need to be in NSW, a new study released ahead of today’s Everybody’s Home Affordable Housing Conference shows.

The analysis predicts NSW will need an additional 12,500 new social and affordable rental homes a year until 2026 to meet the current backlog and keep pace with the state’s expected population growth.

It includes 5,000 social housing homes a year until 2026 for low-income households and 7,500 affordable (below market) rental homes for people in rental stress

CHIA NSW CEO, Wendy Hayhurst said this amount of additional social housing would return the proportion of social housing to 6% of all NSW housing – the same levels as 20 years ago.

The affordable rental numbers are based on providing enough homes for lower income households not eligible for social housing but paying more than 30% of their income on rent – which would result in 2.5 % of housing properties being affordable rental housing.

“To put that into perspective, England expects 40% of its new housing will be affordable housing and New York is working towards 30% of all new housing being affordable housing by 2026,” Ms Hayhurst said.

“Of course this doesn’t take into account the housing needs of many key workers who earn a moderate/ decent wage so aren’t eligible for affordable housing but still struggle to find anywhere to rent near where they work.

“It means that people are moving further away to find cheaper housing and spend too many hours travelling back and forth to work, which will not boost the state’s economic productivity.”

In NSW, 240,000 renters – or 8.5% of households are classified as under rental stress.

More than 55,000 households are waiting are waiting for social housing, the state’s homelessness rate has grown three times faster than the national average.

Homelessness NSW CEO, Katherine McKernan said a chronic lack of housing is the biggest cause of homelessness.

“Homelessness in NSW increased by 37% between 2011 and 2016, this was driven by scarcity of social housing and a lack of affordable rentals,” Ms McKernan said.

“The additional funding of $61 million provided in the NSW Budget for homelessness is welcome, however, it isn’t focused in the right area – we need significant investment in social housing and housing first to really fix homelessness in NSW”

The CHIA NSW projections are at

Download Media Release as pdf

Media contact: Jenny Stokes 0478 504 280

MEDIA RELEASE: Cost of Living Budget leaves out housing costs for renters

Additional funding to support Aboriginal housing and people who are homeless is good news but the NSW Budget does not include new investment in more social and affordable housing for NSW renters in housing stress, the state’s peak not-for-profit housing body said today.

The Budget announced today includes an additional $61million over 4 years for homelessness programs, and $33.1 million over 4 years to support Aboriginal housing.

However, CHIA NSW CEO, Wendy Hayhurst, said the NSW Government had missed the opportunity to reinvest the $18.25 billion it has reaped in stamp duty windfalls since 2011 in providing the 12,500 social and affordable homes NSW will need each year to keep up
population growth.

“Homelessness support services aren’t effective if people don’t also have secure permanent homes to go to,” Ms Hayhurst said.
“And extra funding for childcare, education and health will only go so far if children don’t have a safe, secure home to go to at the end of the day, or people leaving hospital can’t recover safely at home.

“This Budget had a chance to future-proof our housing system by encouraging investment in the social and affordable housing we’ll need in the future as Sydney’s population continues to grow.”

Ms Hayhurst recognised the NSW Government could not solve the problem on its own – after the Federal Government’s Budget failed to deliver funding to kick start greater investment in social and affordable housing from bodies such as superannuation funds.

“State Government housing programs such as the Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF), Communities Plus, and Future Directions are good programs but will not deliver the scale of
new housing needed,” she said.

“We need all levels of government to work together on solutions –and a strategy that includes a suite of measures, from planning reforms, to access to government land, and direct subsidies to close the funding gap for community housing providers.”

Key facts

  • NSW needs 12,500 social and affordable homes a year for people on low and middle incomes.
  • Homelessness has increased 48% in Sydney and 37% in NSW over five years (Census).
  • The number of social housing properties has not kept up with population growth – over the last 20 years there has been a 4% increase in properties against a 30% increase in
    households in need (AHURI).
  • 60,000 people are on waiting lists for social housing in NSW.
  • In April, there was not a single property affordable for a young family on a minimum wage to rent within 20km of Sydney’s CBD – and the situation as almost as bad in most
    regional centres (Anglicare 2018 Rental Affordability Snapshot).
  • In Sydney average house prices are still roughly 12 times average incomes.

Media contact: Jenny Stokes, 0478 504 280

*NB The NSW Federation of Housing Associations is now CHIA NSW

New look NSW community housing peak

The NSW Federation of Housing Association has a new look, new offices and new name.

The Federation is now the Community Housing Industry NSW (CHIA NSW), with new address, new branding and a new website to reflect the next chapter for the community housing in NSW.

CEO, Wendy Hayhurst said the change reflected growth and awareness of the importance of the sector not just in NSW, but nationally as well.

NSW community housing providers will have delivered a $1 billion in new social and affordable housing by 2020.

“Between 2012 and 2020, 18 of our largest community housing providers will have delivered $1 billion in new projects in 34 local government, with capacity to deliver much more,” Ms Hayhurst said.

“It’s a reflection of the growth and maturity the sector as a whole, and commitment of community providers here in NSW to providing social and affordable homes for people who need them.

“As CHIA NSW we’ll continue to work with members, councils and the NSW Government to secure planning reforms and funding mechanisms that will provide more not-for-profit housing here in NSW.

“We’ll also work alongside the national peak CHIA, and our colleagues in other states to push for reforms and housing strategies needed at a national level as well.”

CHIA NSW will continue to deliver training through its registered training arm, the Centre for Training in Social Housing, which also has a new look but will provide the same support and training services.

New contact details for CHIA NSW are:

Address: 619 Elizabeth Street, Redfern
Phone: 9690 2447
Twitter: @CHIA_NSW

Staff email addresses will remain the same

Media contact: Jenny Stokes, 0478 504 280

TOOLKIT: Building Community Support for Community Housing

The Federation is delighted to share its toolkit to support organisations to develop affordable housing for communities, supported by communities.
The web-based toolkit includes video case studies of developments in Eveleigh, Summer Hill, Wollstonecraft and Worrigee highlighting the value of affordable housing for communities.
The toolkit has been developed by Dr Judy Stubbs in conjunction with FACS and Landcom.

TOOLKIT: Creating Sustainable Tenancies for Tenants with Complex Needs

With social housing only available to those who need it most, tenants have increasingly complex needs that community housing providers need to respond to. To support community housing providers to manage the tenancies of vulnerable people with more complex needs, the Federation has partnered with Q Shelter to develop the Creating Sustainable Tenancies for Tenants with Complex Needs Toolkit.

Inner West Council – planning together for a better Sydney roundtable 7th March 2018

The newly amalgamated Inner West Council in Sydney brought together a range of stakeholders for a planning roundtable this week.  The Federation has worked with IWC over the course of several months to support and encourage Council in their development of a series of affordable housing initiatives.  IWC have taken commendable steps to promote affordable housing in their area, including developing an Affordable Housing Policy  and a paper on the issues around Value Capture Best Practice in Value Capture 

IWC have also applied for an extension to SEPP 70 to enable the levying of mandatory affordable housing contributions and set an affordable housing target of 15% for developments with a gross floor area of 1700 m2 or greater, and seek 30% affordable housing on their own land.
So it was with interest that the Federation and sector representatives attended IWC’s planning roundtable. The conversation was very wide ranging and covered interests and priorities from the airport to the economic value of industrial land. Key affordable housing points made were:
Sydney’s pace of growth – the city is expected to reach a population of 8 million by 2046 – 10 years earlier than previously projected. Sydney is growing faster than any other top 10 global cities.
Gentrification in IWC is leading to less diversity and the exclusion of people on low incomes and those dependent on public and social housing, including Aboriginal people and the roundtable acknowledged the huge pressures on affordable housing in the area.

The roundtable returned frequently to a number of themes – the need for placed based planning, a community led bottom up approach and with calls for resistance to the silo led government agencies (with RMS getting a particular Guernsey in this context). The silo based agencies fulfil their briefs but may not be aware of the evidence of different modes of working that take a community wide and city wide view (rather than thinking about the speed of traffic flow, for example).
Another are where Council was urged to push back was around Treasury’s insistence on highest and best value in its land dealings, as this leads to many lost opportunities. Some advocated an approach which measures and prioritises wider benefits and included the value of open space and culture and argued that “Net Community Benefit” should be examined at the DA stage.

Rik Hart, IWC General Manager, included a call for practical suggestions about how IWC could deliver the ambitious and varied plans suggested by participants. Two suggestions from the sector were to utilise value capture more effectively and to understand the development equation better – for example major developers will build with 35% inclusionary zoning when required – developers understand the process and factor the costs into a lower land price.

CEO’s Report

Why aren’t governments investing more in social and affordable housing? It’s not as if we all can’t see the results, indeed, a growing number of us are feeling the consequences.  A recent AHURI reportestimated that over the last 20 years social housing numbers increased by 4%, far outstripped by household numbers which grew by 30% over the same period. Combine this with house prices rocketing upwards and incomes for most people just stuttering forwards and it looks very like a car crash waiting to happen.

The 2016 census data released a couple of weeks ago shows that one consequence of this under investment is the rise in homelessness across Australia and in NSW particularly, where the numbers of homeless people jumped to almost 38,000, an increase of 37% on the 2011 figures.  In NSW the main explanation seems to be the severe overcrowding many people face in exchange for getting an affordable roof over their heads.

It isn’t just people on the lowest incomes feeling the pinch, as demonstrated by research from the University of Sydney’s Urban Housing Lab for the Teachers Mutual Bank, Firefighters Mutual Bank and Police Bank. This shows that nurses, teachers and police are being driven to the outer reaches of the city (and beyond) as high house prices price them out of communities close to jobs.

So again, why aren’t we seeing governments take up the infrastructure challenge and invest in a large scale social and affordable housing program? In the absence of robust housing needs assessments common in other jurisdictions the Federation asked Judith Yates, currently an Honorary Associate in the School of Economics at the University of Sydney, to prepare estimates of the need for additional social and affordable housing in NSW.  Her conservative estimates – based on getting back to the proportion of social housing we had in 1996, meeting the needs of households eligible for affordable housing who are currently in rental stress and responding to household growth over the next ten years – demonstrate the challenge – 12,500 additional social and affordable homes per annum. It will get larger the longer we wait to start.

So is the reason that it costs too much? Well it also costs not to invest, as Cameron Parsell at the University of Queensland explained in an article in which he showed that governments were spending on average $13,100 more each year to keep someone homeless than if they had provided them with a home and support services.

And governments do invest big dollars in improving Australia’s infrastructure. The Commonwealth 17/18 budget earmarked $75B over ten years for spending on ‘critical airport, road, and rail infrastructure projects’. While in NSW the state government increased its four year infrastructure spending to $80B on transport, as well as water, energy, education, justice and cultural projects

So perhaps we need to take a few lessons from the transport lobby and make an additional and compelling argument for social and affordable housing. It is the reason that the Federation, with support from the national industry body, CHIA, and nine community housing providers commissioned an investigation into the impact of the housing market’s performance on economic productivity from the City Futures Research Centre at UNSW. See Making Better economic cases for housing below.