Housing Matters November 2019

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.

There is much work being done however to alleviate this problem and it is great to see projects large and small being undertaken across the sector.  It is also positive to see that efforts to provide more affordable housing are being made in both the community housing sector and parts of government.  Landcom held a forum in late November to announce a range of partnership projects on affordable housing projects and CHIA NSW were pleased to be part of the Good Growth Summit on 4 November.  The Summit brought together Government, the private sector and the community housing sector to discuss how we can work together to address housing shortages across the State.  The Summit was hosted by the Good Growth Alliance, a partnership between the Property Council, the Committee for Sydney and the Sydney Business Chamber together with the Community Housing Industry Association of NSW, Homelessness NSW and Shelter NSW.  Our collective aim is to create better planned communities, to tackle homelessness and to provide more social and affordable housing.  This is the sort of partnership that needs to be formed to take on the unmet housing need challenge.  Bringing together different perspectives to achieve a common goal is the aim and CHIA NSW congratulates the Good Growth Alliance partners for the success of this Summit.

CHIA NSW’s annual conference will be held next year on 31 March – 2 April 2020 and planning is in full swing.  The theme of the conference is Community. Opportunity, Growth and I look forward to sharing more details about the conference in the next issue of Housing Matters.

I hope you enjoy this edition.

Mark Degotardi

CHIA NSW CEO 

Personal Wellbeing Index benchmark added to the CHIA NSW’s benchmarking tool

CHIA NSW’s November benchmarking update will include- for the first time- indicators relating to the wellbeing of social housing tenants. The Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI) is a measure of subjective wellbeing developed by Deakin University, and has seven associated indicators to do with tenants’ feelings about their standard of living, personal health, relationships and safety, achievements in life, community connectedness and future security. The Index is calculated as an average of these seven indicators.

This means that for the first time there will be an industry average on personal wellbeing that will allow providers to see how the sector impacts the wellbeing of tenants over time. Currently, the sector PWI average is 67.65 (out of 100) – a score averaged from nine providers’ data- which is below the normative Australian range of 74.2- 76.8[1]. This is a valuable starting point in tracking the social outcomes of community housing.

The PWI indicators have been increasingly taken up by Community Housing Providers in the last eighteen months in order to gather data on the social outcomes. Fourteen providers have used some or all indicators in their tenant satisfaction surveys since the release of the 2018 Outcomes and Wellbeing survey.  This was developed as part of a FACS funded Industry Development Project – Aligned Outcomes Indictors. It developed a set of outcomes, indicators and measures aligned to the FACS Outcomes Framework, using the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) indicator assessment and selection criteria to identify appropriate measures.

We encourage all providers to incorporate measurement of outcomes and wellbeing- through the PWI and the outcomes questions- regularly into surveys.

CHIA NSW commences new affordable housing stream

CHIA NSW is kicking off a new stream of policy projects to advocate on the value of the CHP industry in delivering new affordable housing developments and delivering quality affordable housing outcomes long-term.

Key projects will include:

• Promoting the capabilities and capacity CHPs have developed through NRAS and investigating the impact of the end of NRAS on the housing system
• Understanding the affordable housing outcomes delivered through the ARHSEPP and improving compliance with the conditions in the ARHSEPP for affordable housing
• Advocating for CHPs to play a critical role in affordable housing contribution schemes.

In the projects, CHIA NSW will look at improving education resources so that we can help local councils and other stakeholders understand what affordable housing is and the benefits of working with CHPs. We will also focus on advocating on behalf of CHPs, and supporting CHPs with tools and resources.

The community housing industry plays an enormous role in ensuring high quality outcomes are delivered through affordable housing schemes and initiatives. The potential for CHPs to leverage their capability and expertise in affordable housing design, delivery, and management is significant. This program of work will engage with local government, private developers, and state government partners to support CHPs to maximise this potential.

Lacy Barron has joined CHIA NSW to lead this work and will be engaging with members on NRAS and ARHSEPP issues and opportunities early in the new year.

Housing Matters – NSW Productivity Commission submission

CHIA NSW has made a submission to the NSW Productivity Commission, responding to its discussion paper: Kickstarting the productivity conversation. CHIA NSW welcomes that the NSW Productivity Commission is taking this opportunity to engage the community, looking at how the government uses its policy levers to maximise social and economic outcomes.

This process is timely because over the past several years, CHIA NSW has been calling for government to apply a productivity lens to housing policy to recognise the links between the economy, the job market and housing. Research funded by CHIA NSW and our partners earlier this year aimed at Strengthening Economic Cases for Housing, highlighted the potential productivity benefits of housing policy reform and targeted government investment.

Our submission sets out how a major increase in social and affordable rental housing will not only address market failure in the housing system but will also improve productivity in the NSW economy.

The CHIA NSW submission makes the case that the community housing sector is the most efficient mechanism available to government for delivering the additional social and affordable housing NSW needs.  It also describes the success of our sector in improving services to tenants and applicants.

CHIA NSW believes that for the government to harness the potential of the community housing sector in NSW the role of government in the social housing system needs to change.  The role of government should reflect the diversity, strength and scope of the not-for-profit service system in NSW, focusing on creating the opportunities for registered community housing providers to build more housing and deliver improved services to more tenants.

Read our submission here.

NHFIC Social Bond Report Released

NHFIC has released its Social Bond Report for 2018-19 detailing the use of proceeds from NHFIC’s inaugural social bond issuance in March 2019. The report demonstrates the positive impact that NHFIC’s transformative financing is achieving in improving housing outcomes for Australians. As part of the Social Bond Report, NSW CHPs highlighted include Evolve Housing, BlueCHP, Compass Housing, Hume Housing, St George Community Housing and Community Housing Limited. You can view the report on NHFIC’s new website at  www.nhfic.gov.au/what-we-do/investor-relations/

On 20 November, NHFIC announced its second bond issuance of $315 million. The funds will support loans to seven CHPs in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia.

Checkout NHFIC’s new website featuring a number of product fact sheets and case studies.

Centre for Training in Social Housing are on the Move

Trainers from CTSH have been on the move across NSW. We have been delivering training onsite for many organisations and for Specialist Homelessness Services and this will continue into next year. Training has occurred as far north as Lismore, as far west as Walgett / Wagga as well as up and down the coast of NSW. The issues raised about work, their clients/customers and the delivery of services varies across the state and our travelling to regional and rural areas has allowed us to contextualise the training to meet the needs of community housing providers, Specialist Homelessness Services and their staff.

CTSH Professional Development Demand Exceeds Expectations

Demand for professional development has seen a shift in training needs across the sector. We are receiving increased requests for training in areas of domestic and family violence, trauma informed practice, de-escalation of critical situations, and dealing with clients with complex needs. Our most popular course, however, remains the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal work followed closely by the new Introduction to Social Housing.

Expanding our work in Aboriginal Cultural Safety and Cultural Competence

CTSH is very pleased to welcome Jennifer Newman to our training team. Jennifer is a proud Wiradjuri woman. She comes to us with vast experience in training across all sectors of education and strong links with community-based services. We look forward to Jennifer working with us to strengthen our curriculum in this area and develop and adeliver other sessions for both Aboriginal and non-indigenous students. Comments from our most recent workshop include, “…Jennifer is authentic, brings history and tells stories, navigates with us while sharing her knowledge”….”created a journey….and brought it alive in an interesting way, a way I could understand and learn.”

[1] Capic, T., Hutchinson, D., Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, M., Richardson, B., Khor, S., Olsson, C., & Cummins, R. A. (2017). Australian Unity Wellbeing Index:-Report 34.0-The Wellbeing of Australians: Financial Wellbeing

Housing Matters October 2019

CEO’s 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.

November will see strong engagement with Government through the Good Growth Summit hosted by Minister Stokes and the Good Growth Alliance, and the Social Housing roundtable hosted by Minister Pavey.  The community housing sector looks forward to developing immediate and longer terms solutions to housing need through these forums.

In keeping with our focus on helping people, I am delighted to recognise the recent launch of Bridge Housing’s Northern Beaches Housing Hub in partnership with the Women’s Housing Company.  A great initiative to provide more support to social housing tenants and applicants seeking assistance.  Congratulations to all.

In this edition, there is news from NHFIC, the Department of Communities and Justice review of Anti-Social Behaviour, a new information service from People with Disabilities Australia and some new training opportunities with CHIA’s own Centre for Training in Social Housing.

There is also news from CHIA NSW’s House Keys: Workforce survey which will shortly be released.  Once again, the House Keys data illustrates the diversity and skills of the community housing industry’s workforce.

I hope you enjoy this edition

Mark Degotardi

CEO, CHIA NSW

Insights from House Keys: Workforce

House Keys aims to assist community housing providers to make continual improvements, drive efficiency and value for money, and give governments and developers confidence to invest in community housing.  House Keys Workforce will be released imminently, and this article summarises some key insights from the exercise.

This round 21 CHPs participated in House Keys: Workforce, including 17 providers from NSW, and 1 each from WA, SA, QLD, and ACT.

Based on participants’ responses, the average Community Housing Provider employs 49 Full Time Equivalent staff members and manages 32 properties per employee, with an average staff turnover of 22.9% per year.

The House Keys exercise also illustrates the diversity and skills of the community housing industry’s workforce:

• 34% have a tertiary education, 50% have a VET qualification, and 24% have Year 12 or equivalent as their highest level of qualification;
• 3% are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander;
• 10% are from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds;
• 72% of the general workforce and 38% of CEOs are female;
• Over three quarters (77%) are in the ‘prime working age’ group (25 to 54 years);
• 64% of the workforce are service staff, while 31% are corporate activities staff.

We also collected information about the board of directors, and found:

• 95% of providers have a skills-based or partial skills-based board;
• the top skill categories are Financial Management and Strategic Management;
• 52% of board members have completed the AICD Company Directors’ Course;
• 55% of board members have served for over three years;
• More than 40% of Board members are female.

Workforce also includes detailed, community housing specific information about CHP salaries and board renumeration.

House Keys: Workforce is due to launch shortly.  This release will be followed shortly by the latest round of House Keys: Operations.

New social housing hub launched on Northern Beaches

Bridge Housing has launched its new Northern Beaches Housing Hub, a community space for social housing applicants, tenants and support partners to access housing assistance.

The Housing Hub sits within Bridge Housing’s newly-refurbished Brookvale office and was formally opened by Mr James Griffin, the State MP for Manly.  The office has been operating under Bridge’s management since August 5 as part of the Social Housing Management Transfer program, in partnership with the Women’s Housing Company.

The Housing Hub is a space where support partner organisations can regularly meet our residents and applicants to discuss their support needs and connect them to relevant services. Bridge Housing has begun working with local services in the area including Mission Australia, Catholic Care, Community Care Northern Beaches, Community Northern Beaches, Brookvale Community Health Centre.

Bridge Housing CEO John Nicolades said: “The Housing Hub is an exciting initiative for building our capacity to connect residents with the support services they need in order to lead happy, secure lives in their communities.”

“We are delighted to be part of this, the biggest social housing management transfer ever, in managing some 1,200 tenancies on the Northern Beaches and thank the local Member for Manly, James Griffin MP, for his support.”

Become a Value for Money champion with this one-day masterclass – Value for Money Masterclass 7th November 2019

This is the masterclass that can save you money and improve services at the same time.   Margins are tightening for CHPs in NSW and beyond and the industry is keen to achieve an increased focus on Value for Money (VfM) whilst improving services for tenants.

This masterclass is a unique opportunity to learn from one of the UK’s leading proponents of VfM and hear in detail about the benefits experienced by the UK Housing Association sector from their work on VfM over the last decade.

We are very fortunate that Lydia Dlaboha, Deputy Chief Executive of the Housing Quality Network is currently in Australia and available to lead this interactive, practical masterclass which will widen your understanding of this vital topic and help you develop an approach to implement back in your work place.

To find out more or to register click here.

Centre for Training in Social Housing (CTSH)

CHIA NSW’s CTSH continues to deliver short courses and accredited training across NSW and have been particularly busy in regional areas in recent months. CTSH has conducted training on the North Coast, mid North Coast, the Shoalhaven, South Coast and Riverina of NSW and will soon be training further afield in the Riverina, New England and Western Districts.

Some upcoming courses include:

NCAT Training 12-13 November 2019

CHIA NSW Training Room | 619 Elizabeth Street Redfern | 9am-4pm | $350 per participant

It takes time to carefully prepare the evidence before representing your organisation at the NCAT. Using case studies, this unit will take you through the process of preparing this evidence. You will examine examples of good evidence, discuss why cases may be dismissed, and explore alternative dispute referral options.

Please note we are limited to a maximum of 15 participants.

Community Housing CRA Rent Calculator Training – 14 November 2019

CHIA NSW Training Room  |  619 Elizabeth Street Redfern  |  10am-4pm | $250 per participant |

CTSH is offering training on the Community Housing CRA Rent Calculator, which is designed to assess CRA-based rent in community housing. The training is recommended for all community housing staff who conduct rent assessments and/or rent reviews.

The training guides you through the various worksheets used in the Calculator, gives you tips on data entry and analysis, explores how to conduct rent calculations manually, and provides an opportunity to practice using the Calculator. This practical application will give you an opportunity to explore problem solving techniques when undertaking CRA based rent calculations.

Places for both courses are very limited – please contact Sadhona at CTSH on 02 9690 2447 to enrol.

Statutory review of antisocial behaviour sections of RTA announced

The Department of Communities and Justice is undertaking a statutory review of section 154D and section 154G of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.

As part of this review, a discussion paper has been published on the DCJ website and is open to public submissions. DCJ is also directly seeking feedback from key stakeholders to determine whether the policy objectives of the sections remain valid and whether the terms of the sections remain appropriate for securing those objectives.

CHPs and other stakeholders are invited to make a submission in relation to this review. Please find details of the statutory review at (DCJ website) which includes the discussion paper that will inform your submission. CHIA NSW will be making a submission to the review on behalf of members.

NHFIC Annual Report 2018-19

Earlier this month NHFIC released its inaugural Annual Report.  The report notes that during 2018-19, NHFIC provided more than $450 million in loans to CHPs through the Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator, funding more than 800 new dwellings and supporting the ongoing operations of CHPs.

In March 2019, NHFIC issued its first social bond of $315 million with the funds raised lent to CHPs for social and affordable housing. Strong investor demand for the bond enabled NHFIC to provide a fixed rate of under 3 per cent for 10-year, interest only loans to CHPs involved in the first round of funding.

At the start of this financial year, NHFIC launched and is now rolling out the Capacity Building Program. This $1.5 million grant program assists tier 2 and 3 CHPs with the upfront finance and business planning work required to support a NHFIC loan application. This will broaden the range of CHPs successfully accessing NHFIC finance.

Click here to read the NHFIC’s 2018-2019 Annual Report.

People with Disability Australia: now providing free information, advice and advocacy for people with disability who live in Specialist Disability Accommodation

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) is a leading disability rights, advocacy and representative organisation of and for all people with disability.

PWDA have recently commenced a 12-month pilot project called the Disability Housing Advocacy Service (DHAS). The project is funded through the NSW Department of Communities and Justice and intends to provide advocacy support to people with disability living in Specialist Disability Accommodations (SDA*). The overall aim is to ensure that people with disability are aware of their rights and have somebody externally to contact if they have an issue or concern with an accommodation provider.

The service offers two types of support. The first is the Disability Housing Information Line, which people with disability and their supporters can call for free housing related information and advice. Secondly, the Disability Housing Advocacy Service provides people with disability in SDA with a professional advocate, who will help them resolve their housing concerns and enforce their rights.

The project staff have been reaching out to people with disability and service providers, spreading awareness of the service and building connections with people with disability, SDA providers, their peak bodies, and relevant service providers.

If you have any further questions about this service or would like to get in contact, please feel free to call the Disability Housing Information Line on 1800 843 929. Alternatively, you can email your enquiries to [email protected].

How to access the service? Directly contact the information line or ask your accommodation provider to make a referral. The number is 1800 843 929.

Who can use the service? People with disability in any type of SDA in NSW.

*SDA: For some NDIS participants, the NDIA will fund Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). SDA refers to accommodation for people who require specialist housing solutions, including to assist with the delivery of supports that cater for their extreme functional impairment or very high support needs. Funding is only provided to a small proportion of NDIS participants with extreme functional impairment or very high support needs who meet specific eligibility criteria. (National Disability Insurance Scheme (Specialist Disability Accommodation) Rules 2016)

Housing Matters September 2019

CEO’s Report

Welcome to the September edition of Housing Matters – another busy month for the community housing sector.

Last week, we held a fantastic CHIA Exchange with more than 100 participants across the sector participating on the day across several separate work streams – more details are below.

In other sector news, Hume Housing has completed its Social Housing Management Transfer of 2,200 properties and officially opened its new regional office in Maitland earlier this month – congratulations to all the team at Hume for their fantastic work on the transfer.

Congratulations too to CHIA NSW Board member, Lucy Burgmann, on her new appointment in the new role as Country Manager for Community Housing Limited and to Ian Lynch for his appointment as CEO at Pacific Link Housing based in Gosford.

CHIA NSW is also pleased to announce the date of its 2020 Community Housing Conference.  The conference will be held in Sydney on 31 March and 1 April.  More details about the conference will be made available in the coming weeks and we are looking forward to another successful educational and networking event.

Hume Community Housing officially opens new office in Maitland

Melanie Gibbons MP, Maitland Mayor Loretta Baker, Hume CEO Nicola Lemon, Hume Board Chairman Robert Vine, Hume Board member The Hon. Robyn Parker, and James Wilson-Miller, member of Wonnarua Nation Aboriginal Corporation celebrate the official opening of Hume Community Housing’s Maitland office.

Hume Community Housing, one of the largest housing providers in New South Wales, officially opened its office in Maitland in September at an event attended by more than sixty guests, including Maitland Mayor Cr. Loretta Baker and senior representatives from the NSW Department of Communities. The opening was celebrated with a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony by elder James Wilson-Miller to recognise the transfer of around 2,200 homes and around 4,000 customers across Maitland and Port Stephens from the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ).

Nicola Lemon, CEO of Hume Community Housing, thanked the community for warmly welcoming Hume into the region and acknowledged the support of customers, partners, and DCJ in ensuring Hume was ready to open on time.  “Today is the culmination of more than 18 months of intensive planning as we have readied Hume to double in size to accommodate our Hunter customers. Since we were awarded the transfer, we’ve been actively building relationships with community groups and local businesses. In May, we were able to commence meeting our customers, often in their homes to understand their needs and to ensure their transition over to us was a smooth one”,  said Ms Lemon.

Hume’s entry into the region has already delivered a boost to the local economy through the creation of 45 employment opportunities and the establishment of two offices – a second office in Raymond Terrace has also been announced.  Hume has established working partnerships with a number of local service providers including Maitland Interagency Group, Department of Communities and Justice District Team, Hunter New England Mental Health Service, Maitland City Council, The Smith Family, Woodberry Family Centre and Port Stephens Council to support the delivery of services to customers.

As the third-largest Tier 1 community housing provider in Australia, Hume secured the largest social housing transfer in NSW in 2018 under the Social Housing Management Transfers (SHMT) program, part of a broader program of around 14,000 properties across NSW transferring from DCJ to nine registered community housing providers. Hume worked closely with the NSW Government to deliver a seamless transition for new customers.

Congratulations to all the team at Hume Housing.

September 2020 CHIA Exchange

The CHIA Exchange saw more than 100 participants gather in Sydney to exchange information and ideas across our Asset Managers, Operations, Emerging Leaders, Community Development, Planning & Development and Aboriginal Staff networks.

The Operations Network covered best practice approaches to tenant charges, housing standards and an overview of the regulatory campaigns undertaken by the Registrar. One of the liveliest discussions was on Improving Service System Coordination in Northern Sydney presented by Bridge Housing (Rebecca Pinkstone), Link Housing (Margaret Maljkovic) and SGCH (Renee Wirth). As well as providing an outline as to how the three providers collaborated on the delivery of housing assistance across the Northern Sydney area, it demonstrated how collaboration worked well, how the clients benefitted from the coordinated social housing system, and showcased an example of how well community housing providers have managed the Social Housing Management Transfer program.

The Local Government and Affordable Housing roundtable heard a presentation from Professor Hal Pawson on recent research funded through Landcom’s Co.Lab initiative which considered the potential for Build to Rent to grow as a model in Australia, joined by representatives from a range of local government areas about how they were addressing housing affordability and diversity through their local planning systems.

The Asset Managers network included a shared session with the Community Development Network on flood prevention (see below).  Asset Managers also had an opportunity to hear both the sector perspective and from a technical expert on how to remediate properties affected by methamphetamines.  The Asset Managers also had an opportunity to meet the new Community Housing Provider Relationship Manager, Land and Housing Corporation – Nathalee Tiufino, hear about potential opportunities under the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code, and benefit from two Sector Innovation Snapshots on Compass’s solar panel pilot project, delivering renewable energy for tenants on solar and on Bridge Housing’s Strategic Asset Management Plan.

The Community Development Network included a fantastic discussion about TAG groups and tenant engagement. Sarah Barclay, Sustainable Communities Manager at Bridge Housing shared the successes of the ‘Bridge to Work’ program, in partnership with CoAct.  The program – a process of intensive case management- has resulted in 50% of tenant participants being engaged in employment or training or full-time study. The Community Development Network then joined the Asset Network to attend a session by Jo Zappia from the Inner Sydney Voice who presented on the ‘Get Ready for Flood Social Housing Sector’ project. Jo spoke about the vulnerabilities of particular tenant groups in areas that are susceptible to flood, and the aim to build education, preparedness and community resilience to potential flooding.

The network also heard about community greening initiatives and directly from two community housing tenants who affirmed the importance of indirect peer support through groups such as TAG groups, the Tenant Network, and gardening groups.

Thank you to all the speakers and participants for creating an informative and collaborative day!

Farewell to Sue Ogier

Sue Ogier, CEO of the Sapphire Coast Tenancy Scheme has recently announced that she will be moving on from her position.  CHIA NSW would like to recognise Sue’s commitment, energy and achievements over the course of her community housing career.  Sue has been absolutely dedicated to supporting the communities of Eden, Merimbula and Bega. She’s a true housing champion and has worked for Sapphire Coast for almost 26 years.  When she started in November 1993, they had $600 in the bank and 30 properties.  They now have $4million in reserves and have 107 properties, including 16 that they’ve purchased.

Sue has always been one of the advocates for the small and regional provider and she always been tireless for her community and for people who need a safe and secure home.  All the best for the future, Sue.

NHFIC Capacity Building Program grants

Need help applying for a low cost, longer-term NHFIC loan? NHFIC’s Capacity Building Program provides grants of up to $20,000 (incl. GST) to eligible tier 2 and 3 CHPs to fund professional advisory services to assist in accessing NHFIC finance. Services are available in one or more of four approved areas:

• Finance
• Business planning
• Property development
• Risk management.

The services must be used to support a loan application for either NHFIC’s Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator (AHBA) or the National Housing Infrastructure Facility (NHIF).

The grant process is simple and straight-forward. To be considered for a grant you need to have submitted an initial expression of interest (EOI) to NHFIC for AHBA or NHIF finance.  NHFIC’s Origination team will then contact you to discuss your EOI and might suggest your proposal needs more assistance, in which case they will make a referral to CHIA who administers the program on NHFIC’s behalf. CHPs can select consultants from the approved panel on the CHIA website.

You can find out more about the Capacity Building Program at https://nhfic.gov.au/bond-aggregator/ or have an initial conversation with NHFIC’s Origination team by calling 1800 549 767 or email [email protected].

Community Housing Ltd appoints new Regional Manager

Australia’s largest not-for-profit social and affordable housing provider, Community Housing Limited (CHL) has appointed Dr Lucy Burgmann into the organisation’s newly established leadership role of Country Manager.

Heading the CHL NSW State operations since 2016, Lucy was at the forefront of leading one of the company’s largest growth initiatives which expanded the state’s portfolio by more than double in a year.    Lucy is also a Board member of CHIA NSW.

Lucy has over two decades of experience working across the community, public and private sectors in various senior leadership roles and is looking forward to the new challenge.

“CHL is filled with great people who are dedicated to driving innovation and who are motivated to provide safe, secure and long-term affordable housing to those in need. I am excited to be part of a team who have the ability to think creatively to support our communities by delivering innovative housing options,” she said.

CHL’s Managing Director Steve Bevington said the new position will primarily lead the state teams in seamless delivery of services to customers as well drive forward the company’s strategic objectives in line with the Group’s business plan.

Congratulations Lucy!

Pacific Link Housing appoints new CEO

Pacific Link Housing (PLH) has appointed a new Chief Executive Officer, Ian Lynch (above right).

Ian has been with PLH since 2017 and has worked locally on the Central Coast and overseas in a number of commercial companies in the IT, Hospitality and Insurance sectors. As a qualified CPA, Ian has a strong finance background and a deep understanding of the community housing sector and supporting services.

“I am excited to be appointed to lead Pacific Link Housing in further improving the supply of affordable housing to the Central Coast and Hunter communities,” says Mr Lynch. In recent years, the company has delivered 68 new social and affordable housing units worth over $15 million and has a further 63 units in the pipeline.

PLH’s strong tenant focus has assisted more than 900 residents through the organisation’s self-funded tenant support programs, which provide opportunities and extensive support for tenants to improve their lives and, where possible, transition to mainstream housing.  Ian was instrumental in the establishment of Key2 Realty, PLH’s new social enterprise start-up. “Key2 Realty offers a social enterprise alternative to traditional real estate agencies – delivering property management services for a flat fee. It appeals to local property investors as a unique, community-focussed business, with Key2’s profits being invested in Pacific Link’s capacity building programs to support the most vulnerable in our community” he said.

Congratulations Ian!

City of Sydney Industry Roundtable

The City of Sydney hosted an industry roundtable on 27 September to hear views on its draft Local Strategic Planning Statement.  CHIA NSW attended to support the council to include social and affordable housing as a planning priority.

The City of Sydney’s draft LSPS sets out a roadmap for how the City will grow and change by 2036 with an additional 115,000 residents and 200,000 workers project for the area.

The City has made a strong commitment to social and affordable housing in its draft LSPS.  Affordable housing is clearly a significant priority and the City has a target that of all housing, 7.5% will be affordable and 7.5% will be social. This means that of 50,000 new homes, 11,175 will be affordable rental housing and 2,294 will be social housing.

The City of Sydney has a well-established affordable housing program with affordable housing contributions forming a condition of development consent.  This approach will continue to deliver affordable rental housing in the City of Sydney but more investment will be required to meet the City’s targets.  Let’s hope that the NSW Government is watching and considering how its investment can make the city more liveable for lower income households.

CHIA NSW submission on the adequacy of Newstart

CHIA NSW made a submission to the Senate Inquiry into the adequacy of Newstart on behalf of its members calling for an increase in the current payment level.  Our submission also recommends investment in social and affordable housing and raising the rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance to reduce rental stress and stimulate the economy.

Newstart is part of the social safety net, providing people looking for work with income support.  The rate of the Newstart payment has not changed for some time.  This impacts the social housing system because private rents have increased, putting people on Newstart at risk of homelessness and in need of social housing.

There is increasing evidence that the current level of the Newstart payment is not just leaving people in poverty but that it is also damaging to the Australian economy.  An increase in the payment complemented by new investment in social and affordable rental housing can create jobs and stimulate the economy.

Research also suggests that targeted investment in affordable rental housing can make the labour market more efficient and the economy more productive. We also know that housing stability is positively related to employment, so investing in social housing makes sense because it will provide a vital building block to help Australians back into work.

Some facts and figures about Newstart and social housing:

• Since 2013-14, there has been a 25% increase in the proportion of new social housing tenants who have Newstart as their main source of income
• Almost 30% of social housing tenants newly housed in 2017-18 were in receipt of Newstart
• 1 in 3 Newstart recipients also receive Commonwealth Rent Assistance
• In Greater Sydney, almost 75% of people receiving Newstart and CRA are living in rental stress
• Almost 2 in 5 people receiving Newstart and CRA in Greater Sydney are paying more than half of their income in rent
• Australia-wide in April 2019 , there were just two available and appropriate private rental dwellings which were affordable to single people on Newstart
• Since 2012-13, there has been a 75% increase in the number of people seeking support from specialist homelessness services who were in receipt of Newstart

The Senate Inquiry will report by 27 March 2020. Visit our website to read our latest submissions

Australian Poverty Week – Putting Regional Needs on the Map

NCOSS is inviting the sector to join them at NSW Parliament House on Thursday 24 October from 7.30am – 10.30am for a breakfast event where you will hear directly from a broad coalition of voices to discuss the common concern of economic disadvantage across NSW. Register by Tuesday 15 October to secure your spot!

This is an invaluable opportunity to hear from guest speaker, journalist and author of ‘Rusted Off – Why Country Australia is Fed Up’ Gabrielle Chan. With over 30 years of journalism experience, Gabrielle has lived in both regional and metro NSW, experiencing firsthand the cultural and economic divide.

A panel, facilitated by Gabrielle Chan, will also discuss their diverse experiences and varied perspectives on the difficult realities and structural barriers faced by individuals in regional communities. This dynamic discussion will highlight the need for a cohesive, collective and coordinated action in order to reduce economic disparities and inequities between regional and metro NSW.

NCOSS will also be launching the ‘Mapping Economic Disadvantage in NSW’ report undertaken in conjunction with the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM).

Can’t make the event? Share with NCOSS the one thing that would create a positive change in your community that you would ask MPs. They will collate these asks and present them as a part of the launch of the NCOSS ‘Mapping Economic Disadvantage in NSW’ map. These asks can be emailed to [email protected]

Housing Matters August 2019

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.  More detail on the dates and formats for the exchanges is provided below.

CHIA NSW is also delighted to advise that our biennial conference will be held on 31st March and 1 April 2020 in Sydney.  It will be another great conference and I encourage you all to hold the date in your diaries to make sure you don’t miss this important event.  More information on the conference will be available in the coming weeks.

Don’t miss out on reading this month about the great progress made by CHPs in housing NSW families – congratulations to Compass for its award win, to the Evolve and Pacific Link partnership for its new development and to Bridge Housing for its new office opening on the northern beaches of Sydney.

CHIA NSW is proud to see its members continue to innovate and grow and to deliver on our mission to be a leading provider of secure and affordable housing to individuals and families across NSW.

Mark Degotardi

CEO, CHIA NSW

CHIA Exchange dates

CHIA NSW hosts a series of member events as a key part of the services we provide to the community housing sector in NSW. In the last twelve months, these events have included two CHIA Exchanges, the Good Growth Housing Conference, the NSW Aboriginal Housing Caucus, several report and toolkit launches and a diverse range of smaller workshops both in Sydney and our regional areas. These events are pivotal to our role of assisting NSW housing providers to develop and maintain their services as well as to help build skills and capacities within their own organisations.

The CHIA Exchange is a regular sector wide opportunity for all CHIA NSW members to hear from industry leaders regarding sector innovation and policy updates. It also provides a forum to share ideas and networking opportunities.

As part of a review of member feedback and support for the CHIA Exchange, we have considered how the Exchanges are delivering on member expectations and needs.

We are delighted to advise that this year we have changed the format of the CHIA Exchange to make it easier for more of our members and their staff to attend.

There will be three CHIA Exchanges this year as follows:

Tuesday 24th September, 2019 (Networks: Asset Managers, Operations Managers, Planning & Development, Community Development, Aboriginal Staff Network, Emerging Leaders)

Wednesday 12 February, 2020 (Networks: Asset Managers, Operations Managers, NDIS, Aboriginal Staff Network, Emerging Leaders)

Wednesday 10th June, 2020 (Networks: Asset Managers, Operations Managers, Planning & Development, Community Development, Aboriginal Staff Network, Emerging Leaders)

Venue: Rydges Central Sydney, 28 Albion Street.

As usual, entry is provided free to staff of CHIA NSW full members, with any non members charged a small fee to attend where appropriate.

Registrations for the September event are open now via this link. We will send a link for registrations to the 2020 events closer to the date. For any information regarding the CHIA Ex, please contact Joanna on [email protected]

NHFIC fact sheet

NHFIC, the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation, has recently reached twelve months of operation and has been acknowledging its stakeholders who have been instrumental in helping NHFIC expand and accelerate the supply of social and affordable housing.

NHFIC has also provided an additional factsheet to provide information on finance and the resources it can provide. The NHIF is a $1 billion facility that provides finance for eligible infrastructure projects that will unlock new housing supply, particularly affordable housing. The NHIF offers concessional loans, grants and equity investments. To read more, please click here for the factsheet.

Compass Housing win Australian Business Awards

Congratulations to Compass Housing who earlier this month won four ABA100 2019 Australian Business Awards.

Compass has been recognized in these categories: Employer of Choice; Community Contribution; Training Excellence and HR management.

Last year (2018) Compass was also an ABA100 winner in four categories: Employer of Choice; Business Excellence; Community Contribution and Business Innovation.

These awards are on the back of Compass being named as a finalist in four categories in the upcoming Hunter Business Chamber Awards.

Group Managing Director Greg Budworth said it is an honour to be recognised against other high calibre organisations in these awards.

He said Compass’ accolades are a credit to the dedicated team of people who work for the organisation.

“To meet our continued growth, we are focused on enabling our new and existing staff to build skills, take on challenges and experience success,” Mr Budworth said.

“That means we are Investing in training and development with a particular focus on induction of new staff and building leaders,” he said.

“To be recognised as an employer of choice is satisfying because we strive to create a workplace where people can grow and succeed while providing our tenants with affordable housing and building sustainable communities.”

The Australian Business Awards are an annual all-encompassing awards program which recognises organisations that demonstrate the core values of business innovation, product innovation, technological achievement and employee engagement via a set of comprehensive award categories.

For more info: www.compasshousing.org

Evolve and Pacific Link partnership opens new affordable housing development

The Canterbury-Bankstown area will benefit from much-needed affordable housing for very low to moderate income earners with the recent launch of Kings Landing, a 26-apartment development in Roselands.

Kings Landing is a new community housing project that was developed through a partnership between Evolve Housing and Pacific Link Housing, supported by the NSW Government. The development, managed by Evolve Housing, provides high-quality accommodation for social and affordable housing tenants.

The development was officially launched during an event on Wednesday 14 August, with project partners, the Mayor of the City of Canterbury-Bankstown and other dignitaries in attendance.

For more info: www.evolvehousing.com.au

Bridge Housing opens new office in Northern Beaches

Earlier this month some 1,200 social housing tenants and their families on the Northern beaches transitioned their tenancies from the NSW Government to leading Sydney community housing organisation Bridge Housing and specialist housing provider the Women’s Housing Company.

The providers will manage all social housing on the Northern beaches on behalf of the Government for the next 20 years, following a competitive tender in 2017.

Bridge Housing CEO John Nicolades said: “We are delighted to welcome these new residents to our diverse community. We will draw on more than 30 years’ experience of supporting low-to-moderate income residents across greater Sydney to sustain their tenancies and create opportunities for social connection to help integrate our new tenants.”

No tenant has had to move homes as a result of the NSW Government’s Social Housing Management Transfer (SHMT) Program.

Bridge Housing, in partnership with the Women’s Housing Company, will be responsible for delivering all social housing services on the Northern beaches including managing applications for housing assistance, tenancy management, asset management and community engagement. We will also help to run the Social Housing Service System with Link Housing and SGCH, across the entire northern region of Sydney.”

The Northern beaches portfolio stretches from Mosman in the south to Collaroy in the north. Many of the residents are aged over 50 and live in single-person households.

For more info: www.bridgehousing.org.au

Interested in a health check or consultation with one of the UK’s leading social housing consultants?

Lydia Dlaboha, deputy CEO of the Housing Quality Network and one of the UK’s leading social housing consultants is planning to be onsite in NSW from October 2019.  Lydia will have some availability for consultancy work in NSW from mid-October into November.

The brochure (click here) describes some areas where Lydia can add some real value to the industry in NSW through specialised consultancy on:

• Organisation wide In-Depth Assessments of your governance, risk, financial resilience, structure and organisational dynamics
• An audit and review of your complaints handling processes
• Value for Money reviews

Please get in touch with Adam West at CHIA NSW on 9690 2447 ex 211 or [email protected] if you might be interested in working with Lydia and to discuss costs for the different consultancy options.

Occupant Survey of Recent Boarding House Developments in Central and Southern Sydney

Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils has published research it commissioned looking into whether boarding house developments permitted by the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP are meeting the intentions of this policy which include providing accommodation that is accessible to tenants who could find it difficult to obtain mainstream rental accommodation, reducing social housing waitlists and providing a market-based form of transitional housing.

By surveying occupants, the research attempts to examine the lived experience of people living in housing permitted by ARHSEPP.  The results highlight how the ARHSEPP has encouraged the growth of a market sector to meet the need for small, well-appointed and well-located apartments. The results also show how ineffective this policy has been at delivering affordable housing outcomes.  Read the research here.

Local Strategic Planning Statements

By the end of August, about a third of Sydney councils will have finished exhibiting their draft Local Strategic Planning Statements.

Local Strategic Planning Statements are a new requirement in the planning system, sitting above the local environmental plan.  Councils use the Local Strategic Planning Statement to set out a 20-vision for land use in the local area, articulating how the council will implement the directions set in regional and district plans and its own priorities identified under its community strategic plan.

CHIA NSW is a strong interest in what the Sydney councils have been saying in their draft Local Strategic Planning Statements because for many it will be the first time they set out a position on affordable housing.  What is identified in the Local Strategic Planning Statements will ultimately shape all localised planning priorities over the next 20 years, so it is absolutely critical that affordable rental housing is elevated as a focus.

CHIA NSW has so far made 13 submissions to councils about their draft Local Strategic Planning Statements.  Broadly, we are encouraged by what councils have exhibited because affordable housing has features in all the statements seen so far.  There is some variability between councils on concrete action proposed, with actions and steps ranging from commitments to numerical targets or developing contributions schemes to commitments to investigating opportunities or working with neighbouring councils to consider affordable housing in the wider area.

CHIA NSW has taken the view that an undertaking to developing a local housing strategy is a good thing and has highlighted that this is an opportunity to quantify need for affordable rental housing and appropriate mechanisms to support the delivery of affordable rental housing.

CHIA NSW will continue to advocate that Local Strategic Planning Statements:

• 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

If you would like to discuss submissions to these consultation processes, please contact Tom Kehoe ([email protected])

Construction of Social Housing Pathways across Australia

AHURI has published a new report on The Construction of Social Housing Pathways across Australia. This research reviews operational policies in social housing and looks at how these policies shape the experiences of people moving in, out and within the social housing system.

Broadly, the research finds that operational policies are much more focussed on the rationing of social housing than on creating an environment which is responsive to the changing needs and circumstances of people in social housing.

The research is part of a broader inquiry by AHURI focussed on understanding and reimagining social housing pathways. Read the research here.

Centre for Training in Social Housing receives a tick for training

Every year a Quality Indicator Survey is sent to employers and students of CTSH to provide feedback on CTSH’s performance in training. The 2018- 19 Quality Indicator report has been finalised and shows a high level of satisfaction with the accredited training provided by CTSH. Areas where CTSH excelled were the quality of the trainers, our learning materials and that the training prepared the students for work. Students responded positively that they developed knowledge and skills expected from the training, and a high percentage of respondents stated that they would recommend CTSH to others for training.  Employers were also overwhelmingly satisfied with the delivery of our training. They commented on our ability to customise training to suit the needs of their organisations.

More info: www.ctsh.org.au

In the Media

Have social housing levels fallen to historic lows?

Apps target social housing, homelessness

Access to land is a barrier to simpler, sustainable living

Social housing wait lists are failing

Disused aged care facility to provide innovative solution

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
Email:    [email protected]

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: [email protected]

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.

https://www.domain.com.au/news/domestic-violence-victims-to-remain-home-perpetrators-given-crisis-housing-in-sa-trial-841792/

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.

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