Housing Matters September 2020

Message from the CEO

Welcome to the September 2020 edition of Housing Matters.

This month has seen us witness the onset of an economic recession in Australia.  This event ends Australia’s thirty year run of economic growth.

The declining economic conditions and growth in unemployment are the wake-up call to Federal and State governments that now is the time to invest in social housing infrastructure. Governments have access to borrow at historically low rates  – investment in social housing infrastructure will deliver critical jobs in the construction sector, boosting economic growth and providing long term social benefits to thousands of families in desperate need for secure and affordable housing.

National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation research shows that for $1 million of economic output nine jobs are created in the economy. The investments that could generate that level of positive social impact for the cost are few. Add in the benefits of developing Australia’s housing supply and the long-term economic impact of social housing investment is almost unmatched.

Federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, is correct when he states there is a need for a ‘revised fiscal strategy’ that focuses on job creation to boost economic growth in the face of a pandemic-induced recession. If governments are serious about boosting the jobs and supporting new growth, we know there is almost no better investment than social housing.

CHIA NSW, with our State and National partner bodies, will continue to demonstrate the financial viability of social housing investment through the Federal and NSW budgets. You can see more of our work in this edition of Housing Matters.

Alongside this work, we will support our members who on a daily basis are supporting those in critical need of housing. You can read more of their work in this edition too.

Mark Degotardi
CEO, CHIA NSW

Wesley Mission affordable housing project moves ahead

A development application has been approved for the complete refurbishment Wesley RJ Williams, an existing property on Glebe Point Road, to become affordable housing.

The approval was given following planning and design review by City of Sydney along with important consultation with local community members.

Wesley Mission CEO, the Rev Keith Garner acknowledged this important milestone, saying, “We had to take action. Finding secure and affordable housing in Sydney is almost impossible for low to moderate income earners.”

The refurbished property will provide 74 self-contained apartments, including a mix of studios and four-bedroom configurations for families.

“This is a first project that, with our partners, we hope will provide a framework to help unlock underutilised properties to deliver positive social outcomes and strengthen community inclusion and cohesion. The need for social and affordable housing is great.”

The NSW Government has sought feedback on a discussion paper that outlines the creation of a 20-year vision for housing. The paper also notes the importance of developing safe and affordable housing, stating, “Housing will be a critical part of our recovery from the immediate and fundamental impacts of COVID-19 and recent drought and bushfires.” Wesley Mission, along with other Community Housing providers, has submitted a detailed response supporting the strategy along with highlighting additional areas of community need.

The Wesley RJ Williams project now moves into phase two which includes detailed design specification before phase three when the construction work to improve the property will commence.

The intended refurbishment is part of Wesley Mission’s strategy to review its property portfolio and enhance how the organisation provides integrated solutions and support across its broad network of services which assist more than 200,000 people each year.

CHIA NSW congratulates Wesley Mission on their commitment to supporting new affordable housing and the redevelopment of the Wesley RJ Williams project.

Wentworth Housing to complete new women’s housing in St Marys

The fastest growing cohort of homelessness is older, single women. This being the case, it is encouraging to see community housing providers like Wentworth Housing take a leading role in providing more women’s housing.

In construction since early 2020, Wentworth Housing’s new micro unit complex at 42 Chapel Street, St Marys is nearly complete. This project will provide accommodation for women over 45 years old who are eligible for social housing.

A partnership between Wentworth Community Housing and the Department of Families, Communities and Disability Services, the project was funded with a grant of $3,000,000 from the Department and Wentworth Equity of $1,433,588.

The units are of a contemporary design, fully furnished, with access to private outdoors and common recreational spaces. Each unit has well-appointed amenities, shared laundry and NBN connectivity.

CHIA NSW looks forward to seeing Wentworth Housing continue to change the lives of women in need as they welcome new tenants to this development.

Keep updated with the latest from Wentworth Housing by clicking on the link here.

CHIA NSW to run Aboriginal Outcomes Strategy cultural competency sessions

CHIA NSW is pleased to announce the next step for CHPs committed to developing their Aboriginal cultural competence based on the Aboriginal Outcomes Strategy, 2017 – 2021.

Building on the sessions delivered in June and July this year, CHIA NSW will be running training sessions that take a practical approach to using the Aboriginal Cultural Competency Standards to support better outcomes for Aboriginal tenants living in community housing.

The training will unpack two further Standards and show how this can help CHPs deliver on their AOS commitments.

The two Standards are:

Standard 3: Person and Family Centred Practice

Standard 5: Service Delivery and Practice

These online sessions will be delivered in a full day block which includes a morning and afternoon tea break and a lunch break. Training is highly interactive. Participants will investigate how better service delivery for their tenants and communities can be achieved through improved cultural competence.

We are offering three full day sessions combining Standards 3 & 5 together with additional sessions to be offered in early 2021. Class sizes will be capped for a high-quality learning environment and maximum interaction.:

26th October Standard 3 & 5: Part 1 (9.00 am – 12.30pm) and Part 2 (1:00 pm – 4:30 pm)

16th November Standard 3 & 5: Part 1 (9.00 am – 12.30pm) and Part 2 (1:00 pm – 4:30 pm)

7th December Standard 3 & 5: Part 1 (9.00 am – 12.30pm) and Part 2 (1:00 pm – 4:30 pm)

The program is offered free of charge for CHPs thanks to the support of the Department of Communities and Justice.  However, you must book in advance to secure your place to do so please click the button below this article.

Initially only three participants per organisation may join – if extra space remains we may be able to offer more places closer to the event. We will contact you to confirm your place and provide joining details and session requirement.

WelcomeMat – Dedicated affordable housing rental search website soft-launched

CHIA NSW congratulates WelcomeMat on the ‘soft-launch’ of their new website earlier in September.

WelcomeMat provides renters with an Australian-first service, a platform dedicated solely to showcasing available affordable housing rentals.

As is usual for a ‘soft-launch’, WelcomeMat commenced with a select group of CHPs/listings and housing applicants to test systems.  With WelcomeMat now progressing towards ‘full launch’, it is anticipated that more CHPs will participate and list their properties over the coming weeks.

If you would like to register as an affordable housing provider (or apply for affordable housing), you can view the WelcomeMat website by clicking on the image above or send an email to [email protected]

An update from NHFIC CEO Nathan Dal Bon

We’ve released two research reports in the last month. One explored some of the trends and insights into the first six months of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, and found that half of the Scheme guarantees were issued to single buyers with taxable incomes of $60,000 to $80,000, and couples within the $90,000 to $125,000 earnings bracket. This was well below the threshold of $125,000 for single buyers and $200,000 for couple applications.

Our second report in the past month looked at the impact of COVID-19 on Australia’s population and housing demand. This report found that the global COVID-19 pandemic could cut demand for housing in Australia by between 129,000 and 232,000 dwellings over the next three years based on a range of scenarios. The report also found large falls in underlying dwelling demand are already putting upward pressure on vacancy rates and downward pressure on rents, particularly in some inner-city areas. If sustained, this could cause a contraction in construction activity that would add to the recessionary forces impacting the economy. (Underlying dwelling demand measures the impact of demographic factors such as population growth on the number of dwellings needed to meet that demand).

Please connect with us on social media (Twitter and LinkedIn) to stay up to date with the latest news from NHFIC.

CHIA National releases ‘shovel ready’ homes data

A survey by CHIA National was released in mid-September further demonstrating the viability of social housing investment.

Analysis of the survey by SGS Economics demonstrated that targeted investment through a Federal Government stimulus program 6,000 new homes could be built nationally.

Further analysis highlighted that 12,500 new homes would create approximately 7,000 jobs within the next five years.

You can find more details on the survey here and the associated media release here.

Capacity Development Planning Project launch

On 29 September Centre for Training in Social Housing officially launched a new project to guide the design of the sector’s future capacity development.  The project will identify the most successful methods to support community housing staff in their roles, given the often challenging and complex nature of their work.  This will include skills and knowledge enhancement through tailored training and professional development in regional, rural and metropolitan areas.

Over the next 3 months, the project team will work together through a series of workshops and coordinated research using human-centred design techniques.  This means talking to staff, business partners and clients to understand their current challenges, needs and desired goals, then thinking creatively about designing the most ideal programs for the future.  Overall, the resulting plan will help strengthen the sector in learning & development and workforce planning, thereby delivering superior outcomes for the sector’s staff and clients.

If you’d like to know more about the project or participate in the research to share your thoughts and experiences, please contact Claire Lawlor via email [email protected]

Housing Matters August 2020

Message from the CEO

Welcome to the August 2020 edition of Housing Matters.

As we move towards the final quarter of 2020 the pressure of revised Federal and State budgets loom large for our governments.

Already postponed since mid-2020, these budgets will be a critical test of whether governments will continue rising to the economic challenges posed by COVID-19. The situation in Victoria demonstrates that the challenges of controlling the virus when it springs up have direct and acute economic consequences.

This dilemma poses a direct challenge for policy makers – how to balance the need for responsible financial management and the importance of job creation and stimulating economic growth.
Our governments must show the leadership and the strength to invest and fund the services we need to stimulate our economy and keep more families safe from unemployment and homelessness.

Recent announcements this month from Federal Housing Minister Michael Sukkar and NSW Housing Minister Melinda Pavey offer some hope.

The joint commitment to ninety six new homes over six sites in NSW through the Land and Housing Corporation’s Community Housing Renewal Program and a further seven hundred and eighty one new homes promised through grants and loans through the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation are a step in the right direction. The recent Together Home program is also a leading example of how governments can partner with CHPs and homelessness services to assist NSW families at risk at suffering from COVID-19 related economic impacts. More on all of those announcements in this issue.

However, these welcome initiatives are only the start of what is required to meet the demand for housing in NSW.

As we noted in our recent submission to the NSW Housing Strategy, the anticipated shortfall for safe, affordable housing in NSW is 317,000 homes by 2036. That was prior to the 2019 bushfires and the arrival of COVID-19.

CHIA NSW is calling for viable, pragmatic policies that will start to address this shortfall including a dedicated Social and Affordable Housing Fund to fund 5,000 extra homes per annum in NSW.

CHIA NSW will continue to support our members who are leading the way in continuing to achieve best practice tenant care through COVID-19 and advocate for a more equitable way leading up to the Federal and State budget announcements.

Make no mistake. The 2020 budgets will be a test for governments on whether they have the moral vision to set aside funding to create a fairer future for all.

Mark Degotardi

CEO, CHIA NSW

Government announcements to support new housing investment

The NSW Government and Federal Government have made recent announcements that commit to build almost nine hundred new homes in NSW through the Land and Housing Corporation’s Community Redevelopment Program (96 homes over 6 sites) and through grants and loans provided through the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC).

CHIA NSW welcomes these announcements as a step in the right direction to creating more homes through COVID-19.

You can read the announcements by clicking here and here.

Together Home update

NSW community housing providers have continued to rollout the $36 million Together Home program, recently launched by the NSW Government.

Thanks to the program Ruby, now a Hume Housing tenant (pictured above), has been able to move from rough sleeping into stable accommodation in Fairfield where she will be supported over the next few years by Hume and other providers to ensure she can manage her tenancy day-to-day.

Ruby is one of fourteen rough sleepers Hume will be assisting in Southwest Sydney who will move to more secure accommodation thanks to Together home.

You can read more about Hume Housing’s work by clicking here.

Bridge Housing have also committed to assisting 45 rough sleepers in the Eastern Suburbs and Inner Sydney region as part of Together Home.

On the announcement of the partnership with the NSW Government, Bridge Housing CEO John Nicolades stated that Together Home would help secure more rough sleepers through COVID-19:

‘Every additional person who can be found safe, secure housing with the support services to sustain their tenancies is less vulnerable to COVID-19 and has the chance to improve their health, wellbeing and life circumstances.’

You can read more about Bridge Housing’s work by clicking here.

COVID-19 Member updates

Our members continue to lead the way through rapid adaption to NSW Government regulation and best practice for controlling COVID-19.

You can read how Homes NorthLink Housing, and Compass Housing are continuing to make their business and tenants safe from COVID-19 below, simply click on the logos.

Staff changes at CHIA NSW and ACHIA

With the Aboriginal Community Housing Industry Association (ACHIA) soon to be incorporated as an entity independent, the organization is currently going through the recruitment process for the appointment of a Chief Executive Officer.

We are hoping that recruitment will be finalized shortly with a candidate to be appointed in the coming months.

In other changes, Chad Ritchie has left his role as ACHIA Coordinator to take up a role in the NSW Government. Chad has brought a great deal of energy to the role and will be missed.

Any queries related to ACHIA should be directed to Paula Coghill at [email protected].

Finally, as part of CHIA NSW’s own ongoing commitment to the Aboriginal Housing Sector we welcome Paul Teerman to the CHIA NSW team.

Paul has been appointed as CHIA NSW’s Aboriginal Partnerships Specialist. A man from the Durag and Gamillaroi Nations, Paul has significant experience in NSW Government, including AHO, non-government and small business organisations.

Paul will initially be assisting CHPs on Aboriginal cultural competency, supporting CHPs to implement the Aboriginal Outcomes Strategy and building partnerships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal CHPs.

You can contact Paul at [email protected].

In the media

CHIA NSW CEO, Mark Degotardi, spoke with Domain this one on the challenges COVID-19 could pose in housing in NSW, and why investment in social housing is an important part of the response.

You can read more by clicking on the image above.

An update from NHFIC CEO Nathan Dal Bon

This month, we finalised a ground-breaking deal with the NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) to allow them to access up to $100 million in loans and grants through our National Housing Infrastructure Facility (NHIF). The agreement will support infrastructure works to enable the delivery of 781 new social and affordable homes at significant development sites across Sydney. Read our media release for more information.

We were also pleased to see the announcement of LAHC’s  Community Housing Renewal Program (CHRP), which involves LAHC partnering with CHPs to deliver new social, affordable and private dwellings on selected LAHC-owned land under a long-term lease. The CHRP pilot program includes six shovel-ready sites in Sydney that will deliver 96 dwellings. A second tranche of sites is being prepared for release after the pilot which will include 300 new social, affordable and private dwellings in metropolitan and regional NSW. We have been working with leading industry fund Cbus Super to support this program, outlining a debt package that gives registered CHPs the option to access low interest, long-term funding to participate in the CHRP.

Please connect with us on social media (Twitter and LinkedIn) to stay up to date with the latest news from NHFIC.

Regards

Nathan

AHURI releases affordable housing and innovation report

The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) this month released a new research report detailing the impact that affordable housing can have in helping build ‘smart cities’.

The report notes that a focus on ‘inclusive innovation’ where affordable housing is a holistic part of innovative considerations supports sustainable innovation districts.

You can view the full report by clicking on the image above

Housing Matters July 2020

Welcome to July 2020 edition of Housing Matters.

Inside this issue you will find updates on the work of CHIA NSW, our members, and news from around the NSW community housing sector.

We hope you enjoy this edition.

The CHIA NSW team

CHIA NSW Housing Strategy submission update

CHIA NSW recently submitted our response to the NSW Government’s Discussion Paper, A Housing Strategy for NSW.

CHIA NSW’s response is based on extensive consultation with community housing providers, housing and homelessness peak bodies, academics and other parties. CHIA NSW would like to pass on our thanks for the time and knowledge that all consulted stakeholders shared through this process.

The final response is a comprehensive document that highlights the value of the community housing sector as a key partner for delivering the social and affordable housing that NSW urgently needs over the next 20 years.

CHIA NSW’s full response to the paper can be viewed here.

Evolve Housing creates new jobs with Productivity Force partnership

Evolve Housing has partnered with Productivity Force to help youth, and those in need, get a pathway to a trade.

Productivity Force has been providing contract and labour solutions to the construction industry since 2015. They are heavily invested in ensuring ample opportunities for the next generation to gain meaningful roles, get their trade qualification and succeed in the industry.

One of the ways they achieve this is through their sister company, Productivity Bootcamp. Based in Western Sydney, Productivity Bootcamp provides an 8-week intensive program arming young people with the skills and attitude they need to be a productive worker. The aim is to have young people complete the program and be supported to gain full-time employment, particularly in apprenticeships and traineeships. Productivity Force sources all their apprentices and trainees from the program and supports other companies to do the same.

Evolve Housing is proud to have partnered with Productivity Force to create real employment opportunities for these young people completing maintenance works on residential properties.

Micheal Gherm, Property Services Manager for Evolve Housing, was proud to be involved in providing such a valuable opportunity for more young people to get into apprenticeships:

‘As a provider that puts social good at the heart of what we do, we’re glad to be able to give young people a helping hand to employment in construction and property maintenance’

Productivity Force’s General Manager, Kieran Duffy, believes that partnerships like these will be the solution to combatting the rising rates of youth unemployment:

‘As leaders in the industry, it is our responsibility to invest in the next generation of workers to ensure that our industry not only survives but thrives in the future and remains one of the key pillars in Australia’s healthy economic ecosystem”.

The partnership also provides work experience opportunities to participants of the Productivity Bootcamp program, giving them much needed exposure to real construction work. Participants that engaged in work experience on Evolve Housing projects rated the experience as one of the highlights of the program.’

The most recent intake of the Productivity Bootcamp program will support 25 new participants to gain the skills and opportunities they need to secure meaningful employment. With the economic impact of COVID-19 affecting construction, it is great to see this initiative supporting employment in Western Sydney.

CHIA NSW congratulates Evolve Housing and Productivity Force on this important partnership.

You can see photos of the apprentices at work in the photos above, you can read more about Evolve’s work here, and Productivity Force’s program here

Older Tenants toolkit released

In partnership with Uniting, CHIA NSW recently released the Older Tenants toolkit. Aimed at providers of accommodation for tenants ageing in place, the toolkit will support aged care and community housing providers seeking to implement best practice for older tenants.With Australia experiencing a demographic shift towards a long-term ageing population, the need for providers to understand this cohort will only increase.

You can access the toolkit at the CHIA NSW website (click here)Pacific Link Housing seek Non-Executive Director

Pacific Link Housing are currently seeking Expressions of Interest for a Non-Executive Director to join their organisation. You can find more information about the role, including application details, below.

The Organisation
Pacific Link Housing is a not-for-profit for purpose Central Coast based company; providing affordable, community-based, rental housing for people with limited access to traditional and mainstream housing in the Central Coast, Lake Macquarie, Hunter Valley and Port Stephens areas.  The organisation manages over 1,000 properties.
The Company’s on-going registration as a Community Housing Provider requires constant Board and management attention.  Pacific Link is a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission.

The Role
As a Tier 1 Community Housing Provider, Pacific Link Housing must operate under the expert guidance of a skilled Board of Directors.  Due to impending Board vacancies (based on rotational requirements outlined in our Constitution), we are currently seeking expressions of interest from a range of skilled candidates with extensive professional experience and expertise in one or more of the following areas:

community housing
strategic and financial management
housing development, procurement and construction
real estate services
strategic asset management
social policy development, and
experience in advocacy and government procurement.

To be successfully appointed as a Director on the Board of Pacific Link Housing, each candidate must also demonstrate that they possess the time and commitment necessary to perform their duties as a Director, commensurate with the size, nature and strategic intent of Pacific Link Housing. Directors must also be eligible to work in Australia on a permanent basis.

Given Pacific Link Housing’s charitable status, Directors are remunerated at a level that is benchmarked to similar organisations. Nominations for the position of Director are subject to the endorsement and approval by members in accordance with Pacific Link Housing’s constituent rules. Further information will be made available to persons who are offered an interview.

NB: The role will require a background check prior to an offer of appointment.

Application Process
EOI Applications should include your resume and covering letter, identifying your areas of relevant expertise and experience. Please email your EOI to: [email protected]

Closing date for applications is 5pm Friday 7th August 2020
EOI enquiries, please contact the Company Secretary at [email protected]

No agencies please.

BaptistCare NSW/ACT CEO Ross Low retires, welcomes new CEO Charles Moore

CHIA NSW thanks retiring BaptistCare NSW/ACT Chief Executive Officer Ross Low, who retired from BaptistCare NSW/ACT earlier in July.

Ross Low was instrumental in overseeing BaptistCare’s community housing strategy. We thank Ross for his service and contribution to both BaptistCare and the community housing sector.

CHIA NSW would also like to extend our congratulations to incoming BaptistCare NSW/ACT CEO, Charles Moore who joins from the Sydney Olympic Park Authority.

You can read coverage of the announcement from BaptistCare NSW/ACT here.

Community Housing Limited’s Together Home update

The NSW Government’s recently announced Together Home package is now being rolled out.

CHIA NSW member Community Housing Limited (CHL) is one of the providers to receive a share of $36 million to combat homelessness in NSW.

Through $1.6m in funding, CHL will transition 24 rough sleepers on NSW Mid-North Coast to long-term social housing. Managing Director of CHL Steve Bevington said the importance of the NSW Government’s Together Home package could not be underestimated:

‘It is encouraging to see the NSW Government consistently prioritizing funding in this area where it’s so desperately needed, providing a new lease of life to those who have fallen into difficulties…This funding will allow CHL to prioritise housing and support to those at the hardest end of the homelessness cycle back into housing and community life.’

CHIA NSW congratulates the NSW Government for their continued partnership with providers like CHL on the Together Home program.

You can read CHL’s media release on their participation in the program here.

NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal training – open for enrolments

Developing an understanding of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) is fast becoming an important part of ensuring CHPs are ready to effectively address issues.
Centre for Training in Social Housing is offering an online NCAT training package that is supported through two video conferencing sessions and online modules. Participants will develop:

• Fundamental skills in navigating NCAT, including record management, NCAT procedure and case preparation.
• Practical case knowledge through engaging, hands-on activities and quizzes throughout the program.
• Opportunities to network, workshop and collaborate with industry peers.

The NCAT training course will start on August 19th and is currently open for enrolments. If this is of interest to you or your organization, you can register or seek further details by contacting our training representative, Sadhona, at [email protected].

New digital platform WelcomeMat to ease search for affordable rental housing

WelcomeMat, a new digital platform that matches affordable rental housing providers with eligible applicants, has been created to make it easier for people seeking affordable rental housing.

The platform has been designed to create efficiencies and cost savings for housing providers, as well as a more accessible and equitable system for those seeking tenancy. WelcomeMat will prequalify applicants based on their profile, which will streamline the application process.

Co-founder and CEO of WelcomeMat, Mark Khoo, who is a property lawyer and Churches Housing Board Member, saw the challenges that affordable rental housing providers and applicants face in the leasing process.

“We all know that there is low awareness and confusion amongst the public about what affordable rental housing is, and where to find it. This leads to many eligible Australians missing out, as well as a high volume of ineligible applications.

“Based on CHIA NSW’s own research, up to 60% of affordable rental housing applicants are ineligible, yet each application can take hours to process. This is putting incredible administrative pressure on housing providers to avoid vacancies despite the high demand,” said Khoo.

Brian Murnane, CEO of Vinnies’ Amelie Housing, said “Searching for an affordable rental home can be confusing, frustrating and time consuming. We are looking forward to WelcomeMat providing one central and easy-to-use resource that will alleviate this stress to help housing providers and applicants manage the process.”

CHIA NSW is pleased to support WelcomeMat as it seeks to fill a vital role in the affordable rental housing industry. The public support from other peak bodies including Churches Housing and many CHPs, demonstrates that WelcomeMat will be providing a much-needed service.”

WelcomeMat also plans to collect and analyse data on supply and demand to assist with advocacy and town planning and help increase the supply of community housing.

Upon launch, WelcomeMat will focus on the Sydney Metro, Central Coast and Hunter regions, with a view to expand to the rest of NSW and then nationally.

A soft launch of the portal will take place in early September 2020. To list your property, please visit www.welcomemat.com.au and send an email to [email protected]

An update from NHFIC CEO Nathan Dal Bon

On 22 July, I participated in the CHIA Strategic Chairs Network videoconference, where I gave an update on NHFIC’s progress across all areas of our business. I was pleased to advise that we now have over $1.5b in AHBA loans approved by our Board, supporting thousands of new and existing dwellings across the country. Additionally, 11 grant applications have been supported through our Capacity Building Program, which provides eligible CHPs with tailored assistance from a panel of approved professional advisory service providers to help with applications for NHFIC finance. To apply for a grant, visit CHIA’s website for more information. 

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been meeting with the CEOs and CFOs of community housing providers involved in NHFIC’s third bond issuance last month to gain feedback and insights into their experiences across the entire AHBA loan process. The feedback has been valuable for our team to understand what worked well and where improvements could be made. We’ve also been having more informal discussions with some of the CEOs to develop case studies for our website.

Our newly formed research unit is working on a number of short papers to be released in the coming months. Here’s a link to the first research report, Building Jobs: How residential construction drives the economy, if you haven’t yet read it. Understanding the extent to which residential construction activity (including social and affordable housing) affects output and jobs across the broader economy is important, given the impact of COVID-19 and general market uncertainty. Our analysis confirms that, relative to other industries, residential construction activity has strong economic spillovers in terms of economic output and jobs, particularly when there is spare capacity.

Please connect with us on social media (Twitter and LinkedIn) to stay up to date with the latest news from NHFIC.

Housing Matters June 2020

Message from the CEO

Welcome to the June 2020 edition of Housing Matters.

One of the exciting aspects of our sector is our future focus.

CHIA NSW’s latest report on the NSW community housing sector, noted in this edition, shows how this vision – to develop safe, secure and affordable housing for people in greatest need – has had an astonishingly positive impact on our State.

From a relatively small starting point of building 68 homes in 2012, our sector delivered over 3,200 homes by 2020.

That’s over $1.2 billion in new housing through developments in 45 Local Government Areas – all driven by community housing provider investment and financing.

These are incredible achievements and speaks to the sector’s capacity and capability to deliver social and affordable housing in NSW.  For our sector though, these achievements only encourage us to deliver and secure more affordable homes for NSW families.

That’s what it means to be future-focused.

The release of the NSW Housing Strategy discussion paper gives us the chance to articulate our sector’s critical role in providing new homes in areas of high need.

This will be a prime opportunity for us to share directly with government our 20-year vision for community housing in NSW and the important partnerships with Government, financiers and the private sector that will be critical to meeting the demand for social and affordable housing.

Finally, in this issue, National Housing, Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC)’s CEO Nathan Dal Bon shares an update on NHFIC’s new research on the economic value of residential building and the recent bond raising which created $562 million in funding for several Community Housing Providers in NSW and around Australia.

Projects from Argyle Housing, Bridge Housing, BaptistCare NSW, Mission Australia, Pacific Link Housing, and SGCH will create new futures for hundreds of NSW families over the coming years.

We look forward to seeing these projects become a reality, as our sector to continue its future focus on creating new jobs, opportunities, and homes for NSW.

We hope you enjoy this edition.

Mark Degotardi

CEO, CHIA NSW

NSW Housing Strategy – CHIA NSW consultation now underway

The NSW Government has released a discussion paper for its NSW Housing Strategy.

The Strategy aims to set a 20-year, whole-of-government vision for housing in NSW in response to population growth and changing housing needs. This Strategy must include new investment and the development of new policy responses which will help deliver an additional 1 million homes in Greater Sydney, and an additional 295,000 homes across the rest of NSW, by 2041 for both home-owners and renters.

Consultation on the Discussion Paper is now underway, and submissions have been requested by the NSW Government to be received by 24 July 2020. You can view the initial announcement and discussion paper here.

CHIA NSW is now directly consulting with our members to develop a submission on behalf of the  NSW Community Housing Sector.

If you are a CHIA NSW member that would like to discuss CHIA NSW’s formal response to the Strategy, please contact Head of Policy, Caitlin McDowell at [email protected]

CHIA NSW release Community Housing snapshot report

CHIA NSW recently launched Community housing in NSW: the way forward.

A snapshot of the sector’s achievements from 2012 to 2020, the report draws on sector data and shows that community housing providers have invested $1.2 billion in new projects across 45 Local Government Areas, resulting in 3,282 new homes.

The report reveals the ongoing value of community housing in both in providing affordable homes to developing regions (e.g. Sydney, Western Sydney and beyond) and the sector’s exponential growth over the last decade.

You can view the full report by clicking on the report image above. Further commentary on the report is viewable in this media report from Domain.

An update from NHFIC CEO, Nathan Dal Bon

It’s been a busy month for us at NHFIC as we approach the end of the financial year.

On 24 June, we finalised our third bond for $562 million – making it the largest social bond from an Australian issuer. The funds raised from the bond will support ten CHPs across NSW, SA, Tasmania and Victoria, financing 2,736 properties including 775 new dwellings. In total, NHFIC’s third bond is expected to save the participating CHPs more than $80 million in interest payments over the 12-year term of the loans.

The first loan to a Tasmanian CHP formed part of the latest bond, with Housing Choices Tasmania to use the funding for 192 existing and new social and affordable homes. Other CHP loans supported by the bond include Argyle Community Housing (NSW), BaptistCare (NSW & ACT) (NSW), Bridge Housing (NSW), Common Equity Housing Ltd (Victoria), Junction (SA), Mission Australia Housing (NSW), Pacific Link Housing (NSW), SGCH Sustainability (NSW), and Women’s Housing Limited (Victoria). You can read the media release on our website.

We were also pleased to launch our first research report this month from our new research unit. The report, Building Jobs: How residential construction drives the economy, found that residential construction has the second largest economic multiplier of all 114 industries that make up the Australian economy, and that for every $1 million spent on residential construction, nine jobs are supported across the economy.

On the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme front, we are preparing to release another 10,000 places to our participating lenders from 1 July 2020. Given the swift uptake in places this financial year, we expect places for the 2020/21 financial year will once again prove popular with first home buyers.

Regards

Nathan Dal Bon

Summer Foundation training

The community housing sector is vital to ensuring successful implementation of Special Disability Accommodation (SDA) and better disability housing for those who need it.

Community Housing Providers (CHPs) are increasingly key providers of disability housing and are partnering with SDA providers across the country to boost their skills and experience in disability services.

The Summer Foundation has received a grant from the Support for NDIS Providers Program to develop compliance education resources for SDA providers.

The Welcome Home education package will help SDA providers understand their obligations under the NDIS Practice Standards for SDA, with a focus on developing a rights-based approach to the delivery of housing for people with the highest level of support needs.

The Welcome Home project is the only initiative funded by the Support for NDIS Provider Program to have a focus on SDA. The resource will be crucial in supporting the SDA sector including CHPs who are providing, or will provide, disability housing in the future.

Rosie Beaumont, the Summer Foundation’s SDA Quality and Safeguards Project Manager, said that as the SDA market in Australia gains further momentum, it will be vital for providers to understand their obligations under the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework and the strategies they need to adopt to take a rights-based approach to delivering SDA to participants.

The Welcome Home package will be available online in 2021. Interested CHPs working on SDA requirements should contact [email protected].

Older Tenants’ toolkit launch and events

On July 24th , CHIA NSW will be launching the Older Tenants’ toolkit.

This resource will assist providers in best practice care for ageing tenants in a stable, ongoing tenancy. We anticipate it will be of strong interest to community housing providers, Aboriginal community housing, aged care and other sectors.

CHIA NSW will be hosting an online launch of the toolkit on July 24th, 10:00-12:30, in partnership with project funders – the Department of Communities and Justice, Uniting, and the Aboriginal Housing Office.

This launch will be followed by a specialised 2-hour masterclass workshop covering:

–        A comprehensive overview of the toolkit.
–        Critical discussion regarding its implementation.
–        Critical discussion on areas for future development.

If you are interested in attending the launch or the masterclass please contact CHIA NSW’s Events Coordinator, Claire Lawlor at [email protected]

Maintaining tenancies, reducing arrears and minimizing vacancies during the pandemic

Risk management during the coronavirus crisis has heightened for all CHPs, demanding swift and considered action. Hume Community Housing has focussed strongly on mitigating two major risks identified through their business continuity planning—potentially high levels of customer arrears and increasing or prolonged voids.

Andrea Ritchie, Executive Manager of Customer Experience at Hume (pictured), said Hume has applied a fair and reasonable approach to support customers who are directly impacted because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We engage with our customers as early as possible to prevent them incurring debt, and when required, setting up payment plans to ensure that they can maintain their tenancy,” Ms Ritchie said.

“Hume has been progressively conducting wellbeing calls to all of our customers and working with them to address issues before they escalate into bigger problems,” she said.

Implementing consistent messaging via letters, social media, Hume’s website and customer magazine has conveyed that “a safe and secure home has never been more important, and customers should contact us before financial stress takes hold because we are here to help,” Ms Ritchie said.

“For our social housing customers, many of whom are financially in a better position due to the Government’s coronavirus payments, we expect rent and water bill payments to continue to be paid.
“Due to the economic impacts of Covid-19, some customers have lost their jobs, so we have provided them with financial support information and referrals to help them manage their household expenses,” Ms Ritchie said.

Although the 6-month eviction moratorium does not apply to community housing customers, Hume, like other CHPs, elected not to implement rent reviews or CPI increases scheduled for March 2020.

“We also applied a rent amnesty—we have not backdated charges where there is a rent increase and we have worked with the community housing sector to lobby the Australian Government to amend regulation for mandatory rent direct payments to community housing providers should a customer have rent arrears of four weeks or more,” Ms Ritchie said.

“We have actually seen a drop in our arrears levels that can be attributed to our pro-active approach,” she said.

Social distancing requirements resulted in the ceasing of open home inspections, so a strategic approach to managing voids was also needed to ensure the continuity of rental income for Hume.

“Virtual viewings and virtual open homes were implemented, and individual viewings were subject to the restrictions. Video marketing works well in traditional real estate advertising and this approach has worked quite well for Hume, as we have been able to continue to fill our vacant properties,” Ms Ritchie said.

“And like other housing providers, we have seen an increase in the demand for temporary housing for people without a home during the pandemic. We are managing our vacancies and working with our peers and peak bodies in the sector to provide longer-term housing for customers who would otherwise be homeless,” she said.

“As restrictions ease, and a ‘new normal’ ensues, Hume will continue to pro-actively manage our business continuity processes to ensure we remain a viable business while putting our customer at the centre of everything we do.”

Housing Matters May 2020

Message from the CEO

Welcome to the May 2020 edition of Housing Matters.

This month has been all about partnership.

For CHIA NSW, our partnership with the NSW Council of Social Service, Homelessness NSW, Shelter NSW, and the Tenants’ Union of NSW, has been active in calling for social and affordable housing stimulus to be central in Government considerations for supporting economic recovery from COVID-19. Together, we commissioned new modelling from Equity Economics, which highlighted the social and economic benefits of social housing stimulus.

The report showed that rising unemployment will have increased pressure on the housing system, which could result in up to 16,000 people becoming homeless as a result of COVID-19. A social housing stimulus package of $500 million could recharge the economy, create up to 4,200 construction jobs, and reduce the impact of homelessness.

Links to the full report are in this edition.

Partnership is also crucial for our members. In this edition of Housing Matters, you’ll see some of the programs and developments that our members are delivering in partnership with others, including their tenant communities. Whether it’s in holistic tenant care or new housing developments, community housing providers are pioneering new and innovative ways to support their communities.

Also important for our sector’s growth has been our work with the National Finance Housing and Investment Corporation (NHFIC). In this edition we hear from Nathan Dal Bon, CEO of NHFIC, about current and forthcoming initiatives which will help our members to deliver new housing.

You’ll be able to see more about those stories below.

Finally, I want to acknowledge CHIA NSW’s partnerships with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. During Reconciliation Week, CHIA NSW is taking time as an organisation on Friday 29 May to reflect on this year’s theme – In this Together – and what this means for all Australians. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many Aboriginal organisations and communities that work with CHIA NSW and our members to deliver better housing outcomes for Aboriginal people. We look forward to our ongoing partnership with the Aboriginal community housing sector to create a fairer and more equitable Australia.

We hope you enjoy this edition.

Mark Degotardi

CEO, CHIA NSW

Report from NSW peak bodies shows impacts of COVID-19 and ways to economic recovery

In May 2020, CHIA NSW co-commissioned research with the NSW Council of Social Service, Homelessness NSW, Shelter NSW, and the Tenants’ Union NSW on the impacts of COVID-19 on the NSW economy.

The research was developed by Equity Economics and showed that up to 16,000 individuals could be made homeless by the impacts of COVID-19. In response the report modelled that a targeted social housing stimulus package could secure more homes to reduce the impact of homelessness, and support the construction sector through the creation of new jobs.

You can view the Equity Economics report in full along with the media release, by clicking on the image above and following the links.

CHIA National calls for 30,000 social housing units through a coordinated program

Earlier this month our national body, CHIA National, launched the Social Housing Acceleration & Renovation Program (SHARP).

The program was launched in partnership between CHIA National, Homelessness Australia, National Shelter, and the Everybody’s Home campaign.

The program called for National and State Governments to work together to leverage historically low bond borrowing rates, to fund the creation of 30,000 social housing units to create jobs and new homes.

You can read the report by clicking on the report image above or read the full media release through the link here.

Pacific Link Housing launches Pacific Gateway at Glendale

Pacific Link Housing has formally opened the Pacific Gateway mixed housing community. In partnership with the NSW Land and Housing Corporation and with assistance from Kingston Building Australia, Pacific Link was able to deliver the new site through the Communities Plus program.

With social, affordable, and private housing properties all on site, the 21 unit development will support a diverse community.
The project has been welcomed by both NSW Minister for Water, Property and Housing, Melinda Pavey as well as Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser.

You can read more about the project at Pacific Link Housing’s website here and you can see photos of the development above.

Well done to Pacific Link Housing and everyone involved in making this project a success.

FREE online training program for CHPs implementing the Aboriginal Outcomes Strategy

CHIA NSW is excited to share a new event designed specifically for CHPs looking to develop Aboriginal cultural competence and implement the Aboriginal Outcomes Strategy (AOS).

Through June and July 2020, facilitator and trainer Flic Ryan will be running training to help CHPs take their capacity to assist Aboriginal communities to the next level.

Practical and interactive by design, these sessions will provide CHPs with tools and measures to best utilise the Aboriginal Cultural Competency Standards to create better outcomes for Aboriginal tenants.

The training will unpack two Standards and show how this can help CHPs deliver on their AOS commitments.

The two Standards are:

Standard 2: Historical and Social Factors Inform Practice
Standard 4: Service Access and Support

More details including available training times and registration processes are available by clicking the button below.

The program is offered free of charge for CHPs thanks to the support of the Department of Communities and Justice.  However, you must book to reserve your place through registration.  We will contact you to confirm your place and provide joining details and session requirements.

CHIA Exchanges postponed until further notice

With the current restrictions around COVID-19 impacting indoor gatherings, CHIA NSW will be postponing the planned CHIA Exchange for June 2020 until further notice.

Further CHIA Exchanges will be dependent on these restrictions being lifted.

In the place of the postponed CHIA Exchanges, CHIA NSW will remain committed to providing forums that will benefit the community housing sector.

Members interested in joining our COVID-19 Community Development Forum and our COVID-19 Operations Forum are encouraged to contact Caitlin McDowell, at [email protected].

Members interested in joining our COVID-19 Asset Managers Forum are encouraged to contact Adam West, at [email protected]

If you have any general questions regarding CHIA Exchanges or any of the Forums please email [email protected]

Link Housing develops art therapy program for tenants

Community housing providers are known for their holistic care of tenants, so it’s great to see innovations that build the lives of tenants from CHIA NSW members.
Encouraged by the success of its annual community art exhibition, ‘No Place Like Home’ and feedback from tenants, Link Housing started running art classes for residents over a year ago.

Before COVID-19, one of the classes in Ryde was run by Romanian artist and Link Housing resident, Dorina Petre. Passionate about the benefits of art therapy, Dorina was recently featured in local and online media to help launch Link Housing’s ‘No Place Like Home’ 2020 art exhibition.
This year’s exhibition was again set to be even bigger than last years. However, to keep staff, residents and the community safe, Link Housing, like many others, has had to move its community programs and events, including the art exhibition, online.

The organisation has also engaged the help of the exhibition’s curator, and artists Rachel Carroll to run virtual art classes for Link Housing residents leading up to the exhibition application deadline of end June 2020.

Link Housing hopes that in continuing the art program online, it will build both skills for tenants and provide a way to ease some of the anxieties associated with COVID-19.

You can view some of the photos of Dorina teaching residents above, and you can read more about the classes by clicking on this link.

The ‘No Place Like Home’ exhibition highlights the importance of affordable, safe and secure housing, and through art, shows how a home can transform lives. Residents and non-residents can submit an artwork for free. All exhibiting participants and the general public are invited to visit the online gallery from 1 September to 30 September, on Link Housing’s website – click here to view more.

Congratulations to all of the team at Link Housing on this great program.

Hume Housing’s ‘Phone a Buddy Program’ addresses isolation by connecting tenants

Hume Community Housing is challenging social isolation and feelings of loneliness among their senior customers through an innovative matchmaking initiative called Phone a Buddy Program. With more than 35% of customers aged over 55 years, Hume identified that the COVID-19 lockdown was proving to be a significant risk to their older customers.

The Phone a Buddy Program pairs and connects senior customers based on shared interests and their preferences regarding gender, age and location. New ‘buddies’ are introduced to each other via a 3-way call, including one of Hume’s Seniors Program Officers, then the pair can get to know each other through regular phone conversations. Sharing personal histories, interests, adventures and even tales of love and loss has forged new friendships between 34 customers enrolled in the program.

Originally from Sydney, Stephanie moved to Maitland a few years ago and found it hard to make connections in a new place. She has enjoyed conversing with her phone buddy, talking about the places they’ve travelled to and navigating the complexities of an over-the-phone friendship.

“I don’t know a lot of people in this area because I didn’t grow up here so it’s wonderful to have somebody to talk to. As seniors, we’ve got all the time in the world to enjoy a conversation. My buddy is a friendly person and we enjoy talking about all the places we’ve visited. It’s not like a face-to-face conversation where you can see their body language and expression, it’s something new and that makes it all the more exciting,” said Stephanie.

According to Senior Projects Officer, Marnie Fitzpatrick, helping older customers maintain social connections has never been more important.

“At any age, maintaining social connection is important for health and wellbeing, yet studies show that for older adults, social isolation negatively correlates with health and mortality. The age-related risk from COVID-19 makes it increasingly difficult for seniors to maintain social connections. When social isolation is accompanied by subjective feelings of loneliness, the detriment to health increases,” said Marnie.

The capacity of regular, social phone calls to reduce feelings of loneliness and depression in isolated seniors was demonstrated by a 2018 Australian study. Participants were provided with weekly phone calls for 3 months following their discharge from hospital. 68% of study participants experienced a reduction in symptoms of depression, with 53% reporting reduced feelings of loneliness.

The program is gaining momentum and is likely to be an ongoing one as there is always a need to provide options for people to connect.  Hume will be surveying customers to see how the program translates and will adapt once social restrictions ease.

National Housing Finance and Investment (NHFIC) Update from NHFIC CEO, Nathan Dal Bon

The NHFIC team have been in regular contact with our community housing provider clients over the past weeks to offer support and gather feedback on strategies being adopted to address COVID-19 related circumstances. We appreciate the challenges that many of you are facing in ensuring continued provision of services and support to tenants, ongoing business functions and protecting the health and wellbeing of your staff.

It has been encouraging to hear in these discussions that the reduced financing risks and costs provided by NHFIC funding has been beneficial for weathering the impact of COVID-19. I’m pleased to advise we’re currently working towards the issuance of our third bond in the coming months, which will support more low cost, long term loans to CHPs.

Our team have also been engaging with state registrars to coordinate communications with CHPs. We will continue to communicate with registrars on a regular basis to ensure the community housing sector continues to be supported during this time.

The National Housing Infrastructure Facility (NHIF) is another way we can support CHPs as the need for more social and affordable housing increases. The NHIF is a $1 billion facility that provides finance for eligible infrastructure projects that will unlock new housing supply. The NHIF offers concessional loans, grants and equity finance to help support critical housing-enabling infrastructure, including electricity and gas; water, sewerage and stormwater; transportation (including roads) and telecommunications.

If you’d like to speak with our team, contact us on 1800 549 767 or via email [email protected].

Housing Matters April 2020

Message from the CEO

Welcome to the April 2020 edition of Housing Matters.

As the spread of COVID-19 appears to be abating, we are witnessing a shift from how governments and organisations are approaching policy problems.

As Australia makes significant progress in ‘flattening the curve’, policy considerations are increasingly shifting from public health to the broader economic impacts of and recovery from COVID-19.

The decisions of both State and Federal Governments about how they approach economic recovery will be critical in determining how deeply the economic impacts will be felt and how soon the economy will begin to grow again. In this stimulus debate, there is an opportunity for the Government to make short to medium-term decisions about stimulus investment that grow jobs and economic activity whilst providing long-term social benefits to the community.

For this reason, CHIA NSW, Homelessness NSW and the NSW Council of Social Service together called for greater support for housing and social services earlier this week, following the publication of an NCOSS report highlighting the significant cost of living pressures in NSW.

CHIA NSW also joined with the Committee for Sydney and Shelter NSW in writing to the Premier outlining an economic recovery plan and calling for investment in social and affordable housing as a great opportunity to provide stimulus to the economy and grow the supply of much needed rental housing for low-income families across NSW.

CHIA NSW is continuing to work with the NSW Government and its agencies to ensure our members – and their tenants – are heard.

It is worth recognising the decisions already taken by the NSW Government and the leadership of Minister Melinda Pavey, Minister Gareth Ward, and Minister Rob Stokes in providing support for people who desperately need permanent social and affordable housing.

The announcement of 20-year lease extensions for community housing providers on LAHC leased properties (more on that below) will provide a welcome boost to our members’ capacity to plan ahead and invest in new housing supply, and deliver better outcomes for tenants.

In the planning portfolio, the NSW Government has established the Planning System Acceleration Program. This program will fast-track the assessment of development applications and rezonings, in accordance with existing planning rules and policies.

Finally, recent media reports that the NSW Government is considering opportunities to increase social housing supply, as part of an economic recovery plan, are very welcome and reaffirm the importance of housing as essential infrastructure. CHIA NSW urges the Government to make the right decision and support investment in stimulus in this important sector.

Such initiatives provide hope that as a sector we can continue to work with stakeholders through COVID-19 to create a more prosperous and equitable housing system in NSW beyond this crisis.

CHIA NSW is committed to doing our part through policy, communications, advocacy, training, and business development to help realise this goal.

Mark Degotardi

CEO, CHIA NSW

CHIA NSW welcomes NSW Government lease extension innovation

Last week the NSW Government announced that contractual changes with the NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) will allow for CHPs to transition from existing three year leases to 20 year leases on LAHC owned properties.

This initiative will initially focus on transitioning 14,000 properties with Tier One providers to 20 year leases. Stage two of the initiative will focus on 1,400 properties managed by Tier Two and Tier Three providers.

CHIA NSW would like to congratulate Minister Melinda Pavey and Minister Gareth Ward for their leadership in making this significant initiative a reality. CHIA NSW believes the positive impact of this change will enable the community housing sector to raise additional finance that will allow investment in new housing, upgrading of assets, building new investor partnerships, and helping portfolio management in a post-coronavirus recovery.

Responding to the announcement, CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi said the initiative would be welcome news for the sector:

‘This initiative gives our members more certainty over time and will allow us to access finance and investment for more social and affordable housing. This is a very good and very welcome announcement from the NSW Government. It demonstrates a model of partnership which delivers excellent outcomes for Government, community housing providers and most importantly, our tenants.’

You can read CHIA NSW’s full response to the announcement here.

ACHIA, AHO and NSWALC establish partnership ahead of new funding model

Aboriginal Community Housing Industry Association (ACHIA) along with The Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) and New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) will work in partnership to codesign a new funding model for the Aboriginal housing sector over a transition year ending June 2021.

Through the partnership ACHIA will ensure that Aboriginal community housing providers, housing owners, and communities it represents will have a say by providing feedback and input into the new proposed model through a round of consultations.

ACHIA is pleased to support the announcement and welcomes the opportunity for strong collaboration in designing the new model with direct input from the sector through the peak.

Members with more queries regarding the process of co-designing the new model can contact ACHIA Coordinator Chad Ritchie at [email protected].

NCOSS Cost of Living Report shows social services and housing crisis imminent

The New South Wales Council of Social Service (NCOSS) has released new research highlighting the impact cost of living pressures on NSW residents, prior to COVID-19.
The report reveals:

• ‘More than one-third (38%) of respondents reported paying over a third of their income on housing costs, and 20% reported paying over 40% of their income on housing.
• Almost one fifth (19%) reported being unable to make mortgage or rent payments on time, and 21% reported not making minimum payments on credit card bills.
• Single parents and couples with children were the household types who reported the highest rates of housing stress (68% and 45% respectively); while private renters and those paying off a mortgage were the household tenures most likely to report being in housing stress.
• Social housing tenants and those renting privately were more likely to have experienced financial hardship during the previous 12 months.
• Over a quarter (26%) reported having been unable to pay utility bills on time.’

The report’s recommendations call for:

• ‘Boosting social and affordable housing through the delivery of 5,000 additional social housing units per annum, and similar for affordable housing;
• Establishing a $30 million Resilient Communities – Support and Connect fund to supplement existing programs and enable small to medium-sized organisations, like neighbourhood centres, domestic violence services and others, embedded in their local communities, to meet rising demand; and
• Establishing a NSW Institute for the Social Services Industry (NISSI) as a partnership between the NSW Government, NCOSS and an academic institution, and involving NSW TAFE, regional universities and the community sector to develop the industry, grow the workforce and meet current and future demand.’

You can read the full report here on NCOSS’s website here.

NCOSS, Homelessness NSW, CHIA NSW call for 5,000 homes per annum through Social and Affordable Housing Capital Fund

Following the release of NCOSS’ Cost of Living Report, NCOSS, Homelessness NSW, and CHIA NSW held a joint press conference at Parliament House NSW on 27 April 2020.

The peak bodies called on the NSW Government to establish a Social and Affordable Housing Capital Fund to grow social housing supply by 5,000 properties per annum.

Such a fund would be a step toward beginning to address the current shortfall of 200,000 social and affordable homes in NSW.

This demand pre-exists COVID-19, but CHIA NSW notes will likely exacerbate strongly because of the pandemic.
CHIA NSW believes that only with a dedicated funding stream from government for social and affordable housing investment can we being to meet the increased demand for social housing from COVID-19.

On the report’s release CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi stated the report provided ‘a stark illustration that NSW cannot continue a business as usual approach to housing’, and called for rising government investment to ensure the growth of social and affordable housing to meet the rising demand.

Read the joint statement from NCOSS, Homelessness NSW, and CHIA NSW here.

City West Housing opens The Blackwattle Apartments, providing 99 affordable homes

CHIA NSW would like to congratulate our member, City West Housing, on the opening of The Blackwattle Apartments in Glebe which finished construction in March 2020.

The building has:

• 565m2 of ground floor retail
• 99 affordable rental apartments for people on very low, low, and moderate household incomes
• Recently been shortlisted for the NSW 2020 Architecture Awards in the Multiple Housing category, one of 10 shortlisted projects and the only affordable housing project in that category.

The land for The Blackwattle Apartments was vested by the NSW Government to City West Housing. Construction commenced in 2018 and was largely funded through City of Sydney affordable housing contributions. This development is the final stage of a larger precinct renewal kickstarted by the NSW Government a number of years ago which has delivered 153 brand new social housing apartments, 99 affordable apartments and 232 private market apartments.

The City West Housing team managed resident sign-ups, move-ins and a number of apartment viewings all whilst adhering to extra restrictions and precautions due to COVID-19 – including staggering sign-ups/move-ins and additional cleaning of common areas.

City West Housing has recently entered into a number of partnerships to support its newest residents and its broader resident community, including a partnership with a styling company who donated furniture to fit out four apartments, a partnership with a car share company to provide free membership for CWH residents and a partnership with an internet provider who provided discounted connection fees.

Leonie King, CEO of City West Housing, says:

“As a provider of community housing, our developments provide an opportunity to create a real sense of home and stability, and to make a difference in people’s lives. We truly believe that stable homes provide stable lives and open up new possibilities for everyone. Our commitment to providing stable and affordable homes is demonstrated through both City West Housing’s operating model and the design of the development, creating a community where residents can feel proud of where they live”.

You can view some photos of The Blackwattle Apartments development below. CHIA NSW would again like to congratulate the entire City West Housing team on this fantastic achievement.














Insurance market conditions are tightening – here’s how to get best outcome insurance renewals

With bushfires, floods, droughts and coronavirus impacting Australia’s landscape and infrastructure, it’s important that Community Housing Providers are prepared for a challenging insurance renewal process.

CHIA NSW is aware that market conditions for insurers are tough and CHIA NSW members should be prepared for a range of challenges, including the potential for significant premium increases, deductible or excess increases and restrictions in policy coverage.

There are a number of actions CHIA NSW members can take to minimise these negative impacts:

• Start the conversation about insurance renewal early with your broker early, encourage them to make an early submission and provide expectations on cost, policy cover changes and the availability of insurer capacity to cover risks.
• Spend time on making sure the quality of information you’ve prepared for insurers is of a high standard (e.g. maintenance track record, risk assessments, capital expenditure, and level of claims). Crucially, noting any actions that have been taken to slow claims in light of incidents that have triggered claims will assist your submission.
• Give your organisation time to shop around for the best deal possible. As with many sectors, delays are being experienced across the insurance sector so engaging early will be vital to ensuring you have the time to assess the best deals available on the market.

John Donelly, Managing Director and Head of Placement (Asia Pacific) at March insurance has prepared a useful video on preparing for insurance premiums, viewable here.

If members have any queries about the best methods to engage insurers or insurance brokers at this time, please contact CHIA NSW Manager, Business Development, Adam West at [email protected]

Centre for Training in Social Housing hosts FREE online sessions

With the onset of COVID-19, it’s never been more important for providers to understand the workings of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).

Over two online zoom sessions The Centre for Training in Social Housing will offer members NCAT Training at a reduced fee of $220 per person.

This is a tough time for community housing providers and their teams as we move to the ‘new normal’ of working remotely.

To address this change the Centre Training in Social Housing is now offering 4 FREE online workshops to help bring teams in community housing providers up to speed how to best utilise the remote, online workplace.

Throughout May the Centre will focus on learning and development for:

Working Remotely – 2 hour Zoom session, exploring basics of how to best work remotely – 5th May 12:00pm-2:00pm
Changing Times – 2 hour Zoom session, identifying COVID-19 change stressors and creating positive change environments – 12th May 12:00pm-2:00pm
Personal Stress Management – 2 hour Zoom session, insights on how to manage stress for Team Managers – 19th May 12:00pm-2:00pm
Time Management – 2 hour Zoom session, time management strategies for remote working – 26th May 12:00pm-2:00pm

To sign up for these sessions please visit www.ctsh.org.au to register or click on the links in the article.

NHFIC April update

COVID-19

NHFIC continues to monitor the ongoing COVID-19 situation and would like to reiterate that the wellbeing of our people, partners and their communities remains our priority.

We aim to continue providing a seamless level of service and support to our community housing providers, so their efforts in providing secure and stable housing to thousands of Australians around the country can continue in these challenging times.

NHFIC staff are working remotely and are available via email or phone. You can contact us on 1800 549 767 or via email [email protected].

NHFIC’s Financial Model 

new financial model is now available on the NHFIC website.

The financial model was developed in consultation with CHPs to provide a uniform framework that can be used to deliver historical and forecast financial information to NHFIC during the loan origination and management processes.

The Microsoft Excel-based tool has been designed to accommodate common activities undertaken by the CHP sector and can accommodate an actual/forecast period of up to 30 years.
Any feedback you have on the new financial model can be sent to [email protected].  

First Home Loan Deposit Scheme 

The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme continues and there are still places available with non-major lenders for this financial year. Frequently asked questions have been updated on the NHFIC website to support first home buyers during this time.

Housing Matters March 2020

Message from the CEO

Welcome to the March edition of Housing Matters for 2020.

The spread of COVID-19 has presented our governments, industries, and citizens with historically significant challenges.

For the community housing sector and CHIA NSW, these challenges will require us to support and care for some of the most vulnerable members of the community.

As you will see in this edition of Housing Matters, community housing providers have rapidly responded with decisive action to ensure their teams are implementing preventative health measures, physical distancing, and business continuity planning, whilst continuing to provide vital services to our tenants.

The necessary measures that Federal and State Governments have introduced pose additional challenges for community housing providers as they support their tenants and provide for the safety and well-being of their staff.

How our members have responded demonstrates not just the ethical values that underpin their organisations and actions, but their professionalism and expertise.

It is these qualities which will help us face and overcome the challenges presented in the coming months and position the sector to support the community as we emerge from this crisis.

CHIA NSW has recently introduced a COVID-19 webpage on the CHIA NSW website, which is frequently updated with the best available government information for members.

CHIA NSW is also bringing together forums for our members’ Operations and Asset Management staff to share expertise on COVID-19. More on that in this edition.

In these times CHIA NSW will remain a strong voice for our sector and assist our members with training, policy, operations, and advocacy efforts throughout COVID-19 and beyond.

Mark Degotardi

CEO, CHIA NSW

How CHIA NSW’s members are responding to COVID-19

Our members are leading the way in responding to COVID-19 across the community housing sector.

We have shared below a range of members’ responses to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and support their tenants and communities at this challenging time.

To view what our members are saying and how they are responding, simply click on the images below.

New CHP Asset Managers and Operations Managers Forums

CHIA NSW is creating COVID-19 forums for Asset Managers and Operations staff.

These forums will share best practice advice and developments in response to COVID-19.

We believe these forums could be of critical importance and will therefore be adding CHP Operations and Asset Managers into forums automatically. We are encouraging members to contact us to ‘opt-out’ if they don’t want to participate.

We are seeking to bring together members to share their expertise on:

• How their organisation is handling COVID-19
• How their business function is responding to COVID-19
• General business intelligence surrounding COVID-19

The aim of these forums will to provide an open – but confidential – environment to raise questions and share best practice as regards COVID-19 and the community housing sector.

If you are in the COVID-19 Operations Forum and want further information, or to opt-out, please contact:

CHIA NSW’s Head of Policy, Caitlin McDowell
[email protected]

If you are in the COVID-19 Asset Management Forum and want further information, or to opt-out, please contact:

CHIA NSW’s Manager – Business Development, Adam West
[email protected]

You will soon receive further details on the first forums to take place through your email.

All Centre for Training in Social Housing training is going online

CHIA NSW’s Centre for Training in Social Housing is now fully online and ready to take your social housing expertise to the next level!

We are excited to bring you training in a full digital environment to keep you engaged and learning in a tricky time.

Your trainers are ready to assist you with your study, break your boredom of working by yourself and follow up on outstanding assessments.

To join us, download the Zoom app for your phone or through your computer. For current students you will receive a link to your Zoom class.

In the coming weeks look out for our new online training for:

NCAT
Introduction to Social Housing, and
Sustainable Tenancies
For more information, please contact Catherine Tracey at [email protected]

National Housing Finance and Investment Corporate (NHFIC) March 2020 Update

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, the wellbeing of our people, partners and their communities remains our priority.

NHFIC is endeavouring to deliver a seamless level of service and support. We acknowledge the scale of the pandemic and are ready to assist Community Housing Providers in their effort to provide secure and stable housing.

First Home Loan Deposit Scheme

The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, which started on 1 January, is operating and we continue to support first home buyers.

We recognise the increasing challenges the Coronavirus is causing to daily lives.

The Scheme’s participating lenders can provide further information, and visit NHFIC’s First Home Deposit Scheme web page for updates. 

‘Each for Equal’: CHIA NSW members celebrate International Women’s Day

It was great to see CHIA NSW members joining the International Women’s Day celebrations which highlighted amazing women in the community housing sector – but also the efforts to support women in community housing.

Our sector continues to support women in social and affordable housing, many of whom are adversely impacted due to their gender.

SGCH celebrate the launch of the Greater Sydney Women’s Safety Charter as part of the International Women’s Day 2020 breakfast.

The North Coast Community Housing team organised events to show their support for the UN’s ‘Each for Equal’ Campaign for International Women’s Day 2020.

Housing Matters February 2020

CEO Message

Welcome to our February 2020 edition of Housing Matters.

2020 is shaping as an important year for the community housing sector.  Over the last 5 years, we have grown significantly, providing more affordable and secure rental homes for low-income families and individuals across NSW.  Our challenge is to continue to grow – too many people are in housing stress or experiencing homelessness so our sector will continue to look for ways to alleviate housing stress for more families.  There is a role for Governments at all levels, for the community housing sector, the private sector and the financial sector to work together to provide more innovative solutions to the enduring challenge of meeting unmet housing need.

CHIA NSW is delighted to be hosting the upcoming 2020 Community Housing Conference where the sector and many stakeholders will come together to find and make the most of the opportunities that exist.  The conference provides us with a unique opportunity to bring together CHIA NSW members, stakeholders and Local and State government representatives.

Across our conference from March 31st to April 1st and through three key themes – Community. Growth. Opportunity. – we will be discussing our sector’s successes and challenges with some of its most important and influential voices.

If you haven’t registered yet there is a link below to do so.

Earlier this month we also held our first CHIA Exchange for 2020. Our CHIA Exchanges provide CHIA NSW members with a chance to get together, learn about new sector developments, and build partnerships for better tenant outcomes.

A focus this year will be increasing the variety of topics covered in our CHIA Exchanges. Early feedback from members on this decision has been positive.

The year has started at pace and it is fantastic to see so much work being done across the sector.  In this edition of Housing Matters we have updates on Bridge Housing’s ‘Bridge to Work’ program, new courses from the Centre for Training in Social Housing, NHFIC, and more.

I hope you enjoy this edition.

Mark Degotardi

CEO, CHIA NSW

Don’t miss the Community Housing Conference 2020

Now is the time to register for CHIA NSW’s Community Housing Conference 2020.
This year’s featured speakers will include:

The Hon. Melinda Pavey, MP, NSW Minster for Water, Property and Housing
The Hon. Gareth Ward, MP, Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services
• John Brogden, CEO, Landcom
Jody Broun, CEO, Aboriginal Housing Office
Jane Fitzgerald, Executive Director, Property Council NSW
Stefan Hajkowicz, Principal Scientist, CSIRO
Nathan Dal Bon, CEO, NHFIC
Stephen Anthony, Chief Economist, Industry Super Australia
And many more

Over two days (March 31st – April 1st) we will be sharing the latest insights and developments in community housing.

Attendees can expect sessions that will spark new ideas and conversations for our sector, such as:

• Financing Future Housing
• Delivering Affordable Housing and Good Growth
• Telling Stories that Resonate
• Innovative Responses to Homelessness

Click here to register now.

CHIA Exchange wrap

On February 12th CHIA NSW hosted our first CHIA Exchange for 2020.

The CHIA Exchange is run a few times over the course of the year and brings industry leaders together to share insights and learnings from across the sector.

Our February Exchange focussed on expanding the number of themes available to attendees. Workshops were held on a wide array of topics including, planning and development, developing emerging Aboriginal leaders, NDIS, capacity building for regional providers, and building sustainable tenancies.

Thank you to all CHIA NSW members, industry partners, State and Local Government representatives who led, presented and participated across the day.

Attendee feedback from the day is currently being sourced and will be utilised to tailor our CHIA Exchange content further for specific member and industry needs.

New courses from the Centre for Training in Social Housing

The community housing sector in NSW now has over 100 Community Housing Provider members who manage 50,000 homes.
The rapid growth of our sector means there is a greater focus on capacity building and leadership.
As part of providing training to fulfil this demand for professional development the Centre for Training in Social Housing will be providing new programs, including:

• Introduction to Social Housing
• Leadership for Emerging Leaders
• NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)

If you’re interested in undertaking these courses, please contact our Centre for Training in Social Housing staff form more information at [email protected].

A full list of available courses from the Centre can be viewed here.

Bridge Housing releases ‘Bridge to Work’ Evaluation Report

The ‘Bridge to Work’ Report reviewed a 15-month pilot program between Bridge Housing and CoAct and Bridge have released a full Evaluation Report on the program.

The program’s aim was to help social housing residents into employment.

80 residents participated with 39% finding employment and 9% taking up full-time study. The program achieved better results for sustained employment than a comparative control group.

The full report is available at the link below.

CHIA NSW would like to congratulate Bridge Housing on a successful pilot program and for successfully implementing innovative ways to build employment pathways for their tenants.

Karleen was one of the tenants who took part in the program. You can view her story in the video below.

Click here to view report. 

AHURI Mind Report released

In partnership with Mind, the Australian Housing and Research Urban Institute (AHURI) has released the research report ‘Trajectories: the interplay between housing and mental health pathways‘.

It reveals direct between psychological distress and financial hardship and eviction.
You can click on the adjacent picture to access the report.

In the Media

CHIA NSW discussed issues around affordable and social housing with ABC News in early February in response to Landcom’s redevelopment of the Queenscliff Community Health Centre into affordable housing.

Whilst agreeing that such developments were a step in the right direction, CHIA NSW called for the NSW State Government to go beyond low, optional affordable housing targets to meet the current unmet need for more than 200,000 new households in NSW.

You can read more about the Queenscliff development and CHIA NSW’s response at this link.

National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation Update – CHIA/NHFIC workshops

CHIA National and NHFIC have held the first two workshops in a series designed to assist CHPs to apply for NHFIC finance.

The workshops cover NHFIC’s two new financial models and how to apply for funding under the Capacity Building program.

The initial workshops were held in Sydney and Melbourne and also provided information useful for regulatory reporting.

The final workshop is in Brisbane on 5 March 2020, 11am-3pm.

Workshop Part 1: A refresher session on NHFIC finance including its Capacity Grant program

This session outlined each finance area, what types of development and tenure the grant can be used for, and the eligibility criteria for each.

To register for the final workshop in Brisbane, please email [email protected]. 

Dial-in options may also be available for people who are unable to attend in person.

Housing Matters January 2020

CEO Message

Welcome to our first edition of Housing Matters for 2020.

In what promises to be an exciting and important year for our sector, we are looking forward to working with our members and stakeholders to build an even stronger community housing sector.

New developments will be a key focus of CHIA’s Community Housing Conference across March 31st to April 1st. Our theme’s for the year’s conference is Community. Growth. Opportunity.

This will be an important time for NSW Community Housing Providers, industry leaders and State and Local Government representatives to meet and discuss how we can build our sector in 2020.

We welcome all industry partners and interested stakeholders to register and take part in CHIA’s major gathering for the year.

We’re also glad to be organising the first NSW Aboriginal Housing Caucus for 2020 as part of the Community Housing Conference. This will be a vital event tailored specifically for the interests of Aboriginal Community Housing providers, staff and supporters . Stakeholders and partners working in the Aboriginal Housing space in NSW are also welcome to attend this important event.

Also in this edition are updates on Round 5 House Keys findings, the Landcom Affordable Housing Prequalification Scheme, and notes on the activities of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation.

We hope you enjoy this edition and we look forward to working in partnership with you through 2020.

February 2020 Centre for Training in Social Housing enrolments are now open

For classes commencing in Feb 2020, Centre for Training in Social Housing enrolments are now open.

The CHC42215 Certificate IV in Social Housing and the CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services are both available for enrolments.

Prospective students may be eligible to apply for the NSW Smart and Skilled Subsidy. For more information please click here.

If you wish to enrol in a course please contact us at [email protected]

Our courses have been contextualised to meet the needs of community housing providers and the Specialist Homelessness Services.

This includes the rising demand for units on mental health, domestic and family violence and behaviours of concern. Training on NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal also remains one of the units in highest demand.

CHIA’s Community Housing Conference 2020 will take place from March 31st to April 1st – Early Bird Registrations are now open

Community Housing experts, practitioners, government partners, and others will meet to discuss how we develop our sector at CHIA’s Community Housing Conference 2020.

You can take advantage of Early Bird ticket prices before 21st February 2020, by registering through this link.

The theme of this year’s conference is Community. Growth. Opportunity.

Announcing the NSW Aboriginal Housing Caucus 2020 – Registrations are now open

We’re excited to announce the NSW Aboriginal Housing Caucus to take place on Thursday, 2nd April, 2020 as part of Community Housing 2020.

You can register for the Caucus by clicking here and access more details by clicking here.

The themes for the Caucus will be Innovate. Collaborate. Create.

Round 5 of House Keys: Operations has been released

Round 5 of House Keys: Operations was released to participants was released in December 2019.

Here is some of the critical information about the Round 5 survey:

• Participant numbers rose to 39 from 36 participants previously.
• For the first time, WA Community Housing Providers (CHPs) were able to participate alongside NSW, SA, and QLD CHPs through inclusion of their financial performance data.
• For the first time, the Social Housing Management Transfer (SHMT) filter allowed NSW providers to quickly compare results against other SHMT providers.

Here is some of the headline data on our sectors high performance from the sector:

(Comparisons are Round 5 House Keys data with previous Round 4 House Keys data)

• Increase in number of tenants satisfied with housing services – 87.18% up from 87.06%
• Very small decline in occupancy rate – 97.47% down from 97.74%.
• Rent outstanding increased slightly – 1.58% up from 1.35%.
• Increase in tenant satisfaction with property condition – 87.44% up from 86.84%
• Increase in percentage of urgent repairs completed within jurisdictional limits – 95.37% up from 93.11%
• Decline in employee expenses/total income – 13.64% down from 15.49%.
• Participating CHPs are spending 15.36% of their core social housing activities on individual tenant support and additional tenant and community services

In addition to these findings, CHIA NSW is also working on improved survey timings with Community Housing Providers and government bodies to ensure Round 6 of House Keys can be delivered in a shorter time frame than previous rounds.

House Keys is the community housing industry’s own benchmarking platform and it allows CHPs to make improvements by comparing their performance against a number of industry relevant comparators. 

Are your details up to date for the Landcom Affordable Housing Prequalification Scheme?

Community Housing Providers are encouraged to ensure their contact details are current for the Affordable Housing Prequalification Scheme.

The Affordable Housing Prequalification Scheme is utilised by Landcom to determine Tender/Expression of Interest invitations for their Affordable Housing projects.

The Scheme gathers information about registered Community Housing Providers and is used by any private or government organisation wanting to procure affordable housing development and/or management services from suitable Community Housing Providers in an easily accessible, online location.

Registered providers are requested to Login to the eTendering website and ensure contact details are current so that procurers can get in touch easily.

To do so simply:

• login to the eTendering website at https://tenders.nsw.gov.au/
• click on your name at the top right of the page, ‘Scheme Applications’, ‘View/Modify Application’ and then ‘Edit Office Details’.
• PLEASE NOTE: If your email address needs to be updated, you will need to register your new email address on eTendering and then email [email protected] asking for a change of scheme ownership. They can make the update for you. Landcom recommends you use a generic organisation email rather than an individual staff member’s email.

If you would like more information about the scheme or you would like to register your organisation, you can locate the scheme on the eTendering website using ID SCM4421.

National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) – January 2020 update

NHFIC’s Financial Model – CHIA Workshops

CHIA National and NHFIC are holding workshops designed to assist CHPs to apply for NHFIC finance. The workshops are purely for CHPs and will cover NHFIC’s new financial model and how to apply for funding under the Capacity Building program.

Sydney: 18 February 2020, 10am-1pm (Currently at capacity)

Melbourne: 25 February 2020, 1pm-5pm

Brisbane: 5 March 2020, 11am-3pm

The Sydney workshop is currently at capacity, but if you are a CHP interested in attending this workshop remotely please email [email protected]. A dial-in option may be available to be arranged.

Workshop Part 1: A refresher session on NHFIC finance including its Capacity Grant program

This session will outline each finance area, what types of development and tenure the grant can be used for, and the eligibility criteria for each.

The Capacity Building program provides access to professional advisory services to assist CHPs with the upfront work required to support a NHFIC loan application. Grants are available to Tier 1, 2 and 3 registered community housing providers.

Workshop Part 2: NHFIC’s financial model

This workshop aims to provide further information on the financial model which NHFIC uses, to ensure that CHPs are able to provide consistent information in enough detail for NHFIC to analyse their application.

First Home Loan Deposit Scheme

Since starting on 1 January, the banks have registered 3,000 potential first home buyers under the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme.

The remaining 7,000 Scheme places for the current financial year will be available from 1 February 2020 when potential applicants will have a panel of 27 lenders to choose from.

NHFIC is releasing 10,000 First Home Loan Deposit Scheme guarantees this financial year. Another 10,000 places will be available from July 2020.

The staged release of Scheme places provides first home buyers with the opportunity to gather the necessary financial information to support their application and enables a broader choice between the major banks and smaller lenders. Twenty-five smaller lenders join the Scheme’s lending panel on 1 February.

Information on eligible properties and settlement dates can be found on the NHFIC website: nhfic.gov.au/what-we-do/fhlds/eligibility/#property-dates-table