Housing Matters July 2022

Welcome to the July 2022 edition of Housing Matters.

The housing vulnerability crisis appears to only have worsened recently for renters across NSW against a backdrop of rising interest rates, inflation, and cost of living pressures.

Recent data from Domain reveals Sydney rent prices for houses have jumped almost 20 percent since the pandemic began, while rent prices for units have had their steepest annual increase in 14 years at over 10 percent. As these trends continue, the role of community housing only grows in importance for addressing the housing needs of our state’s people.

CHIA NSW has recently wrapped up its Community Housing Industry Day, an event for our members to come together and reflect on the recent journey of the sector and collaborate on what’s to come.

We’re grateful for the generosity of our guest speakers, including Angela Jackson and Nathan Dal Bon, who shared their expertise on the current state of play in community housing and engaged in meaningful discussions with CHIA NSW’s member CEOs and senior executives.

CHIA NSW has also just released its Community Housing Snapshot report, a refresher on the current profile of the state’s community housing sector and what it has achieved in the past decade. While full of data, it presents information which can be understood by any person who wants to know more about today’s industry.

Over the last month, CHIA NSW, together with our members, has been visiting MPs in regional NSW to discuss the housing solutions that our sector contributes to address the housing vulnerability crisis. I would like to acknowledge the commitment of the many MPs who recognise the value of community housing and its unique ability to provide safe, secure and affordable housing at a time when regional NSW needs it most.

More on these and more in this edition which I hope you enjoy.

Mark Degotardi

Community Housing Industry Day wrap

CHIA NSW recently held its Community Housing Industry Day, an event for members to reflect on the sector’s achievements and learnings and collaborate on priorities and opportunities to come.
Due to illness, the Minister for Planning and Minister for Homes, the Hon Anthony Roberts was unable to speak at the event as planned. Emma Nicholson and Michelle Roberson from the Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) stepped in to lead Q&A session with members about LAHC’s current focuses and how its relationship with the community housing sector can be further bolstered. This includes the updated Community Housing Direct Dealing Policy, which was recently revised in consultation with CHIA NSW and our members. The new policy is available here.
The strategic and environmental outlook of the sector was dissected by Nathan Dal Bon, CEO of National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation and Dr Angela Jackson, Lead Economist at Impact Economics and Policy. Both speakers brought their own unique expertise to the event which subsequently garnered a lengthy discussion amongst attendees.
In other sessions, various CHIA NSW teams presented on projects covering climate change, the future of data, CHIA NSW’s Cadetship program, affordable housing, and employee capability frameworks.
Presentations throughout the day provided a stage to celebrate the recent achievements of the sector as well as a foundation to spring towards forthcoming opportunities, none more important than the 2023 NSW state election.

CHIA NSW releases Community Housing Snapshot 2022

CHIA NSW has released its latest Community Housing Snapshot.

The report provides an accessible and current profile of the community housing sector. It provides an accessible explanation of how community housing works, a snapshot of statistics and figures, how it contributes to society outside of money invested and houses built, and where it’s growing most across the state. 
Key facts and figures:

  • CHPs manage more than 54,000 properties across the state
  • CHPs have supported 15,300 jobs in the last decade
  • Community housing is a billion- dollar industry… CHPs have invested $1.82 billion over the last decade.

Head to our website to download the report.

CHIA NSW regional road-tour

CHIA NSW has been travelling across the regions of NSW, meeting with MPs to discuss all things community housing. 

So far, we’ve visited the members for Albury, Cootamundra, Dubbo, Goulburn and Wollondilly in their respective hometowns, with more visits in the diary for August and September. 

We were joined by the CEOs from Argyle Housing, Homes Out West, and Housing Plus, who shared their local knowledge and expertise with the MPs.

The highlights of our road tour so far have included our conversations with Steph Cooke (Cootamundra) on regional housing issues in her electorate, Wendy Tuckerman (Goulburn) on the role of local councils in increasing affordable housing supply, and Justin Clancy (Albury) on the community housing’s success in providing safe homes and support services to formerly homeless people through the Together Home.

CHIA NSW has greatly valued the time and engagement of the MPs that we’ve met to date and looks forward to continuing these important conversations in the lead-up to the 2023 election. 

CHIA NSW and industry partners appear at homelessness amongst older people Inquiry

CHIA NSW has joined forces with its members and industry partners at a recent Inquiry examining the growing rates of older people facing homelessness in NSW.

Older residents in New South Wales are facing a fresh wave of housing and homelessness vulnerability with increased rental costs compounding pressure on growing waitlists for social housing. The recent Inquiry into homelessness amongst older people aged over 55 in NSW provided the opportunity for the community housing, welfare and not-for-profit industries to advocate for the better futures of those people.

CHIA NSW, Community Housing Limited, Women’s Community Shelters and The Salvation Army Australia joined forces to draw attention to the alarming growth of older Australians facing homelessness.

Head of Policy at CHIA NSW, Caitlin McDowell said it’s not too late to house the struggling older citizens of NSW.

“People are spending so much of their aged pension on rent that they are going without food, medicine or heating and those are the ones who aren’t couch-surfing, sleeping in their cars, or homeless,” Caitlin said.

“These people should not have to pay the price for decades of severe underinvestment in social and affordable housing by successive governments, and it is not too late to help them.

“We need a significant and long-term investment in social and affordable housing where the NSW Government partners with the community housing and not-for-profit sectors to deliver more housing and support services to older people.”

Across in Western Sydney, we were proud to see Link Wentworth resident, Marie Sillars providing evidence at day two of the Inquiry’s hearings. Being an older tenant of community housing, Marie takes her lived experience into her own powerful advocacy, fighting for the future of others like her.

Read our media release here.

Give Me Shelter report released

Housing All Australians has released its Give Me Shelter report, looking at the long-term costs of underproviding public, social and affordable housing.

The report issues a warning of what continued underinvestment in social and affordable housing will bring and makes an urgent call to governments across the country to begin turning the tides. It also seeks to show the returns to the community if homelessness and housing stress were eliminated.

It estimates the direct financial savings to governments if they invest in the subsidies required to meet social and affordable housing need. These savings are primarily related to:

  • reduced outlays for health care
  • reduced outlays in the criminal justice system
  • reduced outlays in domestic violence services, and
  • income tax revenue arising from enhanced human capital and increased labour market productivity.

Read the report here.

NHFIC: new bonds issued and Home Guarantee Scheme places released

Content supplied by National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation

June 2022 Bond
On 30 June 2022, National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) issued an additional $65 million in bonds increasing its 2036 sustainability bond line to $408 million. The funds raised from this issuance will directly support four community housing providers’ (CHPs), including Evolve Housing, City West Housing, Haven Home Safe and Queensland Community Housing Limited with their planned delivery of social and affordable housing.

Australian Government Home Guarantee Scheme:  40,000 new places released
From 1 July, 40,000 new places under the Federal Government’s Home Guarantee Scheme (HGS) became available to help Australians to buy their own home.  

The Home Guarantee Scheme comprises the First Home Guarantee (FHBG), previously known as the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, and the Family Home Guarantee (FHG).  

The number of places available through the First Home Guarantee has increased from 10,000 to 35,000 per financial year, while the Family Home Guarantee has an annual allocation of 5,000 places from 1 July 2022 until 30 June 2025. 

NHFIC anticipates making 50,000 new Scheme places available to eligible homebuyers in the year ahead, including 10,000 places in the Australian Government’s announced Regional First Home Buyer Support Scheme. Read more here

Sustainable living forefront at City West Housing

Content supplied by City West Housing

City West Housing's approach to sustainable design forms the framework for how we deliver our affordable housing developments, beginning with site location.

Head of Development at City West Housing, Lisa Sorrentino, said: “We’re taking advantage of well-located sites to encourage less reliance on car ownership. The benefits include lowering our residents’ living costs, decreasing our carbon footprint and helping to meet Councils’ sustainability goals. It also reduces the need to build expensive basement car parking and therefore development costs, enabling us to supply more affordable housing.”

City West Housing’s upcoming Tallowwood Apartments development in Rockdale is within 400 m of the train station and is close to bus stops. Acknowledging that eliminating car use is not currently practical, City West Housing has also factored our partnership with GoGet car sharing service into the design.

City West Housing has designed parking, and GoGet has confirmed its support, for six share vehicles on the site, available for hire by the residents and the broader community. City West Housing residents receive complimentary GoGet memberships, which unlock the lowest hire rate. 

This partnership is a strong example of City West Housing working with other organisations to achieve quality, innovative and economic design. This in turn also enhances resident wellbeing, creates a sense of community and optimises the lifecycle of our assets.

Head of Development at City West Housing, Lisa Sorrentino
Head of Development at City West Housing, Lisa Sorrentino

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Housing Matters June 2022

Welcome to the June 2022 edition of Housing Matters.

The NSW Government has just handed down its State Budget for 2022-23. Despite big spends on prospective first home buyers, planning and infrastructure, and social housing maintenance, we can expect just 320 new social housing properties to come out of the Budget.

For another year, we have fallen well short of a long-term solution to what CHIA NSW is calling a housing vulnerability crisis. There are more tough times ahead for those waiting in the long line for social housing, as interest rates, rental prices, and the cost of living continue to rise.

The NSW Opposition’s Budget Reply did not provide any significant response on housing policy solutions. CHIA NSW will be working hard to ensure the race towards the 2023 state election for both Liberal and Labor includes a strong focus on safe, affordable rental housing solutions for the people of NSW.   

More on the outcomes of the NSW State Budget in this edition.

Also in this edition, we’ve got news from CHIA NSW members about new housing developments and work in the ESG space, more milestones for our Cadets, and more.

Please enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

NSW State Budget wrap

The NSW State Budget provides little relief for rental households, most notably for 50,000 households on the social housing waiting list. 

The NSW budget will only deliver 320 new social housing properties for people in greatest need, noting that 200 properties will be allocated to First Nations households and 120 properties will be allocated for people exiting from the Together Home Program. 

Key announcements relating to social housing in the Budget included:

  • $37 million has been committed towards delivering 120 new social housing properties for households in the Together Home program
  • $149.8 million has been committed towards delivering 200 new and 260 upgraded homes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • $300 million has been committed towards maintenance and upgrades to more than 15,800 social housing properties.

Other significant spends included:

  • $780.4 million towards a two-year trial of a shared equity scheme for up to 6,000 eligible single parents, older singles and first home buyers in key worker roles
  • $728.6 million to introduce an option for first home buyers purchasing a home priced up to $1.5million to pay an annual property tax instead of upfront stamp duty
  • $300 million for a third round of the Accelerated Infrastructure Fund, providing co-funding for priority infrastructure projects that aim to facilitate housing development
  • $174 million for 271 new homes for key workers in regional and remote areas.

The most significant announcement for social housing in the State Budget is the $300 million allocated to the NSW Land and Housing Corporation to upgrade 15,800 LAHC-owned properties over three years. This will be shared across properties managed by the Department of Communities and Justice, community housing providers, and Aboriginal community housing providers on the basis of priority need.

Disappointingly, this Budget continues the NSW Government’s minimal investment in social housing over the last three State Budgets which have committed to build a total of just 1,170 new social housing properties.

You can read CHIA NSW’s Budget-related media releases here.

2021 Cadets finish studies, one wins Student of the Year

CHIA NSW’s Cadets from the first round of the program in 2021 have completed their last learning block, while one was awarded Vocational Student of the Year.

20 Cadets from the first round of the program have recently completed their studies with CHIA NSW. 17 of those have secured work beyond their Cadetship, 11 of those being permanent positions.

CHIA NSW Cadetship Manager, Cara MacDougall was proud to have been part of the Cadets’ learning and development throughout the program.

“It’s been a great project in the first year… congratulations to all of the CHPs and Cadets that have been involved and worked hard to make it such a successful project,” Cara said.

2021 Cadets

Adding to the success of the program’s first year, Cadet Tionnie McCabe has won Vocational Student of the Year for Western Sydney & Blue Mountains. She is now a state finalist for the award which will be held in September. Congratulations and good luck to Tionnie!

Tionnie with CHIA NSW's Catherine Tracey and Monica Salama

Another of CHIA NSW’s Cadets, Shania Finlay was nominated for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year award for the New England region. Although she did not progress, her nomination is testament to her hard work throughout the program.

Cara MacDougall (CHIA NSW), Breanna Finlay (Homes North), Moira McDade (CHIA NSW), Shania Finlay (Cadet/Homes North), Nick Grimes (Homes North), Richard Innes (Homes North)

Ground broken at Housing Trust “Northsea” development

Housing Trust and partners have broken ground at their innovative mixed tenure development “Northsea” in an iconic Wollongong location.

NSW Minister for Planning and Minister for Homes Anthony Roberts joined NSW Land and Housing Corporation CEO Deborah Brill, development partner Traders in Purple Executive Directors Charles Daoud and George Geagea and Housing Trust CEO and CHIA NSW Chair Michele Adair to turn the first sod prior to earthworks starting on 15th June.  

Dr Jodie Edward, delivered a moving Welcome to Country along with Layne Brown who conducted a smoking ceremony for the 60 guests who gathered to celebrate the project milestone.

This is Housing Trust’s second collaboration with Traders in Purple and NSW Land and Housing Corporation. The $22 million complex is one of the first single core mixed developments comprising of social, affordable and market sales in the state. Housing Trust has purchased 6 of the units which will provide affordable key worker housing and will manage the 10 social housing units on behalf of LAHC. Eight of the social units will incorporate dual key access allowing flexibility for residents. The remaining 38 premium units include a mix of two and three-bedroom private apartments.

Housing Trust CEO and CHIA NSW Chair Michele Adair spoke about “Northsea” and its innovative housing model.

“This mixed-tenure approach follows international best practice and innovation in housing, and this is an exemplar project we are proud to be part of,” Michele said. 

“This is a genuine attempt at having a mixed demographic where a real sense of community can be built between those tenants and private purchasers of apartments.

“So, kids living here will be immersed in the broader community and enjoy the same aspirations and education as everyone else, and that’s particularly important at a time when we have both a prime minister and a governor-general who both grew up in social housing.

Located in the centre of Wollongong CBD the complex is within short walking distance of local services, facilities, shops, cafes, restaurants, parks and Wollongong Beach. 

The project is a win-win for the local community and will give a much needed boost to local businesses including subcontractors and trades. The project will also create the equivalent of 100 full-time jobs. 

The project is due for completion late 2023.

CHIA NSW welcomes expansion of NSW Government washing machine replacement program

CHIA NSW has joined the NSW Government in announcing the expansion of its Washing Machine Replacement Trial providing more social housing tenants the chance to upgrade their washing machines.

The program offers social housing tenants the chance to upgrade their washing machine for $150 to help save water and ease the cost of living.

The State Government has reported significant take-up of the program’s offering since its April launch, which has led to another 3000 washing machines being placed on offer to tenants state-wide.

In a NSW Department of Planning and Environment media release, CHIA NSW Head of Policy Caitlin McDowell said the NSW Governments' decision to expand the eligibility criteria of this program is great news. 

“Replacing ageing whitegoods like washing machines is ordinarily very costly and only adds burden to families who may already be doing it tough,” Ms McDowell said.

“This program will offer a simple but significant change to the lives of 6000 people in social housing, making a typically expensive household item affordable to buy.”

Successful applicants will be able to choose between three different sized machines, and will pay a corresponding fee of $150, $200 or $250 which includes delivery, installation and the removal and recycling of their old appliance. 

Eligible households have until 30 September to apply. Follow this link for more information or to check your eligibility.

SGCH releases community housing Impact Report

St George Community Housing (SGCH), has released its first Impact Report in recognition of the growing interest in the sector by investors, Government and commercial partners, and the broader sector.

SGCH’s first Impact report articulates SGCH’s methodology in assessing its ESG approach and foundational practices. In its report SGCH has drawn on global best practice to align its metrics, mapping its activities and linking themes from its strategic plan against the UK Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing. SGCH has also aligned its approach to the SDG Impact Standards for Enterprises and prioritised three SDG’s; 1 No Poverty, 10 Reduced Inequalities and 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities.

The Impact Report provides stakeholders with a clear report on SGCH’s approach and baseline performance.  The Report has been used by SGCH to identify gaps and set targets for improving the business as well as refining its strategy.  

You can read SGCH’s Impact Report here.

City West Housing is reducing its carbon footprint with solar

City West Housing has expanded its Energy Efficiency Program to help reduce its residents’ energy bills and bring positive benefits for the environment. 

The affordable housing provider is integrating infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions by cutting down energy and water demand in its developments. 

One of its recent key areas of focus is reducing the environmental impact from electricity usage. City West Housing installed 769 solar rooftop panels on three of its properties, significantly reducing the energy costs and carbon footprint of 225 apartments.

As wholesale power costs have doubled in the past year resulting in skyrocketing electricity and gas prices, this solar initiative could deliver much-needed savings for some City West Housing residents of up to $400 a year. This is a major win for these tenants, who would typically not be able to tap into solar savings if they were renting through the private market.

Watch the video to hear what a few residents at its apartments in Eveleigh think of this initiative.

NHFIC takes tour through Sydney social housing developments

On 1 June, the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) Investor Tour took a group of institutional investors on a tour of social and affordable housing developments around Sydney supported by NHFIC funding.

The tour provided investors with an opportunity to learn more about the sector and the social and affordable accommodation provided by community housing providers (CHPs) and supported by NHFIC’s bond program. Participants also gained important insight into the positive social outcomes that these projects deliver via first-hand accounts from residents.  

The tour commenced at SGCH’s landmark Redfern site where Scott Langford, CEO, and SGCH staff showed attendees through the community recreation spaces and playground, ground floor commercial space and a vacant apartment.

Participants then visited an inner-city development owned and managed by Bridge Housing. Rebecca Pinkstone, CEO and Bridge Housing staff provided an overview of the site, cohorts supported and wrap around services available to residents. 

At both Redfern and Glebe, the group experienced first-hand accounts from cohorts supported by the CHPs including vulnerable and at-risk women and First Nations residents. The stories shared by residents demonstrated the incredible difference that access to secure, safe and affordable homes has in the lives of many at-risk and vulnerable people.

It was a privilege to hear from residents about their experiences and learn the importance of providing people with safe, secure and affordable housing in the communities they call home.  

Content supplied by NHFIC.

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Housing Matters May 2022

Welcome to the May 2022 edition of Housing Matters.

Following the recent Federal election, the Community Housing Industry Association NSW and our members welcome the opportunity to contribute to Federal Labor’s significant housing and homelessness policy reforms during the first term of the Albanese Government.

Together with our federal peak colleagues, CHIA NSW welcomes the Cabinet appointment of the Hon. Julie Collins MP as the Minister for Housing, Homelessness and Small Business. We are strongly encouraged that both the Prime Minister and Minister Collins recognise the social and economic value of safe, secure, and affordable housing, having respectively grown up in social housing in NSW and Tasmania.

As outlined in this edition, Federal Labor has committed to a range of important housing and homelessness policy reforms, most notably, the establishment of the Housing Australia Future Fund to build 30,000 new social and affordable homes over the next five years. Although this is great news, it’s clear that governments, the private sector, institutional investors, and community housing providers can do much more to address the housing vulnerability crisis.

Closer to home, the NSW State Budget will be handed downon Tuesday 21 June in a highly challenging economic environment of rising interest rates, inflationary pressures, and increased household spending on mortgage and rental costs. As such, it is absolutely critical that the NSW Government commits to budget measures that address the needs of the more than 50,000 households on the social housing waitlist. CHIA NSW and our members look forward to continuing our successful and long-standing partnerships with the NSW Government to address the housing needs of lower income households across NSW.

The flood recovery in northern NSW continues with North Coast Community Housing (NCCH) recently welcoming the first residents of temporary ‘pod’ accommodation near Lismore. More on that in this edition.

Elsewhere, we hear from Link Wentworth employee and CHIA NSW cadet, Tionnie about her nomination for NSW Vocational Student of the Year award and how she came to be a cadet.

Please enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

The new Albanese Government’s housing policies

In the lead-up to the Federal election, the Albanese Government made the following housing and homelessness policy announcements:
Labor will create the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund which will build 30,000 new social and affordable housing properties in its first five years. Each year investment returns from the Housing Australia Future Fund will be transferred to the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) to pay for social and affordable housing projects.
In its first five years, the Fund will aim to build around 20,000 social housing properties (4000 specifically for women and children escaping domestic and family violence and older women at risk of homelessness), and 10,000 affordable homes for key workers. Additionally, the returns from the Fund will pay for $200 million for the repair, maintenance, and improvements of housing in remote Indigenous communities and $30 million to build more housing and fund specialist services for veterans who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.
The Help to Buy program will give 10,000 Australians per year the opportunity to share ownership of a home with the Government which will put in up to 40% of the purchase price for a new home, and up to 30% for an existing home. Under Help to Buy, eligible homebuyers would pay a 2% rather than a 5% deposit, and would avoid the need for lenders mortgage insurance.

The Regional First Home Buyer Support Scheme will aim to assist 10,000 first-home buyers a year in regional Australia purchase a home. Labor says those buyers will save up to $32,000 in mortgage insurance and be able to secure a home with a deposit as low as 5 per cent – with the government guaranteeing up to 15 per cent of the purchase price.
The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation, established in 2018 as a corporate Commonwealth entity built to support housing outcomes nationally, will be renamed Housing Australia.
The ALP will establish a National Housing Supply and Affordability Council, which will be advised by experts from various sectors with the aim to finding the best approaches to increasing housing supply and improving affordability.
The National Housing and Homelessness Plan will be developed in consultation with key stakeholders from across national, state and territory, and local governments and private sectors. It will aim to set key short, medium, and longer-term reforms needed to increase the supply and affordability of homes to buy and rent and reducing rates of homelessness.

Image purchased by CHIA NSW

Jobs going with North Coast CHP managing post-flood temporary accommodation

New temporary ‘pod’ homes near Lismore have seen their first residents move in, while North Coast Community Housing looks to recruit workers as they take on management of the site’s tenants and maintenance.
In April, the NSW Government announced the establishment of temporary housing sites to accommodate the urgent needs emerging from the February 2022 storms and floods in the Northern Rivers region.
The NSW Government expects to establish approximately 17 temporary housing sites across five local government areas in the Northern Rivers. Sites will host a variety of housing units to accommodate various household sizes and will have varying maximum occupancy rates. The temporary homes can house between one individual to families of four. These villages will be supplemented by supporting infrastructure and amenities.
Under the $350 million Housing Support Package, Resilience NSW will administer the package and have contracted CHIA NSW Member, North Coast Community Housing (NCCH) to deliver tenancy management and site maintenance services to the site at Alstonville Sports Fields in Wollongbar. This site will house flood survivors from Lismore and Ballina.
NCCH have several job vacancies available to help deliver those essential services, including NCCH Community Villages Program Lead, Village Manager, Case Worker, Handyperson, HR Officer, Support Worker, and Engagement Coordinator.
For more information about these opportunities, please visit https://www.ncch.org.au/about-us/employment/.

CHIA NSW Chair discusses culture of housing in Australia on 2GB

CHIA NSW Chair and CEO of Housing Trust, Michele Adair has appeared on 2GB radio to discuss the culture of housing in Australia.
Here are some interesting points Michele made in the chat.
‘The Government has an enormous amount of data that says this problem is not going to change… if you’re under the age of forty-five in Australia today, you’ve only got a fifty-fifty chance of ever owning a home,’ Michele said.
‘When we look ahead over the next fifteen or so years to the job industries that are going to grow, the sort of job categories where we say to our kid, “if you want job security in the future, think about a career in one of these particular industries”, of those ten really big growth industries into the future, seven of the ten are in the lowest wage bracket.
‘Those jobs are never going to be highly paid at the sorts of levels that are going to allow you to rent in the private market, let alone buy a home.
‘It’s just unfair to continue to pretend or ignore the importance of the rental housing market in Australia,’ Michele said.
You can listen to the audio here: https://www.4bc.com.au/podcast/is-aussie-culture-around-housing-all-wrong/

CHIA NSW Cadet and Link Wentworth employee nominated for award

CHIA NSW Cadet and Link Wentworth employee, Tionnie has been nominated as a finalist for the NSW Vocational Student of the Year award.

Tionnie began her time at Link Wentworth as part of her cadetship with CHIA NSW, part of which she also undertook her Certificate IV in Housing.

Link Wentworth recently spoke to Tionnie in depth about her experience since beginning her cadetship. Prior to starting her training and employment, Tionnie had wanted to work in social housing and applied for several positions with community housing providers, but had been unsuccessful.

‘Whilst researching ways to get my foot in the door I came across the Cadetship Program on the CHIA website,' Tionnie said.

‘The thought of completing a Certificate IV in Social Housing in conjunction with full time work was something I was very interested in… I knew this would be a great opportunity to be employed in a position that would allow me to liaise with all areas of the social/community housing network.

When asked what advice she would give to others who are considering applying to the Cadetship Program, Tionnie gave some words of encouragement.

‘Go for it! If you like the idea of being able to assist some of the most vulnerable people within our communities gain housing that is safe and secure and to help them to grow within the community, then this is the career for you,’ Tionnie said.

Link Wentworth have said they knew early when Tionnie joined that she shared the company’s values and had a passion for what the sector does for people.

CHIA NSW congratulates and wishes Tionnie well. For more information about CHIA NSW’s Cadetship Program, visit https://communityhousing.org.au/cadetship/.

CHIA NSW Cadet and Link Wentworth employee, Tionnie

Bridge Housing’s Step to Home program evaluation in the news

Bridge Housing CEO and CHIA NSW Board Member Rebecca Pinkstone has appeared in the news discussing the Step to Home program and ‘housing first’ model.

Step to Home is a program aimed at housing ‘rough’ or street sleepers, run by community housing providers Bridge Housing, Women’s Housing Company and Metro Community Housing in partnership with mental health service provider Neami National and funded by the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ).

The program is based on the ‘housing first’ model which prioritises providing access to adequate housing to people at risk of homelessness before turning the attention to other needs like mental health support or drug and alcohol counselling.

An independent study has been released which measures the outcomes of Step to Home. Some of the key results include:

  • 85% of Step to Home participants were still housed at the end of the study period.
  • 72% of participants indicated that their health had improved since being in the program.
  • The employment rate of participants increased from 3.2% to 22.3% since being housed.
  • Participants reported improvement in personal wellbeing, social connections and community engagement.
  • Emergency room and hospital visits, as well as court appearances and probation dropped significantly.

Speaking to Pro Bono Australia, here are several key excerpts from Rebecca Pinkstone:
“We’ve seen dramatic increases in homelessness over the last four years, and that’s exactly at the same time as housing affordability has declined in the country. And, there are not enough private rentals that are affordable for people to rent in the private market,” Pinkstone explained.
“I think that’s probably why you see these groups of homeless people like older women, for example, increasing. Perhaps they would have been able to rent a house in the private market if they were on a lower income and had some savings.
“But now there are just so few properties available that are affordable, that even groups traditionally we haven’t seen in crisis are falling into crisis and homelessness in Australia. So we really need to boost the amount of housing that’s available, but not just any housing – we need it to focus on those that are on lower incomes so it’s affordable for them.
“For us to really address the housing crisis that we have, for us to increase supply of affordable and social housing, we need a partnership with governments and a commitment to funding housing for low income people. And working with community housing providers means we can maximise that investment and create more homes on the ground,” she said.
You can access the Step to Home evaluation report here: https://www.bridgehousing.org.au/about-us/communications/news/879-bridge-housing-launches-independent-study-proving-program-effectiveness.

SGCH get ‘Cooking with purpose’

The SGCH team recently joined OzHarvest’s Community Cook Off in Sydney’s west to prepare meals donated to public housing tenants.
SGCH’s CEO, Scott Langford joined forces with leaders from other local Sydney companies to cook korma at Abhi’s restaurant in North Strathfield, 80 of which were delivered to Redlink, an organisation supporting public housing residents in Redfern.
The group has raised $22,152 to date which will support the work of OzHarvest. For more information or to donate, visit https://www.sgch.com.au/news/cooking-with-purpose/.

Andrew Brooks (SGCH), Rommel Harding-Farrenberg (Corrs Chambers Westgarth), Kumar Mahadevan (head chef and owner, Abhi's), Scott Langford

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Housing Matters April 2022

Welcome to the April 2022 edition of Housing Matters.

With the Federal election just weeks away, housing affordability has maintained its presence in mainstream media as a significant cost of living issue. In recent days, Anglicare Australia’s latest Rental Affordability Snapshot has further illustrated the crisis we’re in. For Australians earning minimum wage or receiving income support payments, the chance of affording a rental anywhere in the country is slim to none. More on Anglicare’s report in this edition.

Earlier this week, the Australian Labor Party formally launched its Federal campaign with new announcements on tackling housing affordability and homelessness, which was welcomed by our colleagues at CHIA (National) and National Shelter.  

The Help to Buy shared ownership scheme follows earlier announcements about the Housing Australia Future Fund to deliver new social and affordable supply, and a commitment to deliver a National Housing and Homelessness Plan. Additionally, the announcement about a proposed National Supply and Affordability Council and an expanded remit for the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation was also welcomed by our Federal peers.

Closer to home, we’re now fast approaching the NSW State Budget being handed down on 21 June. CHIA NSW will be continuing its advocacy on critical issues, including the importance of further investment in the Community Housing Innovation Fund, a focus on regional housing, repairs and maintenance of social housing and more.

Later in this edition, we’ve got some great news about the achievements of our Cadets.

Please enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

CHIA NSW Chair appears on 7.30 Report to discuss rental crisis

CHIA NSW Chair and CEO of Housing Trust, Michele Adair has appeared on ABC’s 7.30 Report to discuss the rental crisis currently gripping Australia.

The story looked at how the issues of rental affordability and availability of social housing are lacking attention by politicians on either side of the election, despite the shortfalls only growing.

Michele reflected on findings coming out of the recent Anglicare Rental Affordability Report and discussed what’s needed to address the problems we face.

“The focus has been on first-home buyers and home ownership, and that's been at the cost of the rental market.

“Being priced out of the rental market and not being able to own is the reality facing hundreds of thousands if not millions of Australians today.

“The housing market's out of control. One of the fundamental problems in Australia is that we've only ever considered housing as being a vehicle for personal wealth creation. We've never understood the criticality of it as a human right.

“In Sydney, a single person can earn as much as $86,000 a year and still be eligible for subsidised housing under the New South Wales Government's own rules.

“We've already got a national shortfall of hundreds of thousands of affordable rental homes. Conservatively, 200,000 homes right now.

“Unless we build homes with a specific and a safe guarantee that they are going to be made available only for affordable rental, then we're not doing anything at all,” said Michele.

To view the story, visit https://www.abc.net.au/7.30/rental-crisis-worsens-as-vacancies-fall-to-record/13863902.

Latest national Rental Affordability Report released

Anglicare Australia have just released their Rental Affordability Snapshot, a yearly report designed to highlight the lived experience of looking for housing while on a low income.

The 2021 Rental Affordability Snapshot surveyed over 74,000 rental listings across Australia and found that affordability is at record lows for those on minimum wage and benefit recipients.

Some key takeaways from the report include:

  • When the snapshot was taken on 19 March 2022, there was 45,992 available rentals nationally, down 38% from March 2021, when there were 74,266 listings.
  • A single person on minimum wage could only afford 720, or 1.6%, of available listings, while a couple on the age pension could only afford 663, or 1.4%,  of what was on the market.
  • There were no affordable options for people on youth allowance, and only seven properties that were affordable for single people on jobseeker.
  • 51 properties – 0.1% – were affordable for people on the disability support pension.

You can download their report here: https://www.anglicare.asn.au/research-advocacy/rental-affordability/.

Big Housing Debate unpacks Western Sydney social housing crisis

Link Wentworth’s recent Big Housing Debate held at Penrith brought together a host of speakers from across the political, business and community spectrum to unpack the current social housing needs of NSW, with a close lens on Western Sydney.

Hosted by the ABC’s Juanita Phillips, the discussion heard from State Shadow Minister for Water, Housing and Homelessness Rose Jackson, The Hon Shayne Mallard MLC, CEO of Tenants’ Union NSW Leo Patterson Ross, Link Wentworth CEO Andrew McAnulty, and several speakers across private business.

The various panels unpacked the demand for social housing in Western Sydney which makes up 16% of all demand in NSW with a significant shortfall of supply expected over the coming 15 years. The call was made by several panellists for a national housing strategy.

However, the most powerful input of the day came from Mary, a social housing resident who shared her personal story of finding affordable housing as a single mother with two children.

To read more about the event, visit: https://www.linkwentworth.org.au/big-housing-debate-social-affordable-housing-shortfall/.

Panellists at The Big Housing Debate

Newest Cadets begin, 2021 Cadets up for awards

The 2022 Cadetship Program has officially begun with cadets kicking off their studies and employment, while some from the 2021 program have been nominated for NSW Training Awards.
The 2022 cohort have begun their studies with CHIA NSW’s Centre for Training in Social Housing as well as their employment with various CHPs. The majority of the 22 people which make up the recently started 2022 cohort are female and from regional/rural NSW. 45% of the group identify as Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander.
Meanwhile, five cadets from the 2021 program have been nominated for NSW Training Awards, all progressing to the next stage where they will be interviewed. CHIA NSW congratulates them on an incredible achievement and wish them well for the next stage.

2021 Cadets

CHIA National release new reporting standard to demonstrate community housing industry’s ESG credentials

The Community Housing Industry Association and a consortium of private and public sector partners have commenced the development of an industry specific environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting standard.
Apart from the UK, Australia will be the first country to develop a community housing ESG. The reporting standard will demonstrate the added value community housing generates in driving improved economic and social outcomes and in doing so will help encourage and attract more diverse private sector lending, including from ESG investors.
For more information, visit https://www.communityhousing.com.au/chia-media-release-new-reporting-standard-to-demonstrate-community-housing-industrys-esg-credentials/.

Upcoming Professional Development Courses

NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Accredited)

21 June 2022 |APPLY

Trauma Informed Practice

1 June 2022 |APPLY

Housing Pathways

7 June 2022 |APPLY

If you’re interested in a course not listed here or you’d like to make a separate group booking, please contact [email protected].

Keep updated with our sector. Follow CHIA NSW online:

Housing Matters - February 2022

Welcome to another edition of Housing Matters covering February 2022.

As I write, communities across NSW and QLD are being devastated by unprecedented flooding. The CHIA NSW team sends our best wishes to those communities impacted by the floods, including our members and partners across the industry.
These communities need support and they need it now and over the longer term.  The Government must respond quickly and at scale.  Temporary accommodation and services are desperately needed, and the process of rebuilding must also begin as soon as possible.
CHIA NSW and the community housing sector are ready to support the NSW Government and other industry members to deliver a housing recovery package to those who need access to safe and secure housing, now more than ever in those flood-affected regions.  More on the housing recovery package we’ve called for with other peak bodies appears later in this edition.
In other news, the NSW Government announced a $30 million Regional Housing Fund grant program in February. While the motive behind this investment is welcomed, we’ve called for an expansion of the Fund to deliver desperately needed social housing to our regions. More on that in this edition.
We’re proud to share that once again, all positions in our Cadetship Program will be filled for a second consecutive year.
The program has provided young people and those living in social housing the opportunity to study and find employment with community housing providers, not only developing their skills but strengthening our workforce.
After seeing some incredible people come through the program in 2021, we can’t wait to see these new cadets from across regional and metropolitan NSW seize the opportunity head on.
As well in this edition, we’ve launched our Antisocial Behaviour Toolkit, announced projects in the works with our Business Development team, shared some professional development courses being offered this year, and heard from our partners at the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation.

We hope you enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

Joint Media Release: Housing For Those On Low-Incomes Must Be Top Priority In Flood Recovery

A coalition of peak bodies is urging the NSW Government to invest in an immediate housing recovery package to support communities affected by the NSW flood emergency.

NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS), Community Housing Industry Association NSW (CHIA NSW), Aboriginal Community Housing Industry Association NSW (ACHIA NSW) and Homelessness NSW are calling for:

  • immediate temporary housing options for people on low incomes;
  • the rebuilding of existing social housing affected by the floods;
  • a major construction program to build social and affordable housing and address the critical shortage of housing in the flood impacted areas;
  • and recovery grants to be made immediately available to local community housing providers, Aboriginal community-controlled organisations and homelessness services to assist people made homeless as a result of the floods.

The peaks have released a joint statement detailing the immediate steps needed to address the housing and homelessness crisis which will be significantly exacerbated by widespread flooding events.

The organisations said the scale of the disaster in northern NSW deserved an urgent and proportionate response.

“We are seeing devastation throughout northern NSW, and we need an immediate response to support those now without a roof over their head,” NCOSS CEO Joanna Quilty said.

“We welcome the Premier’s acknowledgment that housing will be a priority in the recovery effort. We look forward to working with him to urgently support communities in need, including those who were already experiencing disadvantage and who can be hardest hit when disaster strikes.”

The North Coast of NSW was already at the forefront of the housing crisis – with 250 people on the priority housing waiting list at June 2021 and a private rental market vacancy rate of 0.5%.

The 2021 Tweed, Byron Bay and Lismore homelessness street counts identified over 300 people sleeping rough. 

“Before the floods of recent days, North Coast families were already being forced to live in tents, cars, and other makeshift arrangements because they couldn’t afford a home,” Homelessness NSW CEO, Katherine McKernan said.

“The devastating floods in regional areas like the NSW North Coast have turned a difficult housing market into an impossible one.  A massive and speedy response is required to help these communities,” CHIA NSW CEO, Mark Degotardi said.

“Community housing providers are ready to support the NSW Government and industry partners in getting communities struck by flooding on the road to recovery, starting with making sure people have a safe and secure roof over their head,” Mr. Degotardi said.

NSW had a housing and homelessness crisis before the floods with 50,000 applicants on the social housing waiting list and a private rental market that is unaffordable, particularly in regional NSW.

More than 30% of all clients of homelessness services are Aboriginal. Homelessness services are supporting 25% more clients than funded for and are turning away more clients than they can accommodate due to high demand that has been exacerbated by COVID-19.

“For many Aboriginal communities, the problems of overcrowding in substandard housing and the detrimental impacts of this on health and well-being have been longstanding. The situation will now be so much worse – this catastrophe will widen the gap in life outcomes even further,” ACHIA NSW CEO, Lisa Sampson said.

Media contact: Josh Appleton (CHIA NSW): [email protected] 

Pre-Budget submission spotlight: Regional Housing Fund

In our last edition, we discussed our Pre-Budget Submission’s priorities, one of them calling for the establishment of a $500 million Regional Housing Fund to alleviate housing stress in regional areas.
Since then, the NSW Government has announced a $30 million Regional Housing Fund grant program which will provide funding for regional councils to support the delivery of new housing supply.
The Regional Housing Taskforce Recommendations report (released late last year) recommended that the NSW Government commit to the establishment of an ongoing program to deliver new and renewed social and affordable housing in regional NSW. Unfortunately, this recent announcement by the NSW Government falls short of addressing that recommendation.
While the intent behind this $30 million investment is welcomed, the availability and affordability of housing in regional NSW are hitting unprecedented highs, which is why we’ve called for an expanded $500 million Regional Housing Fund to deliver new and renewed social housing properties, affordable housing properties, and key worker homes over two years in the regions.
Read more in our 2022-23 Pre-Budget Submission.

Design and Place State Environmental Planning Policy

CHIA NSW has finalised its submission to the NSW Government on the draft Design and Place State Environmental Planning Policy (DP SEPP). 

The DP SEPP is a major new policy framework which will establish new design requirements for new development across NSW and apply to a range of new development types including apartments, townhouses, boarding houses and seniors housing. The new requirements are expected to commence in late 2022.

Key aspects of the proposals include:

  • New design principles and considerations that development proposals will be assessed against
  • Increased Building Sustainability Index energy efficiency targets for residential development
  • Updated design requirements for new apartments in the form of a revised Apartment Design Guide
  • New urban design requirements for sites over 1ha in the form of a new Urban Design Guide
  • New design review procedures for development applications. 

While the standardisation of good design practice is welcomed, CHIA NSW’s submission raises concern with several aspects of the proposals which, if implemented rigidly, would impose additional barriers on community housing development. The submission recommends a series of changes to the DP SEPP and supporting documents to better balance good design with other important outcomes, including the delivery of more social and affordable housing. Recommendations include:

  • Requiring the consideration of affordable housing needs as part of achieving good design outcomes.
  • Providing increased flexibility to ensure the feasibility of development by community housing providers is not impacted and to enable schemes to be tailored to the specific needs of residents intended to be housed.
  • Delivering an early and ongoing program of training and capacity building for industry and consent authorities to ensure that the new policy framework is implemented consistently and as intended.

For more information on CHIA NSW’s submission, please contact Senior Policy Officer, Michael Carnuccio at [email protected]

Release of Antisocial Behaviour Toolkit

CHIA NSW has launched its Approaches to Managing Antisocial Behaviour Toolkit.

The Toolkit aims to assist and support the community housing industry to respond fairly and effectively to all forms of antisocial behaviour, in order to:

  • Increase the proportion of complaints resolved without the need to escalate to enforcement action
  • Reduce the number of tenancies terminated on the grounds of antisocial behaviour
  • Increase tenant satisfaction with community housing providers’ handling of antisocial behaviour complaints.

The Toolkit was recently launched at an online event attended by CHIA NSW members, where speakers from CHIA NSW and SC Consulting provided an introductory overview to the toolkit and practitioner resources, as well as information about the latest learning and development opportunities available to industry to support the management of best practice responses to antisocial behaviour.

CHIA NSW would like to acknowledge the funding provided by the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) to support the development of this toolkit under the NSW Community Housing Industry Development Strategy, a partnership between CHIA NSW and DCJ.

Commonwealth Rent Assistance Rent Calculator – Maintaining and Developing an Essential Tool for the community housing industry

Over the next 12 months, CHIA NSW will be updating its Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) rent calculator and developing an innovative online rent calculator (ORC).
CHIA NSW has maintained an Excel based Commonwealth Rent Assistance rent calculator on behalf of the community housing industry for over six years.  It is an essential piece of infrastructure for community housing providers and is used by well over 100 organisations. 

The Excel calculator now needs an update to incorporate recent changes to the community housing rent policy rent assessment rules that state that the assessment rate may be between 25-30% of assessable income.

After receiving funding support from the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (subject to meeting technical requirements and demand from the sector), CHIA NSW will be – as requested by CHPs – developing an ORC to:

  • Streamline the calculation process.
  • Provide a more user-friendly interface.
  • Allow for greater checking of calculations.
  • Increase accuracy by using coding rather than Excel formulas.
  • And most importantly, allow bulk rent assessments to save significant staff time.

For more information, please contact Business Development Manager, Adam West at [email protected].

Strengthening Cyber Security Defences in the Community Housing Industry

CHIA NSW is working with the community housing sector to collectively raise its cyber security posture by developing tailored training opportunities and manuals.

Community housing providers manage highly sensitive personal information about their tenants, making the strength of their cyber security defences critical to securing their operations.

The project entered planning after consultation with the CHIA NSW Digital Network (made up of CHIA NSW members working in digital-based roles) found there was a consensus about the need for a collegiate approach to cyber security which could be led by CHIA NSW as the peak body.

The project will:

  • develop a community housing specific guide for CHPs to follow to raise their cyber security maturity levels;
  • deliver practical cyber security education – board and staff; and
  • develop a cyber incident response plan.

For more information, please contact Business Development Manager, Adam West at [email protected].

Upcoming Professional Development Courses

NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Accredited)

19 April 2022 | APPLY

21 June 2022 | APPLY

NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Non-accredited)

19 April 2022 | APPLY

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Safety

3 May 2022 | APPLY

Mental Health Awareness

8 March 2022 | APPLY (only 3 places left)

10 May 2022 | APPLY

Trauma Informed Practice

10 March 2022 | APPLY

1 June 2022 | APPLY

Housing Pathways

5 April 2022 | APPLY

7 June 2022 | APPLY

Hoarding and Squalor

29 March 2022 | APPLY

If you’re interested in a course not listed here or you’d like to make a separate group booking, please contact [email protected].

A closer look at Professional Development Course: Hoarding and Squalor

Did you know that around 2.6% of the population suffer from a hoarding disorder?  And for those who are renting, the consequences can be harder if the possibility of eviction and homelessness loom.
Hoarding and squalor is a complex mental health condition with widespread impacts that can affect the person, their family, and neighbours.  In some situations, it can have serious effects on quality of life and pose great health and safety risks.
To learn about the issues behind this condition, strategies for how to effectively manage situations and the relevant legal and regulatory requirements, join us for our next session on Tuesday 29 March. The session costs $200 per person and is delivered online via Zoom over 4 hours from 9am-1pm AEDT.
You can apply to enrol here or to make a separate group booking, please contact [email protected].

National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) – February 2022 Update

The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) recently released its flagship ‘State of the Nation’s Housing 2021–22’ research report.
First introduced in 2020, the State of the Nation’s Housing is NHFIC’s flagship research report. It provides analysis into housing demand and supply across Australia, as well as long-term projections, with a view to identifying potential drivers of, and challenges to, housing affordability.
NHFIC CEO Nathan Dal Bon said: “Our second flagship ‘State of the Nation’s Housing’ research report provides a comprehensive overview of key housing data and projections. It has been a remarkable past 18 months for Australia’s housing markets, with the largest population shock in a century, unprecedented government stimulus, a widespread flight to the regions, and accelerating house price growth and tightening rental markets impacting housing affordability. This research has been informed by extensive consultation with stakeholders including industry and provides on-the-ground insights to understand Australia’s housing supply and affordability trends in the coming decade.”

The latest State of the Nation’s Housing 2021–22 research report includes new chapters on housing markets in Australian states and territories which provides detail on recent supply constraints in the development industry, as well as detail on recent housing prices and vacancy rate trends. There is also has a new chapter on regions and cities highlighting the impacts of the pandemic. The 2021–22 report features 10-year projections (increased from 5-years) to better align to housing development cycles.

State of the Nation’s Housing is complemented by NHFIC’s core ongoing research program, which aims to contribute applied and practically-focused research.

You can view the report’s key findings and find more information about the research here.

Connect with NHFIC on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Keep updated with our sector. Follow CHIA NSW online:

Housing Matters - January 2022

Welcome to the January 2022 edition of Housing Matters.

On behalf of the Community Housing Industry Association NSW, we welcome our members and supporters to a new year of action in 2022. 

We enter the new year in even more challenging times than the last as record increases in COVID-19 cases continue across our state and nation, placing significant pressure on our health system, essential services, and economy. 

The prevalence of COVID-19 in the community poses a threat to all but even more so to those without access to safe, secure, and affordable housing. Effective Federal and State policy reform is urgently needed now more than ever to address unprecedented housing affordability pressures in our cities and regions. 

As the Federal election looms on the horizon, the community housing sector has an important opportunity over the coming weeks to contribute to the Productivity Commission’s Review of the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, which is set to expire in June 2023. 

In addition to a significant increase in Federal funding for new social and affordable housing supply, a National Housing Strategy that provides a coordinated framework for governments and key delivery partners and sets the direction for future planning and investment decisions is critical. 

Closer to home, the NSW Premier has announced significant changes to the Cabinet, with two new Ministers taking the reins of critical portfolios in the lead-up to the 2023 State election. We welcomed Minister for Homes and Minister for Planning, Anthony Roberts and Minister for Families and Communities, Natasha MacLaren-Jones. 

The Premier has recently stated that authorities should “put everything on the table” to address housing affordability. We anticipate that housing affordability will be a key state election issue and that 2022 will bring more announcements on housing, planning, and taxation reform – including the state government’s response to the Regional Housing Taskforce recommendations. 

In our recently finalised Pre-Budget Submission, CHIA NSW calls on the NSW Government to invest in social and affordable housing supply, repairs and maintenance programs, and energy efficiency upgrade programs to generate much-needed economic activity in uncertain times. 

In 2022, CHIA NSW will continue to advocate and build productive partnerships with Ministers, governments, and industry partners to ensure that our members can continue to provide quality homes and services where they are needed most. 

We hope that you enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

CHIA NSW pre-budget submission

CHIA NSW has finalised its 2022-23 Pre-Budget Submission to the NSW Government with new  priorities and a call to ensure the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is a recovery for all Australians.

CHIA NSW has called on the Government to commit to three housing priorities:

  1. Social housing as infrastructure
  2. Sustainable Homes, Sustainable Futures
  3. Reducing homelessness in every community.

These priorities call for action from Government by:

  • Investing $400 million to extend the Community Housing Innovation Fund, extending the successful existing program and building more homes through leveraging CHP capacity to invest capital and raise debt;
  • Establishing a $500 million Regional Housing Fund to alleviate housing stress in regional areas;
  • Improving the quality of existing social housing through a $250 million repairs and maintenance program;
  • Funding a $50 million in a net-zero community housing pilot program to improve the environmental efficiency of older homes; and
  • Building an additional 200 social housing properties over two years for people exiting from the Together Home program.

These priorities and recommendations will work towards not only creating greater housing diversity and opportunity and reducing homelessness in NSW, but create thousands of jobs in the construction industry, as well as driving economic growth across local communities and deliver savings for the state government.

New CHIA NSW Research Report

CHIA NSW has recently published a new report focusing on the current and future provision of affordable housing in NSW through the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS).

What’s next for NRAS: Community Housing leading the transition, provides an overview of the significant long-term outcomes achieved by community housing providers to leverage NRAS and deliver more than 3,500 NRAS properties in unaffordable locations in NSW.

The report shows that, by the end of NRAS in 2026, community housing providers will retain 3,161 NRAS properties that they own and continue to manage them as affordable housing, whilst 3,360 NRAS properties owned by other investors will exit the affordable housing system.

This report analyses the projected trends and likely impacts on housing markets, affected tenants, the social and affordable housing system, and community housing providers.

The research was featured in The Sun Herald, available here.

National Affordable Housing Alliance

The National Affordable Housing Alliance has recently launched its policy platform, Increasing the supply of social and affordable housing: at scale and in perpetuity.

If implemented by the Australian Government, the policy options proposed could deliver between 11,150 to 14,950 additional social and affordable homes per annum on top of the new supply already being created by state and territory governments through separate initiatives.

The Alliance’s core members include the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Council of Social Service, the Community Housing Industry Association, Industry Super Australia, Homelessness Australia, the Housing Industry Association, Master Builders Australia, National Shelter and the Property Council of Australia.

You can read more on the core policies proposed by the Alliance here.

CHIA NSW to build on Data Dashboard

CHIA NSW is updating its Data Dashboard which will include more data on affordable housing in NSW as well as freshly released official numbers of community housing homes across the state.

The Dashboard, which was launched mid-way through 2021, is a portal of various datasets presented on an accessible platform. The data shown covers the spread of community housing homes across the state including who they are owned and managed by, numbers of social and affordable housing homes built and to be built in NSW, and rates of tenant satisfaction, rent outstanding, and occupancies.

After undertaking several research projects looking at affordable housing in NSW, CHIA NSW will be incorporating fresh data into the Building more homes section of the Dashboard. Further to that, the Housing people across NSW section will be populated with new data once its released by the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ).

To stay updated on updates to the Data Dashboard, keep a close eye on CHIA NSW announcements on our website and social media accounts: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

CHIA NSW’s Data Dashboard

Review of the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement

The Productivity Commission is conducting its scheduled review of the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA).

The NHHA is a multi-year agreement between the Australian Government and State and Territory Governments for providing housing and homelessness services and outlines the roles and responsibilities in improving housing outcomes.

The review provides an important opportunity for stakeholders to provide input on the effectiveness of the NHHA’s objectives and outcomes. Further information is outlined in the Issues Paper here. Submissions close on 22 February 2022.

CHIA NSW 2022 Cadetship Program

After a successful first year of the program, CHIA NSW is again partnering with the NSW Government to offer cadetships to 25 young people and social housing tenants in NSW. With a strong initial take-up from our regional providers, the call is now out for metropolitan providers to submit applications.
The program offers cadets a 12-month employment contract with a community housing provider and enrolment in nationally accredited training course, the CHC42221 Certificate IV in Housing. The program is a fine example of how the community housing sector can partner with our State Government to empower young people into employment and drive growth in our industry.
So far, 19 Community Housing Providers (CHPs) have submitted expressions of interest for the 2022 program for 27 locations, the majority of which across regional NSW. CHIA NSW is encouraging metropolitan CHPs to get involved with the program which had so much success in 2021.
Go to our website for more information on the Cadetship Program.

CHIA NSW 2021 cadets

House Keys Round 7

CHIA NSW has updated the approach to House Keys, the national community housing benchmarking service that enables participating CHPs to compare their performance with detailed peer groups. 

Round 7 of the benchmarking service included several new data points, including current and cash ratio with a more detailed breakdown of maintenance costs as well as forecasting data.

An additional Value for Money section was also included which is based on an Industry Development Strategy project developed by CHIA NSW, in which community housing providers identified a matrix of 15 Value for Money indicators across five domains. More information on this project and the metrics behind the work can be found here.

Headline results from House Keys Round 7 for NSW included: a decrease in occupancy rates from 98.88 in 2019 to 92.64 in 2020; a decrease in rent outstanding from 1.71% to 1.44% ; some key asset metrics included an increase in the average amount spent on planned maintenance of just under $200 per property and a stable result since 2019 for responsive maintenance; and an improvement to total operating expenses per property has seen a decrease to $12,392 in 2020.

If you would like more information about the data available to participants, an individual briefing for your CHP or if you have any questions, please contact [email protected].

CHIA NSW holding Tenant Engagement Information Session

Results from analyses with recent survey datasets highlight the important role of tenant engagement in overall satisfaction.

CHIA NSW will hold an information exchange session on tenant engagement on 17th Feb, 1PM - 3PM AEDT, via Microsoft Teams. This session is the second of a series and is part of our ongoing commitment to helping benchmarking club members maximise the value of tenant survey outcomes.

CHIA NSW is grateful to the top-ranking providers who have kindly agreed to share on their best practice strategies for tenant engagement during the session, and for facilitating peer learning opportunities.

As well, responding to expressions of interest from Social Housing Management Transfer (SHMT) providers, CHIA NSW will be holding a SHMT tenant engagement information exchange session. This session (attendees will be SHMT providers only) is separate to the 17th February tenant engagement session (open to all CHIA NSW benchmarking club members). 

This session will be held on 24th Feb, 10AM - 12PM AEDT (via MS Teams). Invitations will be distributed to SHMT providers.

For more information on either of these sessions, please contact Maryann ([email protected]).

Keep updated with our sector. Follow CHIA NSW online:

Housing Matters March 2022

Welcome to the March 2022 edition of Housing Matters.

With the Federal election confirmed for Saturday 21 May, housing affordability has emerged as a significant cost of living issue for hundreds of thousands of lower-income rental households.

The recently released Federal Budget included some wins for the community housing sector – most notably, a $2 billion increase in the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation’s liability cap, and $100 million funding injection for the Safe Places program. More on our responses in this issue to the Budget and the recent final report on the ‘Inquiry into housing affordability and supply in Australia’.

Consistent with our Federal and State counterparts, CHIA NSW continues to strongly support increased Commonwealth investment in social and affordable housing supply, as well as a long-term National Housing Strategy.

In this edition, we’ve got updates from our Business Development Team on the Digital Transformation Project and we also hear about the upcoming offerings from our Learning and Development team.

Also, news from one of our associate members, WelcomeMat and their updated online platform for affordable housing, as well as details on Link Wentworth Housing’s ‘Big Housing Debate’ event, which is set to include an impressive list of speakers at a pivotal time for such a discussion.

Please enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

CHIA NSW’s response to the Federal Budget: $2 billion for non-profit housing a step towards the homes Australians desperately need, but still falls short

CHIA NSW has responded to the recently announced Federal Budget, saying that while there are wins for housing accessibility and affordability across Australia, it falls well short of the where we need to be directing our focus.

A $2 billion boost to the NHFIC (The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation) liability cap and a $100 million funding injection for the Safe Places Program in #Budget22 are steps in the right direction but they alone cannot solve our housing crisis.

By the Federal Government's own projections, this additional NHFIC investment will support around 10,000 more affordable homes – which falls short of the 891,000 social and affordable homes that Australians need over the next 20 years. The $100 million funding boost for the Safe Places Program is absolutely welcomed, however, while crisis accommodation is crucial, it's only temporary. Women and children need long term, affordable housing options providing them with every opportunity to rebuild their financial security.

Read our media release on our website.

Federal Government’s recent final report on the ‘Inquiry into housing affordability and supply in Australia’ fails to address all Australians' needs

CHIA NSW has responded to the final report on the ‘Inquiry into housing affordability and supply in Australia’, calling on the Federal Government to broaden its focus from home ownership to providing tangible support for the growing number of struggling renters and homeless.

The report from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue released Friday 18 March 2022 confirms the Federal Government’s appetite to prioritise supporting Australians into home ownership and explore the potential of emerging models like discount-to-market rent-to-own affordable housing.

Read our media release on our website.

Watch NHFIC’s State of the Nation’s Housing webinar

In March, the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) hosted the State of the Nation's Housing 2021-22 webinar.

NHFIC CEO Nathan Dal Bon was joined by Mirvac CEO Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, Boral CEO Zlatko Todorcevski, and NHFIC’s Senior Advisor Hugh Hartigan, as they explored key themes from the report and the future of housing in Australia.

A lively and engaging panel discussion covered topics ranging from the issue of supply and demand and housing affordability, to land supply and construction trends, and the impacts of COVID-19.

If you missed the live webinar, you can watch it on NHFIC’s website here: Media | Watch the State of the Nation's Housing 2021-22 webinar (nhfic.gov.au).

Screenshot from State of the Nation's Housing webinar

Release of new research report, ‘Cost of inaction’

New research commissioned by CHIA National from Swinburne University of Technology has estimated that the national shortage of social and affordable housing is costing the national economy almost $677 million per annum.

By 2036, it is estimated that this cost will increase to approximately $1.290 billion per annum in the absence of sufficient investment.

According to the research, increased investment in social and affordable housing creates the following benefits:

  • Public sector cost savings (health cost associated with homelessness and stress/depression)
  • Reduced health and justice system costs associated with domestic violence,
  • Reduced private sector costs (such as absenteeism associated with stress/depression),
  • Higher educational attainment feeding into increased productivity
  • Increased disposable income to spend on other goods and services, or save for a house deposit.

The report can be accessed here.

Digital Transformation project now underway

The Digital Transformation project, a joint effort between CHIA NSW and CHIA Vic is now underway, with the project inception meeting attended by a collection of NSW and Victorian CHP reference group participants. 

For more information about the origins and expectations of the project, read our media release here.

Members will shortly be invited to take part in the initial stages of the project, with the distribution of a digital transformation readiness survey. The survey will provide a baseline and enable individual CHPs to assess their readiness for digital transformation objectively and in depth.

The survey will also allow the tailoring of other project deliverables.  The project consultants will also be seeking a range of CHPs to participate in the persona and journey mapping stages on behalf of the sector.  The international and cross sector research stage is also underway, with the consultants identifying a range of relevant case studies and models from the Netherlands, US, and UK housing sectors. 

For more information on the project, email Business Development Manager, Adam West at [email protected].

Upcoming Professional Development Courses

NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Accredited)

19 April 2022 | APPLY
21 June 2022 | APPLY

NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Non-accredited)

19 April 2022 | APPLY

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Safety

3 May 2022 |APPLY

Mental Health Awareness

10 May 2022 |APPLY

Trauma Informed Practice

1 June 2022 | APPLY

Housing Pathways

7 June 2022 | APPLY

If you’re interested in a course not listed here or you’d like to make a separate group booking, please contact [email protected].

WelcomeMat 2.0 is now live

Congratulations to our associate member, WelcomeMat, for the launch of ‘Version 2’ of its online platform for affordable housing. Hear from the WelcomeMat team below. 

Following a grant from the City of Sydney, the enhanced platform now includes a full application form (with document upload functionality), on top of the existing prequalification tools.  Housing applicants can now conveniently use (and re-use) their completed online profile to apply to various affordable housing providers for their vacancies directly through WelcomeMat. This streamlining should benefit both applicants and providers and result in significant time savings. Various enhancements have also been made to better help DFV survivors secure an affordable home. 

City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore spoke on the importance of the platform for key workers in Sydney.

“It’s vital our key workers, nurses, police officers, childcare workers are not pushed further away from their places of work in our city.  While local government isn’t responsible for housing, we’ve taken every opportunity to promote the building of mostly affordable housing, but also social and supported accommodation.

“Supporting programs such as WelcomeMat will help us ensure we meet this growing demand,” Ms Moore ended.

Rebecca Pinkstone, CEO of Bridge Housing shared her support for the platform’s service for enhancing access to affordable housing.

“It is crucial that tenants are able to find and access affordable housing in their local area. WelcomeMat’s new industry-standard form – supported by the City of Sydney – is a significant step towards helping speed up the process for renters in Sydney.”

Scott Langford, CEO of St George Community Housing mentioned how important for WelcomeMat’s platform to offer simplicity and ease of access for tenants.

“There is a great need for affordable housing and St George Community Housing supports a simple, streamlined process for tenants to check eligibility against a range of products. An industry-standard form will make the process easier for all involved and provide a range of people access to high quality and affordable housing solutions.”

As part of the City of Sydney grant, WelcomeMat will also share certain affordable housing demand and supply data for the LGA with the City of Sydney, CHIA NSW and other peak bodies and CHPs later in 2022 and 2023. 

CHIA NSW commends the City of Sydney for its continued support of our sector and looks forward to collaborating with WelcomeMat when the data is available.

To find out more, or to list your property, please visit www.welcomemat.com.au or send an email to [email protected].

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