Housing Matters November 2022

Welcome to the November 2022 edition of Housing Matters.

This month, CHIA NSW successfully launched the Confront the Crisis campaign, calling on our political representatives to invest in community housing and support families currently struggling to find affordable homes. With the NSW State Election only a few months away, our aim is to get solutions to the housing crisis at the top of the political agenda. At our launch event, we heard from two women, Marie and Amanda, whose lives have been changed after moving into their community housing properties. I can’t thank them enough for their bravery and passion in sharing their story. I extend that thanks to all those who attended the launch and appreciate your support as we continue the campaign over the coming months.

CHIA NSW is making a final call for speaker submissions for next year’s Community Housing 2023 conference. We’re very excited to be able to host our first in-person conference since 2018 and look forward to hearing from experts discussing a range of policy ideas, practices and experiences.

CHIA, the national peak body for community housing, has released a report detailing the unmet housing needs currently being experienced across Australia. The numbers tell a gloomy story for those searching for a safe, secure and affordable roof over their heads. Things are particularly dark in Sydney, where 7.6% of households are experiencing unmet housing needs, with families overrepresented in the statistics. Housing stress is impacting all sections of society and it is well past time for action to be taken.

The New South Wales Government has recently revealed its buy-back scheme for flood-affected properties in the Northern Rivers region. This scheme will go at least some way to help families reconcile the trauma of some of the worst flooding the area has ever seen. However, more needs to be done to ensure towns are resilient to severe weather events and that any displacement is temporary, particularly when it concerns the most vulnerable in the community.

We also have updates from CHIA NSW members regarding volunteer participation partnerships, well-deserved award wins, and transferring younger people out of residential aged care.

Please enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

CHIA NSW launches Confront the Crisis campaign

CHIA NSW, with the support of industry members, recently launched their Confront the Crisis campaign, which aims to move the housing crisis higher up the political agenda in the lead up to the NSW State Election in March 2023.

The campaign calls on NSW MPs across all parties and regions to commit to urgent, substantial investment in social and affordable housing in order to reduce the number of families on the social housing waitlist.

Hosted by “proud houso kid” and journalist Sarah Harris, launch attendees heard from a panel of industry experts as they discussed the current social and economic landscape of the housing crisis as well as some of the solutions available to governments.

"For too long we've waited and expected the private market to solve this problem. It won't. What we need are very specific solutions to build more social and affordable housing... We need government to find the political will and courage to begin making sustained investment", said Mark Degotardi, CEO of CHIA NSW.

CEO of Homes North, Maree McKenzie noted a shift in the demographics of those needing help.

“We’re seeing more and more full-time workers seeking assistance… We’ve reached a new critical point. We need to be responding.”

Chief Economist at Impact Economics, Angela Jackson, commented on how decades of Government’s reliance on the private market to provide rentals has contributed to the crisis being experienced today.

“We need to change our approach to housing, and that is all of us as a community, and as policymakers, away from it being around wealth generation – the way we tax it, incentivise it – to being recognised as the fundamental and most essential consumption good in our economy.”

Tenants of community housing also shared their heart-wrenching and honest first-hand experiences of navigating the housing crisis.

Marie Sillars spent eight years on the public housing waiting list after her marriage broke down. After finally securing a place in a public housing estate, the government sold the land and she found herself searching for a home once again.

Community housing provider, Link Wentworth, was able to offer her a property in Macquarie Park in Sydney and Marie has never been happier.

“I find myself now in a stable environment.”

A passionate advocate for seniors’ access to affordable shelter, she appeared at the NSW Inquiry into homelessness amongst older people over 55.

“I want to help others get what I have – security and safety.”

Amanda Bilson never expected to be facing homelessness. Married to renowned chef Tony Bilson, the couple and their children spent many years renting in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. In 2011, Tony’s business fell into liquidation and, not long after that, was diagnosed with cancer. City West Housing was able to provide Amanda and Tony a home in nearby Zetland.

“By the time I moved in here in 2016, Tony was so sick. I nursed him here… I couldn’t have survived without City West Housing offering us an apartment.”

Sadly, Tony passed away in January 2020.

Amanda still lives in the same apartment, filled with memories of her life with Tony. She is safe in the knowledge that her tenancy is secure and is happy she can remain so close to the people and places she loves.

“It’s a beautiful apartment, it’s well-appointed, and I’m close to my family.”

In advance of the launch, CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi, along with Amanda Bilson, spoke on ABC Radio about the importance of affordable housing and the need for further investment in community housing to address the crisis.

You can read more about Amanda’s story in this Sydney Morning Herald article.

If you missed the campaign launch, you can watch it here. To pledge your support and to find out how you can get involved in the campaign, head to confrontthecrisis.com. You can also follow the campaign on Facebook.

Community Housing 2023 speaker EOIs closing soon, registration now open

CHIA NSW is looking for expressions of interest from speakers and panellists to present on best practice and innovation across the industry at its Community Housing 2023 conference, to be held on 10-11 May 2023 at the Sydney Masonic Centre.

The closing date for submissions is 2 December 2022.

CHIA NSW would especially like to hear from community housing providers who have developed new practices or changed operations to deliver better outcomes for tenants in any of the following areas:

- Ageing in place – supporting older tenants

- Community development – tenant engagement and involvement

- Homelessness

- Customer service and digital transformation

- Asset management.

Proposals which include hearing from tenants with lived experience in community housing will be favourably considered.

Submissions should be made to [email protected] using the submission template.

Registration for the conference is now open with early bird rates available until Friday 10 March 2023.

For further information about speaking, sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please visit communityhousing2023.com.au.

640,000 Australians currently with unmet housing needs, nearly one million by 2041

Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) has released its latest report, Quantifying Australia’s unmet housing need – a national snapshot.

It reveals that 640,000 Australians are currently in housing stress, with the figure projected to soar to 940,000 by 2041.

Prepared by the UNSW City Futures Research Centre, the analysis shows that one in fifteen Australian households were experiencing homelessness, overcrowded homes or rental stress on census night in 2021.

While housing stress is being experienced right across the country, the number of households with unmet housing needs is more pronounced in large capital cities.

Nearly half of those suffering are families, exposing the breadth and depth of the housing crisis.

The situation in Sydney is particularly dire, with 144,700 (7.6%) households not in appropriate housing.

The worst affected areas in Sydney, making the national top five of highest percentage of households with unmet housing needs, were:

- South West Sydney,

- Parramatta, and

- Inner South West Sydney.

Approximately two thirds of people experiencing unmet housing needs in both Sydney and regional NSW are in the lowest 20% of income earners.

The data highlights the desperate need for greater investment in social and affordable housing by the NSW Government.

CEO of CHIA NSW Mark Degotardi said, “Demand for social and affordable housing in Sydney is at eye-watering levels, higher than any other capital city. The NSW Government must urgently confront this housing crisis. We need action.”

You can read the full report here.

Changes proposed to affordable housing state planning policy

The NSW Government has released proposals to a key planning policy governing new housing development. These updates are intended to support the delivery of more social and affordable housing across NSW.

The proposed changes include:

- Increasing the floorspace bonus available to developments that include affordable housing.

- Introducing a new State Significant Development (SSD) pathway for major development proposals that include at least 20% affordable housing. SSD proposals are assessed by the Department of Planning, not local council.

- Increasing the size of development proposals that can be self-assessed by the Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) and Aboriginal Housing Office, from 60 dwellings to 75 dwellings. Development by LAHC over this threshold will be assessed through the SSD pathway.

- Introducing a new streamlined approvals pathway for the meanwhile use of existing buildings for temporary supportive accommodation.

- Allowing boarding houses in more low density locations in regional areas.

- Changes to accessibility standards for seniors housing.

Further information on the proposals is available here. The consultation runs until Monday 19 December 2022.

NSW Department of Communities and Justice and NSW Health seeking comment on Housing and Mental Health Agreement

NSW Health and the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) are currently consulting on the Housing and Mental Health Agreement (HMHA 22).

HMHA 22 is a formal agreement between NSW Health and DCJ. It is a commitment that all levels of the agencies will work together, and with key stakeholders, to ensure that people with mental health issues have timely access to safe, secure, appropriate housing; and mental health supports in place when needed, to sustain their housing, live well in the community and lead their recovery.

DCJ and NSW Health are seeking comment on draft versions of the following three of the four frameworks which underpin the Agreement:

- Service Delivery Framework

- Governance Framework, and

- Monitoring and Reporting Framework.

These documents and the accompanying consultation questions paper are available on the NSW Health website.

Comments are sought until 31 January 2023.

Northern Rivers floods buy-back scheme launches

The NSW Government has released details of its buy-back scheme for homes impacted by the Northern Rivers floods.

Around 2,000 homeowners in flood-prone areas will be eligible for the scheme, which will provide funding to a landlord or owner-occupier to either raise, upgrade, or have their home voluntary bought-back.

Eligible properties will be assessed by an expert to determine which measure will be made available, based on flood impact severity data, safety risks, and potential future flood levels.

The voluntary buy-back scheme will be offered to residents located in the most vulnerable areas, where major flooding would pose a catastrophic risk to life.

For other eligible properties, grants of up to $100,000 will be available for house raising and up to $50,0000 will be available for retrofitting homes in areas where flood risk can be reduced by better building standards.

The $800 million scheme is being jointly funded by the NSW and Federal Governments.

For further information, including on how interested homeowners can register for the scheme, visit The Resilient Homes Fund | NSW Government.

Other flood-related updates

NSW Government submits response to the NSW Legislative Council Select Committee on the Response to Major Flooding

This Inquiry, which ran alongside the Independent Flood Inquiry earlier this year, focused on the government response to the floods.

The Select Committee’s recommendations addressed many of the same issues considered by the Independent Flood Inquiry, including the lack of housing options for those impacted by the floods.

The NSW Government has accepted all 37 recommendations of the Select Committee, in full or in principle. This includes the recommendation that the NSW Government accelerate its at-home caravan program to make it available as a temporary accommodation option to all flood impacted residents.

The Government’s response is available here.

NSW Reconstruction Authority bill passed

Legislation to establish a new authority responsible for overseeing the State’s preparedness, resilience and recovery from natural disasters, was passed by NSW Parliament on 17 November 2022.

The creation of the NSW Reconstruction Authority was a key recommendation of the Independent Flood Inquiry. It will be responsible for disaster preparedness, recovery and reconstruction across the State, with powers to acquire land and expedite development and planning decisions in flood impacted areas.

Once established, it will replace the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation.

Further information is available here.

CHIA NSW and Landcom joint engagement at 2022 Local Government NSW Annual Conference

As part of its ongoing work to engage with local councils on the delivery of affordable housing, CHIA NSW participated in the Local Government NSW Annual Conference, where it shared an exhibition stand with Landcom.

The conference, which took place in the Hunter Valley between 23 and 25 October, was attended by over 700 council delegates including mayors, councillors and executive staff from across NSW. The exhibition stand provided an opportunity for CHIA NSW and Landcom to jointly engage with councils about housing issues in their local area and opportunities to increase the supply of affordable housing, including through partnerships with community housing providers.

To support this engagement, CHIA NSW prepared a brochure, aimed at local councils, which was distributed to conference delegates. The brochure profiles the community housing sector in NSW and outlines actions councils can take to directly support affordable housing delivery. It also includes case studies demonstrating how councils can work in partnership with community housing providers and outlines the additional value that can be leveraged through such partnerships.

A copy of the brochure is available here.

Information about the services Landcom provides to councils to support affordable housing delivery is available here.

CHIA NSW and Landcom at NSW Local Government NSW Annual Conference

Data dashboard updates now live on CHIA NSW website

CHIA NSW has updated the NSW Community Housing Data Dashboard.

Accessible on the CHIA NSW website, the upgraded dashboard now includes:

- Refreshed visualisations and colour schemes delivering an enhanced user experience,

- The latest data from the CHIA NSW Development Survey,

- Separate planning and building tabs, providing more detailed investment data, and

- A brand-new Affordable Housing tab, offering greater insights into the ownership profile of affordable properties.

The dashboard’s refreshed and additional data sets will assist CHIA NSW and CHPs with their advocacy efforts, negotiations with council and other government bodies, and better inform organisational strategies.

If you have any questions regarding the NSW Community Housing Data Dashboard, please contact Head of Business Development Adam West at [email protected]

Memorandum of Understanding between community housing providers and Aboriginal tenancy services progresses

CHIA NSW and the Aboriginal Resource Unit have been working with participating community housing providers and Aboriginal Tenant Advice and Advocacy Services (ATAAS) across New South Wales to develop a Memorandum of Understanding that commits to sustaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community housing tenancies.

The agreement recognises the importance of cooperative planning and action in order to provide optimal service delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

By pledging to enhance coordination and communication practices and increasing awareness and cultural competence across community housing providers, Aboriginal tenants who are potentially at risk can be proactively supported with appropriate resources to ensure tenancies are sustained.

There has been further progress on the agreement, with significant engagement from a diverse cohort of community housing providers.

CHIA NSW’s Aboriginal Partnerships Specialist has been overseeing the state-wide agreement, with MoU Training and Local Action Planning recently taking place across the regions.

Pilots of the agreement are currently underway in the Southern and Northern regions of the state, with community housing providers and Aboriginal tenancy services in the Southern Region in the final stages of developing their Local Action Plans. Housing providers and Aboriginal tenancy services in the Northern Region have agreed in principle to the terms of the MoU and their Local Action Plans remain unchanged.

Full implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding is expected in the new year.

For further information please contact Paul Teerman at [email protected]

Community housing providers recognised with a suite of awards

Community housing providers and their passionate staff continue to reap honours for their hard work and dedication.

2022 Business Awards

Housing Trust and Pacific Link Housing have both recently taken home the Outstanding Community Organisation award at their respective 2022 Regional Business Awards.

For the second year in a row, a Housing Trust employee was awarded an individual award, with Team Leader Luke Attenborough taking out Illawarra’s Outstanding Employee.

These wins continue the recognition of the good work community housing providers do for their communities after Home in Place won the Outstanding Community Organisation award for the Hunter Region back in August.

Housing Trust, Pacific Link Housing and Home in Place attended the State Awards on Friday 18 November.

Pacific Link Housing CEO Ian Lynch has also been named Outstanding Business Leader in the 2022 Gosford Erina Business Chamber Awards.

Up against for-profit businesses, the recognition of these CHPs indicates the quality and impact of the community housing sector in the local business community.

PowerHousing Australia 2022 Awards

Congratulations to Housing Trust’s People and Culture team for winning the Team Leadership and Culture Award at the 2022 PowerHousing Australia Awards.

Housing Trust team members Jenna Murray and Christina Goncalves were also recognised as finalists for their achievements in the Rising Star and Outstanding Achievement categories respectively.

The Community Relations Team and Housing Trust’s partnership with Traders in Purple were also finalists in these national awards for tier one community housing providers.

Transitioning younger people out of residential aged care

Content supplied by Hume Housing

After spending more than 20 years living in aged care following severe injuries sustained when she was hit by a car, sixty-year-old Glenys made the move from a Southern Cross Care (NSW & ACT) residential aged care home into a Hume group home in Western Sydney.

“The change in Glenys has been nothing short of amazing,” says Steve Davies, Glenys’ life-long family friend. “Glenys is more alert, her medication has been reduced, and she is now benefiting from more one-on-one time with her support workers and has better quality of life.”

There are an estimated 3,400 younger Australians like Glenys living in residential aged care across Australia.

Following the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety interim report, the Australian Government announced Younger People in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC) targets to assist younger people to move out of residential aged care homes and into the community.

As a result, many aged care providers are now working against the clock to meet mandated targets that include:

- no people under the age of 65 entering residential aged care by 2022,

- no people under the age of 45 living in residential aged care by 2022, and

- no people under the age of 65 living in residential aged care by 2025.

With aged care providers and families struggling to navigate alternative, age-appropriate accommodation options for NDIS participants, Hume Community Housing and Northcott Disability Service are providing support.

“We know there is a degree of complexity in understanding the NDIS and what supports are available to assist, so that’s where we step in,” says Scott McPhillips,Senior Manager, Housing for People with Disability at Hume. “We are working with providers including Baptist Care to implement the YPIRAC Strategy.”

Government information for aged care providers

Aged care providers can access the following support:

- For support moving young people from aged care to age-appropriate services, email the Department of Health[email protected]

- To get in touch with the Specialist YPIRAC Teamthatsupports NDIS participants to identify an alternative home and living goal, email the NDIS [email protected]

- For more information and to view the YPIRAC Strategy and Fact Sheets visit www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/younger-people-in-residential-aged-care-priorities-for-action

Glenys enjoying her new Hume home in Western Sydney

Volunteers gather to make over gardens at Mission Australia Housing in Western Sydney

This month, Mission Australia hosted a garden makeover event at one of its social housing sites in Western Sydney.

20 volunteers from property company The GPT Group worked alongside Mission Australia for the day, helping to create a well-kept and welcoming area for residents, staff and visitors, and contributing to a sense of well-being and community.

A spokesperson for Mission Australia said, “It was a fantastic day at the working bee with GPT”.

“Volunteers weeded, mulched, pruned, and cleared leaves, re-established garden beds, introduced new plants and planted fruit trees. The day also included installing raised garden beds filled with soil, herbs, and vegetables to create a community garden.” 

“Tenants, some who had been neighbours for years but not met, joined in to help out and talked about what they looked forward to growing in the vegie gardens, as well as social BBQs celebrating their different cultures using the produce from the gardens.”

The GPT Foundation coordinates GPT's philanthropic contributions and has partnered with Mission Australia since 2018 through workplace giving, fundraising and staff volunteering.

Keep updated with our sector. Follow CHIA NSW online:

Housing Matters October 2022

Welcome to the October 2022 edition of Housing Matters.

This month, we’re delighted to be announcing details about CHIA NSW’s forthcoming conference, Community Housing 2023, which will be held on 10-11 May 2023 in Sydney. In the weeks following the state election, Community Housing 2023 will provide a valuable opportunity for industry experts and delegates to reflect on the emerging opportunities, challenges, and solutions for the community housing industry to deliver more social and affordable housing for people in greatest need. There will be more announcements to come, but we are already looking forward to hosting the event and hope to see many of you there.

In other big news, we are launching our Confront the Crisis campaign in two weeks time. It is no secret that NSW is in the midst of a housing crisis. Too many people are desperately struggling to find a home in a broken housing market or to simply keep their own. Confront the Crisis calls on each and every NSW MP to commit to solving the housing crisis by making a real, long-term investment in community housing. Our elected representatives must recognise that now is the time to act. We encourage anyone and everyone to attend the launch event so we can form a strong and unified voice.

I write to you just after the release of the Federal Budget, a document which promises much and demands plenty. The commitments made by the Federal Government in the Budget are a good start – the challenge is now to turn those commitments to actual homes on the ground. Urgency is required and community housing providers in NSW are ready to deliver.

The community housing sector is eager to work with the NSW Government to maximise the potential of the Housing Australia Future Fund and the National Housing Accord, and contribute their expertise to the development of a meaningful and effective National Housing and Homelessness Plan.

NCOSS has recently released its report into housing security, which shows a concerning exacerbation of homelessness and housing vulnerability since the start of the pandemic. Commissioned by NCOSS, Homelessness NSW, ACHIA, CHIA NSW, and other peak bodies, the report underscores the need for governments to swiftly enact reforms that address this crisis.

Further evidence of a worsening housing market has been published by Domain, with data showing Sydney is now on par with Canberra as the most expensive city in Australia for unit rentals. With continuing rental cost increases, and a record low vacancy rate, families across NSW are currently under immense financial pressure.

We also have updates about our NSW Community Housing Data Dashboard, significant land investment by one of our members, the restoration of a community centre for residents, a tenants’ gardening competition, and exciting award wins.

Please enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

Community Housing 2023 announcement, submissions now open for speaking opportunities

CHIA NSW is excited to announce the dates for Community Housing 2023. The conference will be held on 10-11 May 2023 at the Sydney Masonic Centre.

Community Housing 2023 will showcase the latest evidence, policy debates, and best practice examples underpinning the delivery of social and affordable housing solutions by the community housing industry and our dedicated partners.

CHIA NSW is looking for expressions of interest from speakers and panellists to present on best practice and innovation across the industry on a range of topics.

CHIA NSW would love to hear from you if your organisation has developed new practices or has changed operations to deliver better outcomes for tenants in any of the following areas:

- Ageing in place – supporting older tenants

- Community Development – tenant engagement and involvement

- Homelessness

- Customer service and digital transformation

- Asset Management.

Proposals which include hearing from tenants with lived experience in community housing will be favourably considered.

Submissions should be made to [email protected] by 2 December 2022 using the template provided.

For further information about speaking opportunities, and sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please visit communityhousing2023.com.au.

Details including how to register, and speaker line-up will be announced over the coming weeks.

In the meantime, if you would like to receive email updates about Community Housing 2023, you can subscribe to the conference mailing list via the website.

If you have any questions about Community Housing 2023, please contact our conference secretariat at [email protected].

Launch date for CHIA NSW's Confront the Crisis campaign

CHIA NSW is kicking off their Confront the Crisis campaign with a virtual launch event hosted by journalist, Sarah Harris.

With interest rates and rental prices soaring, vacancy rates plummeting, and over 50,000 families on the social housing waitlist across the state, the NSW housing market is broken.

The campaign calls on each and every NSW MP across all parties to Confront the Crisis and commit to long-term investment in community housing ahead of the State Election in March 2023.

Launch attendees will hear from:

- A panel of people with first-hand experience of the housing crisis who are on the social housing waitlist, or now living in community housing

- Mark Degotardi, CEO of Community Housing Industry Association NSW (CHIA NSW)

- Michele Adair, CEO of Housing Trust and Chair of CHIA NSW

- Trina Jones, CEO of Homelessness NSW.

The launch will take place online on Wednesday 16 November (time of the event will be confirmed in the coming days when formal invites are distributed).

To express your interest in attending the virtual event, send an email to [email protected] and we’ll make sure you get an invite.

Federal Budget released, signalling the start of time for action

The Commonwealth Government has just handed down its Budget for 2022-23, promising much and demanding plenty.

The most significant element of the Budget is the new National Housing Accord which intends to accelerate the impact of the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund by capitalising the full fund immediately, rather than over three years.

It will provide an additional $350 million to build 10,000 extra affordable homes over five years from 2024, with matching funding from states and territories to deliver an additional extra 10,000 homes.

When combined with existing commitments under the Housing Australia Future Fund and the National Housing Infrastructure Facility, the Accord is slated to deliver 55,500 new social and affordable housing properties over five years.

In response to the Budget, CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi welcomed the commitments made but urged that now is not the time for complacency.

“The commitments made by the Federal Government in the Budget are a good start – the challenge is now to turn those commitments to actual homes on the ground. Urgency is required and community housing providers in NSW are ready to deliver,” said CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi.

“The community housing sector is eager to work with the NSW Government to maximise the potential of schemes like the Housing Australia Future Fund and the National Housing Accord, and to develop a meaningful and effective National Housing and Homelessness Plan.”

“Smart investment in social and community housing where it’s needed will change the course of this crisis, but that can’t happen unless we work together.”

NCOSS report reveals NSW housing and homelessness crisis to cost the state economy billions

The NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS) has released the third chapter of its Aftershock series, which explores the economic and social impacts of the pandemic and natural disasters.

Its report, commissioned by NCOSS, Homelessness NSW, ACHIA, CHIA NSW and other peak bodies, focuses on housing security and highlights the growing homelessness and affordability crisis across the state.

Some of the findings in the report include:

- 3,700 additional people have become homeless in NSW since 2020, estimated to cost the state economy $524.5 million - $2.5 billion over six years

- Homelessness has increased by around 10% in NSW since the start of the pandemic

- 54,000 households have entered or are experiencing worsening housing stress since the pandemic began, which is expected to cost the NSW economy $322 million every year in lost productivity

- The number of low-income households in regional NSW in extreme housing stress has increased by 52% since the start of 2020

- Rental vacancy rates have fallen dramatically in the 18 months to June 2022; and

- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are overrepresented when it comes to experiencing homelessness or seeking housing assistance.

The report recommends a suite of urgent reforms be implemented by the NSW Government, including:

- Additional annual construction of 5,000 social housing dwellings

- Tenancy reform, providing greater protections and security to renters

- Stamp duty reform, improving housing market efficiency; and

- Ensuring the National Housing and Homelessness Plan commits to an increase in rental assistance and a social housing pipeline.

"The time for action is now", said CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi. "Community housing providers have an important role in increasing affordable rental housing supply, but we need to NSW Government to step up with us and confront the housing crisis."

You can find more information at the NCOSS website and read the full report here.

Domain rental data highlights urgent need for investment in affordable housing options

Record high rents and record low vacancy rates in Sydney, as shown in recently published data by Domain, highlight the desperate need for urgent investment in community housing from the NSW Government.

In the latest quarter, house rental prices have skyrocketed by $30 per week on average. Units have not fared much better, with rental prices on average up by $25 per week representing a 5% increase since June. House rental prices are up 14% year-on-year, while unit prices have had the steepest annual rise on record, up by 14.6%.

Sydney is now tied with Canberra as the most expensive city in Australia to rent a unit and is the second most expensive city to rent a house. Making matters worse, Sydney’s rental vacancy rate is currently sitting at 1.1%, indicating an incredibly challenging market for renters seeking affordable homes.

“There is a rental housing emergency. It needs an urgent response and families across NSW are wondering when the NSW Government will confront this crisis”, said Mark Degotardi, CEO of CHIA NSW.

Urgent investment in community housing, built and managed by not-for-profit providers, is critical if the NSW Government wants to address the worsening conditions.

“Decades of severe under-investment in social and affordable rental housing by successive governments is one of the key causes of this housing crisis.

“The problem is huge, but we can begin to make a difference. By investing in community housing, creating a planning system that supports affordable rental housing and facilitating strategic partnerships to leverage government investment, we can turn this crisis around,” said Mr Degotardi.

Ending Homelessness Together: Homelessness NSW launches campaign to end homelessness in the state

Homelessness NSW has launched their Ending Homelessness Together 2022 campaign, which seeks a commitment from the NSW Government to tackle the growing crisis unfolding in the state.

As the state election nears, the Ending Homelessness Together campaign aims to raise the profile of the issue and hold whichever party leads the state beyond March 2023 to account on enacting policies that reduce and prevent homelessness.

Homelessness NSW calls on the NSW Government to invest an additional $11.79b per year by working with partners to co-fund and implement sustainable solutions. Ending Homelessness Together’s three-part strategy includes:

- Investing in increased and sustained supply of social housing

- Funding support services to meet current and future demands; and

- Coordinating across all levels of government and community for collective impact to end homelessness.

Homelessness NSW has called for commitments to:

- Increasing the stock of social housing from the current 4.7% of occupied dwellings in NSW to 10% by 2050

- Provide an initial investment of $2 billion per year (shared 50/50 with the Commonwealth Government) over 10 years to build 5,000 new social housing dwellings per year over the 10 years; and

- Increasing funding for specialist homelessness services, which are currently struggling with record demand due to a lack of resources. This would involve:

- Injecting an additional $152 million per annum into the sector

- Expanding Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations; and

- Commissioning 5-year contracts to enable certainty of delivery.

Homelessness NSW stresses that a comprehensive and collaborative approach from government is required if the state wants to improve homelessness program outcomes, recommending:

- Committing to a ‘Housing First’ Policy and sustain the investment made in the Together Home program

- Appointing a Homelessness Commissioner to ensure a coordinated approach

- Establishing transparent key performance indicators; and

- Reforming rental legislation to make renting fairer in NSW.

The Ending Homelessness Together campaign also invites members of the community to write to both the Premier Dominic Perrottet and Opposition Leader Chris Minns urging them to make ending homelessness a priority. Find out more about Homelessness NSW’s campaign and read the proposal here.

Inquiry into homelessness amongst older people aged over 55 in NSW: report released

The Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues (the Committee) has released its report following the Inquiry into Homelessness amongst older people aged over 55 in New South Wales.

Many of the Committee’s recommendations align with those made by CHIA NSW, community housing providers (CHPs) and peak bodies in submissions to the inquiry.

The Committee found that the shortfall in both social and affordable housing is the single greatest challenge for people who are at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness in NSW. To address this, the committee recommends the NSW Government consider additional funding for the Social and Affordable Housing Fund and the Community Housing Innovation Fund, and examine opportunities to expediate the development of social and affordable housing, including accelerated planning approval processes and improved funding mechanisms.

The Committee made recommendations aimed at increasing affordability and security in the private rental market and making it easier for older people to access housing and homelessness services. It also considered and recommended that the NSW Government consider broadening of the Together Home program, and its ongoing funding.

The report, submissions received and hearing transcripts are available here. CHIA NSW looks forward to the NSW Government’s response which is due within 3 months (by 20 January 2023).

Resilient Sydney hosts Affordable Housing Mayoral Forum

CHIA NSW has recently attended an Affordable Housing Mayoral Forum at Sydney’s Town Hall hosted by Resilient Sydney.

The purpose of the Summit, held on Thursday 27 October, was to encourage collaboration between councils and the community housing sector to deliver more affordable housing that is permanent and made available to eligible households at sub-market rents.

The forum included presentations from SGCH, Bridge Housing, and Link Wentworth Housing on partnership projects with councils, including highlighting opportunities for councils across Greater Sydney to progress new housing projects in their local communities.

CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi spoke on a panel with mayors from Campbelltown, Cumberland, Northern Beaches, Randwick, Waverley, and Willoughby about the practical opportunities for progressing partnerships.

Mark highlighted findings from CHIA NSW’s forthcoming report on local council partnerships that showed community housing providers:

- deliver affordable housing at a lower cost, potentially saving councils as much as $60,000 per dwelling; and

- leverage up to 27% additional affordable housing supply if ownership of properties is transferred to community housing providers.

With new affordable housing opportunities on the horizon, CHIA NSW continues to work with local councils to promote and implement policies for development and supply of affordable housing that make delivery quicker and more efficient in their local area.

NHFIC: Regional FHBG places released and review into loan facility financing documents

Australian Government Home Guarantee Scheme: 10,000 regional places available

On 1 October 2022, 10,000 places became available under the Australian Government’s Home Guarantee Scheme (HGS), helping thousands more Australians living in regional areas to enter the housing market sooner.

The new Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee (RFHBG) supports eligible first home buyers living in regional areas to purchase a modest home in a regional area with a deposit of as little as five per cent.

For more information - Learn about the Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee (nhfic.gov.au).

Review into loan facility financing documents completed by NHFIC

NHFIC has recently completed a review of some of the financing documents they use when providing certain loan facilities for CHPs.

The review was undertaken in response to feedback received from CHPs. NHFIC has updated these documents with input from several stakeholders and the documents have also been peer reviewed by lawyers with extensive experience acting for CHPs and lenders.

NHFIC can provide information sessions to CHPs on these documents. These sessions will include a background to the review, guidance on when the documents will be used and the benefits of using them. There will also be opportunities for Q&As and to meet NHFIC’s in-house legal team and some of the external lawyers who assist NHFIC with CHP lending transactions.

Further details of the information sessions will be provided once the dates are finalised.

Updates coming soon to CHIA NSW's data dashboard

CHIA NSW has been working on updated data and supporting visualisations for the NSW Community Housing Data Dashboard, available on the CHIA NSW website.

The existing dashboard iteration uses DCJ’s 2020 data for community housing dwellings under management and offers information regarding:

- Properties under management, including the number of community housing dwellings per Local Government Area, which organisations provide those properties, and how many are NRAS properties

- The construction, planning and completion profile of housing supply, including the types of properties that have been or will be built, and the location of these homes; and

- Tenancy satisfaction, outstanding rent, and occupancy rates.

Using the latest available data, some of the upgrades to the dashboard will include:

- Refreshed visualisations and colour schemes delivering an enhanced user experience

- The latest data from the CHIA NSW Development Survey

- Updated community housing information and improved sorting functionalities

- Separate planning and building tabs, providing more detailed investment data; and

- A brand-new affordable housing tab, offering greater insights into the ownership profile of affordable properties.

It is anticipated that both the refreshed and additional data sets will assist CHIA NSW and CHPs with their advocacy efforts, negotiations with council and government bodies, and better inform organisational strategies. The updated dashboard is in its final stages of development and is expected to be available soon.

If you have any questions regarding the NSW Community Housing Data Dashboard, please contact Head of Business Development Adam West at [email protected].

Hume Housing's blooming good way to grow vibrant communities

Hume Community Housing has announced the Hume in Bloom Gardening Competition which is officially open to Hume's 4,000-plus Hunter Region customers.

According to Richard Hershman, Hume’s Community Cohesion Officer, Hunter customers are embracing home and community gardening as a way of tackling cost of living challenges, while at the same time reaping the social and recreational benefits.

“We’ve been focused on building vibrant connected communities and know that a love of gardening is a great way to bring people together,” said Hershman.

Over the past year Hume has been working on an initiative led by the Department of Communities and Justice Social Sector Support Fund Edible Gardens Competition. With funding and volunteer support from the Botanic Gardens’ Community Greening Team, Hume secured 14 Vegepods for the Hunter. Vegepods retail for close to $500 each and are state of the art, elevated, free standing plant beds.

“We ran a competition among customers to win their own Vegepod and seed kits, and we also established community gardens in several of our housing complexes. Hume team members delivered the Vegepods to the winners and we have since helped families set up their gardens in readiness for Spring.”

Hume’s senior customers living in the Alexandra Avenue complex in Rutherford are further testimony to how community gardens connect people.

Despite lockdowns and the challenges of sourcing materials their community garden has been lovingly tended over the past year, thanks to a group of customers and volunteers from Slow Food Hunter Valley.

Their garden is now bursting with produce, from silver beet and spring onions to lettuces, broccoli, herbs and more. The garden provides much needed opportunities for the complex’s senior customers to socially connect as well as encouraging physical activity.

“It’s been wonderful to see people sharing healthy seasonal fresh vegetables and with the cost of food on the rise, it’s been a welcome addition to managing the weekly food budget for many,” said Hershman.

Hume has since established four regional Shared Edible Gardens at their community housing complexes in East Maitland, and Salamander Bay and Raymond Terrace complexes.

Hume is encouraging all Hume Community Housing customers to celebrate their gardens, whether it is a little balcony garden, a sprawling backyard garden or an edible garden, by entering the inaugural Hume in Bloom Gardening Competition (open to Hume customers only) which closes 4 November 2022.

Prizes include Vegebags, Diggers Club membership and Bunnings vouchers. Entries into the competition can be made here.

Pictured: Hume Housing customers and volunteers participating in the Hume in Bloom competition at Alexandra Avenue Complex in Rutherford

Awards all round for Housing Trust staff

Housing Trust’s CEO and Marketing Executive have recently gone home with awards for their incredible work in the sector.

Housing Trust’s CEO and CHIA NSW’s Chair, Michele Adair has been awarded the UDIA NSW Women in Leadership Award for Excellence.

This came as no surprise to the CHIA NSW team who have witnessed first-hand the passion and generosity of Michele as Chair. She deserves every bit of prestige and recognition that comes with this award.

According to Housing Trust, Michele, as always, used the opportunity when accepting her award to advocate for the 50,000 households on the social housing waitlists in NSW, including the 8,000 women and children who are unable to leave unsafe homes tonight for fear of homelessness and the thousands of households living in housing stress across the country.

On behalf of the sector, CHIA NSW thanks and congratulates Michele.

Pictured: CHIA NSW Chair and Housing Trust CEO Michele Adair accepting UDIA NSW and Strata+ Women in Leadership Award for Excellence

Meanwhile, Marketing Executive, Rachel Foster has taken out the 2022 Third Sector Award for Campaign Executive of the Year. The awards celebrate social changemakers and highlight the innovative work they do in the for-purpose space.

In the three years Rachel has worked at Housing Trust, she has diligently worked towards reducing the stigma associated with community housing and put a new face to the people in housing crisis.

She has done this by leading initiatives like the #Homes4LocalHeroes campaign, a scorecard of local council's efforts towards addressing affordable housing, or generating 120 media stories in the past twelve months, deservedly establishing Housing Trust as a trusted voice for the region. 

Congratulations and well done Rachel.

Pictured: Rachel Foster accepting award for Third Sector's Campaign Executive of the Year 2022

SGCH unveils community centre for Cammeray social housing tenants

NSW's largest community housing provider, SGCH, has unveiled a newly renovated community centre attached to 33 social housing dwellings it owns and manages in Amherst Street, Cammeray.

In a ribbon-cutting ceremony held on 13 October, Federal Member for North Sydney Kylea Tink, MP, North Sydney Deputy Mayor William Bourke and Councillor Shannon Welch were present to meet residents and tour the revamped centre.

The community centre had been closed for ten years after the centre fell into disrepair prior to the acquisition of the housing complex by SGCH in 2019.  The centre will now provide a much-needed space for fitness, learning and socialising for the residents of the 33 single-bedroom social housing dwellings.

SGCH CEO Scott Langford said the pandemic was a catalyst for change with SGCH acting on feedback that showed the importance of a safe and secure community space for many of the elderly residents isolated by pandemic.

“When SGCH took over management of the building in 2019, our team worked closely with members of our Local Tenant Group and customers to devise ways to better service their needs and the revival of this safe, supportive, and welcoming space was important,” Mr Langford said.

“Designed for people to use and enjoy all year round, the room is going to be available for organised social events, health and wellbeing classes, activities, and information sessions.

“Importantly, it’s also a space for our customers to venture outside to gather, to meet, and to spend time with family and friends, rather than being confined to their small, one-bedroom units. They will also be able to book the space for their own celebrations,” he said.

The room will also be available to local community service partners, North Sydney Council and others who run programs and information sessions.

Pictured: Kylea Tink (Federal MP for North Sydney), William Bourke (North Sydney Deputy Mayor), Shannon Welch (North Sydney Councillor) and residents

City West Housing makes significant affordable housing land purchase in Botany Road precinct

City West Housing has taken advantage of the City of Sydney's new planning controls for the Botany Road precinct which encourages new commercial and affordable housing buildings.

City West Housing has purchased a 2,733m2 corner site at 216-220 Wyndham St, Alexandria to develop approximately 100* rental apartments that are affordable for people on very low to moderate incomes. Like the rest of City West Housing’s portfolio, these apartments will support people, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents, to live and work locally.

This acquisition will increase City West Housing’s identified pipeline of affordable housing in the City of Sydney LGA to 4 projects providing 550* apartments over the next 5 years.

The $37.5 million purchase price reflects the market value of the site. After the City of Sydney identified parts of the precinct as suitable for affordable housing, City West Housing was keen to secure this well-located site for much-needed inner Sydney affordable housing.

To be known as Bangalay Apartments, the development aligns with the City of Sydney’s vision for the precinct “as an opportunity to increase the amount of affordable housing close to jobs, services and public transport”.

Named after the native Bangalay eucalypt indigenous to the area, Bangalay Apartments will be 500 metres from the Green Square and new Waterloo metro stations and close to Alexandria Park and the Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre. The development is in a prime location at the southern end of the precinct on traditional Gadigal Country.

City West Housing CEO Leonie King said, “With high land prices and limited supply, the challenges for building affordable housing in inner Sydney are significant. We have managed to purchase this property from our own cash reserves with the help of City of Sydney affordable housing developer contributions. It is an investment that will pay dividends in the uplift in value delivered by the precinct revitalisation plan and in social outcomes transforming people’s lives”.

Construction is expected to commence in 2025, subject to DA approval.

*Subject to planning consent.

Aerial view of Botany Road precinct

Keep updated with our sector. Follow CHIA NSW online:

Housing Matters September 2022

Welcome to the September edition of Housing Matters.

This month, CHIA NSW was delighted to host the graduation of our first year Cadets who undertook comprehensive industry placements while obtaining a Certificate IV in Social Housing. This diverse cohort has been highly engaged and passionate about making a difference to the lives of people in social housing. An enormous thank you goes to our members for hosting placements, and a huge congratulations to all Cadets on your achievements - I am confident the community housing industry is in good hands.
CHIA NSW recently attended an affordable housing development and investment summit, held by CHIA, the national peak body for community housing. It was a great opportunity to hear from representatives across a range of sectors communicate some of the challenges faced by the industry across the country and collaborate on innovative solutions. More on the summit in this edition.
Together with our members, CHIA NSW has also continued to engage with MPs across the state. These ongoing discussions have proved insightful and robust, especially as we approach the NSW election early next year.
In other news, the Greater Cities Commission has released a discussion paper outlining their future vision for Greater Sydney and surrounding regions. It is critical that any plans to create liveable cities include generous affordable housing supply, and this paper takes some promising steps forward.
We also have updates from CHIA NSW members regarding new housing developments, results of a councillor survey looking at sentiments around affordable housing, as well as the wider economic impact the lack of affordable housing is having on the Central Coast region.
Please enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

Cadetship Program: Graduation ceremony and 2023 Cadetship applications open

CHIA NSW, along with the Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and Member for Mulgoa Tanya Davies MP, had the pleasure of celebrating the graduation of 16 of our first ever Cadets on Friday 23 September.

Out of the 20 Cadets who undertook the program in 2021:

- 80% are graduating today and a further three of those will graduate with the 2022 cohort

- 75% of those have found a job in community housing and one in community services

- Three of those Cadets have already been promoted by their employer

- Nine live in social housing while another has previously lived in social housing.

“Today’s graduates have been given a fantastic opportunity by the NSW Government and they have grabbed it with both hands,” said CHIA NSW CEO, Mark Degotardi.

“We can’t wait to see these graduates and all future Cadets explore their potential and develop their careers with community housing providers - an industry which values their newly developed skills.  CHIA NSW congratulates the NSW Government on this fantastic initiative.”

Walbunja woman, Iesha Simon was one of the graduates and is now a Housing Officer with SEARMS Aboriginal Corporation. Iesha spoke about her experience in the Cadetship Program.

“The cadetship program gave me the opportunity to get back into the workforce and full-time work… I got my license and studied for the first time in 9 years, when I thought I was not competent,” Ms Simon said.

“When being out of the workforce for 7 years, I doubted myself and what I was capable of. I had never worked in an office job and did not think I was going to make it through the 12 months. Working whilst studying was hard but also the most rewarding.”

“This is the best thing I have done, and I would not be doing anything like this in the last year and a half if it were not for the cadetship,” Ms Simon said.

CHIA NSW is now accepting applications for Round 3 of its Cadetship Program which provides new training opportunities directly connected to jobs in the community housing industry.

2023 will be the third year of this exciting program, which offers successful Cadets a year-long opportunity to undertake paid employment and training in application/allocation services, tenancy, property and asset maintenance management with a community housing provider whilst completing their CHC42221 Certificate IV in Housing.

For more information go here or contact the program team at [email protected]

Applications are due by 5pm on Friday 28 October 2022.

Graduation ceremony for first round of Cadets

CHIA National Affordable Housing Development and Investment Summit

CHIA NSW, together with many CHP members and state peak colleagues, recently attended the 8th Annual Housing Development and Investment Summit in Melbourne.
Hosted by national peak body, CHIA, the Summit provided an important opportunity to hear from experts across the housing, finance, government, and property sectors who are working collectively to increase the supply of social and affordable housing in all jurisdictions across Australia.
The opening day of the summit focused on the lessons from overseas, including Scotland and Canada, which could be considered to inform the development of Australia’s National Housing and Homelessness Plan and to maximise social and affordable housing supply delivered through the Housing Australia Future Fund. Such lessons are also particularly valuable in the context of NSW’s current Housing Strategy, Housing 2041.
Other program highlights from the summit included the presentations focusing on innovative affordable housing models, key worker housing, institutional investment, and the community housing sector’s inaugural ESG reporting standard.
Our congratulations to CHIA for a successful and informative event, and to our members from Bridge Housing, CityWest Housing, NAHC, Pacific Link Housing and SGCH for their excellent presentations.

CHIA Affordable Housing Development and Investment Summit

House Keys benchmarking service getting a refresh

After providing the industry’s benchmarking service for the last seven years, CHIA NSW is completely refreshing the House Keys platform.

Guided by CHIA NSW’s Future of Data industry reference group, a new data platform is being built from the ground up, with the prototyping stage recently having been completed.

The changes to House Keys are driven by the need to:

- Tell the story about the sector’s performance and impact as effectively as possible

- Bring different data sources together and visualise effectively

- Provide more detailed analyses (program, level, LGA, demographics etc.) and bring in new sources of data to add value and depth.

House Keys 2.0 will include a wider range of data sources and provide additional granularity in reporting and data visualisation. The new Industry Data Hub software system which will power House Keys 2.0 will be built in phases, with initial testing expected to take place by December 2022.

New inclusions for House Keys 2.0:

- Registrar’s Community Housing Asset Performance Report (CHAPR – for information about property age and maintenance responsibility by LGA)

- Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)

- Tenant satisfaction data by LGA, headline program and demographics (where participants have used CHIA NSW to collect their survey data)

- Community Housing Information Management and Engagement System (CHIMES) selected data (NSW only, if provided by CHP).

The new data sources will bring better contextual information into the platform and enable comparison of data on key themes from different sources in the same dashboard.  For example, the repairs and property dashboard will include property age (by state and LGA), tenant satisfaction with property condition and repairs (by state and LGA) alongside maintenance spend (by CHP). Other dashboards, such as neighbourhood, housing management, finance and efficiency will take a similar approach.

We’re excited to share with you a new era of data storytelling in the coming months. For more information, please contact Head of Business Development Adam West at [email protected].

CHIA NSW continues MP visits to discuss housing vulnerability crisis

CHIA NSW, along with CEOs from various community housing providers, have continued to meet with MPs across the state, recently visiting Wagga Wagga, Prospect and Terrigal.
Wagga Wagga is feeling the effects of the housing affordability crisis, and we shared a valuable discussion with Wagga Wagga MP Dr Joe McGirr who recognises the need for more secure and affordable housing. Speaking to The Daily Advertiser last month, Dr McGirr said "I've argued directly to the premier… with my fellow independents, that, when you've got such a need for social and affordable housing, across society, we ought to be partnering with community housing organisations".
Joined by Pacific Link CEO Ian Lynch, we also met with Terrigal MP Adam Crouch. We had a great conversation about the role community housing plays in his electorate and Mr Crouch reiterated his support for the sector.
Together with Link Wentworth Housing CEO Andrew McAnulty and Evolve Housing General Manager Jitender Balani, we met with Prospect MP Dr Hugh McDermott to discuss the community housing sector’s solutions to address housing affordability and homelessness in Western Sydney. We welcomed Dr McDermott’s strong support for our sector and look forward to collaborating on shared solutions to address housing challenges in his electorate.
CHIA NSW appreciates the time given by MPs to discuss the contribution that community housing can make to providing diverse and secure housing solutions for their constituents. With the NSW state election fast approaching, we hope our members of parliament keep these conversations front of mind.

Greater Cities Commission releases its vision for a new mega-region

Formerly the Greater Sydney Commission, the Greater Cities Commission’s (GCC) remit is to coordinate strategic planning across an expanded ‘Six Cities’ mega-region covering Greater Sydney, Illawarra-Shoalhaven, the Central Coast, Lower Hunter, and Greater Newcastle City.

Under current projections, the Six-Cities region will grow to 8 million people by 2041. To coordinate this growth the GCC is preparing new strategic plans for the region. As a starting point it has released a discussion paper, which outlines key policy directions that will shape the future of the region.

The discussion paper seeks to create a globally competitive, more liveable and better connected Six Cities Region. Enabling people to travel anywhere in the mega-region within 90 minutes and be within 30 minutes of housing, jobs and services is a key part of the vision. This includes support for a fast rail network connecting key regional centres. Delivering housing supply, diversity and affordability is also central to the vision for the region. Key proposals outlined in the discussion paper include:

- Setting 5, 10, and 20 year housing targets for each council area and key growth precincts. This includes targets for affordable housing.

- The GCC will work with councils, and the NSW and Australian governments, and industry to improve the delivery of affordable housing, including new financing mechanisms.

- When land is rezoned, it will be expected to provide at least 10% of homes and affordable housing – currently such a requirement only applies to Greater Sydney.

- A target of 30% of homes being affordable housing is proposed for Government owned land.

The GCC is seeking feedback on the discussion paper until 30 October. Feedback will inform the development of the new suite of draft plans for the regions, which will begin to be released from 2023.

For more information and to make a submission, visit the exhibition page.

Housing Trust councillor survey: a clear mandate for Affordable Housing in the Illawarra and surrounding areas

A survey commissioned by Illawarra-based Community Housing Provider, Housing Trust, has revealed that 98% of surveyed councillors who contested the December 2021 council elections in the Illawarra and surrounds recognised their LGAs needed more affordable rental housing.

Fifty candidates from across the regions’ four LGAs completed the survey, half of whom were ultimately elected. This result shows there is a clear mandate for action on the affordable housing rental crisis in the region.

“Since conducting the survey the housing crisis has become even worse”, said Michele Adair, CEO of Housing Trust. “Although the cost of buying a home has stabilized or even declined in some areas, rising interest rates are placing more households at risk of homelessness.”

Candidates strongly agreed that housing is a basic human right and that councils can, and should, use all the levers available to them to make a difference:

- 93% of candidates understood the role and responsibility Councils have in helping to increase supply

- almost half of all respondents believed at least 20% of all new supply should be allocated to affordable rental housing

- 89% believe affordable rental housing should be spread throughout their LGA.

“This isn’t just a state or federal government problem”, said Adair. “We’re here to help and partner with Councils to ensure that there’s a decent home for everyone in our region. We’ve spent a great deal of time working with Councillors, briefing them on the options and how we can all play a part”.
“We are cautiously optimistic about some early signs from Councils taking action and will continue to develop innovative solutions to increase the supply of Affordable rental housing for the region.”
In a sign that housing is a key area of commitment, Wollongong City Council recently voted to seek community feedback on its draft Housing Strategy.

Arncliffe mixed tenure development set to start construction next year

Content supplied by Evolve Housing

Evolve Housing is proud to be partnering with the New South Wales Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) and developer Billbergia Group to deliver 744 mixed tenure dwellings in the heart of Arncliffe.

Comprising 564 private and 180 social housing dwellings, the $253 million project is set to deliver a significant housing boost to the area.

Evolve Housing will be managing the social housing dwellings while supporting the tenancies of the residents living there.

This integrated housing model requires collaboration and a shared commitment from our partners to deliver much needed social infrastructure in NSW.

Receiving approval in August, construction is due to commence in the first quarter of next year. The development will feature four towers – one with 21 storeys, two with 20 storeys, and another with 17 storeys.

We look forward to the development’s commencement and celebrate another step towards growing the critically needed social housing stock in NSW.

Economic growth hampered by lack of affordable housing on the Central Coast

Content supplied by Pacific Link Housing
A collaboration between Business NSW, Regional Development Australia Central Coast and Pacific Link Housing brought over 100 business leaders together at the inaugural Central Coast Housing Forum to discuss the impact of housing affordability gaps for the region.
The Housing Forum, held on 6 September, addressed how the lack of affordable housing supply impacts economic growth across the region and unpacked the linkages between labour shortages and affordable housing.
Business NSW Senior Director Regions and Visitor Economy, Paula Martin, says the Coast's housing shortage is inhibiting regional business growth and economic development. "According to Business NSW's Business Conditions Survey, business growth across the Central Coast is hampered by staff housing shortages. This Forum was host to some of the Central Coast's largest employers, who spoke of ongoing difficulties in finding housing for prospective employees, restraining their ability to grow and meet consumer demand," Ms Martin said.
Pacific Link Housing CEO, Ian Lynch, shared an evidence-based perspective from an organisation working on the frontline of affordable housing on the Central Coast. "As the Central Coast's largest community housing provider, Pacific Link Housing is very close to this problem, but to see some of our largest local employers from the health, manufacturing and university sectors participate in this Forum, really drives home how our affordable housing shortage has become a mainstream economic issue," Mr Lynch said.

Pictured: Lawrie McKinna (Chair, RDA Central Coast) leading Panel Session on demystifying the Central Coast's current state of housing, Larissa Llowarch (Business Manager, Key2 Realty), Scott McLachlan (CEO, Central Coast Local Health District), Mark Daniels (Planning and Development Manager, Borg Manufacturing) and Professor Michael Bowyer (Acting Dean, Central Coast University of Newcastle)

Keep updated with our sector. Follow CHIA NSW online:

Housing Matters August 2022

Welcome to the August edition of Housing Matters.

Beginning with some sad news, we bid farewell to John McKenna, CEO of North Coast Community Housing (NCCH) and former Chair (and dear friend) of CHIA NSW. After 13 years of committed leadership and housing advocacy, John leaves a legacy as large as his character and I thank him for his significant contributions to the sector and the work of CHIA NSW.

I also acknowledge the challenging circumstances which have set the scene for his last few months at NCCH amidst the flood emergency and recovery efforts. He has led a dedicated team who have been critical to ensuring that devastated and displaced flood victims have found a place to call home while getting their lives back on track.

On behalf of CHIA NSW and our members, we wish John the very best in his retirement and his new life in sunny Fiji.

I’d like to welcome the release of a report from a NSW Parliament Inquiry examining how the current shortage of social and affordable housing can be addressed through diverse housing options and exploring what barriers and opportunities exist for boosting supply.

Community housing providers are a crucial element in the solution to the housing vulnerability crisis we face, and I’m encouraged that this is recognised in the report. We can now keenly await the NSW Government’s response to the report in early 2023.

In mixed news, the NSW Government has responded to the Independent Flood Inquiry which made 28 recommendations aimed at protecting and boosting the resilience of flood-prone regions of NSW. Just six of those were supported, while the remaining 22 were supported “in principle”.

Most pertinent to us were the recommendations around social housing, many calling for diverse temporary housing options, relocating most vulnerable residents to safer land through various schemes, and state investment in new social and affordable housing.

The State Government has indicated that they intend to leverage the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation and the Federal Government’s Housing Australia Future Fund to deliver new homes in Northern NSW. With Northern NSW already facing a shortage of social and affordable housing properties, it’s clear that Federal Government assistance alone will not go far enough to fix the local housing vulnerability crisis, particularly when those solutions are needed now. Community housing providers are ready and willing to assist, but we need the State Government to invest in a long-term social housing recovery plan to get people’s lives back on track.

CHIA NSW has also recently responded to the ambitious plans to redevelop Sydney’s Central Station precinct. We commend the NSW Government on creating an opportunity to boost affordable housing in the Sydney CBD, but urge the government to secure the best possible housing outcomes by increasing the current 15% affordable and diverse housing targets to address current housing demand.

Onto more good news, we’re celebrating several new housing developments announced by our members, a Workforce Capability Framework tool developed by CHIA NSW, and a special relationship shared between a CHP and an Aboriginal community housing provider recently securing registration in South-West Sydney.

Please enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

CHIA NSW responds to NSW Govt’s Tech Central plans

Transport for NSW has released a masterplan for a new technology and innovation precinct by redeveloping land over and alongside the railway lines as Sydney’s Central Station.
The plans present an ambitious vision for this part of Sydney, and could see 16,000 new jobs delivered across 40 hectares of commercial floorspace. Under the plans, approximately 850 new homes will also be delivered in the precinct, with a minimum 15% proposed to be affordable housing.
In The Guardian, CHIA NSW and other industry voices have questioned why the NSW Government isn’t setting more ambitious targets for social, affordable and diverse housing. Higher targets are arguably needed given the 893 families on the social housing waitlist in the Inner City, with many waiting more than 10 years for a home. Further to that, in February 2022, there were 225 people sleeping rough in Sydney, while 269 people were occupying crisis and temporary accommodation beds.
Read the story in The Guardian here.
The plans are on public exhibition until 19 September. Further information and the submissions portal are available from the project website.

Flood inquiry recommendations leave little hope for flood victims

CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi spoke to SBS News about the crisis that Northern Rivers residents are still facing and how the NSW Government must step up and invest in building more social and affordable housing in the region.

CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi speaks to SBS News

Two inquiries into to the recent devastating NSW floods have recently released their findings and recommendations:

- A Parliamentary Inquiry, led by a Legislative Council Select Committee, examined the government response to the floods. This Inquiry released its report on 9 August.

- The Independent Flood Inquiry, established by the NSW Government, released its report on 17 August. This Inquiry had a broad remit that included the causes of the floods, the recovery efforts and long-term planning for future natural disasters.

Both Inquiries recognised the underlying housing supply and affordability issues in the areas impacted by floods, which hampered the response and recovery efforts. Recommendations made related to providing a broader range of temporary housing options following floods, additional government investment in new social and affordable housing, relocating people in highest-risk areas to safer land through land swaps and buy-backs, preparation of disaster adaptation plans for flood-prone towns, and the establishment of a permanent NSW Reconstruction Authority.

The Government has accepted the recommendations of the Independent Flood Inquiry. However, many of the recommendations are only accepted “in-principle” and the Government has not committed to detailed implementation actions until it undertakes further work and consultation.

A particularly disappointing response made by the NSW Government to recommendations of investing in new social and affordable housing supply was:
“The NSW Government will explore financing options to support the delivery of increased social and affordable housing across the State. This includes the ability to leverage the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation and the Housing Australia Future Fund.”

CHIA NSW has since publicly called for the state government to step up and invest its own funds in building more social and affordable housing in the region.

Final Report: Options to improve access to existing and alternate accommodation to address the social housing shortage

On 18 August, the NSW Parliament’s Legislative Assembly Committee on Community Services released the Final Report from the inquiry into Options to improve access to existing and alternate accommodation to address the social housing shortage. 

The inquiry focused on five key areas, including temporary housing options (‘meanwhile use’), options to improve access to existing accommodation to provide community housing; crisis housing, key worker housing, and short-term accommodation models; barriers to additional housing supply; and support for, and accountability of registered community housing providers. 

Key recommendations from the report included:

- The NSW Government should continue to increase investment in the provision and maintenance of public and social housing to address the critical shortage of social housing options.

- That the Department of Planning and Environment work with community housing providers and local councils to address policy barriers that hinder the use of government land for social and affordable housing.

- That the Department of Planning and Environment consider ways to increase the supply of social and affordable housing in regional areas, including through inclusionary zoning targets and mixed tenure development.

CHIA NSW welcomes the release of the Committee’s report, including the recognition of the community housing sector’s capacity to provide cost-effective social housing and wrap-around support, particularly through co-contribution programs such as the Community Housing Innovation Fund.

We acknowledge the work of the Committee, and particularly, the Committee’s Chair, Melinda Pavey MP. We look forward to seeing the NSW Government’s response to the Committee’s report, which is due on 18 February 2023.

CHIA NSW attends 2022 National Homelessness Conference

CHIA NSW, along with many of its CHP members and other state peak bodies, recently attended the National Homelessness Conference in Canberra.

The conference opened with The Hon Julie Collins MP, Federal Minister for Housing and Homelessness who stressed the need for collaboration across all levels of government to tackle housing and homelessness, with strong leadership from the Federal Government.

Across the three days, several highlights were sessions on ending homelessness for First Nations peoples, the challenges of homelessness in regional Australia, the impact of climate change on homelessness and its increasing pressure on already scarce housing, and hearing about initiatives aimed at supporting the increasing numbers of women experiencing homelessness.

NSW Government releases Regional Housing Taskforce response

The NSW Government has announced it has adopted all of the Taskforce’s main recommendations. However, the commitments outlined in the response largely repeat initiatives already announced by the Government, including those that formed part of the 2022 NSW Budget package. This includes:

- A regional Urban Development Program aimed at better coordinating infrastructure delivery with growth and facilitate the supply of development ready land.

- $120 million to accelerate the delivery of enabling infrastructure to unlock development sites.

- Grants of up to $350,000 for local councils to help accelerate planning approvals.

- Funding of 271 homes for key workers in regional areas.

- Various Aboriginal housing measures

Additional commitments the Government has made in response to the Taskforce’s recommendations include:

- Crown Lands has been tasked with identifying government owned land that could be used to develop social and affordable housing.

- The Department of Planning and Environment will investigate ways the planning system can better support meanwhile use of underused land and buildings for temporary housing.

- The Government will establish housing supply benchmarks for high growth areas, including targets for diverse and affordable housing. This will be complimented by an online Regional Housing Dashboard and supply monitor.

- Details of a new Regional Housing Strategic Planning Fund have also been released offering grants of up to $250,000 to support regional councils to undertake strategic planning work that will unlock housing development.

The Government’s full response to the Regional Housing Taskforce can be accessed here.

CHIA NSW releases Workforce Capability Framework

CHIA NSW has just released a Community Housing Workforce Capability (CHWC) Framework, a publicly available interactive online tool.

The CHWC Framework conveys the capabilities that are valued and commonly required for successful performance in key community housing roles, teams and organisations.

It uses an employee-centred approach to building capability. Data analysis and extensive workforce research forms the basis of its construct by acknowledging the attributes, skills and knowledge desired and required by the sector.

Use the resource here.

City West Housing announces new homes for people escaping domestic & family violence

City West Housing Pty Ltd's Boronia Apartments will deliver 74 new affordable rental homes in Waterloo, a third of which are dedicated for women and children at risk of homelessness due to domestic and family violence.

The development will also deliver crucially needed affordable housing for people on very low-to-moderate incomes, including essential workers living in the City of Sydney.

Community housing providers have the unique ability to partner with government and leverage every dollar invested through various funding mechanisms to deliver more housing. The Boronia Apartments is a prime example. The $55 million development is being financed through: developer levies from the City of Sydneya loan from the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation), the NSW Government’s Community Housing Innovation Fund – Domestic and Family Violence Program, and City West Housing cash reserves.

For more information about the development, visit: https://citywesthousing.com.au/development/boronia-apartments/

New report shows national housing crisis’ impact on skills shortage

The Everybody’s Home campaign has released a new report showing the impact of the Australian housing crisis on employment and skills shortages.

The report details how housing plays a crucial role in the efficient operation of the labour market, and how employers across Australia are finding it increasingly difficult to fill job vacancies, partially due to not enough housing opportunities for prospective workers.

Specific regions of Australia which are particularly devastated are examined. For NSW, the report looks at the Illawarra and South Coast region. It shows that since March 2020:

- rents have risen by $175 or 2%

- vacancy rate has dropped from 2.2% to 1%

- low income households experiencing severe housing stress (spending more than 50% of income on rent) increased from 26% to 46%

- job vacancies doubled from 1,333 to 2,848.

Read the report here.

Award Winning Aboriginal Communities’ Partnership Acknowledged

Hume Community Housing was recently announced as a joint winner of a prestigious ZEST Award 2022 for Outstanding Project working with Aboriginal Communities in Greater Western Sydney in June this year.

The Zest Awards showcase the vital work of the Community Sector across greater Western Sydney, in this case, the close partnership between Hume and Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation which originally commenced with the signing of a MOU between the two organisations back in 2019.

The partnership aims to improve economic and social outcomes for Aboriginal people living in social housing. Under the MOU, Hume has supported Tharawal to secure registration as a Tier 3 community housing provider, making Tharawal the first National Regulatory System for Community Housing approved provider in South-Western Sydney.

The partnership delivers on the Aboriginal Outcomes Strategy with the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ).

Under the partnership, Hume also delivers repairs and maintenance services to Tharawal’s properties. Hume is actively assisting Tharawal to grow their housing portfolio with a specific focus on sharing their expertise in asset management.

The partnership ensures effective collaboration in service delivery, effective culturally appropriate response to housing people who were formerly sleeping rough, a direct link to Aboriginal health checks, and ongoing care through the Aboriginal Medical Service at Tharawal and the ability to access appropriate support to connect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers with their communities.

In return, Tharawal has supported Hume to deliver culturally safe services to their customers and Cultural Awareness Training to Hume’s employees. The mutually respectful and beneficial partnership highlights the aligned values of both organisation and commitment to serving South-West Sydney.

Hume’s Senior Manager Social Outcomes and Tharawal’s Housing Manager Alison Croall, accept their Zest Award for Outstanding Project working with Aboriginal Communities in Western Sydney

Award for Redfern community housing development

SGCH’s Gibbons Street Redfern development has been announced the winner for Affordable Development category at the Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW Crown Group Awards for Excellence.
The award was presented by The Hon Natasha Maclaren-Jones, Minister for Families and Communities and Minister for Disability Services.
Gibbons Street Redfern is an outstanding project and a clear winner in the Affordable Housing Category. The collaboration SGCH had with local and state government, NHFIC, consultants and builder enabled this high-quality project to be realised.  It provides much-needed quality social and affordable housing. The design was a standout with an articulated masonry base, double height communal area with children’s playground and community hub at podium level.  The public art work has been seamlessly integrated into the building in the entry terrazzo floor and lighting of the podium soffit. The environmental initiatives were imperative, it achieves 8 star NatHERS reducing ongoing operational costs for the residents with on-site programs supplying base building power.
 - Event Judges

You can read more about the Gibbons Street development here.

St George Community Housing CEO Scott Langford accepts award

CHIA NSW Chair to appear at Experts in Conversation event

The event will be held on Wednesday 14 September at Wesley Conference centre in Sydney. Tickets are $15 for members and $25 for non-members.

Find more information here or register for the event here.

Keep updated with our sector. Follow CHIA NSW online:

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

Keep updated with our sector. Follow CHIA NSW online:

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.

Keep updated with our sector. Follow CHIA NSW online:

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

Keep updated with our sector. Follow CHIA NSW online:

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 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].

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.

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