Housing Matters February 2023

Welcome to the February 2023 edition of Housing Matters.

We are now a few short weeks away from the NSW State Election and while the political response to the housing crisis for renters remains disappointing, we remain determined to demand comprehensive action to address the critical shortage of social and affordable housing across the state.

The spiralling housing crisis has set the scene for a renters’ election, with more renters than ever set to vote on March 25. What makes that even more interesting is the significant proportion of renters who will head to the polls in key marginal seats around Sydney, particularly in the west. In Parramatta for example, where the Liberal margin has slid from 10.6 percent to 6.5 percent, more than half of the community are renters. That’s before we even mention that 4,800 households in Parramatta are living in housing stress or facing homelessness (that’s 10 percent of all households), while there are over 2,100 households on the social housing waiting list alone.

Despite a lack of any tangible pre-election commitments from either side of government so far, there’s no denying the knocking on their doors is getting louder and louder. A recent poll by the Sydney Morning Herald saw the cost of living, including housing, named as the top priority in half of all responses. Meanwhile, our media monitoring shows that the phrase “housing crisis” has been mentioned in NSW-focused media articles over 1,300 times in just the last 30 days, which is a 28% increase on the previous month.

I’d like to thank everyone involved in Confront the Crisis events over this past month. From speakers, to hosts, and all those who attended, the passion shown is evidence of a consensus that significant change to address the housing crisis is urgently and imminently needed.

A special mention goes to Homelessness NSW who we teamed up with to deliver our Housing for All event at Sydney Town Hall. The event which attracted over 500 registrations created a platform for industry, parliamentarians, and the community to gather and collaborate on a way forward out of the emergency we find ourselves facing.

In other news, CHIA NSW has recently partnered with CareerTrackers, an organisation that links Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students with employers to participate in paid, multi-year internships. The team at CHIA NSW were delighted to host Sarah over the summer period, during which time she tackled several issues and projects with the Policy team. More on that in this newsletter.

We also have updates from CHIA NSW members regarding sustainability accreditations, environmentally conscious redevelopment, and exciting new projects.

Please enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

Confront the Crisis: campaign events and Day of Action

This month saw the Confront the Crisis campaign host three events across NSW.

Each event was an opportunity for people to hear from representatives of industry, government, academia, and community groups on the state of housing and homelessness in NSW and the steps that can be taken to alleviate the crisis.

Confront the Crisis in the Illawarra/Shoalhaven Summit

The Confront the Crisis campaign and Housing Trust held a Summit on Tuesday 7 February to draw attention to the issue of housing affordability and insecurity in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven region. Hosted by ABC Illawarra’s Mel James, the packed-out event saw panellists from the community housing sector, construction, and business discuss practical solutions to the crisis.

CEO of Housing Trust, Michele Adair spoke frankly and pragmatically about the housing challenges facing the region, and the opportunities available to an incoming government to create meaningful change.

Business Illawarra Executive Director, Adam Zarth, detailed the impact the housing crisis was having on the region’s economy, revealing that 23,000 households in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven are experiencing housing stress.

CHIA NSW CEO, Mark Degotardi, outlined the capacity and capability of community housing providers to help solve the housing crisis through the supply of affordable rental properties.

Mark stressed the importance of government-industry collaboration and investment. “We cannot do it alone, local councils cannot do it alone, developers cannot do it alone”, he said.

Attendees at the event also had a chance to ask questions of the panellists and share their perspectives.

Jo Fisher, a University of Wollongong staff-member and Housing Trust tenant, received a lengthy round of applause after describing the difference having an affordable home made to her and her child’s lives.

The passionate discussions highlighted just how important tackling the housing crisis is for the region.

Housing for All Pre-Election Town Hall Event

On Thursday 16 February, CHIA NSW and Homelessness NSW hosted the Housing for All Pre-Election Town Hall summit.

The event called for strategic and collaborative action from government to end homelessness and confront the housing crisis currently unfolding in NSW.

Hosted by journalist Joe Hildebrand, attendees heard from a range of speakers representing industry groups, not-for-profit organisations, academia, and government.

Hal Pawson from UNSW’s City Futures Research Centre brought the alarming facts and figures, including that the current NSW social housing waitlist numbers don’t tell the full story of how many people are truly in need.

Trina Jones from Homelessness NSW appealed to government to take a comprehensive, wrap-around approach to ending homelessness.

Mark Degotardi from CHIA NSW outlined the role community housing providers can play in solving the housing crisis, and the investment opportunities on offer thanks to federal funding, which could be further amplified with significant investment from the NSW Government.

Adina Cirson from the Property Council of Australia (NSW branch) spoke about the market’s responsibility to prioritise livable and equitable developments and the broader economic benefits of strategic development.

The Hon. Rose Jackson, Shadow Minister for Water, Housing and Homelessness, recognised the surging community demand for action on housing and homelessness which there is no more time for governments to waste in addressing.

The event concluded with a panel discussion between Greens MP Jenny Leong, Independent MP Alex Greenwich, and Labor MLC Rose Jackson. Each gave their perspectives on the crisis, how we got here, and what needs to be done to address it.

Confront the Crisis in Western Sydney Forum

Evolve Housing and Business Western Sydney hosted the Confront the Crisis in Western Sydney forum on Wednesday 22 February.

Chaired by CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi, speakers included Ryan van den Nouwelant from UNSW City Futures Research Centre, David Borger from Business Western Sydney, Nicola Lemon from Hume Housing, and Lyall Gorman from Evolve Housing.

The impassioned discussions highlighted the social and economic implications of the housing crisis.

The crowd also heard from community housing tenants, who expressed their support for the sector and implored governments to act so others could access affordable and appropriate housing.

Attendees were urged to keep making noise about the housing crisis until governments take notice.

Sign the Confront the Crisis petition

If you weren’t able to make it to one of the Confront the Crisis events, you can still show your support for the campaign by signing the petition here.

NSW State Election: policy check-in

The state’s major parties have ramped up their appeals to voters in anticipation of the NSW State Election.

As cost-of-living pressures continue to bite, housing insecurity and affordability are shaping up to be battleground issues across electorates.

The major parties’ acknowledgement of the magnitude of the housing crisis has been as varied as their policy proposals, none of which are expected to have significant impact on housing access and affordability for renters across the state.

Here is a quick look at some of the key commitments announced by the parties so far:

NSW Liberals and Nationals

  • First Home Buyer Choice Program
    • On existing properties up to $1.5 million, or vacant land up to $800,000, eligible first home buyers can opt for an annual land tax in lieu of stamp duty. The program, announced by the NSW Government last year, came into effect in mid-January.
  • Shared Equity Home Buyer Helper Program
    • Offered to eligible individuals, the NSW Government will contribute a proportion of the purchase price of a property in exchange for an equivalent interest in the property. Contribution amounts are determined by whether it is a new or existing home.
  • Tenancy reforms for renters in the private market.
    • Ban no-grounds evictions for periodic tenancies, to be replaced by a “reasonable grounds” model developed in consultation with key stakeholders.
    • Extend end-of-lease notice periods from 30 days to 45 days.
    • Introduce optional longer lease agreements of three or five years.
    • Implement a portable bond scheme.
  • A ban on solicited rental price bidding. Outlawed in December 2022.
  • Domestic and family violence victim-survivor assistance.
    • Remove Rentstart Bond Loan eligibility criteria.
    • Provide interest-free Rentstart loans.
    • Allow access to First Home Buyer Choice and First Home Buyer Assistance schemes.

NSW Labor

  • Scrap the newly instituted First Home Buyer Choice Subsidy program in favour of abolishing stamp duty on homes up to $800,000 and offering tax concessions on properties up to $1 million.
  • Merge three government agencies – LAHC, Aboriginal Housing Office, and Department of Communities and Justice (Housing) – to create Homes NSW, which will bring construction, maintenance, and tenancy management under the same umbrella.
  • Establish a Rental Commissioner role to be a voice for renters and who will also be tasked with drafting legislation to introduce “reasonable grounds” for ending a lease.
  • Introduce a mandatory requirement for 30% of all homes built on surplus government land to be set aside for social and affordable housing.
    • NSW Labor intends to pilot a $30 million Build-to-Rent program in the South Coast.
  • Tenancy reforms for renters in the private market.
    • Removal of no-grounds evictions.
    • Enabling rental bonds to be transferred directly to another property.
    • Ease restrictions on pet ownership for renters. Supported by the NSW Greens.

NSW Greens

  • Private rental market reforms.
    • Removal of no-grounds evictions.
    • Strengthen rights of tenants to obtain long-term leases.
    • Rental bond portability scheme.
    • Temporary rent rate freeze.
    • Establishing an independent body to regulate rental increases.
  • Minimum dwelling and energy-efficiency standards updated and enforced, including adequate insulation, waterproofing, and internet access.
  • Increase regulations of the short-term rental accommodation market, including introducing a 5% levy on houses left empty for over six months.
  • Introduce a land tax on high value owner-occupied residential properties to fund the construction and/or purchase of social and affordable housing.
  • 10% of all dwellings in NSW to be public and not-for-profit social housing.
    • 30% of all homes built on surplus government land to be set aside for social, affordable and universal housing.
    • 30% social and affordable housing target for all new large private housing developments.

Community Housing 2023: Preliminary conference program announced, early registration rates ending soon

CHIA NSW is excited to announce that the preliminary program for Community Housing 2023 conference is now available.

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

Held a few weeks after the NSW State Election, Community Housing 2023 will cover a broad range of topics, including:

  • Investment opportunities in the Housing Australia Future Fund
  • Together Home and what’s next for Housing First in NSW
  • Aboriginal outcomes and innovation
  • Housing state of play – opportunities for community housing
  • The other crisis: the impacts of climate change on community housing
  • The future of community and tenant engagement
  • Customer service and digital transformation

We are delighted to confirm Ashley Fell as our opening keynote speaker. Ashley is a social researcher, author, TEDx speaker and Director of Advisory at the internationally recognised McCrindle.

Other program highlights and recently confirmed key speakers include:

  • Housing State of Play with Alexander Wendler, CEO, Landcom
  • International Perspectives featuring Paul Gilberd, CEO of Community Housing Aotearoa and Cate Kearney, Chief Executive, Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust
  • Investment opportunities in the HAFF landscape where we will hear from Charles Northcote, Blue CHP; Emma Nicholson, Land and Housing Corporation; Rowena Johnston, NHFIC and Ryan Murphy, QLD Investment Corporation.

Further program announcements will be made over the coming weeks.

Early Bird Registration Rates ending soon!

Don’t delay in securing your discounted ticket for the conference! Early Bird registration is set to close on Friday 10 March.

CHIA NSW partners with CareerTrackers: a professional development opportunity for young Indigenous university student

In December 2022, CHIA NSW welcomed Sarah Scott to the team as our inaugural intern.

Sarah is a Kamilaroi woman with a passion for social justice. She is undertaking a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) and Bachelor of Criminology & Criminal Justice double degree at the University of NSW.

Sarah’s internship has been facilitated through CareerTrackers. The CareerTrackers program supports pre-professional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students and links them with employers to participate in paid, multi-year internships. Their mission is to build greater Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation across all sectors of professional employment and nurture the emerging leaders of the future. As part of the program, participating university students work with a CareerTrackers Advisor who supports them throughout their work-readiness training and into their internship.

During her summer internship, Sarah has contributed to the Policy and Communications team’s advocacy work in the lead up to the NSW Election. This work has included preparing briefing notes to support CHIA NSW’s program of engagement with state MPs, monitoring the election policy positions of other NSW peak organisations, and identifying and reviewing sector practice with regard to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) impact reporting.

Sarah completed her summer internship in February. She has reflected on how valuable the experience has been and feels extremely grateful for the support from CHIA NSW. She has welcomed the opportunity to build relationships with colleagues and recognises that, on a professional level, she has grown immensely.

During her work, Sarah became aware of the growing numbers for the social housing waiting list - an alarming discovery that has fuelled an interest in seeing these numbers decrease. She feels that her internship opportunity has properly equipped her with the skills to continue within the area of policy in the future and to explore her newfound areas of passion in her studies at UNSW in 2023 and beyond.

CHIA NSW hopes to welcome Sarah back again during her winter university break.

Pictured (L to R): Clancy Kees (CareerTrackers), Sarah Scott (CareerTrackers intern), Michael Carnuccio and Caitlin McDowell (CHIA NSW)

NHFIC Update: Federal government legislation introduced to transform NHFIC into Housing Australia

On 9 February, the Federal Government introduced legislation into Parliament to transition NHFIC into Housing Australia, with expanded responsibilities to support delivery of their Housing Policy agenda.

This includes primary responsibility for the delivery of 30,000 homes under the Government’s Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) and 10,000 homes under the National Housing Accord.

NHFIC will continue to deliver its existing programs; the Home Guarantee Scheme, Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator and National Housing Infrastructure Facility to improve housing outcomes for Australians. More information here.

NSW Government responds to Homelessness amongst older people over 55 in New South Wales Inquiry Report

The NSW Government’s response was issued on 30 January 2023, and is available here.

Disappointingly several of the Inquiry Committee’s key recommendations were not supported. Notably, it did not support lowering the age of priority for social housing, or the establishment of a specialist housing and information support service for older people.

Nor does it contain anything new regarding the Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF) or the Community Housing Innovation Fund (CHIF). The Government is awaiting the results of the Evaluation of Future Directions in Social Housing, which is expected to be completed by mid-2023, before committing to a new strategy.

Regarding the expiry of the National Rental Affordability Scheme, the NSW Government is ‘considering options to support CHPs to keep properties they own or manage for private investors, as affordable for longer than the expiry of the National Rental Affordability Scheme period’.

In response to several of the Committee’s recommendations for targeted programs or assistance for older people at risk of homelessness, the NSW Government notes that older people can access other assistance if they meet the relevant criteria. For example, the Link2Home service, rent choice, and Core and Cluster refuges. Further, the Government notes that any changes that preference one group (in this case older people) must be carefully assessed to ensure they do not inadvertently disadvantage other vulnerable groups.

Notwithstanding the disappointing response to the Inquiry, CHIA NSW will continue to advocate for older people experiencing homelessness. In addition to the NSW election, the expiry of the NSW Government’s Homelessness Strategy which has been extended to mid-2024, is likely to provide further opportunities for CHIA NSW to participate in public consultation, including in partnership with homelessness peak organisations.

Home in Place re-accredited as Gold Partner in NSW Government’s Sustainability Advantage program

Content supplied by Home in Place

Home in Place has again been recognised as a Gold Partner of Sustainability Advantage, being re-accredited for another three years.

The business support program of the NSW Government’s Office of Energy and Climate Change recognises organisations that can demonstrate outstanding environmental achievements and leadership.

Executive Manager Social and Environmental Sustainability, Jandy McCandless, said to be reaccredited at gold status is a credit to the hard work and commitment to social, environmental and economic sustainability by everyone at Home in Place. She said Home in Place understands the importance of sustainability to its own business success as well as to the environments and communities in which it operates.

“Sustainability is more than protecting the environment,” Ms McCandless said.

“It is at the heart of our operations because it makes good business sense,” she said.

“Home in Place has taken a lead role in advocating for sustainability nationally and internationally particularly through the promotion of the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainability Goals (SDGs) and New Urban Agenda,” Ms McCandless said.

“We’ve aligned our business operations to the SDGs to play our part in ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all. We are currently implementing our Environment, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) Framework to ensure we set and meet benchmarks and can demonstrate outcomes.”

Some of Home in Place’s recent sustainability initiatives include:

  • reducing CO2 emissions in line with Net Zero targets
  • diverting vacated properties’ waste from landfill to be repurposed, recycled or reused
  • being the first not-for-profit organisation and first community housing organisation to sign up to the Plastic Police® soft plastics recycling program a part of its “towards zero” waste program in line with our commitment to circular economy
  • installing community and sensory gardens provide tenants with access to fresh fruit and vegetables, and create a platform for social inclusion and addresses good health and wellbeing on a number of levels
  • continued social inclusion and tenant participation programs to promote engaged and sustainable communities
  • KPIs for all staff on sustainability and waste and emissions reduction
  • mental health programs for staff and tenants

Underpinning Home in Place’s commitment to sustainability is a belief that safe, affordable and adequate housing is a basic human right.

Ms McCandless said Home in Place works with its tenants help them to participate in building resilient, sustainable and inclusive communities. She said the Sustainability Advantage program has been a big help in supporting Home in Place’s focus on sustainability.

Home in Place joined the program in 2009 and achieved silver status in 2011 and gold status in 2019.

“Sustainability Advantage has helped us to understand sustainability and strengthen our environmental performance.”

Pictured: Jandy McCandless

City West Housing recycling towards new affordable housing

Content supplied by City West Housing

City West Housing contractors have begun demolition at the new Boronia Apartments development site in Waterloo, with the work expected to reap significant recycling benefits.

Metropolitan Demolitions Group is clearing the site with a view to re-using or recycling more than 4,000 tonnes or 97.6% of all materials, exceeding City of Sydney requirements. The 3,008 m2 site comprises two derelict warehouses, which are being removed to make way for 74 affordable rental apartments.

The aims of the development’s Waste Management and Recycling Plan include to:

  • Minimise waste throughout the project life cycle
  • Divert 90% of demolition waste from landfill, and
  • Salvage, reuse and recycle equipment, fittings and materials where practicable.

Head of Development Lisa Sorrentino said: “Recycling as much building material from the existing structures is important as it minimises the waste going to landfill, aligning with our environmental sustainability objectives.”

Metropolitan Demolitions Group will recycle most of the salvaged materials through its Green Star certified recycling facility in St Peters, including:

  • 3,000 tonnes of concrete and brick rubble
  • 30 tonnes of scrap metal
  • 1,000 tonnes of clean, excavated material
  • Timber and plant and equipment.

Boronia Apartments will provide rental housing for people on very low, low and moderate incomes, with several apartments earmarked for women and their children escaping domestic and family violence.

Construction will start in 2023.

The project is being jointly funded by City West Housing, the City of Sydney, NSW Government and the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC). Find out more here.

Photo by Barton Taylor Photography
Photo by Barton Taylor Photography

Evolve Housing hosts tour of new Lidcombe Rise development

Content supplied by Evolve Housing

Evolve Housing was proud to welcome The Honourable Minister Nat Cook MP, Member for Hurtle Vale, and Minister for Human Services in the South Australian Parliament, Mary Patetsos, Chair of the SA Housing Authority (SAHA) and Nick Symonds, the CFO of SAHA to tour their mixed-tenure Lidcombe Rise Development earlier this month.

The tour was an opportunity to showcase the exceptional large-scale development to South Australian Delegates while emphasising the innovative thinking around integrated housing models as a means of tackling the critical shortage of social and affordable housing in NSW.

Respected partners of Evolve Housing were also present on-site including Rick Graf, Senior Executive of Billbergia, Scott Langford, Group CEO of St George Community Housing (SGCH) and SGCH non-executive director Philip Fagan-Schmidt.

Esteemed colleagues from the Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) were also in attendance including Naveen Chandra, Executive Director of Strategy and Delivery and colleagues from the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) including Nathan Dal Bon, CEO of NHFIC.

It is meaningful partnerships amongst State and Federal Government, Private Sector Developers and Not-For-Profit Community Housing Providers (CHPs) that enable Evolve Housing to develop large-scale mixed-tenure developments such as Lidcombe Rise.

This collaboration saw representatives of different sectors come together yesterday to see at scale, the impact these partnerships have on the creation of a vibrant, bustling neighbourhood of mixed-tenure housing, on land that was once vacant.

Once complete, Lidcombe Rise is set to deliver 376 new homes, including 63 social housing properties which Evolve Housing will manage on behalf of the NSW Land and Housing Corporation on a 20-year lease, and 93 affordable housing properties which will be owned and managed by Evolve Housing.

The remaining 220 properties are private market dwellings, currently being sold on an ‘off the plan’ basis by Evolve Housing’s development partner Billbergia Group and as of the 31st of January, 85% of the private market dwellings have been sold.

The dwelling configurations of the social housing units comprise of 21 one-bedroom apartments and 42 two-bedroom apartments, while the affordable housing dwellings include 30 one-bedroom, 42 two-bedroom and 20 three-bedroom apartments. This configuration split is targeted to meet the demographic need and priorities of respective client cohorts that will be housed in this development.

Evolve Housing is exceptionally proud to have partnered with the Billbergia Group and the NSW Land and Housing Corporation on the delivery of this project. Evolve Housing Group CEO, Lyall Gorman commended the efforts of those involved in the development which will bring relief to those on the social housing waiting list.

“There has never been a more important time to develop social housing in Sydney, and this project will deliver new, high-quality homes to fulfil that demand, while also boosting the economy.”

“We are pleased to be working with the NSW Land and Housing Corporation and the Billbergia Group to create a thriving, accessible new community for the people of Lidcombe.”

“I extend our thanks to the State and Federal Governments for their contribution to the funding and development of this project and we look forward to growing the supply of social and affordable housing stock in NSW”. Mr Gorman said.

The social housing apartment block is expected to house tenants in early 2023, while the affordable and private market housing block is due for completion later in the year.

Lidcombe Rise is conveniently located near public transport, schools, the Lidcombe Library, an aquatic centre, and public open spaces for residents to enjoy. Given the current adverse rental crisis, the timing of this development is well-placed to provide much needed social and affordable housing in Sydney.

Bridge Housing partners with Conscious Investment Management to enable property acquisition for social housing

Content supplied by Bridge Housing

The NSW Government has facilitated a $65 million program that will enable community housing leader Bridge Housing and dedicated impact investment fund manager Conscious Investment Management (CIM) to fund the acquisition of up to 90 properties for use as social housing.

The Community Housing Leasing Program provides $87 million in annual funding for 5,940 rental subsidies managed by community housing providers to lease private market properties for use as social housing.

Under the partnership, CIM proposes to invest up to $65 million to acquire the properties which will be managed by Bridge Housing as social housing for 10 years, with CHLP funding used to subsidise tenant rents.

CEO of Bridge Housing, Rebecca Pinkstone, said together with the recently announced State Government extension of the CHLP funding guarantee and their partnership with CIM, Bridge Housing will have the resources needed to vastly improve the lives of people residing in social housing by providing longer term rental stability.

“Thirty years of experience in community housing tells us that secure long-term and affordable housing is critical to supporting our residents and our communities to thrive,” she said.

“We believe that our program is replicable at scale, providing a working model of how community housing providers like Bridge Housing can harness government and institutional investment to deliver more social housing,” Ms. Pinkstone stated.

CIM is a leading impact investor in Australia, having recently been awarded Impact Asset Manager of the Year at the Australian Impact Investment Awards, sponsored by the Department of Social Services.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Bridge Housing to increase the tenure, stability and quality of social housing across Sydney. Building off our social housing experience in Victoria, this investment continues to demonstrate a model of how private capital can invest into social housing while also generating financial returns for investors” noted CIM Chief Investment Officer, Matthew Tominc.

A Department of Communities and Justice spokesperson confirmed an extension of the Community Housing Leasing Program (CHLP) 10-Year Guarantee of funding to 2033 to support partnerships like this.

“The extension of the guarantee will increase the opportunities for more Community Housing Providers to enter into deals with investors or create additional supply.”

Over the next two years we propose to actively acquire up to 90 one-and two-bedroom properties across Sydney. These will typically be dispersed within larger developments, with no more than 20% of each building being designated as social housing.” Mr Tominc stated.

This opportunity with Bridge Housing will be CIM’s first social housing project in NSW.

The partners envisage that providing secure, long-term tenure to the most vulnerable in our community will create a socio-economic ripple effect throughout the broader community.

Pictured: Helen Tighe, Matthew Tominc (CIM), Rebecca Pinkstone (CEO, Bridge Housing), David Miller, Casey Taylor (CIM); photo by David Ford Photography

NSW Mid-North Coast sees projects all round from Community Housing Ltd

Content supplied by Community Housing Ltd

CHL to manage recently opened Port Macquarie social housing development

Community Housing Ltd is excited to be the long-term housing manager for 16 beautiful new townhouses as part of the newest social housing development officially opened in Port Macquarie.

The $5.8 million project saw four old, ageing fibro dwellings transformed into these lovely homes, providing much needed social and affordable accommodation options for the region’s most vulnerable people.

The complex, built by Lahey Constructions for the NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC), is made up of one and two-bedroom units including two of the units adaptable for residents with restricted mobility.

To learn more, you can read the Port Macquarie News article here.

Pictured (L to R): Bernard Pociask (Lahey Constructions), Leslie Williams (MP for Port Macquarie), Megan Davidson (Community Housing Limited)

New development for Wauchope on NSW Mid North Coast

Up to 20 people will have an affordable high-quality home in a new social housing development on the Mid North Coast.

The modern, two storey complex in Wauchope comprises of eight one-bedroom and four two-bedroom units with wheelchair access to two of the units and ample parking for the residents.

Located, close to shops, transport and essential services, the $3.7 million development is funded by the NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) and will be managed by CHL.

Community Housing Ltd are pleased to partner with the NSW LAHC on this wonderful project which is much needed in the region.

The complex was officially announced by Member for Oxley the Hon Melinda Pavey MP earlier this month.

West Kempsey community hub receives NSW Government funding

Community Housing Ltd is excited to have received the funding from the NSW Government to redevelop the community hub in West Kempsey. We thank the Minister for Hospitality and Racing Kevin Anderson for this investment announced during his recent visit.

When complete this will be a wonderful resource for the West Kempsey community to access local services, activities, learning options, community information and provide opportunities for greater social participation and community connection.

Keep updated with our sector. Follow CHIA NSW online:

Housing Matters January 2023

Welcome to the first edition of Housing Matters for 2023.

We enter the new year with ambitious demands of our political leaders. In just a couple of short months, the people of this state will head to the polls. There are many issues they deserve assurances on, not least the security of having a roof over their heads. CHIA NSW and the Confront the Crisis campaign continues to advocate loudly for meaningful investment in social and affordable housing so the most vulnerable in our communities are not left behind.

Evidence pointing to the need for swift action can be found in the recently released NSW social housing waitlist data. Sadly, but unsurprisingly, the number of households on the list has increased to over 57,000. The private rental market is failing to offer affordable housing to communities across our state, resulting in many families facing rental stress and financial hardship, and at increased risk of homelessness. Investment in social and affordable housing to be delivered by community housing providers is the key to getting people off that waiting list and into the homes they have a right to live in.

The UNSW City Futures Research Centre has also released additional data regarding Australia’s unmet housing needs. Of significant concern, there are more than 220,000 households across NSW whose housing needs are not being met, as a result of rental stress or homelessness. More than one in ten households in Western Sydney alone are experiencing unmet housing needs. It is critical that the incoming NSW Government commits to addressing the housing crisis as a top priority for this state. Left unaddressed, the data shows that the number of households with unmet housing need will increase to almost one million nationally by 2041.

The Confront the Crisis campaign will be holding a number of town hall events across February. The Wollongong, Sydney, and Western Sydney events will bring together members of industry, government, academia, and community organisations to discuss to the housing challenges being faced across NSW and what can be done to address the growing housing emergency. More on those events, and how you can register to attend, in this newsletter.

We also have updates from members regarding a multidisciplinary design guide for emergency accommodation construction, a new mixed-tenure development for Rockdale, and a poignant story of vulnerable renters battling a tough market.

Please enjoy.

Mark Degotardi

Social housing waitlist numbers released by NSW Government

The latest data from the NSW Housing Register was recently released by the NSW Government and shows an alarming rise in households seeking social and affordable housing.

The overall number of households on the social housing waiting list in NSW grew to 57,550 households in 2022, up 13% since 2021.

More than 6,500 of those are priority households experiencing extreme vulnerability or are at imminent risk of homelessness, an increase of 12% since 2021.

Many households across NSW are waiting up to a decade to access suitable properties.

“When the social housing waiting list for more than 57,000 households is this long, it is no longer a ‘queue’, it is a catastrophe”, said CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi.

“In one of the richest countries in the world, housing insecurity is a policy choice and a policy failure.”

In another blow to vulnerable and low-income families, this year NSW is set to lose over 600 properties from the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), a national initiative that was introduced by the former Rudd Government in 2008.

The NRAS offered investors annual financial incentives when renting out their property for at least 20% below market rate to eligible tenants, whose rental costs were largely capped at 30% of their income.

The NRAS is due to be phased out completely by 2026, leaving thousands more people across Australia, including NSW residents, at risk of homelessness.

Research released by CHIA NSW in 2021 analysed the impact of the NRAS’ conclusion and recommended strategies and actions governments and affordable housing providers could take to mitigate the effect of dwellings exiting the scheme.

The Federal Government has not committed to reinstating the scheme, with its Housing Australia Future Fund and Housing Accord, both concentrating on providing additional social and affordable housing supply, setting the tone for future investment and policy.

“It is time for NSW to invest boldly in developing affordable community housing across the state”, says Mr Degotardi.

Confront the Crisis campaign activities intensify in the lead up to the NSW State Election

Online Petition

The Confront the Crisis campaign has launched its petition calling on NSW politicians from across all parties to commit to addressing the housing crisis by urgently investing in community housing supply.

With rising interest rates, rental costs, lack of rental supply and cost-of-living pressures being endured by families right around the state, more families are struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

The petition comes as the NSW State Election is due to be held in just over seven weeks’ time.

“Decades of underinvestment in social and affordable housing has led to the situation NSW is facing today”, says Mark Degotardi, CEO of CHIA NSW.

“There is no more time to wait; whichever party forms government after the March election must act swiftly and decisively to address this crisis.”

Supporters are encouraged to sign and share the petition.

Town Hall Events

The Confront the Crisis campaign is partnering with members and other peak bodies to host several town hall forums throughout February. This is an opportunity for the public to engage with experts in business, government, housing, and not-for-profit industries as they discuss the latest research and solutions to the NSW housing crisis.

Housing for All NSW Pre-Election Town Hall Event

An event jointly hosted by CHIA NSW and Homelessness NSW, Housing for All will be hosted by Joe Hildebrand and bring together political leaders, sector experts and the community to discuss how we move towards a better future for NSW.

When: 1pm – 3pm Thursday 16 February 2023
Where: Sydney Town Hall

Register to attend here

Confront the Crisis in the Illawarra Summit

The summit, led by local community housing provider The Housing Trust and Business Illawarra, will be hosted by ABC Illawarra’s Mel James and focus on the housing challenges impacting the Illawarra-Shoalhaven district.

When: 10am – 11:30am Tuesday 7 February 2023
Where: City Beach Function Centre, Wollongong
Register to attend here.

Confront the Crisis Western Sydney Event

The Western Sydney event will bring together industry, government, and community groups to discuss the impact the housing crisis is having on households and the economy of Western Sydney and consider solutions for the region.

When: Tuesday 21 February 2023
Register your interest to attend by emailing Josh Appleton at [email protected]

Western Sydney in crisis as housing needs go unmet

Following on from their earlier publication in November, the UNSW City Futures Research Centre has released more detailed data on Australia's unmet housing needs.

Those with “unmet housing need” refers to anyone who is homeless, living in overcrowded housing, or spending more than 30% of their income on rent.

The data has revealed that one in ten households across ten suburbs throughout Western Sydney are experiencing housing stress.

The situation is particularly acute in Southwestern Sydney, where 18,600 (12.7%) families and individuals are suffering from inadequate housing conditions.

South Western Sydney housing crisis on the front page of The Daily Telegraph

Areas traditionally known for more affordable housing options also saw a jump in households experiencing unmet housing need.

NSW State ElectoratePercentage of all households with unmet housing needNumber of households with unmet housing need

“This data reveals the social fragmentation of Sydney. Your postcode should not determine whether you live in housing crisis”, says Mark Degotardi, CEO of CHIA NSW.

“This is a wakeup call to the incoming NSW Government – you cannot continue to sit idly by while tens of thousands of everyday families and individuals struggle to find or keep their home.”

You can access the UNSW City Futures Research Centre reports, along with an interactive dashboard, here.

Good Growth Alliance releases updated policy platform

The Good Growth Alliance has recently announced its updated policy platform, outlining six key proposals for the NSW Government and Opposition to create a better Sydney and a stronger NSW.

Established in 2018, the Good Growth Alliance is a partnership of housing, property, and business peak organisations with a shared vision of creating more sustainable and liveable cities and regional areas.

Throughout 2022 CHIA NSW was actively engaged in the refresh of the Good Growth Alliance’s shared policy platform to support advocacy efforts in the lead up to the 2023 NSW State election.

CHIA NSW, Homelessness NSW, Shelter NSW and the Property Council of Australia have all signed up to the updated platform, which was launched on 14 December 2022.

The Good Growth Alliance’s six key proposals are to:

• Increase housing supply

• Increase social and affordable housing

• Maximise government investment in infrastructure

• Leverage government-owned land for better community outcomes

• Ensure the planning system encourages ‘good growth’

• Build community resilience and improve the quality of existing homes

The Good Growth Alliance’s proposals centre on increasing the stock of good quality, affordable homes and creating climate-resilient and liveable communities close to jobs, transport, and infrastructure. The outcomes would improve community health and wellbeing and enable people to fully participate in local and state-based social, cultural, and economic opportunities.

Some of the key social and affordable housing policies proposed by the Good Growth Alliance include:

• Increasing social housing to 10% of the total housing stock by 2050

• Establishing a 4-year $3 billion Social and Affordable Housing Fund to supplement funding from the Housing Australia Future Fund

• Implementing incentives for private developers to create more affordable rental housing units across all parts of NSW, including density bonuses

• Making it a condition of rezoning or when disposing of government-owned land that at least 30% of any residential component in the development is designated social and affordable housing

A greater focus on social and affordable housing is especially welcomed. The platform mirrors several of the policy positions in CHIA NSW’s own platform, including a target for 10% of all housing stock to be social housing by 2050, and the establishment of a Social and Affordable Housing Fund.

The targets in the platform are significant shifts for the Good Growth Alliance and it is notable that the Property Council has mirrored the target in its own election platform.

You can read the full proposal document here.

Registration still open for Community Housing 2023 conference

CHIA NSW's Community Housing 2023 conference will be held on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 May in Sydney.

The conference program, to be released in February 2023, will feature leading experts from the community housing sector, government, industry, and academia.

Registration for the conference is currently open, with an early bird rate available until Friday 10 March.

A group discount is also offered to delegates in selected categories if registering as a group of five or more.

Registration entitles attendees to exhibition access, all plenary and breakout sessions over the two days (excluding Single Day Registrations), and daily morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea.

Queries regarding registration should be directed to the Conference Secretariat.

CHIA NSW Learning and Development courses for 2023

CHIA NSW's Learning and Development team are excited to be running a range of Professional Development courses throughout 2023 and have now released the dates for available sessions up to June.

Alongside popular mainstays like NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) training and Housing Pathways, the Learning and Development team run courses that help frontline and management professionals in the social housing sector build the industry knowledge and skills required to respond to social, cultural, and logistical challenges they may face while working.

A new accredited qualification, Certificate IV in Housing - Tenancy Managers is being offered in 2023.

Aimed at people wanting to work in the social housing sector, this course reflects the role of individuals delivering housing support services and support to tenants, applicants and the community in the social housing and homelessness sector.

The course runs for 1 year full-time and includes a placement with a community housing provider.

To find out more about the Certificate IV in Housing – Tenancy Managers, please email Elisa McLeod at [email protected]

To view all courses, and to enrol, you can head to https://communityhousing.org.au/qualifications/course-dates/

NHFIC Update: NHFIC partners with investors and CHPs; regional Australia rental growth slowing

Housing for key workers in Western Sydney

In November, NHFIC along with investment managers AXA IM Alts and community housing provider SGCH, have announced an institutional partnership for affordable housing at Westmead, NSW. The agreement is expected to deliver approximately 350 homes for key workers, located in the new Westmead Health and Innovation Precinct. Read more here.

Specialist Disability Accommodation partnership across four NSW LGAs

In December, NHFIC CEO, Nathan Dal Bon attended the announcement of the GuideYouHome disability housing project partnership with BlueCHP and For Purpose Investment Partners. This is a $20 million investment in Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) projects across four Local Government Areas (LGAs) in NSW. Read more here.

NHFIC also hosted an investor boardroom lunch to discuss the impact that our investors have had on improving housing outcomes for social and affordable housing tenants.

Annual rental growth now slowing in regional areas across Australia

NHFIC last month released analysis on Australia’s rental market that showed annual rental growth in regional Australia has peaked and is slowing – rapidly in some areas, suggesting that the flow of people between the cities and regions triggered by the pandemic is unwinding. Read more here.

Federal Government expansion of National Housing Infrastructure Facility sees first Build-to-Rent social and affordable housing project announced for South Australia

This month, NHFIC announced the first Build-to-Rent social and affordable project to be delivered in partnership with the SA Government under the Federal Government’s widening of the NHIF to include funding the provision of new social and affordable housing. Read more here.

Bridge Housing to deliver social and affordable housing in Redfern

Bridge Housing has been awarded the $230 million development of the Elizabeth Street, Redfern project.

The vacant crown land will be transformed into a mixed-used site, providing approximately 300 apartments including over 100 social housing dwellings, and a 3,500 square metre community centre.

In partnership with infrastructure developer Capella Capital, and builder Hickory, Bridge Housing aims to maximise social and affordable housing for the local Redfern-Waterloo community.

“With thirty years’ experience in the delivery of quality housing and services, Bridge Housing is uniquely positioned to deliver affordable housing designed for the local community. The development will provide a template for how large-scale development can be undertaken to support a diverse and vibrant city”, said Bridge Housing CEO Rebecca Pinkstone.

The Elizabeth Street, Redfern project will be the largest mixed-use development to be led by a community housing provider in NSW and is expected to commence construction in 2025.

Design guide for Specialist Domestic Violence accommodation

Content supplied by Housing Plus

Housing Plus, with support from Custance Architects have developed a design guide to support the community housing, homelessness and Domestic and Family Violance (DFV) sectors in collaborating on the provision of emergency accommodation for victims of domestic abuse.

This comes at a time of landmark investment by the NSW Government in core and cluster designed emergency accommodation, an approach piloted by Housing Plus in NSW.

The Design Guide for Specialist Domestic Violence Accommodation explores how informed, high-quality design can meet the need for dignity, independence, safety and connection.

The design guide has been developed to inform and raise standards for organisations and individuals involved in developing new or refurbished specialist DFV accommodation in Australia.

It is proposed that this guide will be used by community housing providers, government agencies, specialist DFV and homelessness providers, private developers, architects, planners and other development professionals.

The guide has been developed in such a way that development professionals can apply the design standards and features to different state planning policies across Australia.

Housing Plus is grateful for the support of NHFIC, CHIA NSW and all the providers who gave their time and insight and hopes that the design guide will assist collaboration and raise standards for DFV victims across Australia.

Against the Odds: housemates living with disability secure rental home in Sydney's West

Content supplied by Hume Housing

Late last year, long-term friends and housemates from Penrith, Jason, Brett, Scott, Thaison, and David, were facing a dire 2023 with the prospect of homelessness.

The five friends, ranging in ages from early thirties to their fifties, have lived together in supported living group homes since they were teens.

In August, the housemates’ Supported Independent Living provider received notice that the home the group had been living in for the past 10 years was on the market for sale.

They were given just 90 days to vacate, with their landlord declining an extension to their lease, and with no option of negotiating a new lease with a prospective buyer.

Rather than preparing for the holiday season festivities, the housemates were coming to terms with the prospect of being split up, and if respite or emergency housing could not be found, potential homelessness.

According to Rachael Parker, Supported Housing Co-ordinator at Hume Community Housing, the news came as a harsh blow in the lead up to end of year.

“Hume has a number of Supported Independent Living organisations we partner with to provide Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) for customers under their NDIS plans. Normally, we have time to plan a home search for an individual customer to make sure it will meet their needs. Here we were, faced with housing five men in one of the tightest rental markets on record.”

While the property search swung into action, the housemates’ Independent Living provider was hastily working on contingency plans including emergency respite. Having provided daily support to the group of housemates for over 20 years, the prospect of separating them was a last resort. Placing the housemates into respite care, a short-term option, would’ve meant other families who had booked respite care over the holiday season would miss out. With a shortage of suitable respite in the area, there was also no guarantee the housemates would be suitably accommodated.

The team from Hume worked around the clock hunting for a suitable rental property in the Penrith LGA hoping the friends could stay in a familiar area and continue to access local services. According to Parker, “finding a five-bedroom, two-bathroom home that was accessible and affordable was like searching for a needle in a haystack.” In Sydney, the lowest vacancy rates are in the middle and outer areas like Penrith which have all seen a steep rise in demand as renters move outwards looking for more affordable housing. The current rental vacancy rate for rental accommodation in Penrith sits at 0.5 per cent.

“There were only eight homes matching our requirements and we applied for all, receiving two rejections, and the other applications received no response at all. Hume manages close to 150 group homes on behalf of the NSW government; we take over the lease of a property and guarantee rent and manage all maintenance and property upkeep. We really are a safe pair of hands for property owners – unfortunately in such a competitive market those who are most vulnerable are easily overlooked.”

Hume is one of NSW’s largest SDA property managers with homes located across metropolitan and regional NSW. Hume provides safe, comfortable, and age-appropriate housing to more than 500 customers living in Hume group homes. Hume also develops and builds SDA housing and has ambitions to build more homes, particularly larger 5-bedroom homes.

With only three days out from their lease end, Hume secured a property in St Clair.

“It felt like a miracle. We were just so relieved,” says Parker.

Hume signed a two-year lease enabling the housemates to rest easy knowing they have a secure home for the time being.

Hume supports customers to successfully maintain their tenancies, build resilience, participate in life, and to reach their full potential in collaboration with an extensive partner network. “We still have is a fair bit of work to do to improve liveability of the home, but we are so thankful the guys will remain together,” says Parker with a smile.

City West Housing's Tallowwood Apartments to deliver affordable homes to Rockdale

Content supplied by City West Housing

City West Housing has secured the development application (DA) for its first mixed tenure, build-to-rent development outside the City of Sydney.

Tallowwood Apartments at 427-429 Princes Highway, Rockdale will deliver 80 much-needed apartments in the Bayside LGA, with construction expected to be completed by 2025.

The development will be a mix of integrated affordable (80%) and market (20%) rental housing owned and operated by City West Housing. The site is in the heart of Rockdale Town Centre and is close to essential services and Rockdale train station.

Leonie King, CEO of City West Housing, said: “While we remain committed to our roots in the City of Sydney, this expansion is in line with City West Housing’s growth strategy.”

“For many workers on lower incomes, the Sydney area is an increasingly difficult place to live and raise a family because of rapidly rising rents. City West Housing is always looking for opportunities to develop multi-tenure affordable housing developments that allow lower income workers to live near their jobs.”

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