Housing Matters May 2023

Welcome to the August 2023 edition of Housing Matters.

I’m writing to you from the ancestral lands of the Gadigal people, where we acknowledge that the land that we live and work on was, is, and always will be Aboriginal land.

The Federal Government has now confirmed that the Referendum on the Voice to Parliament will be held on Saturday 14 October 2023.

I am proud to announce that the Community Housing Industry Association NSW will be joining hundreds of other not-for-profit organisations and peak bodies across Australia by confirming our support for the full implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

As we pledge our support for the ‘Yes’ vote in the campaign, we have a significant opportunity to reflect on how we walk together in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities to deliver better housing outcomes that create lasting change.

It’s been a busy month for the community housing industry, with the release of the National Housing and Homelessness Plan Issues Paper, the announcements from National Cabinet, and the Senate Inquiry on the rental crisis. Closer to home, NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey is set to hand down the NSW Government’s first State Budget on Tuesday 19 September.

In anticipation of the budget, CHIA NSW has released a four-point plan which outlines practical measures the Government can take to address the critical shortfall in social and affordable housing and create livable and sustainable communities.

We believe that with a sustained pipeline of social and affordable housing supply, a committed ‘Housing First’ approach to addressing homelessness, futureproofing social housing against emerging climate risks, and planning initiatives, we can not only get ahead of the housing crisis but cement a thriving and resilient housing ecosystem for the future.

Whilst the housing crisis is never far from the headlines, it is important for us to take the time to celebrate the success of our industry. Recently, we had the great pleasure of celebrating the graduation of our 2022 Cadets at the State Library of NSW. Our cadets were joined by the NSW Minister for Housing and Homelessness, the Hon. Rose Jackson MLC, who recognised the significance of our Cadets’ achievements and the contributions they will continue to make to their communities. We look forward to continuing our life-changing Cadetship program in 2024. In other news, we’ve recently published new research on how local councils can partner with community housing providers through a diverse range of partnerships models to deliver more affordable housing supply where it’s needed most. I am encouraged by the partnerships between local councils and community housing providers that have emerged to date and commend this research to you. More on that in this edition.

Please enjoy.

Mark Degotardi

CHIA NSW releases Four-Point Plan ahead of NSW State Budget

In anticipation of the NSW State Budget on Tuesday 19 September, CHIA NSW has released a Four-Point Plan that highlights how, through partnerships with community housing providers, the NSW Government can confront the housing crisis and invest in the future of NSW communities.

The four-point plan acknowledges the critical challenges facing the state’s housing system and emphasises the innovative solutions that the community housing industry can offer in response.

The four recommendations made in the plan are:

  • Establish a long-term pipeline for social and affordable housing supply
  • Extend the Together Home Program and break the cycle of homelessness
  • A cleaner, greener future for social housing
  • Streamlining planning pathways for social and affordable housing

CHIA NSW recognises the NSW Government Budget will be tight. Alongside spending assigned to pre-election commitments, the most recent budget forecast has revealed a projected $7.1 billion deficit for the current financial year.

Head to our website to view the Four-Point Plan.

CHIA NSW says Yes to the Voice

The Community Housing Industry Association NSW is proud to support the establishment of a Voice to Parliament as part of a broader commitment to implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart is the culmination of dialogues with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, arriving at a consensus about what constitutional recognition should look like. The Statement is an invitation to all Australians to commit to a journey of reconciliation and truth-telling.

CHIA NSW accepts the invitation to walk alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a “movement of the Australian people for a better future”.

The establishment of a Voice to Parliament will be an important first step in creating a better future by empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to provide independent advice to Federal Government regarding legislative issues that affect their communities.

The Referendum will be held on Saturday 14 October 2023.

You can read CHIA NSW’s position statement on the Voice to Parliament here.

2022 Cadets celebrate their graduation

CHIA NSW, together with the NSW Minister for Housing and Homelessness, The Hon. Rose Jackson MLC, had the pleasure of celebrating the graduation of Cadets from Round 2 of the Cadetship Program on Thursday 10 August.

Of the 20 Cadets who commenced Round 2, 15 completed the Certificate IV in Housing and 80% graduates have secured employment with a community housing provider.

Joined by family, friends, mentors, managers, CHIA NSW trainers and colleagues at the State Library of NSW, the Cadets were congratulated for their inspirational achievements.

Three of this year’s graduating class were also recently recognised for their outstanding achievements with nominations at the 2023 NSW Training Awards. Amanda Mundell, Charliey Darcy and Renae Weatherall were all named finalists in their respective regions, with Renae receiving the runner-up prize for New England’s 2023 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Trainee of the Year.

The Cadetship Program has produced excellent educational and employment outcomes for people who have faced barriers to work and study opportunities. Developed in partnership with the NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC), the Cadetship Program offers Cadets a 12-month paid employment contract with a community housing provider and enrolment in nationally accredited training course, Certificate IV in Housing.

Minister Jackson praised the tenacity of the Cadets and encouraged them to continue forging careers in the housing sector. She also noted that the Cadets who have a lived experiences of social housing and homelessness will possess the empathy and understanding required to ensure positive outcomes for their organisations into the future.

Acting Chief Executive of NSW Land and Housing Corporation, Michael Wheatley, acknowledged the achievements of the Cadets and extended his support for the Cadetship Program. He recognised the value of the program in enriching the lives of its students and those they go on to assist in their careers.

CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi shared his enthusiasm for the graduating cohort and acknowledged the positive outcomes delivered by the Cadetship Program.

“The graduation of these remarkable Cadets is an important milestone and a moment of great pride for the community housing industry,” said Mr Degotardi.

“Today, we celebrate the diversity this cohort has brought to the Cadetship Program and the dedication they have shown to make it to graduation. We are excited to see the positive impact they will undoubtedly have on the communities they serve.”

“CHIA NSW extends its gratitude to the NSW Government for its invaluable partnership in delivering this program, ensuring it changes the lives of not only the Cadets but those they will go on to assist in their work for years to come,” said Mr Degotardi.

New report demonstrates benefits of community housing providers partnering with local councils

CHIA NSW has released a new report, Local Council Partnerships for Provision of Affordable Housing.

Funded through the Department of Communities and Justice’s Industry Development Strategy and led by Paxon Group, the report examines models for how local councils can participate in the provision of affordable housing.

The report highlights several findings that demonstrate the added value of community housing providers (CHPs) delivering affordable housing in partnership with local councils. It identifies the enhanced tenant and financial outcomes that flow from councils involving CHPs in the operation, management and maintenance of affordable housing. Paxon Group also undertook modelling that demonstrates how CHPs can leverage the delivery of more homes, particularly if ownership of properties is transferred to CHPs.

The report concludes that local councils’ focus should be on optimising their planning settings and contribution schemes, and then allocating these funds to CHPs to deliver and operate affordable housing.

Head here to read the full report.

Link Wentworth launches Insights from London report

Link Wentworth recently launched their Insights from London report at an event at NSW Parliament House.

The report details the September 2022 study tour of London’s housing associations that Link Wentworth CEO Andrew McAnulty took alongside the now-NSW Minister for Housing, Homelessness and Water Rose Jackson MLC, as well as Link Wentworth Chair Mike Allen PSM and Chief Customer Officer Margaret Maljkovic.

The group, hosted by a handful of housing associations, visited several developments across London, where a focus on innovative design and density would help to inform enhanced delivery of social and affordable housing back in Australia.

Collaborative approaches between government and the community housing industry, streamlined funding and planning pathways, as well as the inspirational leadership of housing associations were key takeaways from the tour.

You can find out more about the tour, read the full report and view the short videos here.

Community housing Digital Transformation resources launched

The evolution of technology provides the opportunity for community housing providers to enhance the way they serve their tenants.

CHIA NSW and CHIA Vic have teamed up to develop a digital transformation process map specific to the operations of CHPs so the industry is well placed to evolve with technology.

There are several resources now publicly available which can inform any community housing providers’ digital transformation journey. Those resources include: 

  • Digital Transformation Pack Guidance 
  • Developing an IS IT Strategy 
  • Persona Journey Mapping toolkit 
  • Cybersecurity toolkit.

Download the resources here. 

The CHIA NSW and CHIA Vic teams are grateful for the support from Homes Victoria and NSW Department of Communities and Justice to deliver this project.  

For more information, visit communityhousing.org.au/business-services/.

New social housing on the way in Northern Rivers

More social housing is on the way in Mullumbimby after Northern Rivers Housing, formerly North Coast Community Housing, secured funding through a successful government funding scheme.

Northern Rivers Housing (NRH) will deliver another five homes as part of a new 25-unit development in Mullumbimby. NRH has received $2 million in grant funding from the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) and a $1 million grant from the NSW Department of Communities and Justice. The funding comes under the already successful Community Housing Innovation Fund (CHIF).

The unit block will provide a mix of private, social, and affordable housing. There is currently a 10-year waiting list for social housing in the Northern Rivers region, meaning the new homes are desperately needed.

The CHIF is based on a co-contribution model which combines funding from the NSW State Government with the resources and creativity of CHPs to deliver more social and affordable housing. This development is testament to the effectiveness of the CHIF as it combines funding from the NSW Government with the ability of CHPs to deliver social and affordable housing and draw on their non-profit status to secure other financing opportunities – in this case with NHFIC.

Mullumbimby units to be delivered by Northern Rivers Housing

Good for the planet, good for residents

Content supplied by City West Housing

Households account for around 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions, with energy use the primary contributor. Community housing providers, managing housing for multiple households, can find ways to reduce the carbon footprint of our housing portfolios and make a real contribution to climate change mitigation.

Energy sustainability has been a key focus of City West Housing’s climate change adaptation over the past three years. While it is easier to incorporate environmental sustainability measures from the outset in new developments, which we are doing, the more challenging retrofit measures to reduce the operational carbon footprint of older buildings can also reap benefits.

We are focusing on making small, incremental steps towards refurbishing our existing housing stock of 932 homes in ways that contribute to positive environmental outcomes. For example, City West Housing has been retrofitting solar panels to suitable older apartment buildings.

Another such initiative is our kitchen upgrade program. Currently we are renovating the kitchens in 25 units at one of our buildings in Pyrmont, including removing natural gas for cooking and switching to more cost-efficient renewable energy. This will reduce net greenhouse gas emissions for each household by 3%. With home appliances using an average of 25% of household energy, upgrading the cooktop and stove to more energy-efficient models will also mean ongoing cost savings for our residents.

Lidia, a City West Housing resident for around 10 years and who used to work as an architect, appreciates her apartment being adapted to be more sustainable and efficient. “When it comes to looking after the environment, every little bit counts.”

Barry, who has been living in his apartment for some 13 years, was thrilled to have his kitchen repainted, the cabinets and floor replaced, and get new induction cooking appliances. “The upgrade inspired me to do a bit of a clean out to get rid of clutter. The new kitchen makes me very happy and proud to live here.”

Innovative new domestic violence refuge for women and children announced for Port Stephens

Content supplied by Hume Community Housing

Hume Community Housing will deliver a new refuge in Port Stephens thanks to a significant NSW State Government investment in housing and critical support services for women and children experiencing domestic and family violence.

The $484.3 million fund, pledged in October 2021 by the former Perrottet Government includes the delivery and operation of 39 new “core and cluster” women’s refuges across NSW.

Hume has welcomed the announcement as data reveals the Port Stephens LGA records significantly higher incidents of reported Family and Domestic violence. Violent incidents are 2.3 times more likely to be reported in Raymond Terrace and 2.7 times more in Tanilba Bay than the NSW state average.

Hume’s CEO Brad Braithwaite acknowledges the dire need for appropriate and safe crisis accommodation in the area. “Because there is no refuge or crisis accommodation in the region, our impacted customers are struggling to escape often dangerous living environments. We thank the NSW Government as this announcement will be life changing for those women and children experiencing domestic violence.”

The refuge will support local women and children requiring immediate protection from domestic family violence, prioritising Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse women. Services will also be available to gender diverse and non-binary victim survivors.

The fund delivers refuges based on an innovative new “core and cluster” model which combines the services and supports of a traditional refuge with the independent living facilities of transitional accommodation (“cluster”). The “core” is a communal facility which provides access to services such as counselling, legal assistance, education, and employment support designed in a child-friendly and trauma informed way. The model has been successfully trialled in the regional communities of Orange and Griffith.

Hume will deliver the model in partnership with Port Stephens Family and Neighbourhood Service (PSFaNS), who bring more than 35 years’ local experience providing life-changing services to women and families in the region. Port Stephens’ Council played a role in Hume’s successful tender bid and is acknowledged as an important supporter for increased crisis housing in the region.

Hume’s construction of six self-contained unites that allow for pets and disability access will accommodate up to 12 occupants at a time. The units will be linked to the “core” building as well as a communal sensory play area for children and a yarning circle.

“The design features landscaped areas to encourage individuals and families to integrate with a sense of safety and security. The self-contained accommodation will be culturally appropriate and promote privacy and independence to the occupants. PSFaNS will partner with victim-survivors to support recovery and stabilisation as well as providing a therapeutic response to children and young people” says Brad Braithwaite.

“Hume are proud to be spearheading the creation of much-needed purpose built, safe, private, and culturally appropriate and trauma informed refuge. It will have a real impact on local women and children experiencing domestic and family violence by giving them the opportunity to build brighter, safer futures”.

Construction of the new refuge will commence in 2024 with a view to opening in 2025.

Artist's impression of the innovative core and cluster model of housing featuring six self-contained units linked to a core communal building

Keep updated with our sector. Follow CHIA NSW online:

Housing Matters April 2023

Welcome to the April 2023 edition of Housing Matters.

Just last week, our friends at Anglicare Australia and Everybody’s Home released more evidence of the growing housing emergency.

Anglicare Australia’s latest Rental Affordability Snapshot confirms that rental unaffordability is impacting more Australians than ever. Of the 10,527 private rentals advertised across Greater Sydney and the Illawarra on 18-19 March, only 4% were affordable for someone earning the minimum wage. Meanwhile, only 36 of those rentals were affordable for people receiving income support payments of any kind.

The ’Priced Out’ report, recently released by Everybody’s Home, paints a dire picture for the essential workers of Australia, without whom our communities could not survive. The report found that in NSW, there are no regions where rentals are affordable for essential workers on award wages.

This means that far too many people in NSW, including single parents, older people, students, key workers in our health and education sectors, and disability support recipients are faced with two choices: securing a private rental property which may not be affordable or appropriate for their needs, or, if deemed eligible, joining the 10-year long queue for social housing.

Despite these significant challenges, there is some good news ahead of the Federal Budget next week, with Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Julie Collins announcing that the liability cap on the National Housing Infrastructure Facility will be increased by $2 billion to $7.5 billion. This increases the pool of concessional loans and grants available for community housing providers. We look forward to hearing further details about this and other housing measures next week.

In other news, we are just one week away from CHIA NSW’s Community Housing 2023 conference. With a new NSW government, several potential housing initiatives on the table at the federal level, and increasing public attention on the housing crisis, the conference comes at an opportune time to consider how the community housing industry can contribute its expertise to deliver more social and affordable housing for people in greatest need.  With an extensive program, it is shaping up to be an exciting and thought-provoking couple of days. I look forward to seeing you there.

There’s much more in this edition which I hope you enjoy.

Mark Degotardi

Worst ever rental market for minimum wage earners: Anglicare Australia releases its Rental Affordability Snapshot for 2023

Anglicare Australia has released its Rental Affordability Snapshot for 2023. The Snapshot surveyed 45,895 rental listings nationwide and the results paint a dire picture for Australia's renting households.

Not a single rental was found to be affordable for a person on Youth Allowance and only four rentals, all of them share houses, were reported as affordable for someone on Jobseeker Payment.

Those on the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension or earning the minimum wage aren’t faring much better. The report found that:

  • 162 rentals (0.4%) were affordable for a single person on the Age Pension
  • 66 rentals (0.1%) were affordable for a single person on the Disability Support Pension
  • 345 rentals (0.8%) were affordable for a single person earning a full-time minimum wage.

It is the first time that the Rental Affordability Snapshot has recorded less than 1% of available rentals as affordable for a minimum wage worker, highlighting the escalating crisis.

Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers has said, “Each year, we think the market couldn’t get any worse. And each year, we’re shocked to see that it can”.

Ms Chambers has recommended government investment in social and affordable housing be a key solution. CHIA NSW strongly supports this recommendation, as highlighted in our media release here.

You can find Anglicare Australia’s 2023 National and Regional Rental Affordability Snapshot reports here.

Australia's essential workers priced out of their communities

Everybody’s Home has released a new report comparing data on rents against the award wages for 15 essential worker categories.

Produced by Anglicare Australia, the ‘Priced Out’ report found that soaring rental prices are pushing essential workers out of their communities across Australia, with almost no region being affordable.

Since March 2020, essential workers across the country have lost an average of six hours from their weekly income to rent increases, equating to 37 days each year.

Essential workers in single-income households are likely to be experiencing serious financial stress, and those in dual-income households are likely reliant on their partner’s income.

Sydney continues to be Australia’s most expensive capital city for essential workers looking to rent an average-priced unit, while no regions across NSW are affordable for essential workers on award wages. Essential workers paying a typical rent in any region of NSW would be in rental stress.

Regional coastal areas are particularly unaffordable due to domestic migration trends as a result of the pandemic, when working from home became commonplace, and many city-dwellers relocated to traditionally smaller towns.

You can read the full report here.

All eyes on upcoming Federal Budget after housing announcements

The Prime Minister and his Minister for Housing and Homelessness have made several announcements around support for renters, community housing grants, and expansion of first home buyer schemes ahead of next week’s Federal Budget.

As mentioned, Housing Minister Julie Collins has announced the raising of the National Housing Infrastructure Facility liability cap by $2 billion to $7.5 billion, increasing the amount of concessional loans and grants available to community housing providers.

Wendy Hayhurst, CEO of CHIA’s national body welcomed the announcement and urged the government leverage the industry’s expertise.

“This is a welcome and important change that will make the delivery of social and affordable housing easier.

“We welcome the government’s commitment to getting more social and affordable homes built in Australia.

“We look forward to being involved in discussions on other proposals, especially ideas to stimulate build-to-rent capacity where the community housing sector has particular expertise to share,” Ms Hayhurst said.

Community Housing 2023 is next week!

Last call for registrations for the Community Housing 2023 conference!

Held at the Sydney Masonic Centre on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 May, 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.

The Community Housing 2023 program features over 60 expert speakers representing the community housing industry, government, the private sector, the not-for-profit sector, and academia. We are grateful to our sponsors and exhibitors for their generous support of Community Housing 2023.

More than 400 people are already registered for the conference. Will we see you there?

Head here to secure your tickets. Don’t miss out!

Property Council of Australia's Innovation & Excellence Awards 2023

A huge congratulations to SGCH, Pacific Link Housing, Housing Trust, and Home in Place for being recognised as leaders in affordable housing development.

Each organisation is a finalist in the Landcom Award for Best Affordable Housing Development at The Property Council of Australia’s Innovation & Excellence Awards for 2023.

The Innovation & Excellence Awards promote excellence in design and innovation in the built environment and aims to showcase superior examples of iconic projects across a broad range of sectors and design disciplines.

It comes as no surprise to CHIA NSW that these community housing providers have been recognised for their dedication towards innovative and inclusive social and affordable housing design.

We will have to wait a little longer to find out who takes out the top honour, with the awards scheduled for August. Good luck to all the finalists!

CHIA NSW releases Housing Options for People Leaving Custody evaluation report

CHIA NSW has released its final evaluation report for the Housing Options for People Leaving Custody project.

Housing Options for People Leaving Custody was a pilot project that provided housing and support services for people leaving custody in regional NSW. The pilot project was underpinned by a Housing First model and primarily targeting people with connections to the two pilot sites.

Funded by the Department of Communities and Justice through the Industry Development Strategy, the pilot was delivered on the Mid North Coast and Shoalhaven between 2018 and 2022. It was led by Community Housing Limited and Southern Cross Community Housing and delivered in partnership with NSW Government agencies and not-for-profit organisations.

The pilot project was independently evaluated by Lee Road Consulting, with the report demonstrating that the service model was sound and enabled 16 people to maintain social housing tenancies who would otherwise be homeless or at risk.

Read the full report here.

Chronically underfunded community services sector buckling under demand as cost-of-living pressures continue to grow

The Australian Council of Social Services has released a new report, At the Precipice: Australia’s community sector through the cost-of-living crisis, showing that the community services sector is at breaking point and facing a staffing crisis after years of funding neglect from governments.

With cost-of-living and housing pressures mounting for families across the country, community organisations are facing unprecedented demand for assistance. Satisfaction with government funding levels has plummeted from 2021, with only 9% of sector leaders agreeing with the statement, “Funding covers the full costs of service delivery” compared to 20% the previous year.

Most community organisations reported stable (36%) or worsened (37%) finances in 2022, while 53% of organisations that traditionally rely on philanthropy or commercial income as their primary source of revenue have reported worsening financial conditions.

Workers in the sector are themselves not immune to the cost-of-living crisis. The report indicates that some community services staff are contemplating their future in the sector, as a lack of access to higher wages and affordable housing place strain on their own budgets.

54% of sector leaders noted that state and territory governments are their main source of income. This includes domestic and family violence services and housing and homelessness services. The report stresses the need for greater government investment to ensure continued service delivery and staff retention.

One of the key recommendations of the report was for the Federal Government to make housing affordable for people with low incomes by committing to increasing investment in social housing and boosting Commonwealth Rent Assistance. These changes would not only support people seeking access to services but also facilitate a reduction in demand.

As the country contends with an uncertain financial outlook, the services that households expect to be able to turn to in times of need are also facing cost-of-living crises.

Read the full report here.

Keep updated with our sector. Follow CHIA NSW online:

Housing Matters March 2023

Welcome to the March 2023 edition of Housing Matters.

Following the recent state election, the NSW Labor Party, led by Premier Chris Minns, has formed a minority government in NSW. We welcome the Premier’s announcement of his first Ministry, which includes an equal representation of males and females in Cabinet for the first time in NSW’s history.

I’d like to congratulate the Hon. Rose Jackson MLC on her appointment as Housing and Homelessness Minister, and the Hon. Paul Scully MP on his appointment of Planning and Public Spaces Minister.

The community housing sector has a long-standing and successful partnership with the NSW Government to deliver new homes where they’re needed most, and we look forward to working with the incoming Premier and his Cabinet team to confront the housing crisis, end homelessness, and create a world-class planning system over the next four years of government.

We know that the challenge of confronting the housing crisis is immense. The social housing wait list grew by 15 per cent to 58,000 households in 2022, whilst interest rate rises and surging rental prices have created significant financial hardship for hundreds of thousands of individuals and families across the housing continuum.

Our industry’s priorities are simple:

  • Partnering with the NSW Government to deliver more social and affordable homes, including by maximising the opportunities presented by the Housing Australia Future Fund and the Housing Accord;
  • Helping to end homelessness by establishing permanent Housing First programs coupled with permanent housing solutions, and
  • Working with the NSW Government to establish a planning system that prioritises social and affordable housing in areas of need on both Government and non-Government land subject to rezoning.

At a Federal level, CHIA NSW supports the call of our Federal housing and homelessness peak body colleagues for the Senate to pass the package of legislation that will begin tackling the housing crisis when Parliament resumes in May. Whilst we know that the Housing Australia Future Fund won’t fix the housing crisis on its own, it provides a welcome start and much needed leadership to deliver social and affordable housing that our communities so desperately need.

Meanwhile, the Australia Bureau of Statistics recently published its estimates of homelessness data from the 2021 Census. In NSW, the Census reported a 7 per cent decrease in homelessness, including a marked reduction in the number of people sleeping rough. Whilst greater investment in housing and homelessness services remains critical, the results highlight the importance of the Together Home program to provide life-changing housing and support services for people experiencing homelessness.

You can read more in this edition about our recently published report on Together Home, which outlines how the NSW Government can make this program a permanent solution in our collective efforts to end homelessness.

We’ve got plenty more in this edition of Housing Matters which I hope you enjoy.

Please enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

A recap of NSW Labor's election commitments

The NSW Labor Government made the following housing announcements during the election campaign:

  • Establish two Build-to-Rent pilot programs (Northern Rivers and South Coast) to deliver new rental housing over two years. The total commitment for these programs is $60 million.
  • Introduce a mandatory requirement for 30% of all homes built on surplus government land to be set aside for social and affordable housing.
  • 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 to deliver the following reforms and initiatives:
    • Lead consultation and drafting on legislation to introduce reasons for eviction;
    • Implement Labor’s portable bonds scheme;
    • Oversee a ban on secret rent bidding;
    • Identify barriers to increasing housing supply for renting;
    • Identify practices and gaps that erode the rights of renters;
    • Identify options for longer term agreements
    • Develop initiatives, including educational resources for renters and owners, to increase knowledge of their rights
    • Collect data on renting and survey renters to help inform future policymaking; and
    • Identify opportunities for renters to access energy efficiency initiatives more easily.

Community Housing 2023 - one month to go!

CHIA NSW is excited to welcome our delegates, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors to Community Housing 2023.

Held at the Sydney Masonic Centre on Wednesday 10 May and Thursday 11 MayCommunity Housing 2023 will showcase the latest evidence, policy debates and best practice examples underpinning the delivery of social and affordable housing solutions led by the community housing industry and our dedicated partners.

Our program features more than 60 expert speakers representing the community housing industry, government, the private sector, the not-for-profit sector, and academia.

Tickets are selling fast, with 300 people already registered to attend the two-day event, whilst the conference dinner on Wednesday 10 May is almost sold out.

Don’t miss out on your opportunity to attend Community Housing 2023. For more information, please visit our website here.

Community housing providers hold Confront the Crisis staff events

The Confront the Crisis campaign has shone a spotlight on the critical need for the NSW Government to address the state’s housing emergency.

In the lead up to the state election, several community housing providers hosted staff events supporting the Confront the Crisis campaign message.

It was a chance for staff to discuss the housing and homelessness crisis in NSW and the vital role their organisation can play in addressing it by providing safe, secure and affordable housing to the people of NSW.

The events were also an opportunity for staff to consider and discuss the commitments and attitudes they would like to see from governments in order to enact meaningful change.

CHIA NSW and the Confront the Crisis team would like to thank everyone – peak bodies, industry experts, community housing providers, staff, tenants, and members of the public – for their support.

ABS Homelessness Census data released, hundreds at risk of becoming homeless as successful programs draw to a close

The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently released the estimates of homelessness from the 2021 Census.

The data shows that on the night of the Census, 35,011 people in NSW were experiencing homelessness, representing a decrease of 2,704 people since 2016. Of these, 963 people were sleeping rough (i.e. in improvised swellings, tents, or sleeping out), a decrease of 1,625 people since 2016.

The proportion of people sleeping rough declined from 7% of NSW’s homeless population in 2016 to 2.75% in 2021, while the number of people staying in temporary lodgings (e.g. hotel and motel accommodation) increased from 222 people in 2016 to 1,427 people in 2021. This represents a 543% increase.

It is important to note that the Census was held on 10 August 2021, during which time Greater Sydney and other parts of NSW were affected by COVID-19 lockdowns.

NSW Government policies implemented during this period included homelessness prevention and reduction measures such as:

  • the Residential Tenancy Support package, which placed a moratorium on eviction of tenants who could not pay their rent, and
  • the Together Home program, first established in 2020 to ensure that the spread of COVID-19 was minimised as Public Health Order restrictions were implemented across NSW, which provided rough sleepers with affordable, sustainable, and supported accommodation.

Since July 2020, the life-changing Together Home program has provided stable housing and wrap-around support services to over 1,000 people. However, most participants are set to exit the program by the end of 2023.

The Census results show that the Together Home program is effective in reducing homelessness by ensuring people sleeping rough have safe and secure housing and much-needed support.

CHIA NSW is urging the NSW State Government to commit to a Housing First policy across NSW by making the Together Home program permanent through sustained investment of $25 million per year, as well as building an additional 200 social housing properties every year for people exiting from the Together Home program.

CEO of CHIA NSW, Mark Degotardi, said funding of $25 million per year would provide 250 new Together Home packages each year as well as ongoing support for people with high and complex needs.

“Together Home has supported over 1,000 people in NSW to get off the streets and into a safe home with wrap-around support. This has allowed them to sustain their tenancies and to enter education and training and to secure jobs. It’s a life-changing program,” said Mr Degotardi.

“The Census results are encouraging but we can’t stop now. The Census data is more than a year old, during which time rents have increased by over 20% while inflation has neared 8%, putting more people at risk of homelessness than ever before. All the progress will be lost if the Government doesn’t keep funding this highly effective program.”

You can read CHIA NSW’s Addressing rough sleeping and changing lives: the case to make Together Home a permanent Housing First response in NSW report here.

CHIA National launches ESG Reporting Standard for Australian community housing sector

Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) National has launched the first edition of its Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) Reporting Standard.

Commissioned in 2022, the industry-specific framework enables the community housing sector to measure, manage, report, and interpret their community impact.

Developed in partnership with a range of organisations from the public and private sector, including several community housing providers (CHPs), this ESG Reporting Standard now positions Australia as an international leader in impact reporting for the community housing sector.

Sector-wide adoption and sustained implementation of CHIA National’s ESG framework and reporting standard by community housing organisations will help to:

  • demonstrate the improved economic and social outcomes generated by community housing,
  • facilitate diversification and expansion of funding sources available to the sector,
  • assist with credible social impact reporting,
  • enable access to lower borrowing costs and other financial benefits, and
  • support social and affordable housing to grow as an investment asset class.

The newly available resources can be accessed by filling in the form available on CHIA National’s website here.

Council to Homeless Persons' journal Parity calling for article contributions for their May 2023 edition

Council to Homeless Persons, the peak body representing organisations and individuals in Victoria, is calling for contributions for the May 2023 edition of their journal, Parity.

The May 2023 edition, is titled ‘Beyond the Capitals: The Role of Community Housing in Responding to Homelessness and Housing Stress in Regional, Rural and Remote Australia’ and is sponsored by Community Housing Limited (CHL), Beyond Housing, Haven Home Safe, and Housing Choices Tasmania.

The edition is dedicated to the diverse housing and homelessness issues affecting communities across Australia, and the critical work of community housing providers in response. It will also discuss the obstacles and constraints community housing providers face in meeting the demands and requirements of different locations and their distinct communities.

‘Beyond the Capitals: The Role of Community Housing in Responding to Homelessness and Housing Stress in Regional, Rural and Remote Australia’ will be segmented into five chapters:

  • Part 1: Homelessness and housing stress in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia
    • Identifying and discussing the different and distinct issues of homelessness and housing stress in regional, rural, and remote areas.
  • Part 2: Responding to homelessness and housing stress in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia
    • Regional, rural, and remote community housing providers are invited to describe, discuss, and explain the policies, procedures and initiatives community housing providers have put in place in regional, rural, and remote areas to attempt to meet the housing requirements of those experiencing homelessness and housing stress.
  • Part 3: Constraints in Meeting Housing Needs Regional, Rural and Remote Australia
    • Regional, rural, and remote community housing providers are invited to examine and discuss the difficulties, constraints and obstacles community housing providers face and experience in meeting the housing needs of those experiencing homelessness and housing stress in regional, rural, and remote areas.
  • Part 4: Responding to Disaster
    • Discussing the role and work of CHPs in responding to the housing need resulting from the many and various “natural” disasters that have disproportionally impacted on regional, rural, and remote locations.
  • Part 5: Opinions
    • Offers leaders in community housing providers the opportunity to advocate for the government policies that will best support their work and enable the provision of housing to those experiencing housing stress or homelessness in regional, rural, and remote areas.

The deadline for submissions for this edition of Parity is COB Friday 12 May 2023.

Please submit your contribution to [email protected]. Articles should be no longer than 1,600 words.

For further information, head here, or you can contact Parity Editor Noel Murray at [email protected].

2022 Cadets wrap up their studies

CHIA NSW is thrilled to see another round of students complete their cadetships, with the 2022 cohort wrapping up their final week of study at the Redfern Community Centre earlier this month.

The Cadetship Program is a four-year partnership between CHIA NSW and the NSW Government to provide Certificate IV in Housing training and paid employment with a designated community housing provider to up to 25 cadets per year.

21 students began the journey at the start of last year, and at least 75% are on track to graduate from the program.

Amongst the cadets, 10 are Aboriginal and 12 currently live in social housing.

In fantastic news, 11 students have so far secured ongoing jobs with community housing providers and three students are now employed in the community services industry.

CHIA NSW is extremely proud of all cadets completing the program and looks forward to witnessing their ongoing success as they forge ahead with their careers in community housing and community services.

“Words can’t describe how blessed and how grateful I am, and how proud of myself I feel for all that I have achieved.” – Round 2 cadet

“If you want to really challenge yourself, then apply for the Cadetship Program – if you’re determined and committed, you won’t regret it.” – Round 2 cadet

NHFIC Update: Analysis on international finance and institutional investment to fund the delivery of social and affordable housing

The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) has released two reports, one shedding light on funding models of social and affordable housing around the world, the other on the expected upward trajectory of Australia’s housing demand.

NHFIC’s Analysis on international finance and institutional investment to fund the delivery of social and affordable housing report examines the level of private and institutional capital investment going towards the delivery of social and affordable housing projects in select international markets.

The report concluded that markets with prominent and increasing levels of private and institutional financing, such as the UK and the US, are supported by long-term government policies. Tax incentives and subsidies, risk diversification and cash flow stability, as well as regulatory reforms and greater funding transparency were cited as key enablers that provide investment certainty to private and institutional investors.

This research will inform NHFIC’s approach to maximising the implementation of the Housing Australia Future Fund going forward. You can read NHFIC’s media release, including the full report here.

New modelling has suggested that Australia's rental housing woes will continue for years to come as new housing supply lags behind demand amidst construction constraints and soaring interest rates.

Meanwhile, NHFIC's State of the Nation's Housing 2022-23 report has suggested that Australia's rental housing woes will continue for years to come as new housing supply lags behind demand amidst construction constraints and soaring interest rates.

Some other of the report’s findings include:

  • Nationally, the number of new households expected to be formed is projected to outrun new housing supply between 2022 and 2027 by a staggering 106,300, while that difference is slightly smaller at around 79,300 dwellings over the next 10 years to 2023.
  • New supply of apartments and medium-density dwellings (e.g. town houses) across Australia is expected to be around 40% less than the rates seen in the late 2010s. A shortage of these types of dwellings for rent is expected over the medium-term.
  • As a percentage of population, NSW has the second-highest levels of housing need, representing 4.6% of households or 132,600 households.
  • Rental growth in Sydney is outpacing growth in regional NSW, which may suggest people are returning to the major city after the pandemic brought about a mass exodus to the regions.

The report is presented pragmatically and impartially but its observations only crystallise the rental housing crisis which Australia is set to continue weathering for years to come.

You can read the report here.

CHIA NSW Certificate IV in Housing - Tenancy Managers: applications open for May intake

CHIA NSW’s Learning and Development team are excited to be running a brand-new course this year, the Certificate IV in Housing – Tenancy Managers.

The one-year, full-time course focuses on developing the knowledge and skills required to deliver housing support services to tenants, applicants and the community in the social housing and homelessness sector.

To gain hands-on experience, students will also undertake a 7-week placement with a community housing provider in the final term of the course.

Graduates can go on to become social housing specialist staff who work with people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.

The Certificate IV in Housing - Tenancy Managers is completely free, with the next intake beginning Wednesday 3 May.

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

City West Housing launches education support initiative to help residents invest in their children's future

City West Housing has launched the Aspire Education Fund to support their high school-aged residents to stay in school.

This is the first time City West Housing has offered such a program, which aims to enhance young residents’ future education, employment and life prospects.

The fund, to initially run for two years, will help City West Housing residents to invest in the education of the children in their care attending Years 7-10.

CEO Leonie King said, “We know that young people did it really tough during the COVID pandemic, and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds more than most. Recent research also shows that Year 12 completion rates, a key predictor of life outcomes, have fallen in NSW.

“This project aligns with our objective to support our tenants and their households to participate socially and economically.”

Initially being co-funded with SR Construction Pty Ltd, City West Housing’s maintenance contractors, as part of their contractual agreement with the community housing provider, the Aspire Education Fund will offer financial support for a wide range of educational activities and resources, such as tutors, sporting equipment, school excursions, approved textbooks and stationery, and extra-curricular activities.

Learn more about the Aspire Education Fund.

Keep updated with our sector. Follow CHIA NSW online:

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.”

Keep updated with our sector. Follow CHIA NSW online: