Housing Matters Autumn Edition 2024

Welcome to the 2024 autumn edition of Housing Matters.

In less than two months, the NSW Government will hand down its next State Budget where we hope to see significant direct investment in social and affordable housing that enables NSW to begin turning the corner on the housing crisis.

CHIA NSW presented its pre-Budget submission, No Hope Without Housing, to the NSW Government, which included a launch event at NSW Parliament House in February. Since our event, we’ve had a busy two months of meetings with NSW Parliament Ministers, MPs and MLCs, with more to come. We've been encouraged by the response so far, including the recognition of not-for-profit community housing providers as a key delivery partner to the NSW Government. Our pre-Budget submission puts forward practical and achievable actions that the State Government can take in the short to medium term to deliver more homes where they’re needed most and make headway in confronting the housing crisis.

To keep the conversation going about the opportunities available to deliver social and affordable housing at scale, we recently partnered with Link Wentworth to deliver the Big Housing Debate. Approximately 250 people attended the event online or in person to hear from experts across government, community housing, academia, and urban policy to discuss the opportunities and challenges for social and affordable housing delivery in Greater Sydney and beyond, and the role governments, community housing providers and private partners can play in creating liveable, sustainable, and affordable communities.

After much anticipation, applications for funding from the first round of the Federal Government’s Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) Facility and National Housing Accord Facility (NHAF) have recently closed. Whilst not every project will be successful in this first round, the number of projects put forward by community housing providers is a testament to the capability and commitment of our industry to deliver much-needed social and affordable housing in partnership with governments at all levels. We look forward to seeing the outcomes arising from the first round in due course.

Closer to home, CHIA NSW was delighted to celebrate the graduation of the next inspiring cohort of cadets from the Cadetship Program. Delivered in partnership with Homes NSW, the program is a life-changing experience for the graduates who then enrich the community housing industry with their fresh ideas and lived experiences. All of us at CHIA NSW wish them every continued success.  

Please enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

The Big Housing Debate: Investing in our Social and Affordable Housing Future

Australia is in the midst of a housing crisis. High rents and low supply are pushing more Australians into housing stress and homelessness. In NSW, there are over 57,000 households on the social housing waitlist, and Sydney is at risk of losing its next generation of bright minds due to being priced out of the market.

These were just some of the themes underpinning the Big Housing Debate, held on Friday 19 April at Lachlan’s Line Auditorium in North Ryde.

Co-hosted by Link Wentworth and CHIA NSW, The Big Housing Debate: Investing in our Social and Affordable Housing Future, continued the conversation started by Link Wentworth in April 2022.

The debate brought together experts from government, community housing, academia and urban policy to explore how the housing landscape has changed over the last two years, the policy and planning opportunities available to governments to facilitate greater delivery of social and affordable housing, and the considerations that must be addressed to successfully create inclusive and equitable communities.

Event speakers included:

  • Mike Allen PSM, Chair, Link Wentworth
  • Uncle Michael West, Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council
  • Marie Chase Sillars, Link Wentworth resident and housing advocate
  • Mark Degotardi, CEO, CHIA NSW
  • Rebecca Pinkstone, Chief Executive, Homes NSW
  • Andrew McAnulty, CEO, Link Wentworth
  • Nicky Morrison, Professor of Planning, Western Sydney University
  • Jeremy Gill, Head of Policy, Committee for Sydney
  • Jerome Laxale MP, Federal Member for Bennelong

Facilitated by CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi, the panel discussion focused on planning and project viability, affordability, as well as the key government opportunities, objectives and motivations for social and affordable housing delivery.

Panellists agreed that there was an urgent need for more social and affordable housing investment, and that societies, not statistics, should be at the heart of any conversation around funding, design, and supply.

Attendees also heard from Federal Member for Bennelong, Jerome Laxale, who reiterated his support for the industry and noted that the broad community consensus for affordable housing action presented governments at all levels with an opportunity for ambitious planning and policy reform.

The event also included an opportunity for in-person attendees to connect with speakers and peers over refreshments.

Link Wentworth and CHIA NSW were pleased to welcome approximately 250 people, both in person and online, to the event, and thank all attendees and speakers for their time, valued perspectives, and support for the community housing industry and the people at the centre of this crisis. If you were unable to join us on the day or would like to rewatch the event, you can view the recorded livestream here.

No Hope Without Housing

CHIA NSW launched its 2024-25 Pre-Budget Submission, No Hope Without Housing, at an event at NSW Parliament House in February 2024.

In attendance were NSW Ministers, MPs and MLCs, and representatives from the community housing industry.

Attendees heard from Minister for Housing and Homelessness, The Hon. Rose Jackson MLC, CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi, SGCH CEO Scott Langford, and Housing Trust CEO Michele Adair. Christy, a Link Wentworth community housing resident, shared a moving account on how community housing has changed her life.

Read our Pre-Budget Submission, No Hope Without Housing, here.

The submission outlines four priorities for the NSW Budget: 

  • Contribute significant investment to address the shortfall in social and affordable housing by:
    • investing $10.3 billion over five years to support delivery of 25,000 social and affordable homes, with half of the homes to be delivered through community housing providers. 
    • increasing funding for the Community Housing Leasing program to $112 million per year to keep pace with rising rent costs, to be annually indexed in line with changes in market rents. 
  • Deliver on NSW’s climate ambition to improve the lives of the lowest income households by:
    • investing $200 million over three years to upgrade ageing social housing properties, including those managed by CHPs, and assist providers to prepare for climate change. This funding will supplement recently announced the Federal Government funding for energy efficiency upgrades. 
  • Reduce homelessness and build stronger communities by:
    • investing $60 million over three years to create 400 new Together Home packages. 
    • investing $25 million in partnership with CHPs to deliver 400 social housing properties for people exiting the program. 
  • Invest in a planning system that delivers on NSW’s housing ambitions by:
    • establishing an Affordable Housing Delivery Unit within the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure to fast-track social and affordable housing developments through the planning system. 
    • providing $10 million in funding to assist councils with implementation of affordable housing initiatives.

The submission is underpinned by modelling by SGS Economics and Planning, commissioned by CHIA NSW. The modelling considered the nature of NSW Government investment that would be required to support a significant increase in social and affordable housing delivery over the next five years, taking into account funding available through Federal Government initiatives such as the Housing Australia Future Fund. The model has been informed by engagement with several community housing providers, which has tested and refined the underlying assumptions.

To support our pre-Budget submission, CHIA NSW and member organisations have commenced an extensive schedule of meetings with political decision-makers to advocate for the solutions outlined in our pre-Budget submission. Over the last two and a half months, we've met with 25 key MPs and MLCs from across the NSW Parliament, with more meetings scheduled. 

'The worst it has ever been': Anglicare Australia's Rental Affordability Snapshot for 2024 shows housing crisis deepening

Anglicare Australia has released its Rental Affordability Snapshot for 2024.

Surveying over 45,000 March rental listings across the country, the Snapshot revealed that Australia’s rental markets have never been less affordable.

No property was affordable for a single person on Youth Allowance anywhere in the country, and just 3 homes were affordable for a person receiving JobSeeker. A family of four, where both parents earn the minimum wage, would find only 13.4% of all available properties affordable.

As stated in the report, the situation is likely even worse, with the Snapshot only measuring affordability based on the full-time minimum wage rate, or 38 hours a week, and as a result doesn’t account for the millions working casual or part-time minimum wage jobs.

The Snapshot notes that as more people are faced with the prospect of a lifetime of renting, it is unacceptable to expect Australians to tolerate severe rental stress in perpetuity.

Anglicare Australia’s Executive Director Kasy Chambers said Government needed to step up and deliver housing instead of relying on a private market that isn’t in the business of delivering affordable supply.

“Instead of spending billions on tax breaks for investors, the Government should be building the housing we need. If the Government doesn’t take action in the next budget, this crisis will only get worse.” Ms Chambers said.

CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi said the findings in this year’s report were “unacceptable”, calling on the NSW Government to invest significantly in social and affordable housing as a priority response.

“The fact that young people on Youth Allowance can’t find a single affordable property is an indictment of just how bad this housing crisis has become.”

Read the latest Rental Affordability Snapshot here.

Housing Australia updates

First funding round for HAFF and NHAF closes 

The Call for Applications for funding from the Federal Government’s Housing Australia Future Fund Facility (HAFFF) and National Housing Accord Facility (NHAF) for eligible social and affordable housing projects closed on 22 March 2024.

The Evaluation of applications is underway and expected to take around 12 weeks, with applicants notified of the outcome in the third quarter of 2024.

The first Call for Applications for funding from the HAFFF and NHAF to support the delivery of eligible social and affordable housing projects was open for a 10-week period.

Over a five-year period, the program will support delivery of 40,000 new social and affordable homes across the country. The program has been designed to be nation-wide including regional, rural and remote areas as well as urban areas.

For more information about the HAFFF and NHAF, visit the Housing Australia website.

First tenants move into Midtown MacPark

A key milestone has been reached in Homes NSW’s Midtown MacPark project, with tenants beginning to move into 130 new affordable units in Macquarie Park.

Housing Australia provided a $67.9 million Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator (AHBA) loan to community housing provider Mission Australia to purchase the 130-unit residential tower completed in Stage 1 of the redevelopment.

In addition to the AHBA funding, Housing Australia also provided $42 million in loans and grants through the National Housing Infrastructure Facility (NHIF) for roads, service infrastructure and civil works. The infrastructure works include a bridge over Shrimpton's Creek to connect the new community to the Macquarie Business Park.

Midtown MacPark is the first project to be delivered through a $250 million funding agreement between Housing Australia and Homes NSW, which will transform an 8.2-hectare social housing estate into a vibrant integrated community with a mix of social, affordable and private homes, as well as shops, cafes, a primary school, childcare centres, skate park and playground.

The project, part of the NSW Government's former Communities Plus program and being developed by Fraser Property Australia, will deliver a total of 3,300 new homes over 10-12 years, including 954 new social and 130 affordable homes.

CHIA NSW's Cadetship Program celebrates another graduation

CHIA NSW was thrilled to celebrate the graduation of the Round 3 cohort of cadets from the Cadetship Program in early April.

Held at NSW Parliament House, the event brought together friends, families, mentors, and trainers to congratulate the graduates on their outstanding achievements.

The ceremony included a moving address from three of the students who thanked their trainers, mentors and loved ones for their encouragement and support. They also spoke of the life-long bonds the cadets forged between each other, and their future aspirations.

CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi commended the resilience and determination of the cadets, saying their own lived experiences will inform their practice and lead to better outcomes for the tenants and organisations they serve.

Homes NSW’s Acting Head of Housing Portfolio, Michael Wheatley, shared his enthusiasm for the program, and thanked the cadets for becoming part of a system that works to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in our communities.

Several of the cadets have secured permanent employment in the community housing industry, while others are using the skills and confidence that they’ve gained from the program to pursue further tertiary study.

Former Cadet shares her story on ABC Radio's Life Matters

The Cadetship Program has been a life-changing experience for many graduates.

Offering a ‘learn and earn’ opportunity to people who have traditionally faced barriers accessing employment and education, cadets gain a Certificate IV in Housing qualification while engaging in 12 months of paid, practical work experience with a registered NSW community housing provider.

Iesha Simon, one of the first cadets to graduate from the program in 2021, appeared on ABC Radio’s Life Matters alongside CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi to talk about her journey.

Iesha completed her 12-month placement with SEARMS Community Housing Aboriginal Corporation, and since graduating has been promoted to Housing Manager and then Team Leader at SEARMS.

She shared how her lived experience has been an asset to the organisation.

“Coming from [social] housing myself, I know how overwhelming, anxiety-inducing and confusing the forms are,” said Iesha.

“My main goal is to help those who come through, because if I’m not part of the system helping out, it could just get worse. I’d rather be a part of the solution”.

Mark Degotardi also shared impressive statistics on the completions rates achieved by the program and acknowledged the important role of workplace mentors in guiding and supporting students during their placements.

Listen to Iesha’s story and learn more about the Cadetship Program here.

The Value of Co-operative Housing in Australia report

A brand-new report, authored by housing policy and urban planning experts at Western Sydney University in partnership with the Australian Co-operative Housing Alliance, offers the first data set on the affordable rental co-operative housing sector.

Looking at co-operatives across New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, The Value of Housing Co-operatives in Australia highlights the role of co-operativism and participation in delivering positive housing outcomes and the value of a diverse co-operative housing sector.

The report also demonstrates the contributions made by tenant-members and the benefits experienced by tenant-members.

A launch event for the report, held in March, took attendees through the findings. A recording of the event is available to view here.

You can read the final report here, with the technical report here.

Poll reveals broad support for social and affordable housing delivered by not-for-profit CHPs

Nearly two thirds of respondents surveyed in a recent poll identified investment in social and affordable housing built by not-for-profit community housing providers (CHPs) as a key measure to address the housing crisis in NSW.

The poll, conducted by Essential, asked survey participants for their perspectives on the NSW Government’s housing response and the measures they would prefer to see implemented to help solve the housing crisis. The poll also asked respondents to estimate the current social housing waiting list numbers and to compare the performance of the current NSW Labor Government to the previous NSW Liberal Government.

The results showed that there was strong support in NSW for:

  • rapid investment in social housing (65% strongly or somewhat support),
  • increasing the supply of private housing (65%), and
  • providing government land to not-for-profit community housing providers to develop social housing (64%).

Opposition to the suggested measures was low (15% or less) across the board.

Only 16% of respondents correctly estimated the current length of NSW’s social housing waiting list, with participants more likely to underestimate the queue (62%).

Ranking the NSW Government’s performance on affordable housing creation, respondents gave a bruising assessment, with 49% indicating they saw no difference between the current NSW Labor Government and the previous NSW Coalition Government.

There was also a majority view that the NSW Government isn’t doing enough to:

  • reduce homelessness (69%),
  • ensure adequate housing supply (69%), and
  • moderate rental prices (68%).

Essential’s executive director, Peter Lewis, contributed a piece for The Guardian which analyses some of the poll’s findings. You can read it here.

Life in Sydney report: Housing the most important challenge facing Sydney

Housing has come out as the top issue for Sydneysiders in this year’s Life in Sydney report.

The Committee for Sydney’s Life in Sydney report, delivered in partnership with Ipsos Australia, collated 1000+ survey responses from people across Greater Sydney who were asked about how they work, live, and play in their city, and what challenges they face.

Some of the key findings from the report are:

  • More people are dissatisfied with life in Sydney compared to last year.
  • More people are renting compared to last year’s survey results.
  • Support for higher density development around train stations has increased since last year, as has support for building more homes and apartments generally.
  • Many Generation Zs consider an apartment an appropriate place to raise a family.

Unsurprisingly, the survey revealed that renters, workers and younger generations were more likely to consider moving away from Sydney due to cost-of-living and housing pressures.

Over two-thirds of respondents also said they were very concerned or somewhat concerned about their ability to keep their home at a comfortable temperature as the climate changes.

According to respondents, the two most significant government policies that could be implemented to improve housing affordability are:

  • Funding more affordable housing and social housing, and
  • Placing caps on rent increases.

You can read the Life in Sydney report here.

New affordable housing to help ease rental crisis in Rockdale

Content supplied by City West Housing

Leading affordable housing provider and developer City West Housing is expanding its geographic reach beyond the City of Sydney to develop much-needed build-to-rent affordable housing in Rockdale.

The Tallowwood Apartments on Princes Highway, Rockdale, in the Bayside Local Government Area (LGA), will provide rental homes for 80 low-to-moderate income households, including people working locally, on completion in 2026.

It will be the first time City West Housing has developed outside the City of Sydney, where it owns and manages 20 apartment buildings housing more than 1,600 residents on subsidised rents. Tallowwood residents will pay no more than 30% of their household income in rent and rents will be capped at 74.9 per cent of market rent.

With a pipeline of more than 400 affordable apartments over the next five years, City West Housing’s capacity to compete for funding and development opportunities has been greatly enhanced by two recent events:

  • A change to the corporate structure last month, ending 30 years of NSW Government and local community shareholdings in City West Housing, and a new fit-for-purpose structure as an independent community housing organisation.
  • The lifting of the government restriction on City West Housing raising debt in late 2020.

A ground-breaking ceremony held on Friday 12 April marked the start of construction on the site and was attended by the NSW Minister for Housing, Homelessness, Mental Health, Youth and the North Coast the Hon. Rose Jackson, Bayside Deputy Mayor Councillor Joe Awada, newly appointed builders Versatile Construction and other dignitaries.

Minister Jackson said, “The cost of living has never been so high in Sydney and surrounds and so it’s great to see affordable housing providers such as City West Housing expand out of Sydney so more people can benefit. It’s clear that we need real solutions that and we need them now and this project is one of those solutions that will benefit those who need it most.”

Councillor Awada said, “I congratulate City West Housing on this exciting project. I am pleased that their first project outside of the City of Sydney is here in the heart of Rockdale. This apartment development will provide affordable housing to low-income residents and workers enabling them to live close to where they work.”

CEO Leonie King said, “We are delighted to get this project underway as the housing crisis is disproportionately impacting people on lower incomes, as they face both severe supply and affordability issues in finding a home. For many, the prospect of homelessness is very real. We thank the NSW Government and Bayside Council for their support.”

Managing Director of the Versatile Group Fabrizio Perilli said, “I’m extremely passionate about delivering critical housing supply to NSW, so I’m pleased that Versatile is partnering with City West Housing to deliver building certainty for this much-needed development in Rockdale.”

Tallowwood Apartments is a quality building with a strong sustainability focus to improve resident comfort and reduce energy costs. Designed by AJC architects, it will be all electric with no natural gas, have a 7 Star NaTHERS rating, solar PV panels, dedicated car share parking, and rainwater harvesting reuse. The landscaping by Nguluway Design Inc. will acknowledge the traditional Gadigal and Bidjigal owners. It is well located to the Rockdale city centre and public transport.

Homeless hub "Our Place" wins Community Group of the Year award in Port Macquarie

Content supplied by Community Housing Limited

Community Housing Ltd (CHL) is excited to share that the Homeless Hub Our Place has been recognised with the prestigious Community Group of the Year award for its efforts in supporting individuals and families facing hardship within the Port Macquarie community.

Our Place is a collaborative initiative led by local service providers including CHL, Neami National, New Horizons, and YP Space.

The collaborative is dedicated to assisting community members in need by providing essential services such as free food, clothing, toiletries, health checks, showers, and laundry facilities and a soft entry point to connect with local services in the area.

Our Place operates every second Thursday from 8 am to 1 pm at St Agnes Parish Youth Hub, located at 140 Horton St, Port Macquarie. Anyone doing it tough in the community is welcome to walk in and talk to service providers.

Learn more about this story here.

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Housing Matters Summer Edition 2024

Welcome to the 2024 summer edition of Housing Matters.

We begin the year with the long-anticipated opening of applications for the first round of the Housing Australia Future Fund Facility (HAFFF) and the National Housing Accord Facility (NHAF). While 40,000 new social and affordable homes across Australia over five years is not nearly enough to address the rental housing crisis, it is a significant step in the right direction, and I sincerely hope these initiatives can build further political momentum for a sustainable pipeline of social and affordable housing across the nation.

CHIA NSW’s members stand ready to deliver the high-quality social and affordable homes and innovative services that our community so desperately needs. We know that homes that delivered and managed by not-for-profit community housing providers will ensure that more individuals and families on low to moderate incomes can find a safe, secure, and affordable place to call home.

Closer to home, we continue to call on the NSW Government to bring its own funding and land to the table, so we can create real change for the 57,000 households on the social housing waiting list. Next month, CHIA NSW will launch our 2024-25 Pre-Budget submission, No Hope Without Housing, at Parliament House. Our submission emphasises the evidence-based solutions that our industry can deliver for governments, tenants, and the broader community, through the creation of new homes, reducing homelessness, preparing for the net zero transition, and a streamlined planning system. 

As January draws to a close, we’ve recently marked a significant new chapter for our peak body and industry. On behalf of CHIA NSW’s team and members, I’d like to congratulate Rebecca Pinkstone, CEO Bridge Housing, and Chair CHIA NSW, on her appointment as the inaugural Chief Executive of Homes NSW. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Rebecca, who has generously contributed her time, leadership, and expertise to the success of CHIA NSW as a Board member and Chair over the last three years. Whilst Rebecca will be greatly missed by her industry colleagues, we look forward to working with her in her new role.

The creation of Homes NSW presents a critical opportunity to redesign the social and affordable housing system in NSW, by prioritising the delivery of better social and affordable housing outcomes for applicants and tenants, creating new social and affordable housing supply, and breaking the cycle of homelessness.

Whilst there are no silver bullets or shortcuts for addressing the shortfall of social and affordable housing supply, the not-for-profit community housing industry has much to offer Homes NSW, through our proven partnerships with government and shared objectives to deliver a stronger, fairer, and more innovative social and affordable housing system.

As we look to the future, I’m pleased to announce that Charles Northcote and Maree McKenzie have been elected as Chair and Vice Chair of CHIA NSW. Charles and Maree bring considerable leadership experience and commitment to our peak body, and I Iook forward to working with Charles, Maree and the CHIA NSW Board in 2024.

Please enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

Housing Australia Future Fund: Funding Round One now open

Eligible community housing providers can now apply for first round funding under the Housing Australia Future Fund Facility (HAFFF) and National Housing Accord Facility (NHAF), administered by Housing Australia.

The Housing Australia Future Fund and the National Housing Accord are Federal Government initiatives to improve housing outcomes for Australians. They will collectively support the delivery of 20,000 new social and 20,000 new affordable homes across Australia over five years.  

These programs are administered by Housing Australia. 

Community housing providers that are registered under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing and are registered charities are eligible to apply for funding under the HAFFF and NHAF. 

It is anticipated there will be multiple HAFFF and NHAF funding rounds over the five-year program rollout.  

Applications close at 2pm (AEDT) on March 22, 2024.

More information is available via the Housing Australia website.

Homes NSW appoints Rebecca Pinkstone as inaugural Chief Executive

Bridge Housing CEO and Chair of CHIA NSW Rebecca Pinkstone has been appointed to the position of inaugural Chief Executive of Homes NSW.

Rebecca has almost two decades of experience in the housing sector. Prior to joining Bridge Housing, Rebecca held senior policy, strategy and program roles in the NSW Government.

Homes NSW will consolidate the housing and homelessness functions of the Department of Communities and Justice, the NSW Land and Housing Corporation and the Aboriginal Housing Office.

The industry's own benchmarking platform: House Keys 2.0 is now live!

CHIA NSW is pleased to announce that its new and improved community housing benchmarking service, House Keys 2.0, is now live and fully operational.

House Keys 2.0 enables better comparison of data sources between community housing providers (CHPs), informing organisations of their performance and revealing areas for improvement. 

The wide array of data sources used in House Keys 2.0 means more detailed analyses are possible, with greater granularity available in both reporting and visualisations. 

CHIA NSW is developing additional dashboards for the service so users can get as much out of their data as possible. 

There are 33 CHPs across the country already participating in the new House Keys, but it’s not too late for other CHPs to get involved. 

If you are interested in signing up for House Keys 2.0 or receiving a demonstration of the service, please contact Adam West, Head of Business Services, at [email protected]

CHIA NSW releases 2023 Annual Report

CHIA NSW has released its annual report for the 2022/23 financial year. The publication showcases CHIA NSW’s achievements and how they align with the organisation’s strategic goals. 

Highlights for CHIA NSW during the 2022/23 financial year included: 

  • the Confront the Crisis NSW state election campaign, 
  • staging our Community Housing 2023 conference, 
  • national expansion of our leading tenant satisfaction survey service, 
  • the piloting of an MoU between community housing providers and Aboriginal services in the southern region of NSW, 
  • launching the Community Housing Workforce Capability Framework, and 
  • celebrating the graduation of the first round of community housing Cadets from the Cadetship Program. 

CHIA NSW’s Annual Report 2023 is available here.

The good - and not so good - news on climate change and what CHPs can do about it

Under current policy settings, the world is on track to warm by 2.8°C by the end of this century.

While this may not seem like a significant increase, the reality is that this level of warming will significantly shift weather patterns, resulting in many more extreme heat days and more frequent and severe storms and bushfires.

Vulnerable communities, including those living in community housing, will be hardest hit. Recent news headlines tell the story of how these households are already being impacted by climate change – including health impacts from heat waves, affordability impacts from rising energy bills and displacement of entire communities due to flooding. 

Community housing providers (CHPs) will also be directly impacted by rising maintenance, repair and insurance costs. The industry will also need to respond to and prepare for a range of state and national government policy responses to climate change. These include higher building standards, minimum energy efficiency standards for existing homes, and disclosure requirements for rental properties. 

The good news is that the worst impacts of climate change can be avoided if global warming is kept to as close to 1.5°C as possible. There is still time to achieve this. However, it will require decisive and increased action across all sectors of the economy. This includes our homes, which are responsible for over 10% of total emissions and more than 25% of electricity consumption. 

In further good news for housing, many of the solutions to decarbonise homes already exist. 

To help CHPs navigate and plan for climate change, CHIA NSW has released two reports: 

  • Community Housing Industry Climate Risk Readiness Report. This report examines the specific climate risks that will impact the industry and outlines actions CHPs can begin taking to better position themselves and their tenants. 
  • Decarbonisation Guidelines for Community Housing. This report provides advice to CHPs on improving the energy performance of housing and reducing emissions. It includes a timeline of suggested actions for CHPs to help them start planning decarbonisation activities, and outlines sources of available funding to assist with this. 

The reports highlight some immediate actions for CHPs in the short-term. These include mapping climate risks at a property level to identify the risks to a particular portfolio and potential stranded assets. CHPs should also begin to baseline the performance of their properties to understand the scale and types of interventions that may be needed. 

As the experience of the Northern Rivers floods demonstrated, CHPs are often amongst the first responders for tenants during natural disasters. It is therefore necessary for CHPs to review their emergency response and business continuity plans to ensure they are able to provide the right support to tenants and staff during flooding, bushfires, and extreme heat events. 

CHPs can better position themselves to address climate risks by adopting an ESG framework. The ESG Reporting Standard developed by the Community Housing Industry Association with industry partners provides a good starting point. It includes several criteria focused on climate action which will assist CHPs to embed consideration of climate risks in decision making and governance, and to monitor their progress. Alongside an ESG framework, CHPs should set a net-zero commitment and timeframe by putting in place a decarbonisation strategy.  

Adapting to climate change and reducing emissions will likely require CHPs to access new types of expertise. This includes understanding of new technologies, energy performance rating of homes, and designing upgrades. In the short-term, CHPs should begin to consider the expertise they may require – whether on staff or through consultants. Programs like Sustainability Advantage may assist CHPs with this. 

While many CHPs are committed to acting on climate change, transforming social and affordable housing to become highly efficient and zero carbon will not be without challenges. Most social housing was built over 40 years ago, before minimum building and energy standards existed. The cost of decarbonising these homes will be beyond the capacity of the highly constrained budgets of CHPs, particularly at a time when the industry is focused on investing in the supply of more social and affordable housing to address the growing housing crisis in NSW. A lack of ownership of many of the homes CHPs manage further complicates the ability of CHPs to significantly invest in decarbonisation.  

The Decarbonisation Guidelines provide advice on cost-effective ways CHPs could decarbonise through maintenance activity. CHIA NSW intends to develop further guidance for CHPs as part of stage 2 of our climate change project. This work will also focus on developing solutions to the funding and financing challenges the industry faces in delivering decarbonisation at-scale. This will support CHIA NSW’s ongoing advocacy for effective policy and funding measures. 

The Community Housing Industry Climate Risk Readiness Report is available to members through the CHIA NSW Member Portal.

The Decarbonisation Guidelines for Community Housing are available from the CHIA NSW website.

CHIA NSW releases Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan

CHIA NSW is delighted to confirm that our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) has been endorsed by Reconciliation Australia.

Our two-year Innovate RAP builds upon the commitments in our Reflect RAP, where we began our formal Reconciliation journey. The Innovate RAP outlines CHIA NSW’s strategic approach to contributing to reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the wider community. 

CHIA NSW is strongly committed to fostering strong and respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities to deliver excellent housing outcomes and services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in community housing and Aboriginal community housing. 

To view our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan, please head here

NSW Government launches Community Housing Concierge service

The Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure has launched a new Community Housing Concierge initiative to assist community housing providers to navigate the planning system and advance community housing projects.

CHPs with current or upcoming projects may benefit from the Concierge’s end-to-end planning support service.

An Expression of Interest is now open for registered CHPs with an active development portfolio in New South Wales wishing to participate in the Concierge service.

More information is available here, including eligibility requirements. For any additional enquiries, please contact [email protected].

The EOI closes Tuesday 20 February 2023 at 5pm.

CHIA National releases Social and Green Benefits calculator

A new tool, developed by Swinburne University for the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA), estimates the wider social, economic, and environmental benefits of investing in social and affordable housing.

The SIGMAH (Social Infrastructure and Green Measures for Affordable Housing) calculator will enable governments, CHPs and other stakeholders to understand how greater delivery of social and affordable housing will reduce required public expenditure in areas such as health, policing and community services.

The tool also estimates the benefits at the individual level, including more disposable income and increased educational and professional opportunities.

SIGMAH reveals that the federal government’s 40,000 social and affordable homes, slated for delivery as part of its National Housing Accord and Housing Australia Future Fund over a five-year period, will create an additional $4.4 billion in net societal benefit over the next 40 years.

Once delivered, these homes will also reduce rent and energy costs for their tenants, generating $16.2 billion in combined cost of living relief for households.

Community Housing Industry Association hopes the tool will strengthen the business case for new social and affordable housing developments.

“For the first time, we can quantify the transformative impact social and affordable housing has, not just for the individual but for society more broadly,” CHIA CEO Wendy Hayhurst said.

Read CHIA’s short report on SIGMAH and register for the tool here.

New book celebrating 20th anniversary of SEARMS explores the Aboriginal voices in housing

Written by historian, affordable housing researcher and consultant Dr Tony Gilmour, together with respected Elder and powerful advocate for Aboriginal housing Uncle Tom Slockee, An Aboriginal Voice in Housing tells the proud story of housing provider SEARMS.

From the impact of colonialisation, to land rights, to the formation of SEARMS and the risks and rewards of growth, this book covers the history of community-controlled Aboriginal housing in southeast NSW and how SEARMS navigated Australia’s political and economic landscape to become a strong voice for Aboriginal housing.

SEARMS 20th Anniversary Book – An Aboriginal Voice in Housing ($34.99)

Available for purchase here, with all proceeds going back to SEARMS.

CHL secures $7.6m funding for West Kempsey housing revitalisation project

Content supplied by Community Housing Limited

Community Housing Limited (CHL) is thrilled to receive $7.6 million in funding from the New South Wales State Government as part of the Together Home Transition Program (THTP), which is earmarked for the development of 32 much-needed social housing dwellings on 6 vacant lots in West Kempsey. 

The initiative comes as a response to the challenges faced by the Kempsey community, including concerns about abandoned or dilapidated properties in the area impacting people’s mental wellbeing. CHL’s revitalisation project aims to address community concerns and foster positive change. 

Working in close partnership with the Kempsey Aboriginal community, an Aboriginal Housing Strategy is being developed for the estate, which will provide community voice on designs, allocation of tenants, services for the community, future development requirements, and ‘Closing the Gap’ initiatives. 

Read more about the project here.

Home in Place staff gain skills in supporting hoarders

Content supplied by Home in Place

Home in Place staff, and some of its tenants on the NSW Mid North Coast, will receive special training to better understand and support people with hoarding and domestic squalor disorders, thanks to funding from the Foundation for Rural Regional Recovery (FRRR).

Taree-based Community Participation Officer Michelle Palmer is one Home in Place staff member who will receive training. She said Home in Place is working with partners in the region – Community Housing Limited (CHL) and Mission Australia Housing (MAH) – as well as Aboriginal Community Housing Ltd to run the Treasured Insights (Mental Health – Inside Out Recovery) project.

Michelle said the project will build the capacity of community housing staff and tenants to understand the disorders and assist people on their journey to change behaviours and declutter their environment.

She said the training will start in February 2024. Twenty staff from the three community housing organisations will attend a two-day workshop.  There will also be one day workshops for tenants experiencing hoarding and domestic squalor disorders to attend, followed by a 15-week online course. The tenant program will be run twice in different parts of the region to maximise people’s ability to participate.

The in-person tenant workshop gives those attending an opportunity to form a network to support one another in their journey of recovery. The trained staff from the community housing organisations will support tenants as they undertake the online program.

“Hoarding and domestic squalor disorders are complex mental health conditions and carry a lot of stigma,” Michelle said.

“This project is designed to establish a sustainable network to give tenants insights that can lead to behavioural changes, now and in the future,” she said.

“It will be co-led by tenants who will have direct input into their own recovery. Our staff will be better able to assess and work with tenants experiencing hoarding and domestic squalor disorders on their individual recovery plan.”

A 2016 report by The Australian National University (ANU) Australian National University (ANU) Research School of Psychology estimated the disorder affects between two to six per cent of Australians. The report said the mental health condition affects people’s quality of life and is associated with unnecessary deaths. It said 25 per cent of deaths from fires in homes occur in homes of people with a hoarding problem.

CHL, Mission Australia and Home in Place signed a Memorandum of Understanding in March 2023 to boost community engagement support for their respective tenants. The three organisations collaborate and share resources to help build more resilient and connected communities in Port Macquarie, Taree, Bulahdelah, Forster, Tuncurry, Wingham, Kempsey, South West Rocks, Macksville, Nambucca Heads, Bellingen and Coffs Harbour.

“The Treasured Insights project is another example of how our partnership with CHL and Mission Australia is helping us to work together to benefit our communities. On this project, CHL is the lead grant applicant and Home in Place is supporting its administration.”

The FRRR funding came from its In a Good Place (IAGP) program. In partnership with CCI Giving, the IAGP program awarded $250,000 in grants to 17 projects across remote, rural and regional Australia that support and promote the mental health and wellbeing of local people.

Home in Place manages more than 700 social housing properties in the NSW Mid Coast Local Government Area. Its regional office is in Taree, on Biripi Country.

Pictured: Home in Place, Mission Australia and CHL

CHIA NSW Cadet Kiara destined for success

Content supplied by Hume Community Housing

Hume Community Housing was delighted to welcome 23-year-old Kiara Saunders as our first cadet under the CHIA NSW Cadetship Program. Backed by NSW LAHC, Kiara’s program includes enrolment in a nationally recognised Certificate IV in Housing qualification and a paid placement covering application/allocation, tenancy management and property management.

A career in housing is a launch pad to a wide range of opportunities, from working directly with tenants and applicants to understand their needs, to assessing and overseeing property management, to helping customers sustain their tenancies or delivering community cohesion programs, right through to administrative functions in finance or marketing.

Importantly, it can open doors to a job as a specialised caseworker in areas like homelessness or domestic violence assistance, community support work, the NDIS and specialist housing. Knowing how the housing system works is invaluable in supporting people and communities to thrive.

Kiara has worked in multiple teams at Hume, building a comprehensive 360-degree view of the programs and services offered while learning what it takes to deliver high-quality customer service.

“I was over the moon when I found out I had been chosen as Hume’s cadet. I was at a point in my life where I felt a bit directionless following a family tragedy and had retreated into my shell,” said Kiara.

All that has now changed for the young Aboriginal and Cook Islander.

“I want to do well in life and love learning, Hume welcomed me so genuinely and warmly that I felt part of the team immediately. I love seeing how we help change customers lives,” Kiara said.

Kiara wants to work with children in the future and her prospects look incredibly bright as she builds a solid grounding and qualifications in housing.

In October, Kiara was offered a permanent role with Hume as a Customer Service Officer and is thrilled to be joining Hume as an employee. Kiara has made quite an impact on the Hume team, and on our customers, and we are delighted we can support her career development.

Kiara completed her cadetship in January 2024 and secured her Certificate IV in Housing.

Pictured: Round 3 CHIA NSW Cadet Kiara

Housing Trust families get online

Content supplied by Housing Trust

The School Student Broadband Initiative is a pilot project aiming to bridge the digital divide in households for school-aged children without access to the NBN.

Access to broadband is vital for students in achieving their educational goals, providing access to essential resources, information, and other opportunities.

Housing Trust’s team participated in the project, successfully identifying over 30 eligible families and providing additional support with laptops generously donated by the community team at South 32, a local mining company.

This initiative provides families with an NBN connection, a 12-month NBN subscription, along with a Wi-Fi router all free of charge. The program’s primary objective is to ensure that school-aged children are not disadvantaged digitally no matter what their family income or circumstances.

Beyond improving internet access, the program also promoted digital literacy and helps the entire household by facilitating remote work, online learning, and family connectivity. Following the success of the pilot program there are plans to expand the program in 2024.

Pictured: The South 32 team with donated laptops

Wesley Community Housing put their green thumbs to work

Content supplied by Wesley Community Housing

Six Wesley Community Housing (part of Wesley Mission) tenants and Darren from the Botanic Gardens of Sydney’s Community Greening program teamed up with MetLife as part of their volunteering initiative to plant 250 trees at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan.

Located south-west of Sydney, this initiative is part of the NSW Government’s Greening Our Cities project, which involves planting Cumberland Plain Woodland vegetation in identified threatened vegetation areas.

Along with planting trees, the tenants put their green thumbs to work and added weed mat and wire cages to protect the trees, under the guidance of the Australian Botanic Garden’s horticultural team.

“It was wonderful to get back out and work in the soil planting trees,” said a Wesley Community Housing tenant.

Another tenant added, “Everyone felt that they had achieved something.”

The Botanic Gardens of Sydney’s Community Greening program has been working with Wesley Community Housing tenants for several years now, helping them to grow their horticultural skills. Wesley Community Housing tenants are passionate about climate change and immediately jumped at this volunteering opportunity.

This was a special corporate volunteering event for MetLife, the principal partner of Botanic Gardens of Sydney. All the groups came together on the morning to share morning tea/coffee and doughnuts to fuel them for the day.

Both Darren and the tenants agreed they felt honoured to be invited to take part in this volunteering opportunity knowing the long-term impact it will have. Some of the tenants said they look forward to bringing their families back in the future to show them the trees they planted.

“Opportunities like this don’t happen very often, and it is an honour,” Darren said.

If you’d like to partner with the Botanic Gardens of Sydney, email Phil Pettitt at [email protected], or [email protected]

To find out more about the work and impact of Wesley Community Housing, email [email protected] or call 1800 770 602.

Pictured: Wesley Community Housing tenants with the Australian Botanic Gardens team

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Housing Matters August 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

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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:

Housing Matters November 2022

Welcome to the November 2022 edition of Housing Matters.

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

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

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

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

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

Please enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

CHIA NSW launches Confront the Crisis campaign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I find myself now in a stable environment.”

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

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

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

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

Sadly, Tony passed away in January 2020.

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

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

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

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

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

Community Housing 2023 speaker EOIs closing soon, registration now open

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

The closing date for submissions is 2 December 2022.

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

- Ageing in place – supporting older tenants

- Community development – tenant engagement and involvement

- Homelessness

- Customer service and digital transformation

- Asset management.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- South West Sydney,

- Parramatta, and

- Inner South West Sydney.

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

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

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

You can read the full report here.

Changes proposed to affordable housing state planning policy

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

The proposed changes include:

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

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

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

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

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

- Changes to accessibility standards for seniors housing.

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

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

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

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

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

- Service Delivery Framework

- Governance Framework, and

- Monitoring and Reporting Framework.

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

Comments are sought until 31 January 2023.

Northern Rivers floods buy-back scheme launches

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other flood-related updates

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

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

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

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

The Government’s response is available here.

NSW Reconstruction Authority bill passed

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

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

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

Further information is available here.

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

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

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

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

A copy of the brochure is available here.

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

CHIA NSW and Landcom at NSW Local Government NSW Annual Conference

Data dashboard updates now live on CHIA NSW website

CHIA NSW has updated the NSW Community Housing Data Dashboard.

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

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

- The latest data from the CHIA NSW Development Survey,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Community housing providers recognised with a suite of awards

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

2022 Business Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

PowerHousing Australia 2022 Awards

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

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

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

Transitioning younger people out of residential aged care

Content supplied by Hume Housing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Government information for aged care providers

Aged care providers can access the following support:

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

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

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

Glenys enjoying her new Hume home in Western Sydney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep updated with our sector. Follow CHIA NSW online:

Housing Matters October 2022

Welcome to the October 2022 edition of Housing Matters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

Community Housing 2023 announcement, submissions now open for speaking opportunities

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

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

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

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

- Ageing in place – supporting older tenants

- Community Development – tenant engagement and involvement

- Homelessness

- Customer service and digital transformation

- Asset Management.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Launch date for CHIA NSW's Confront the Crisis campaign

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

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

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

Launch attendees will hear from:

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

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

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

- Trina Jones, CEO of Homelessness NSW.

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

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

Federal Budget released, signalling the start of time for action

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of the findings in the report include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Additional annual construction of 5,000 social housing dwellings

- Tenancy reform, providing greater protections and security to renters

- Stamp duty reform, improving housing market efficiency; and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Investing in increased and sustained supply of social housing

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

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

Homelessness NSW has called for commitments to:

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

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

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

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

- Expanding Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations; and

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

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

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

- Appointing a Homelessness Commissioner to ensure a coordinated approach

- Establishing transparent key performance indicators; and

- Reforming rental legislation to make renting fairer in NSW.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resilient Sydney hosts Affordable Housing Mayoral Forum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review into loan facility financing documents completed by NHFIC

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

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

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

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

Updates coming soon to CHIA NSW's data dashboard

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

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

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

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

- Tenancy satisfaction, outstanding rent, and occupancy rates.

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

- Refreshed visualisations and colour schemes delivering an enhanced user experience

- The latest data from the CHIA NSW Development Survey

- Updated community housing information and improved sorting functionalities

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

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

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

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

Hume Housing's blooming good way to grow vibrant communities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Awards all round for Housing Trust staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations and well done Rachel.

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

SGCH unveils community centre for Cammeray social housing tenants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Subject to planning consent.

Aerial view of Botany Road precinct

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Housing Matters September 2022

Welcome to the September edition of Housing Matters.

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

Mark Degotardi

Cadetship Program: Graduation ceremony and 2023 Cadetship applications open

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graduation ceremony for first round of Cadets

CHIA National Affordable Housing Development and Investment Summit

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

CHIA Affordable Housing Development and Investment Summit

House Keys benchmarking service getting a refresh

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

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

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

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

- Bring different data sources together and visualise effectively

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

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

New inclusions for House Keys 2.0:

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

- Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)

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

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

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

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

CHIA NSW continues MP visits to discuss housing vulnerability crisis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arncliffe mixed tenure development set to start construction next year

Content supplied by Evolve Housing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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