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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