Housing Matters - January 2022

Welcome to the January 2022 edition of Housing Matters.

On behalf of the Community Housing Industry Association NSW, we welcome our members and supporters to a new year of action in 2022. 

We enter the new year in even more challenging times than the last as record increases in COVID-19 cases continue across our state and nation, placing significant pressure on our health system, essential services, and economy. 

The prevalence of COVID-19 in the community poses a threat to all but even more so to those without access to safe, secure, and affordable housing. Effective Federal and State policy reform is urgently needed now more than ever to address unprecedented housing affordability pressures in our cities and regions. 

As the Federal election looms on the horizon, the community housing sector has an important opportunity over the coming weeks to contribute to the Productivity Commission’s Review of the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, which is set to expire in June 2023. 

In addition to a significant increase in Federal funding for new social and affordable housing supply, a National Housing Strategy that provides a coordinated framework for governments and key delivery partners and sets the direction for future planning and investment decisions is critical. 

Closer to home, the NSW Premier has announced significant changes to the Cabinet, with two new Ministers taking the reins of critical portfolios in the lead-up to the 2023 State election. We welcomed Minister for Homes and Minister for Planning, Anthony Roberts and Minister for Families and Communities, Natasha MacLaren-Jones. 

The Premier has recently stated that authorities should “put everything on the table” to address housing affordability. We anticipate that housing affordability will be a key state election issue and that 2022 will bring more announcements on housing, planning, and taxation reform – including the state government’s response to the Regional Housing Taskforce recommendations. 

In our recently finalised Pre-Budget Submission, CHIA NSW calls on the NSW Government to invest in social and affordable housing supply, repairs and maintenance programs, and energy efficiency upgrade programs to generate much-needed economic activity in uncertain times. 

In 2022, CHIA NSW will continue to advocate and build productive partnerships with Ministers, governments, and industry partners to ensure that our members can continue to provide quality homes and services where they are needed most. 

We hope that you enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

CHIA NSW pre-budget submission

CHIA NSW has finalised its 2022-23 Pre-Budget Submission to the NSW Government with new  priorities and a call to ensure the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is a recovery for all Australians.

CHIA NSW has called on the Government to commit to three housing priorities:

  1. Social housing as infrastructure
  2. Sustainable Homes, Sustainable Futures
  3. Reducing homelessness in every community.

These priorities call for action from Government by:

  • Investing $400 million to extend the Community Housing Innovation Fund, extending the successful existing program and building more homes through leveraging CHP capacity to invest capital and raise debt;
  • Establishing a $500 million Regional Housing Fund to alleviate housing stress in regional areas;
  • Improving the quality of existing social housing through a $250 million repairs and maintenance program;
  • Funding a $50 million in a net-zero community housing pilot program to improve the environmental efficiency of older homes; and
  • Building an additional 200 social housing properties over two years for people exiting from the Together Home program.

These priorities and recommendations will work towards not only creating greater housing diversity and opportunity and reducing homelessness in NSW, but create thousands of jobs in the construction industry, as well as driving economic growth across local communities and deliver savings for the state government.

New CHIA NSW Research Report

CHIA NSW has recently published a new report focusing on the current and future provision of affordable housing in NSW through the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS).

What’s next for NRAS: Community Housing leading the transition, provides an overview of the significant long-term outcomes achieved by community housing providers to leverage NRAS and deliver more than 3,500 NRAS properties in unaffordable locations in NSW.

The report shows that, by the end of NRAS in 2026, community housing providers will retain 3,161 NRAS properties that they own and continue to manage them as affordable housing, whilst 3,360 NRAS properties owned by other investors will exit the affordable housing system.

This report analyses the projected trends and likely impacts on housing markets, affected tenants, the social and affordable housing system, and community housing providers.

The research was featured in The Sun Herald, available here.

National Affordable Housing Alliance

The National Affordable Housing Alliance has recently launched its policy platform, Increasing the supply of social and affordable housing: at scale and in perpetuity.

If implemented by the Australian Government, the policy options proposed could deliver between 11,150 to 14,950 additional social and affordable homes per annum on top of the new supply already being created by state and territory governments through separate initiatives.

The Alliance’s core members include the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Council of Social Service, the Community Housing Industry Association, Industry Super Australia, Homelessness Australia, the Housing Industry Association, Master Builders Australia, National Shelter and the Property Council of Australia.

You can read more on the core policies proposed by the Alliance here.

CHIA NSW to build on Data Dashboard

CHIA NSW is updating its Data Dashboard which will include more data on affordable housing in NSW as well as freshly released official numbers of community housing homes across the state.

The Dashboard, which was launched mid-way through 2021, is a portal of various datasets presented on an accessible platform. The data shown covers the spread of community housing homes across the state including who they are owned and managed by, numbers of social and affordable housing homes built and to be built in NSW, and rates of tenant satisfaction, rent outstanding, and occupancies.

After undertaking several research projects looking at affordable housing in NSW, CHIA NSW will be incorporating fresh data into the Building more homes section of the Dashboard. Further to that, the Housing people across NSW section will be populated with new data once its released by the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ).

To stay updated on updates to the Data Dashboard, keep a close eye on CHIA NSW announcements on our website and social media accounts: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

CHIA NSW’s Data Dashboard

Review of the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement

The Productivity Commission is conducting its scheduled review of the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA).

The NHHA is a multi-year agreement between the Australian Government and State and Territory Governments for providing housing and homelessness services and outlines the roles and responsibilities in improving housing outcomes.

The review provides an important opportunity for stakeholders to provide input on the effectiveness of the NHHA’s objectives and outcomes. Further information is outlined in the Issues Paper here. Submissions close on 22 February 2022.

CHIA NSW 2022 Cadetship Program

After a successful first year of the program, CHIA NSW is again partnering with the NSW Government to offer cadetships to 25 young people and social housing tenants in NSW. With a strong initial take-up from our regional providers, the call is now out for metropolitan providers to submit applications.
The program offers cadets a 12-month employment contract with a community housing provider and enrolment in nationally accredited training course, the CHC42221 Certificate IV in Housing. The program is a fine example of how the community housing sector can partner with our State Government to empower young people into employment and drive growth in our industry.
So far, 19 Community Housing Providers (CHPs) have submitted expressions of interest for the 2022 program for 27 locations, the majority of which across regional NSW. CHIA NSW is encouraging metropolitan CHPs to get involved with the program which had so much success in 2021.
Go to our website for more information on the Cadetship Program.

CHIA NSW 2021 cadets

House Keys Round 7

CHIA NSW has updated the approach to House Keys, the national community housing benchmarking service that enables participating CHPs to compare their performance with detailed peer groups. 

Round 7 of the benchmarking service included several new data points, including current and cash ratio with a more detailed breakdown of maintenance costs as well as forecasting data.

An additional Value for Money section was also included which is based on an Industry Development Strategy project developed by CHIA NSW, in which community housing providers identified a matrix of 15 Value for Money indicators across five domains. More information on this project and the metrics behind the work can be found here.

Headline results from House Keys Round 7 for NSW included: a decrease in occupancy rates from 98.88 in 2019 to 92.64 in 2020; a decrease in rent outstanding from 1.71% to 1.44% ; some key asset metrics included an increase in the average amount spent on planned maintenance of just under $200 per property and a stable result since 2019 for responsive maintenance; and an improvement to total operating expenses per property has seen a decrease to $12,392 in 2020.

If you would like more information about the data available to participants, an individual briefing for your CHP or if you have any questions, please contact [email protected].

CHIA NSW holding Tenant Engagement Information Session

Results from analyses with recent survey datasets highlight the important role of tenant engagement in overall satisfaction.

CHIA NSW will hold an information exchange session on tenant engagement on 17th Feb, 1PM - 3PM AEDT, via Microsoft Teams. This session is the second of a series and is part of our ongoing commitment to helping benchmarking club members maximise the value of tenant survey outcomes.

CHIA NSW is grateful to the top-ranking providers who have kindly agreed to share on their best practice strategies for tenant engagement during the session, and for facilitating peer learning opportunities.

As well, responding to expressions of interest from Social Housing Management Transfer (SHMT) providers, CHIA NSW will be holding a SHMT tenant engagement information exchange session. This session (attendees will be SHMT providers only) is separate to the 17th February tenant engagement session (open to all CHIA NSW benchmarking club members). 

This session will be held on 24th Feb, 10AM - 12PM AEDT (via MS Teams). Invitations will be distributed to SHMT providers.

For more information on either of these sessions, please contact Maryann ([email protected]).

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