Housing Matters June 2019

CEO Report

The community housing sector has seen some welcome news this month with NHFIC announcing the launch of its Capacity Building Program which we hope will help support our ability to deliver more social and affordable housing in the community.  More details on the program are provided below.

CHIA NSW also welcomes the Premier’s statement that homelessness is one of the areas that will receive her priority focus.  Providing critical support to the people in the community that are sleeping rough should be a priority for the community and the Government.  It should be recognised however that the provision of safe, secure and affordable housing is a key part of preventing homelessness, and the community housing sector will continue to advocate to Government for coordinated strategies and actions that include systemic and crisis responses to the significant problems facing people without secure and affordable housing.

CHIA NSW is part of the Government auspiced Community Housing Industry Council (CHIC) which met this month to discuss a range of challenges and opportunities in the housing sector in NSW.  This is an important forum for bringing together a range of Government and non-Government stakeholders in the housing sector.  CHIA NSW hopes the CHIC will lead to even stronger collaboration between Government and community housing providers as we work to grow the sector and support more families in social and affordable rental housing across the State.

I was delighted to be able to attend the official opening of the Housing Trust’s new offices in Coniston this month, marking a new stage in Housing Trust’s growth and fantastic work in the community.  It was great to see the Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, the Hon. Gareth Ward, MP conduct the formal ceremonies and to see many of his State, Federal and Local Government colleagues attend as well.  Great recognition of the important role the Housing Trust and the many other community housing providers across the State play in supporting the NSW community.

NHFIC announces launch of $1.5 million Capacity Building Program

The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) is pleased to announce the upcoming launch of its Capacity Building Program, a $1.5 million grant program to help community housing providers (CHPs) access NHFIC’s transformative financing to support the delivery of additional social and affordable rental homes.

Funded in the 2017-18 Federal Budget, the program is part of a broader package helping Australia’s CHPs grow in scale. Under the program eligible CHPs will be able to access grants of up to $20,000 for professional advisory services to help them with the upfront finance and business planning work required to support a NHFIC loan application.

The Community Housing Industry Association Limited (CHIA) will administer the Capacity Building Program on NHFIC’s behalf. The program opens for applications on 1 July 2019.

“In the less than 12 months since commencing operations, NHFIC has made rapid progress and achieved tremendous early success in helping expand and accelerate the delivery of more social and affordable housing in Australia,” said Nathan Dal Bon, NHFIC’s CEO.

“By providing a grant program that funds professional advisory services we aim to strengthen the ability of CHPs to access NHFIC’s lower cost, longer tenor finance and unlock more housing supply.”

CHIA CEO Wendy Hayhurst said the Association was delighted to be working with NHFIC to deliver the grants program.

“There are many smaller specialist and regionally based community housing organisations that have potential projects that will deliver great benefits to their tenants and communities,” Ms Hayhurst said. “Being able to get upfront advice to help prepare the proposal could turn the idea into reality.”

Michael Lennon, CHIA Chair said “These grants are a fantastic resource available to the community housing sector, at a time when it is growing rapidly. There’s huge unmet demand for affordable housing in Australia, and NHFIC’s social bond-funded loans are cutting-edge by world standards”.

The design of the Capacity Building Program was finalised following a comprehensive stakeholder consultation process which included workshops in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The program will provide consultancy services covering four key areas:

• Finance: project and business financial modelling, fund raising, financial risk analysis and key ratios
• Business planning: project and business planning, preparation of business cases, forming partnerships, monitoring results
• Property development: developing or procuring new social and affordable housing, mixed tenure, sustainable and accessible property design, urban planning, place making
• Risk management: understanding risks (business, financial, policy, governance etc.) and managing, monitoring and mitigating risk.

UNSW Housing lectures now available as a stand-alone course

UNSW’s ‘Housing Management and Markets’ (HMM) short course runs once again in Sept/Oct 2019. This lecture suite, highly-rated by the 2018 class, runs as six full-day sessions in three Friday/Saturday blocks at UNSW’s Kensington campus. It aims to provide students with in-depth insight into (a) housing professional practice in Australia’s real estate, social/affordable rental and strata management industries, and (b) the functioning of residential housing markets.

As well as introducing rental and strata housing law, and exploring residential property and tenancy management practice, HMM covers rental housing business management and regulation. Students are grounded in the principles of housing economics, residential property valuation and housing asset management.

HMM is convened by Dr Tony Gilmour, a highly experienced housing consultant well-known across the affordable housing industry. It also features contributions from several UNSW City Futures Research Centre staff including Prof Hal Pawson and Associate Prof Hazel Easthope, as well as guest lectures from a cast of industry professionals.

Further information on enrolling for HMM as a single course is available on the UNSW website.

Social housing legal responses to crime and anti-social behaviour: impacts on vulnerable families

AHURI has released a report which examines legal responses to crime and anti-social behaviour in social housing.

The report explores how responses to antisocial behaviour in social housing have changed and considers how emerging policy approaches to responding to anti-social behaviour impact on vulnerable families.

Findings highlight how emerging approaches can manifest as a series of escalating threats which can like a three strikes approach may have short term can sometimes be ineffective

It is also identifies that some law, policies and practices have not adequately considered the potential impacts on the most vulnerable tenants, in particular:

• On women experiencing domestic violence whose tenancies are often placed at risk by legal responses which create expectations to control the misconduct of male partners
• Children who are placed at risk of homelessness because of the types of action taken against their parents
• Indigenous people who experience barriers to accessing support
• People who problematically use alcohol or other drugs who might have their recovery interrupted by landlord responses or who be subject to more punitive responses

Read the report here.

Don’t miss Round 2 of the AHO’s IT Grants program: open until July 5

There is just over another week to go for eligible organisations to submit applications to the AHO’s IT grants program via this website . Round 2 of the program will close at 5 pm. on 5 July.  Grants will range from $15,000 to up to $70,000 depending on how many homes your organisation manages.

The AHO IT Grants Program is aimed at Aboriginal Community Housing Providers (ACHPs) that are registered or intend to become registered under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH) or the NSW Local Scheme (NSWLS). The IT grants will allow your organisation to invest in technologies that improve performance and reporting, increase access to IT training to make the best use of new technologies, and become as efficient as possible in the areas of tenancy and asset management.

The objectives of the grants program are to:

• Provide funding to access the latest technologies to increase productivity and competitiveness
• Access to IT training to help you use new technologies more effectively
• Funding to create business efficiency through the introduction of technology in the areas of tenancy management and asset management

For further information, including assessment criteria and useful resources to help in your application, please click here

Information Session: Hawkesbury- Nepean Valley Flood Risk Management Strategy

This month, Infrastructure NSW and Inner Sydney Voice launched the Get Ready for Flood Social Housing Sector project in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley.  This project falls under the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood Risk Management Strategy which aims to reduce the risks to life, property and impacts on the community from regional floods in the valley.

Tenants living in social housing are a highly vulnerable community to the impacts of disasters and emergencies such as floods. Much of the housing stock in the valley is built in areas exposed to flooding, yet there is low flood awareness and limited coordination between services around emergency planning.

This project will develop and strengthen partnerships between local stakeholders in the social housing sector to increase the level of flood awareness and preparedness of social housing tenants in the valley. Key collaborators include community housing providers, tenants, government agencies and emergency services and local councils.

An Information Session is being held in July 2019 to brief stakeholders on floodplain risks and hazards in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley.

Please contact Josephine Zappia at Inner Sydney Voice for details of the briefing, or with any project questions including how to be involved.

Phone: (02) 9698 7690
Mobile:     0411 747 194
Email:    [email protected]

Partnering to ensure better outcomes for people with disability: CHIA Ex and NDS Roundtable

On 11 June CHIA NSW partnered with National Disability Services to host a Roundtable event for CHIA NSW members who are Supported Disability Accommodation providers and NDS members who provide Supported Independent Living services.

The Roundtable brought the two sectors together to talk about how they can partner more effectively to ensure better outcomes for people with disability.  Discussions covered issues such as managing quality and safeguarding effectively, looking at the roles and responsibilities of different organisations in the system and how to work with partners to maintain a strong focus on client centred practices.

The discussion was also an opportunity for organisations to share experiences and good practice and explore how to work though issues in partnerships to get better outcomes for clients.

CHIA NSW will continue to work with NDS to build a shared advocacy platform that supports our members to deliver high quality Specialist Disability Accommodation.

Conference Report: Working Together to end Men’s Family Violence, May 22-23, Melbourne

Written by Jennifer Townsend, Consultant

I started working with perpetrators of domestic and family violence in the late 1990s.  It was a controversial area to work in back then and there simply wouldn’t have been enough of us working in the area to justify having a conference.  Being able to attend the Working Together to End Men’s Family Violence conference in May 2019 showed me how much attitudes have changed over the last 20 years.  The conference brought together approximately 300 people from women, children and men’s services.  It was particularly pleasing to see the high number of men at the conference which shows there is a growing understanding that domestic and family violence is a men’s issue – not just a women’s issue.  The CEO of No To Violence, Jacqui Watt, summarised my own thoughts perfectly – “We can talk about this now”.  There is far greater recognition now that the intention of working with perpetrators of domestic and family violence is for the safety of women and children.

There were many stand out moments from the conference, the main one for me was the level of honesty being shared.  This included recognition of current issues such as:

the need to improve the manner in which the service system works together in order to hold perpetrators in view and hold them to genuine account and make change. 
the need to ensure culturally appropriate Men’s Behaviour Change Programs for CALD and Indigenous perpetrators that includes a healing approach and recognition of the different power structures. 
the need for further improvements in the way that women, children and men’s services work together.
the need for all parts of the system to take responsibility, recognising that the Men’s Behaviour Change Programs are just one part of the system, not the only part of the system. 
The lack of evidence based results and analysis about the Men’s Behaviour Change Programs and the need for further evidence. 
The need to continuously review Men’s Behaviour Change Programs and make changes based on evidenced results. 

The role of housing, and in particular re-housing perpetrators (where appropriate), so women and children can remain in the family home was mentioned throughout the conference but (in my opinion) there wasn’t enough focus in this area.  There were some programs mentioned that included access to housing such as crisis and transitional housing for perpetrators, for example the Room4Change residential program in the ACT whose intention of housing perpetrators is for the safety of women and children. 

The conference recognised issues with data sharing and particularly when the perpetrator is homeless, and it was recognised that housing is a key issue to keep perpetrators in view.  I have suggested housing should be a topic to be explored further in next year’s conference, particularly in relation to integrating social housing further into the system and investing in housing for perpetrators to be kept in view.  We have a critical role in this area, and I don’t think there is enough focus on working on this together.

Finally, there were so many inspirational presentations and discussions but the words from Rosie Batty will remain with me.  Rosie’s 11 year old son was brutally killed by his father in 2014.  She has been a tireless advocate ever since, raising the awareness of the reality of domestic and family violence.  Rosie expressed her views clearly during the conference about the need to ensure we (as a society) recognise and remember that victims aren’t responsible for perpetrators behaviour and the system is responsible for following up with perpetrators.  Also, that it is important that we don’t demonise perpetrators and that there is a need to work with perpetrators to stop violence against women and children.  For a woman who has lost so much to hold this view, I think this says it all.

If you would like further information about the conference, please contact Jennifer directly: [email protected]

For further information about responding to domestic and family violence and working with perpetrators, refer to the Toolkits on the CHIA NSW website:

Working with perpetrators of domestic and family violence: A toolkit to support community housing providers in NSW

Strengthening practice in responding to domestic and family violence: A toolkit for community housing providers

(Please note that these Toolkits are currently under review following the domestic and family violence reform changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, which came into effect in February 2019).

Please refer to the following article for an interview with Sue Cripps, author of the domestic and family violence Toolkits, in relation to the trial in South Australia to provide perpetrators with crisis accommodation.


The following link shows the Ngukurr School, White Ribbon Australia and Indigenous Hip Hop Projects partnership to make this powerful and important music video / resource touching on the powerful messages of the White Ribbon campaign – Break The Silence.

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