Housing Matters June 2022

Welcome to the June 2022 edition of Housing Matters.

The NSW Government has just handed down its State Budget for 2022-23. Despite big spends on prospective first home buyers, planning and infrastructure, and social housing maintenance, we can expect just 320 new social housing properties to come out of the Budget.

For another year, we have fallen well short of a long-term solution to what CHIA NSW is calling a housing vulnerability crisis. There are more tough times ahead for those waiting in the long line for social housing, as interest rates, rental prices, and the cost of living continue to rise.

The NSW Opposition’s Budget Reply did not provide any significant response on housing policy solutions. CHIA NSW will be working hard to ensure the race towards the 2023 state election for both Liberal and Labor includes a strong focus on safe, affordable rental housing solutions for the people of NSW.   

More on the outcomes of the NSW State Budget in this edition.

Also in this edition, we’ve got news from CHIA NSW members about new housing developments and work in the ESG space, more milestones for our Cadets, and more.

Please enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

NSW State Budget wrap

The NSW State Budget provides little relief for rental households, most notably for 50,000 households on the social housing waiting list. 

The NSW budget will only deliver 320 new social housing properties for people in greatest need, noting that 200 properties will be allocated to First Nations households and 120 properties will be allocated for people exiting from the Together Home Program. 

Key announcements relating to social housing in the Budget included:

  • $37 million has been committed towards delivering 120 new social housing properties for households in the Together Home program
  • $149.8 million has been committed towards delivering 200 new and 260 upgraded homes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • $300 million has been committed towards maintenance and upgrades to more than 15,800 social housing properties.

Other significant spends included:

  • $780.4 million towards a two-year trial of a shared equity scheme for up to 6,000 eligible single parents, older singles and first home buyers in key worker roles
  • $728.6 million to introduce an option for first home buyers purchasing a home priced up to $1.5million to pay an annual property tax instead of upfront stamp duty
  • $300 million for a third round of the Accelerated Infrastructure Fund, providing co-funding for priority infrastructure projects that aim to facilitate housing development
  • $174 million for 271 new homes for key workers in regional and remote areas.

The most significant announcement for social housing in the State Budget is the $300 million allocated to the NSW Land and Housing Corporation to upgrade 15,800 LAHC-owned properties over three years. This will be shared across properties managed by the Department of Communities and Justice, community housing providers, and Aboriginal community housing providers on the basis of priority need.

Disappointingly, this Budget continues the NSW Government’s minimal investment in social housing over the last three State Budgets which have committed to build a total of just 1,170 new social housing properties.

You can read CHIA NSW’s Budget-related media releases here.

2021 Cadets finish studies, one wins Student of the Year

CHIA NSW’s Cadets from the first round of the program in 2021 have completed their last learning block, while one was awarded Vocational Student of the Year.

20 Cadets from the first round of the program have recently completed their studies with CHIA NSW. 17 of those have secured work beyond their Cadetship, 11 of those being permanent positions.

CHIA NSW Cadetship Manager, Cara MacDougall was proud to have been part of the Cadets’ learning and development throughout the program.

“It’s been a great project in the first year… congratulations to all of the CHPs and Cadets that have been involved and worked hard to make it such a successful project,” Cara said.

2021 Cadets

Adding to the success of the program’s first year, Cadet Tionnie McCabe has won Vocational Student of the Year for Western Sydney & Blue Mountains. She is now a state finalist for the award which will be held in September. Congratulations and good luck to Tionnie!

Tionnie with CHIA NSW's Catherine Tracey and Monica Salama

Another of CHIA NSW’s Cadets, Shania Finlay was nominated for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year award for the New England region. Although she did not progress, her nomination is testament to her hard work throughout the program.

Cara MacDougall (CHIA NSW), Breanna Finlay (Homes North), Moira McDade (CHIA NSW), Shania Finlay (Cadet/Homes North), Nick Grimes (Homes North), Richard Innes (Homes North)

Ground broken at Housing Trust “Northsea” development

Housing Trust and partners have broken ground at their innovative mixed tenure development “Northsea” in an iconic Wollongong location.

NSW Minister for Planning and Minister for Homes Anthony Roberts joined NSW Land and Housing Corporation CEO Deborah Brill, development partner Traders in Purple Executive Directors Charles Daoud and George Geagea and Housing Trust CEO and CHIA NSW Chair Michele Adair to turn the first sod prior to earthworks starting on 15th June.  

Dr Jodie Edward, delivered a moving Welcome to Country along with Layne Brown who conducted a smoking ceremony for the 60 guests who gathered to celebrate the project milestone.

This is Housing Trust’s second collaboration with Traders in Purple and NSW Land and Housing Corporation. The $22 million complex is one of the first single core mixed developments comprising of social, affordable and market sales in the state. Housing Trust has purchased 6 of the units which will provide affordable key worker housing and will manage the 10 social housing units on behalf of LAHC. Eight of the social units will incorporate dual key access allowing flexibility for residents. The remaining 38 premium units include a mix of two and three-bedroom private apartments.

Housing Trust CEO and CHIA NSW Chair Michele Adair spoke about “Northsea” and its innovative housing model.

“This mixed-tenure approach follows international best practice and innovation in housing, and this is an exemplar project we are proud to be part of,” Michele said. 

“This is a genuine attempt at having a mixed demographic where a real sense of community can be built between those tenants and private purchasers of apartments.

“So, kids living here will be immersed in the broader community and enjoy the same aspirations and education as everyone else, and that’s particularly important at a time when we have both a prime minister and a governor-general who both grew up in social housing.

Located in the centre of Wollongong CBD the complex is within short walking distance of local services, facilities, shops, cafes, restaurants, parks and Wollongong Beach. 

The project is a win-win for the local community and will give a much needed boost to local businesses including subcontractors and trades. The project will also create the equivalent of 100 full-time jobs. 

The project is due for completion late 2023.

CHIA NSW welcomes expansion of NSW Government washing machine replacement program

CHIA NSW has joined the NSW Government in announcing the expansion of its Washing Machine Replacement Trial providing more social housing tenants the chance to upgrade their washing machines.

The program offers social housing tenants the chance to upgrade their washing machine for $150 to help save water and ease the cost of living.

The State Government has reported significant take-up of the program’s offering since its April launch, which has led to another 3000 washing machines being placed on offer to tenants state-wide.

In a NSW Department of Planning and Environment media release, CHIA NSW Head of Policy Caitlin McDowell said the NSW Governments' decision to expand the eligibility criteria of this program is great news. 

“Replacing ageing whitegoods like washing machines is ordinarily very costly and only adds burden to families who may already be doing it tough,” Ms McDowell said.

“This program will offer a simple but significant change to the lives of 6000 people in social housing, making a typically expensive household item affordable to buy.”

Successful applicants will be able to choose between three different sized machines, and will pay a corresponding fee of $150, $200 or $250 which includes delivery, installation and the removal and recycling of their old appliance. 

Eligible households have until 30 September to apply. Follow this link for more information or to check your eligibility.

SGCH releases community housing Impact Report

St George Community Housing (SGCH), has released its first Impact Report in recognition of the growing interest in the sector by investors, Government and commercial partners, and the broader sector.

SGCH’s first Impact report articulates SGCH’s methodology in assessing its ESG approach and foundational practices. In its report SGCH has drawn on global best practice to align its metrics, mapping its activities and linking themes from its strategic plan against the UK Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing. SGCH has also aligned its approach to the SDG Impact Standards for Enterprises and prioritised three SDG’s; 1 No Poverty, 10 Reduced Inequalities and 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities.

The Impact Report provides stakeholders with a clear report on SGCH’s approach and baseline performance.  The Report has been used by SGCH to identify gaps and set targets for improving the business as well as refining its strategy.  

You can read SGCH’s Impact Report here.

City West Housing is reducing its carbon footprint with solar

City West Housing has expanded its Energy Efficiency Program to help reduce its residents’ energy bills and bring positive benefits for the environment. 

The affordable housing provider is integrating infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions by cutting down energy and water demand in its developments. 

One of its recent key areas of focus is reducing the environmental impact from electricity usage. City West Housing installed 769 solar rooftop panels on three of its properties, significantly reducing the energy costs and carbon footprint of 225 apartments.

As wholesale power costs have doubled in the past year resulting in skyrocketing electricity and gas prices, this solar initiative could deliver much-needed savings for some City West Housing residents of up to $400 a year. This is a major win for these tenants, who would typically not be able to tap into solar savings if they were renting through the private market.

Watch the video to hear what a few residents at its apartments in Eveleigh think of this initiative.

NHFIC takes tour through Sydney social housing developments

On 1 June, the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) Investor Tour took a group of institutional investors on a tour of social and affordable housing developments around Sydney supported by NHFIC funding.

The tour provided investors with an opportunity to learn more about the sector and the social and affordable accommodation provided by community housing providers (CHPs) and supported by NHFIC’s bond program. Participants also gained important insight into the positive social outcomes that these projects deliver via first-hand accounts from residents.  

The tour commenced at SGCH’s landmark Redfern site where Scott Langford, CEO, and SGCH staff showed attendees through the community recreation spaces and playground, ground floor commercial space and a vacant apartment.

Participants then visited an inner-city development owned and managed by Bridge Housing. Rebecca Pinkstone, CEO and Bridge Housing staff provided an overview of the site, cohorts supported and wrap around services available to residents. 

At both Redfern and Glebe, the group experienced first-hand accounts from cohorts supported by the CHPs including vulnerable and at-risk women and First Nations residents. The stories shared by residents demonstrated the incredible difference that access to secure, safe and affordable homes has in the lives of many at-risk and vulnerable people.

It was a privilege to hear from residents about their experiences and learn the importance of providing people with safe, secure and affordable housing in the communities they call home.  

Content supplied by NHFIC.

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