Welcome to the May 2022 edition of Housing Matters.
Following the recent Federal election, the Community Housing Industry Association NSW and our members welcome the opportunity to contribute to Federal Labor’s significant housing and homelessness policy reforms during the first term of the Albanese Government.
Together with our federal peak colleagues, CHIA NSW welcomes the Cabinet appointment of the Hon. Julie Collins MP as the Minister for Housing, Homelessness and Small Business. We are strongly encouraged that both the Prime Minister and Minister Collins recognise the social and economic value of safe, secure, and affordable housing, having respectively grown up in social housing in NSW and Tasmania.
As outlined in this edition, Federal Labor has committed to a range of important housing and homelessness policy reforms, most notably, the establishment of the Housing Australia Future Fund to build 30,000 new social and affordable homes over the next five years. Although this is great news, it’s clear that governments, the private sector, institutional investors, and community housing providers can do much more to address the housing vulnerability crisis.
Closer to home, the NSW State Budget will be handed downon Tuesday 21 June in a highly challenging economic environment of rising interest rates, inflationary pressures, and increased household spending on mortgage and rental costs. As such, it is absolutely critical that the NSW Government commits to budget measures that address the needs of the more than 50,000 households on the social housing waitlist. CHIA NSW and our members look forward to continuing our successful and long-standing partnerships with the NSW Government to address the housing needs of lower income households across NSW.
The flood recovery in northern NSW continues with North Coast Community Housing (NCCH) recently welcoming the first residents of temporary ‘pod’ accommodation near Lismore. More on that in this edition.
Elsewhere, we hear from Link Wentworth employee and CHIA NSW cadet, Tionnie about her nomination for NSW Vocational Student of the Year award and how she came to be a cadet.
Please enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.
CEO, CHIA NSW
The new Albanese Government’s housing policies
In the lead-up to the Federal election, the Albanese Government made the following housing and homelessness policy announcements:
Labor will create the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund which will build 30,000 new social and affordable housing properties in its first five years. Each year investment returns from the Housing Australia Future Fund will be transferred to the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) to pay for social and affordable housing projects.
In its first five years, the Fund will aim to build around 20,000 social housing properties (4000 specifically for women and children escaping domestic and family violence and older women at risk of homelessness), and 10,000 affordable homes for key workers. Additionally, the returns from the Fund will pay for $200 million for the repair, maintenance, and improvements of housing in remote Indigenous communities and $30 million to build more housing and fund specialist services for veterans who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.
The Help to Buy program will give 10,000 Australians per year the opportunity to share ownership of a home with the Government which will put in up to 40% of the purchase price for a new home, and up to 30% for an existing home. Under Help to Buy, eligible homebuyers would pay a 2% rather than a 5% deposit, and would avoid the need for lenders mortgage insurance.
The Regional First Home Buyer Support Scheme will aim to assist 10,000 first-home buyers a year in regional Australia purchase a home. Labor says those buyers will save up to $32,000 in mortgage insurance and be able to secure a home with a deposit as low as 5 per cent – with the government guaranteeing up to 15 per cent of the purchase price.
The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation, established in 2018 as a corporate Commonwealth entity built to support housing outcomes nationally, will be renamed Housing Australia.
The ALP will establish a National Housing Supply and Affordability Council, which will be advised by experts from various sectors with the aim to finding the best approaches to increasing housing supply and improving affordability.
The National Housing and Homelessness Plan will be developed in consultation with key stakeholders from across national, state and territory, and local governments and private sectors. It will aim to set key short, medium, and longer-term reforms needed to increase the supply and affordability of homes to buy and rent and reducing rates of homelessness.
Jobs going with North Coast CHP managing post-flood temporary accommodation
New temporary ‘pod’ homes near Lismore have seen their first residents move in, while North Coast Community Housing looks to recruit workers as they take on management of the site’s tenants and maintenance.
In April, the NSW Government announced the establishment of temporary housing sites to accommodate the urgent needs emerging from the February 2022 storms and floods in the Northern Rivers region.
The NSW Government expects to establish approximately 17 temporary housing sites across five local government areas in the Northern Rivers. Sites will host a variety of housing units to accommodate various household sizes and will have varying maximum occupancy rates. The temporary homes can house between one individual to families of four. These villages will be supplemented by supporting infrastructure and amenities.
Under the $350 million Housing Support Package, Resilience NSW will administer the package and have contracted CHIA NSW Member, North Coast Community Housing (NCCH) to deliver tenancy management and site maintenance services to the site at Alstonville Sports Fields in Wollongbar. This site will house flood survivors from Lismore and Ballina.
NCCH have several job vacancies available to help deliver those essential services, including NCCH Community Villages Program Lead, Village Manager, Case Worker, Handyperson, HR Officer, Support Worker, and Engagement Coordinator.
For more information about these opportunities, please visit https://www.ncch.org.au/about-us/employment/.
CHIA NSW Chair discusses culture of housing in Australia on 2GB
CHIA NSW Chair and CEO of Housing Trust, Michele Adair has appeared on 2GB radio to discuss the culture of housing in Australia.
Here are some interesting points Michele made in the chat.
‘The Government has an enormous amount of data that says this problem is not going to change… if you’re under the age of forty-five in Australia today, you’ve only got a fifty-fifty chance of ever owning a home,’ Michele said.
‘When we look ahead over the next fifteen or so years to the job industries that are going to grow, the sort of job categories where we say to our kid, “if you want job security in the future, think about a career in one of these particular industries”, of those ten really big growth industries into the future, seven of the ten are in the lowest wage bracket.
‘Those jobs are never going to be highly paid at the sorts of levels that are going to allow you to rent in the private market, let alone buy a home.
‘It’s just unfair to continue to pretend or ignore the importance of the rental housing market in Australia,’ Michele said.
You can listen to the audio here: https://www.4bc.com.au/podcast/is-aussie-culture-around-housing-all-wrong/
CHIA NSW Cadet and Link Wentworth employee nominated for award
CHIA NSW Cadet and Link Wentworth employee, Tionnie has been nominated as a finalist for the NSW Vocational Student of the Year award.
Tionnie began her time at Link Wentworth as part of her cadetship with CHIA NSW, part of which she also undertook her Certificate IV in Housing.
Link Wentworth recently spoke to Tionnie in depth about her experience since beginning her cadetship. Prior to starting her training and employment, Tionnie had wanted to work in social housing and applied for several positions with community housing providers, but had been unsuccessful.
‘Whilst researching ways to get my foot in the door I came across the Cadetship Program on the CHIA website,' Tionnie said.
‘The thought of completing a Certificate IV in Social Housing in conjunction with full time work was something I was very interested in… I knew this would be a great opportunity to be employed in a position that would allow me to liaise with all areas of the social/community housing network.
When asked what advice she would give to others who are considering applying to the Cadetship Program, Tionnie gave some words of encouragement.
‘Go for it! If you like the idea of being able to assist some of the most vulnerable people within our communities gain housing that is safe and secure and to help them to grow within the community, then this is the career for you,’ Tionnie said.
Link Wentworth have said they knew early when Tionnie joined that she shared the company’s values and had a passion for what the sector does for people.
CHIA NSW congratulates and wishes Tionnie well. For more information about CHIA NSW’s Cadetship Program, visit https://communityhousing.org.au/cadetship/.
Bridge Housing’s Step to Home program evaluation in the news
Bridge Housing CEO and CHIA NSW Board Member Rebecca Pinkstone has appeared in the news discussing the Step to Home program and ‘housing first’ model.
Step to Home is a program aimed at housing ‘rough’ or street sleepers, run by community housing providers Bridge Housing, Women’s Housing Company and Metro Community Housing in partnership with mental health service provider Neami National and funded by the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ).
The program is based on the ‘housing first’ model which prioritises providing access to adequate housing to people at risk of homelessness before turning the attention to other needs like mental health support or drug and alcohol counselling.
An independent study has been released which measures the outcomes of Step to Home. Some of the key results include:
- 85% of Step to Home participants were still housed at the end of the study period.
- 72% of participants indicated that their health had improved since being in the program.
- The employment rate of participants increased from 3.2% to 22.3% since being housed.
- Participants reported improvement in personal wellbeing, social connections and community engagement.
- Emergency room and hospital visits, as well as court appearances and probation dropped significantly.
Speaking to Pro Bono Australia, here are several key excerpts from Rebecca Pinkstone:
“We’ve seen dramatic increases in homelessness over the last four years, and that’s exactly at the same time as housing affordability has declined in the country. And, there are not enough private rentals that are affordable for people to rent in the private market,” Pinkstone explained.
“I think that’s probably why you see these groups of homeless people like older women, for example, increasing. Perhaps they would have been able to rent a house in the private market if they were on a lower income and had some savings.
“But now there are just so few properties available that are affordable, that even groups traditionally we haven’t seen in crisis are falling into crisis and homelessness in Australia. So we really need to boost the amount of housing that’s available, but not just any housing – we need it to focus on those that are on lower incomes so it’s affordable for them.
“For us to really address the housing crisis that we have, for us to increase supply of affordable and social housing, we need a partnership with governments and a commitment to funding housing for low income people. And working with community housing providers means we can maximise that investment and create more homes on the ground,” she said.
You can access the Step to Home evaluation report here: https://www.bridgehousing.org.au/about-us/communications/news/879-bridge-housing-launches-independent-study-proving-program-effectiveness.
SGCH get ‘Cooking with purpose’
The SGCH team recently joined OzHarvest’s Community Cook Off in Sydney’s west to prepare meals donated to public housing tenants.
SGCH’s CEO, Scott Langford joined forces with leaders from other local Sydney companies to cook korma at Abhi’s restaurant in North Strathfield, 80 of which were delivered to Redlink, an organisation supporting public housing residents in Redfern.
The group has raised $22,152 to date which will support the work of OzHarvest. For more information or to donate, visit https://www.sgch.com.au/news/cooking-with-purpose/.