Housing Matters November 2019

CEOs Message

Welcome to the November issue of Housing Matters.

This month is of course AGM season and it has been great to watch so many of the community housing providers report such fantastic results, most importantly in terms of how they have continued to grow and help more low-income families across NSW obtain safe, secure and affordable housing.  With more than 50,000 properties across the State, the sector is now a critical part of the social and affordable housing framework.  Our collective job is to work to continue to grow as the demand for housing is also increasing and too many individuals and families don’t yet have a place to call home that they can afford.

There is much work being done however to alleviate this problem and it is great to see projects large and small being undertaken across the sector.  It is also positive to see that efforts to provide more affordable housing are being made in both the community housing sector and parts of government.  Landcom held a forum in late November to announce a range of partnership projects on affordable housing projects and CHIA NSW were pleased to be part of the Good Growth Summit on 4 November.  The Summit brought together Government, the private sector and the community housing sector to discuss how we can work together to address housing shortages across the State.  The Summit was hosted by the Good Growth Alliance, a partnership between the Property Council, the Committee for Sydney and the Sydney Business Chamber together with the Community Housing Industry Association of NSW, Homelessness NSW and Shelter NSW.  Our collective aim is to create better planned communities, to tackle homelessness and to provide more social and affordable housing.  This is the sort of partnership that needs to be formed to take on the unmet housing need challenge.  Bringing together different perspectives to achieve a common goal is the aim and CHIA NSW congratulates the Good Growth Alliance partners for the success of this Summit.

CHIA NSW’s annual conference will be held next year on 31 March – 2 April 2020 and planning is in full swing.  The theme of the conference is Community. Opportunity, Growth and I look forward to sharing more details about the conference in the next issue of Housing Matters.

I hope you enjoy this edition.

Mark Degotardi


Personal Wellbeing Index benchmark added to the CHIA NSW’s benchmarking tool

CHIA NSW’s November benchmarking update will include- for the first time- indicators relating to the wellbeing of social housing tenants. The Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI) is a measure of subjective wellbeing developed by Deakin University, and has seven associated indicators to do with tenants’ feelings about their standard of living, personal health, relationships and safety, achievements in life, community connectedness and future security. The Index is calculated as an average of these seven indicators.

This means that for the first time there will be an industry average on personal wellbeing that will allow providers to see how the sector impacts the wellbeing of tenants over time. Currently, the sector PWI average is 67.65 (out of 100) – a score averaged from nine providers’ data- which is below the normative Australian range of 74.2- 76.8[1]. This is a valuable starting point in tracking the social outcomes of community housing.

The PWI indicators have been increasingly taken up by Community Housing Providers in the last eighteen months in order to gather data on the social outcomes. Fourteen providers have used some or all indicators in their tenant satisfaction surveys since the release of the 2018 Outcomes and Wellbeing survey.  This was developed as part of a FACS funded Industry Development Project – Aligned Outcomes Indictors. It developed a set of outcomes, indicators and measures aligned to the FACS Outcomes Framework, using the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) indicator assessment and selection criteria to identify appropriate measures.

We encourage all providers to incorporate measurement of outcomes and wellbeing- through the PWI and the outcomes questions- regularly into surveys.

CHIA NSW commences new affordable housing stream

CHIA NSW is kicking off a new stream of policy projects to advocate on the value of the CHP industry in delivering new affordable housing developments and delivering quality affordable housing outcomes long-term.

Key projects will include:

• Promoting the capabilities and capacity CHPs have developed through NRAS and investigating the impact of the end of NRAS on the housing system
• Understanding the affordable housing outcomes delivered through the ARHSEPP and improving compliance with the conditions in the ARHSEPP for affordable housing
• Advocating for CHPs to play a critical role in affordable housing contribution schemes.

In the projects, CHIA NSW will look at improving education resources so that we can help local councils and other stakeholders understand what affordable housing is and the benefits of working with CHPs. We will also focus on advocating on behalf of CHPs, and supporting CHPs with tools and resources.

The community housing industry plays an enormous role in ensuring high quality outcomes are delivered through affordable housing schemes and initiatives. The potential for CHPs to leverage their capability and expertise in affordable housing design, delivery, and management is significant. This program of work will engage with local government, private developers, and state government partners to support CHPs to maximise this potential.

Lacy Barron has joined CHIA NSW to lead this work and will be engaging with members on NRAS and ARHSEPP issues and opportunities early in the new year.

Housing Matters – NSW Productivity Commission submission

CHIA NSW has made a submission to the NSW Productivity Commission, responding to its discussion paper: Kickstarting the productivity conversation. CHIA NSW welcomes that the NSW Productivity Commission is taking this opportunity to engage the community, looking at how the government uses its policy levers to maximise social and economic outcomes.

This process is timely because over the past several years, CHIA NSW has been calling for government to apply a productivity lens to housing policy to recognise the links between the economy, the job market and housing. Research funded by CHIA NSW and our partners earlier this year aimed at Strengthening Economic Cases for Housing, highlighted the potential productivity benefits of housing policy reform and targeted government investment.

Our submission sets out how a major increase in social and affordable rental housing will not only address market failure in the housing system but will also improve productivity in the NSW economy.

The CHIA NSW submission makes the case that the community housing sector is the most efficient mechanism available to government for delivering the additional social and affordable housing NSW needs.  It also describes the success of our sector in improving services to tenants and applicants.

CHIA NSW believes that for the government to harness the potential of the community housing sector in NSW the role of government in the social housing system needs to change.  The role of government should reflect the diversity, strength and scope of the not-for-profit service system in NSW, focusing on creating the opportunities for registered community housing providers to build more housing and deliver improved services to more tenants.

Read our submission here.

NHFIC Social Bond Report Released

NHFIC has released its Social Bond Report for 2018-19 detailing the use of proceeds from NHFIC’s inaugural social bond issuance in March 2019. The report demonstrates the positive impact that NHFIC’s transformative financing is achieving in improving housing outcomes for Australians. As part of the Social Bond Report, NSW CHPs highlighted include Evolve Housing, BlueCHP, Compass Housing, Hume Housing, St George Community Housing and Community Housing Limited. You can view the report on NHFIC’s new website at  www.nhfic.gov.au/what-we-do/investor-relations/

On 20 November, NHFIC announced its second bond issuance of $315 million. The funds will support loans to seven CHPs in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia.

Checkout NHFIC’s new website featuring a number of product fact sheets and case studies.

Centre for Training in Social Housing are on the Move

Trainers from CTSH have been on the move across NSW. We have been delivering training onsite for many organisations and for Specialist Homelessness Services and this will continue into next year. Training has occurred as far north as Lismore, as far west as Walgett / Wagga as well as up and down the coast of NSW. The issues raised about work, their clients/customers and the delivery of services varies across the state and our travelling to regional and rural areas has allowed us to contextualise the training to meet the needs of community housing providers, Specialist Homelessness Services and their staff.

CTSH Professional Development Demand Exceeds Expectations

Demand for professional development has seen a shift in training needs across the sector. We are receiving increased requests for training in areas of domestic and family violence, trauma informed practice, de-escalation of critical situations, and dealing with clients with complex needs. Our most popular course, however, remains the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal work followed closely by the new Introduction to Social Housing.

Expanding our work in Aboriginal Cultural Safety and Cultural Competence

CTSH is very pleased to welcome Jennifer Newman to our training team. Jennifer is a proud Wiradjuri woman. She comes to us with vast experience in training across all sectors of education and strong links with community-based services. We look forward to Jennifer working with us to strengthen our curriculum in this area and develop and adeliver other sessions for both Aboriginal and non-indigenous students. Comments from our most recent workshop include, “…Jennifer is authentic, brings history and tells stories, navigates with us while sharing her knowledge”….”created a journey….and brought it alive in an interesting way, a way I could understand and learn.”

[1] Capic, T., Hutchinson, D., Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, M., Richardson, B., Khor, S., Olsson, C., & Cummins, R. A. (2017). Australian Unity Wellbeing Index:-Report 34.0-The Wellbeing of Australians: Financial Wellbeing