Housing Matters November 2022

Welcome to the November 2022 edition of Housing Matters.

This month, CHIA NSW successfully launched the Confront the Crisis campaign, calling on our political representatives to invest in community housing and support families currently struggling to find affordable homes. With the NSW State Election only a few months away, our aim is to get solutions to the housing crisis at the top of the political agenda. At our launch event, we heard from two women, Marie and Amanda, whose lives have been changed after moving into their community housing properties. I can’t thank them enough for their bravery and passion in sharing their story. I extend that thanks to all those who attended the launch and appreciate your support as we continue the campaign over the coming months.

CHIA NSW is making a final call for speaker submissions for next year’s Community Housing 2023 conference. We’re very excited to be able to host our first in-person conference since 2018 and look forward to hearing from experts discussing a range of policy ideas, practices and experiences.

CHIA, the national peak body for community housing, has released a report detailing the unmet housing needs currently being experienced across Australia. The numbers tell a gloomy story for those searching for a safe, secure and affordable roof over their heads. Things are particularly dark in Sydney, where 7.6% of households are experiencing unmet housing needs, with families overrepresented in the statistics. Housing stress is impacting all sections of society and it is well past time for action to be taken.

The New South Wales Government has recently revealed its buy-back scheme for flood-affected properties in the Northern Rivers region. This scheme will go at least some way to help families reconcile the trauma of some of the worst flooding the area has ever seen. However, more needs to be done to ensure towns are resilient to severe weather events and that any displacement is temporary, particularly when it concerns the most vulnerable in the community.

We also have updates from CHIA NSW members regarding volunteer participation partnerships, well-deserved award wins, and transferring younger people out of residential aged care.

Please enjoy this edition of Housing Matters.

Mark Degotardi

CHIA NSW launches Confront the Crisis campaign

CHIA NSW, with the support of industry members, recently launched their Confront the Crisis campaign, which aims to move the housing crisis higher up the political agenda in the lead up to the NSW State Election in March 2023.

The campaign calls on NSW MPs across all parties and regions to commit to urgent, substantial investment in social and affordable housing in order to reduce the number of families on the social housing waitlist.

Hosted by “proud houso kid” and journalist Sarah Harris, launch attendees heard from a panel of industry experts as they discussed the current social and economic landscape of the housing crisis as well as some of the solutions available to governments.

"For too long we've waited and expected the private market to solve this problem. It won't. What we need are very specific solutions to build more social and affordable housing... We need government to find the political will and courage to begin making sustained investment", said Mark Degotardi, CEO of CHIA NSW.

CEO of Homes North, Maree McKenzie noted a shift in the demographics of those needing help.

“We’re seeing more and more full-time workers seeking assistance… We’ve reached a new critical point. We need to be responding.”

Chief Economist at Impact Economics, Angela Jackson, commented on how decades of Government’s reliance on the private market to provide rentals has contributed to the crisis being experienced today.

“We need to change our approach to housing, and that is all of us as a community, and as policymakers, away from it being around wealth generation – the way we tax it, incentivise it – to being recognised as the fundamental and most essential consumption good in our economy.”

Tenants of community housing also shared their heart-wrenching and honest first-hand experiences of navigating the housing crisis.

Marie Sillars spent eight years on the public housing waiting list after her marriage broke down. After finally securing a place in a public housing estate, the government sold the land and she found herself searching for a home once again.

Community housing provider, Link Wentworth, was able to offer her a property in Macquarie Park in Sydney and Marie has never been happier.

“I find myself now in a stable environment.”

A passionate advocate for seniors’ access to affordable shelter, she appeared at the NSW Inquiry into homelessness amongst older people over 55.

“I want to help others get what I have – security and safety.”

Amanda Bilson never expected to be facing homelessness. Married to renowned chef Tony Bilson, the couple and their children spent many years renting in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. In 2011, Tony’s business fell into liquidation and, not long after that, was diagnosed with cancer. City West Housing was able to provide Amanda and Tony a home in nearby Zetland.

“By the time I moved in here in 2016, Tony was so sick. I nursed him here… I couldn’t have survived without City West Housing offering us an apartment.”

Sadly, Tony passed away in January 2020.

Amanda still lives in the same apartment, filled with memories of her life with Tony. She is safe in the knowledge that her tenancy is secure and is happy she can remain so close to the people and places she loves.

“It’s a beautiful apartment, it’s well-appointed, and I’m close to my family.”

In advance of the launch, CHIA NSW CEO Mark Degotardi, along with Amanda Bilson, spoke on ABC Radio about the importance of affordable housing and the need for further investment in community housing to address the crisis.

You can read more about Amanda’s story in this Sydney Morning Herald article.

If you missed the campaign launch, you can watch it here. To pledge your support and to find out how you can get involved in the campaign, head to confrontthecrisis.com. You can also follow the campaign on Facebook.

Community Housing 2023 speaker EOIs closing soon, registration now open

CHIA NSW is looking for expressions of interest from speakers and panellists to present on best practice and innovation across the industry at its Community Housing 2023 conference, to be held on 10-11 May 2023 at the Sydney Masonic Centre.

The closing date for submissions is 2 December 2022.

CHIA NSW would especially like to hear from community housing providers who have developed new practices or changed operations to deliver better outcomes for tenants in any of the following areas:

- Ageing in place – supporting older tenants

- Community development – tenant engagement and involvement

- Homelessness

- Customer service and digital transformation

- Asset management.

Proposals which include hearing from tenants with lived experience in community housing will be favourably considered.

Submissions should be made to [email protected] using the submission template.

Registration for the conference is now open with early bird rates available until Friday 10 March 2023.

For further information about speaking, sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please visit communityhousing2023.com.au.

640,000 Australians currently with unmet housing needs, nearly one million by 2041

Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) has released its latest report, Quantifying Australia’s unmet housing need – a national snapshot.

It reveals that 640,000 Australians are currently in housing stress, with the figure projected to soar to 940,000 by 2041.

Prepared by the UNSW City Futures Research Centre, the analysis shows that one in fifteen Australian households were experiencing homelessness, overcrowded homes or rental stress on census night in 2021.

While housing stress is being experienced right across the country, the number of households with unmet housing needs is more pronounced in large capital cities.

Nearly half of those suffering are families, exposing the breadth and depth of the housing crisis.

The situation in Sydney is particularly dire, with 144,700 (7.6%) households not in appropriate housing.

The worst affected areas in Sydney, making the national top five of highest percentage of households with unmet housing needs, were:

- South West Sydney,

- Parramatta, and

- Inner South West Sydney.

Approximately two thirds of people experiencing unmet housing needs in both Sydney and regional NSW are in the lowest 20% of income earners.

The data highlights the desperate need for greater investment in social and affordable housing by the NSW Government.

CEO of CHIA NSW Mark Degotardi said, “Demand for social and affordable housing in Sydney is at eye-watering levels, higher than any other capital city. The NSW Government must urgently confront this housing crisis. We need action.”

You can read the full report here.

Changes proposed to affordable housing state planning policy

The NSW Government has released proposals to a key planning policy governing new housing development. These updates are intended to support the delivery of more social and affordable housing across NSW.

The proposed changes include:

- Increasing the floorspace bonus available to developments that include affordable housing.

- Introducing a new State Significant Development (SSD) pathway for major development proposals that include at least 20% affordable housing. SSD proposals are assessed by the Department of Planning, not local council.

- Increasing the size of development proposals that can be self-assessed by the Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) and Aboriginal Housing Office, from 60 dwellings to 75 dwellings. Development by LAHC over this threshold will be assessed through the SSD pathway.

- Introducing a new streamlined approvals pathway for the meanwhile use of existing buildings for temporary supportive accommodation.

- Allowing boarding houses in more low density locations in regional areas.

- Changes to accessibility standards for seniors housing.

Further information on the proposals is available here. The consultation runs until Monday 19 December 2022.

NSW Department of Communities and Justice and NSW Health seeking comment on Housing and Mental Health Agreement

NSW Health and the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) are currently consulting on the Housing and Mental Health Agreement (HMHA 22).

HMHA 22 is a formal agreement between NSW Health and DCJ. It is a commitment that all levels of the agencies will work together, and with key stakeholders, to ensure that people with mental health issues have timely access to safe, secure, appropriate housing; and mental health supports in place when needed, to sustain their housing, live well in the community and lead their recovery.

DCJ and NSW Health are seeking comment on draft versions of the following three of the four frameworks which underpin the Agreement:

- Service Delivery Framework

- Governance Framework, and

- Monitoring and Reporting Framework.

These documents and the accompanying consultation questions paper are available on the NSW Health website.

Comments are sought until 31 January 2023.

Northern Rivers floods buy-back scheme launches

The NSW Government has released details of its buy-back scheme for homes impacted by the Northern Rivers floods.

Around 2,000 homeowners in flood-prone areas will be eligible for the scheme, which will provide funding to a landlord or owner-occupier to either raise, upgrade, or have their home voluntary bought-back.

Eligible properties will be assessed by an expert to determine which measure will be made available, based on flood impact severity data, safety risks, and potential future flood levels.

The voluntary buy-back scheme will be offered to residents located in the most vulnerable areas, where major flooding would pose a catastrophic risk to life.

For other eligible properties, grants of up to $100,000 will be available for house raising and up to $50,0000 will be available for retrofitting homes in areas where flood risk can be reduced by better building standards.

The $800 million scheme is being jointly funded by the NSW and Federal Governments.

For further information, including on how interested homeowners can register for the scheme, visit The Resilient Homes Fund | NSW Government.

Other flood-related updates

NSW Government submits response to the NSW Legislative Council Select Committee on the Response to Major Flooding

This Inquiry, which ran alongside the Independent Flood Inquiry earlier this year, focused on the government response to the floods.

The Select Committee’s recommendations addressed many of the same issues considered by the Independent Flood Inquiry, including the lack of housing options for those impacted by the floods.

The NSW Government has accepted all 37 recommendations of the Select Committee, in full or in principle. This includes the recommendation that the NSW Government accelerate its at-home caravan program to make it available as a temporary accommodation option to all flood impacted residents.

The Government’s response is available here.

NSW Reconstruction Authority bill passed

Legislation to establish a new authority responsible for overseeing the State’s preparedness, resilience and recovery from natural disasters, was passed by NSW Parliament on 17 November 2022.

The creation of the NSW Reconstruction Authority was a key recommendation of the Independent Flood Inquiry. It will be responsible for disaster preparedness, recovery and reconstruction across the State, with powers to acquire land and expedite development and planning decisions in flood impacted areas.

Once established, it will replace the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation.

Further information is available here.

CHIA NSW and Landcom joint engagement at 2022 Local Government NSW Annual Conference

As part of its ongoing work to engage with local councils on the delivery of affordable housing, CHIA NSW participated in the Local Government NSW Annual Conference, where it shared an exhibition stand with Landcom.

The conference, which took place in the Hunter Valley between 23 and 25 October, was attended by over 700 council delegates including mayors, councillors and executive staff from across NSW. The exhibition stand provided an opportunity for CHIA NSW and Landcom to jointly engage with councils about housing issues in their local area and opportunities to increase the supply of affordable housing, including through partnerships with community housing providers.

To support this engagement, CHIA NSW prepared a brochure, aimed at local councils, which was distributed to conference delegates. The brochure profiles the community housing sector in NSW and outlines actions councils can take to directly support affordable housing delivery. It also includes case studies demonstrating how councils can work in partnership with community housing providers and outlines the additional value that can be leveraged through such partnerships.

A copy of the brochure is available here.

Information about the services Landcom provides to councils to support affordable housing delivery is available here.

CHIA NSW and Landcom at NSW Local Government NSW Annual Conference

Data dashboard updates now live on CHIA NSW website

CHIA NSW has updated the NSW Community Housing Data Dashboard.

Accessible on the CHIA NSW website, the upgraded dashboard now includes:

- Refreshed visualisations and colour schemes delivering an enhanced user experience,

- The latest data from the CHIA NSW Development Survey,

- Separate planning and building tabs, providing more detailed investment data, and

- A brand-new Affordable Housing tab, offering greater insights into the ownership profile of affordable properties.

The dashboard’s refreshed and additional data sets will assist CHIA NSW and CHPs with their advocacy efforts, negotiations with council and other government bodies, and better inform organisational strategies.

If you have any questions regarding the NSW Community Housing Data Dashboard, please contact Head of Business Development Adam West at [email protected]

Memorandum of Understanding between community housing providers and Aboriginal tenancy services progresses

CHIA NSW and the Aboriginal Resource Unit have been working with participating community housing providers and Aboriginal Tenant Advice and Advocacy Services (ATAAS) across New South Wales to develop a Memorandum of Understanding that commits to sustaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community housing tenancies.

The agreement recognises the importance of cooperative planning and action in order to provide optimal service delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

By pledging to enhance coordination and communication practices and increasing awareness and cultural competence across community housing providers, Aboriginal tenants who are potentially at risk can be proactively supported with appropriate resources to ensure tenancies are sustained.

There has been further progress on the agreement, with significant engagement from a diverse cohort of community housing providers.

CHIA NSW’s Aboriginal Partnerships Specialist has been overseeing the state-wide agreement, with MoU Training and Local Action Planning recently taking place across the regions.

Pilots of the agreement are currently underway in the Southern and Northern regions of the state, with community housing providers and Aboriginal tenancy services in the Southern Region in the final stages of developing their Local Action Plans. Housing providers and Aboriginal tenancy services in the Northern Region have agreed in principle to the terms of the MoU and their Local Action Plans remain unchanged.

Full implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding is expected in the new year.

For further information please contact Paul Teerman at [email protected]

Community housing providers recognised with a suite of awards

Community housing providers and their passionate staff continue to reap honours for their hard work and dedication.

2022 Business Awards

Housing Trust and Pacific Link Housing have both recently taken home the Outstanding Community Organisation award at their respective 2022 Regional Business Awards.

For the second year in a row, a Housing Trust employee was awarded an individual award, with Team Leader Luke Attenborough taking out Illawarra’s Outstanding Employee.

These wins continue the recognition of the good work community housing providers do for their communities after Home in Place won the Outstanding Community Organisation award for the Hunter Region back in August.

Housing Trust, Pacific Link Housing and Home in Place attended the State Awards on Friday 18 November.

Pacific Link Housing CEO Ian Lynch has also been named Outstanding Business Leader in the 2022 Gosford Erina Business Chamber Awards.

Up against for-profit businesses, the recognition of these CHPs indicates the quality and impact of the community housing sector in the local business community.

PowerHousing Australia 2022 Awards

Congratulations to Housing Trust’s People and Culture team for winning the Team Leadership and Culture Award at the 2022 PowerHousing Australia Awards.

Housing Trust team members Jenna Murray and Christina Goncalves were also recognised as finalists for their achievements in the Rising Star and Outstanding Achievement categories respectively.

The Community Relations Team and Housing Trust’s partnership with Traders in Purple were also finalists in these national awards for tier one community housing providers.

Transitioning younger people out of residential aged care

Content supplied by Hume Housing

After spending more than 20 years living in aged care following severe injuries sustained when she was hit by a car, sixty-year-old Glenys made the move from a Southern Cross Care (NSW & ACT) residential aged care home into a Hume group home in Western Sydney.

“The change in Glenys has been nothing short of amazing,” says Steve Davies, Glenys’ life-long family friend. “Glenys is more alert, her medication has been reduced, and she is now benefiting from more one-on-one time with her support workers and has better quality of life.”

There are an estimated 3,400 younger Australians like Glenys living in residential aged care across Australia.

Following the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety interim report, the Australian Government announced Younger People in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC) targets to assist younger people to move out of residential aged care homes and into the community.

As a result, many aged care providers are now working against the clock to meet mandated targets that include:

- no people under the age of 65 entering residential aged care by 2022,

- no people under the age of 45 living in residential aged care by 2022, and

- no people under the age of 65 living in residential aged care by 2025.

With aged care providers and families struggling to navigate alternative, age-appropriate accommodation options for NDIS participants, Hume Community Housing and Northcott Disability Service are providing support.

“We know there is a degree of complexity in understanding the NDIS and what supports are available to assist, so that’s where we step in,” says Scott McPhillips,Senior Manager, Housing for People with Disability at Hume. “We are working with providers including Baptist Care to implement the YPIRAC Strategy.”

Government information for aged care providers

Aged care providers can access the following support:

- For support moving young people from aged care to age-appropriate services, email the Department of Health[email protected]

- To get in touch with the Specialist YPIRAC Teamthatsupports NDIS participants to identify an alternative home and living goal, email the NDIS [email protected]

- For more information and to view the YPIRAC Strategy and Fact Sheets visit www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/younger-people-in-residential-aged-care-priorities-for-action

Glenys enjoying her new Hume home in Western Sydney

Volunteers gather to make over gardens at Mission Australia Housing in Western Sydney

This month, Mission Australia hosted a garden makeover event at one of its social housing sites in Western Sydney.

20 volunteers from property company The GPT Group worked alongside Mission Australia for the day, helping to create a well-kept and welcoming area for residents, staff and visitors, and contributing to a sense of well-being and community.

A spokesperson for Mission Australia said, “It was a fantastic day at the working bee with GPT”.

“Volunteers weeded, mulched, pruned, and cleared leaves, re-established garden beds, introduced new plants and planted fruit trees. The day also included installing raised garden beds filled with soil, herbs, and vegetables to create a community garden.” 

“Tenants, some who had been neighbours for years but not met, joined in to help out and talked about what they looked forward to growing in the vegie gardens, as well as social BBQs celebrating their different cultures using the produce from the gardens.”

The GPT Foundation coordinates GPT's philanthropic contributions and has partnered with Mission Australia since 2018 through workplace giving, fundraising and staff volunteering.

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