Housing Matters – February 2019

Farewelling Wendy Hayhurst

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Wendy Hayhurst for all of her incredible hard work over the past four years as the CEO of CHIA NSW. One of Wendy’s great successes has been to raise the profile of the community housing industry in NSW, and to make investing in more social and affordable housing an issue that is now much higher up government and agency agendas.

I particularly want to thank her for two really successful NSW affordable housing conferences, the thoughtful research agenda that she has fostered promoting housing as essential infrastructure, her promotion of a bond aggregator – the precursor to the NHFIC, the establishment of CHIA NSW’s Aboriginal team, her work to join up the planning and housing agendas, and her constant Sunday Bulletins with their great insights for members.

The Board and I wish Wendy well in her new role at CHIA national and we are looking forward to continuing to work closely with her into the future.

John McKenna


The NSW state election is fast approaching and housing ought to be front and centre of all the party platforms. This month Everybody’s Home launched its NSW platform which echoes our own and is complemented by the multi sector Good Growth Alliance ten point plan. We are all reacting to the chronic undersupply of social and affordable housing that has led to the massive social housing shortfall across NSW, which when added to future need to 2036, totals 200k additional homes. And that’s without the affordable housing requirements.

Declining house prices don’t mean the end of the housing affordability challenge. As well argued by Chris Leishman in his Conversation article a combination of falling supply and tighter credit conditions are making it no easier for first time buyers to enter the market. We still need a comprehensive housing strategy in NSW that links to Commonwealth and local government initiatives.

At the State level both the NSW Greens and Labor have released proposals to use the planning system and/or government land to facilitate affordable housing, without as yet committing to an overall target set within a comprehensive housing strategy. So more work to be done there.

The cost to government can’t be ignored, but this works both ways. By not investing in well located affordable housing, governments are losing out on big dollars. The research CHIA NSW commissioned alongside partners from the private, government and not for profit sectors, shows that, even accounting for a subsidy cost for construction, making affordable housing available to people currently living far from good opportunities can have a major impact on their earnings, and by implication the NSW economy.

This is my last issue of Housing Matters as CEO at CHIA NSW. It has been a wonderful four years and while we are still waiting for the start button to be pressed on a substantial social and affordable housing new supply program there have been many good moments along the way. From working with the Aboriginal housing sector and seeing ACHIA established, to a major new social housing management transfer program and the launch of toolkits that aim to embed great practice in community housing providers responding to their tenants’ needs. There are many committed and determined people working in and with the NSW housing sector and it has been a privilege to meet and collaborate with so many. I also want to thank a great bunch of staff and a very supportive board. In my new role at CHIA National I suspect, and hope, I will continue to see many of you.

Community Housing Industry Council

The NSW Community Housing Industry Council (the ‘CHIC’ pronounced with a distinct French accent) held its inaugural meeting on 20 February. With the sector on track to own and/or manage over 50,000 social housing properties in NSW, CHIA NSW and ACHIA’s members are playing an increasing and significant role in the NSW housing system and are understandably eager to contribute to meeting the housing challenges that the state faces.

CHIA NSW has been working over the last year with the government to establish the CHIC, and believes that this group has the potential to support the community housing sector’s growth and to make a positive difference for people who need housing assistance in NSW. 

The CHIC has one of the best chairs in the business, the former AHURI CEO, Dr Ian Winter who at the first meeting noted that he was at a point in his career that he no longer needed to attend forums that went nowhere and achieved nothing – a clear sign that under his leadership the CHIC will deliver tangible outcomes!

The CHIC has a wide ranging membership that augurs well for the future:

  • government representatives including Family and Community Services, the Aboriginal Housing Office, Landcom, NSW Treasury and the Department of Planning.
  • Three independent members – Barbara Livesey whose long and varied career includes being the CEO at Reconciliation Australia; Stephen Anthony, Chief Economist at Industry Super and Trevor Danos, formerly of Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

The CHIC’s objectives cover all the bases  – to facilitate ‘the growth of a strong, viable and well-performing industry’; contribute to the planning of new social and affordable housing; and to have ‘a role in governance and strategic issues around the management of social and affordable housing’ as well as inputting into broader government proposals.

The first meeting focused on identifying the issues the CHIC needs to address and the initial construction of its Business Plan. It will convene again after the State and Federal elections have been held and the housing policy environment is clearer. You will be hearing more.

CHIA NSW presents: The Good Growth Housing Conference 2019

The Good Growth Housing Conference takes place on Monday April 15, hosted by CHIA NSW and supported by the Committee for Sydney, Elton Consulting, Property Council of Australia, Homelessness NSW, Shelter NSW and the Sydney Business Chamber.

We are really pleased to announce that our opening speaker will be Senator the Hon. Doug Cameron, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Shadow Minister for Skills, TAFE and Apprenticeships and Senator for NSW.

Details of our one day program can be found here, and we look forward to bringing you a full day of debate and discussion from speakers and facilitators who are expert in their fields.

Conference sessions will address key themes including examining what Sydney can learn from other global cities. Critical questions will be how can our cities remain competitive and retain the qualities that make them liveable? What role does sustainability play? How can opposition to development be tackled? Other sessions include analysis of urban regeneration done well, and how to plan for growth in regional areas.

Program highlights include:

  • Good Growth for Global Cities, with a keynote by Gabriel Metcalf, CEO of the Committee for Sydney
  • Good Growth in the Regions, with international guest speaker Dr Robert Wiener (Executive Director, California Coalition for Rural Housing)
  • Major Urban Regeneration: Getting it Right; includes presentations by Mark Kelly (Managing Director Australia Weston Williamson + Partners) and Anna Chubb (Director of Strategy, Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation)
  • Showcasing Good Practice: Building Community Support includes presentations by Rebecca Oeklers, Deputy Chief Executive Officer & Chief Operations Officer, BHC and Kim Sinclair, General Manager SEARMS Aboriginal Corporation

The Good Growth Housing Conference will be of interest to people working in all tiers of Government, the not for profit sector, private industry and communities who want to work together to create a city based on equitable, sustainable, and liveable growth.

You can register yourself and/or staff from your organisation here and every delegate is invited to the industry’s popular networking drinks after the conference as part of their registration.

If you are coming from outside of Sydney check our website as we have negotiated discounted accommodation rates at a range of hotels.

For all conference and delegate information, please visit www.goodgrowth2019.com

Date: Monday 15 April 2019

Location: Rydges World Square, Sydney

Good Growth Housing Conference – Sponsorship Opportunities

There are still some excellent opportunities available to sponsor our upcoming Good Growth Housing Conference on 15th April.

For organisations eager to raise their profile, network with new and existing clients and demonstrate their commitment in this area, the Good Growth Housing Conference is the best place to achieve those objectives.

All sponsorship packages come with significant exposure for your organisation and complimentary conference registration for up to 4 delegates.

Refer to the official Sponsorship Prospectus to see the sponsorship packages available.


Jenny Ranft, Winner of the Outstanding Not for Profit Community Leader at the Zest Awards

Inspiring people and harnessing partnerships to deliver the best possible support to vulnerable people is a hallmark of Jenny Ranft’s approach to improving lives of people who are homeless in Outer Western Sydney. Jenny is the Divisional Manager, Community Services at Wentworth Community Housing and was awarded the Outstanding Not for Profit Community Leader Award at the ZEST Awards on Friday the 15th February, in recognition of her work with communities in Western Sydney over the last 30 years. Jenny has shown extraordinary leadership with her conviction that homelessness is unacceptable and ending homelessness is within the means of local communities to achieve.

Unable to attend the ceremony in person to receive the award from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Jenny said she felt surprise and humbled to receive the award.

“Western Sydney is a strong and vibrant region of diverse communities. But we also face wicked problems like homelessness. It takes people from every section of the community to become part of the solution to homelessness and this award belongs to them”, said Jenny.

Organised by the Western Sydney Community Forum, the ZEST Awards showcase some the exceptional people and projects that make a difference across Western Sydney. The winners were announced during a presentation at Sydney Olympic Park.

Don’t forget to book your spot at the March CHIA NSW Exchange

Our first CHIA Exchange of 2019 (CHIA Ex) is coming up very soon, and there is still time to register if you or your colleagues haven’t done so yet. Registration closes at 5pm on Monday March 4th.

To view the full Program, please click here

To register for yourself or others in your organisation, click here

CHIA Ex is one of our core member events. It enables the sharing of ideas and best practice across networks within the community housing sector.  These networks include CEOs, Asset, Finance Officers, HR, Planning and Development, Operations Network, Community Development, Aboriginal Community Housing Providers, Tier 3, and NDIS – to name a few.

CHIA Ex presents a unique opportunity to network and learn about the latest news, developments and updates within the sector, over a two day event.  It is free of charge for all CHIA NSW and ACHIA full member organisations and their staff to attend. Other organisations are welcome to contact us for details of how to attend.

CHIA NSW and ACHIA have expanded its program to include specific sessions for Aboriginal staff and ACHPs.

On the 6th March: CHIA NSW is re-starting the Aboriginal Staff network to provide an opportunity for Aboriginal staff working in the sector to come together and discuss sector issues and new initiatives.  Aboriginal Partnerships Specialist Adam Hansen will lead these two sessions at CHIA Ex. These take place on Wednesday 6 March 1.30pm- 3pm and 3.20pm-4.30pm.

On the 7th March CHIA NSW and ACHIA will provide two afternoon sessions for Aboriginal CHPs.
The first is an opportunity to consult with the AHO – the Co-Designing Sector Investment session will run from 1.30pm- 3pm.
Focus: AHO’s Strong Family, Strong Communities Strategy and how the AHO is working with NSW Aboriginal Peak Bodies and NSW Housing Peak Organisations to co-design and prioritise how the sector will keep improving the quality of services for Aboriginal Families.
Format: Discussion will cover a ‘statement of intent’ and a timeline about steps to share data and information, showcase the best of the sector and support ACHPs that want to grow.

The second session runs jointly with the CHIA NSW Operations Network.
Improving Outcomes for Aboriginal People Living in Mainstream Community Housing runs from 3.20-4.30pm and is presented by Adam Hansen, Aboriginal Partnerships Specialist, CHIA NSW and Chad Ritchie, ACHIA Co-ordinator, CHIA NSW

Review of National Regulation  9.30 – 10.45 7th March
There will also be an opportunity to hear about the review of the National Regulatory Standards for Community Housing earlier in the day at CHIA Ex.  ACHPs will be able to provide comments and ACHIA will compile your views as part of our submission to the NRSCH review – this is an important opportunity and we recommend that all ACHIA members attend. 

Registration for the March CHIA Ex is open until 5pm on Monday March 4th and members can register for either one day or both days. When registering we would appreciate it if you could indicate your primary network, although you can attend other sessions during the two days, and also any dietary requirements.

For more information please get in touch with Joanna Forman at joannaf@communityhousing.org.au

NSW Election Campaign ramps up

CHIA NSW provided members with a pack of resources to support campaign work in local electorates in the lead up to the NSW State Election on Saturday 23 March. This pack – sent to CEOs – includes:

Members are encouraged to organise visits with their local candidates as a way of building the profile of the sector, particularly about what the sector can do with just a little bit of help from government.

Local forums with candidates from all sides are another great campaign activity and can be an opportunity to partner with other community sector organisations, particularly Homelessness Services. The Northern Rivers Housing Forum, with support from Homelessness NSW and NCOSS will be hosting an event in Ballina on Tuesday 5 March – register to attend if you’ll be in the area.

Please let us know if you are planning any events or activities so that we can help to promote within the sector and beyond.

Everybody’s Home campaign

The Everybody’s Home campaign has developed a platform for the upcoming NSW State Election, which you can download and share on social media. There is also a petition, which we are encouraging community housing staff to sign and share with tenants.

Town Hall Assembly: Senator Doug Cameron confirmed

Will you be joining your organisation’s delegation at the upcoming Housing and Energy Affordability Town Hall Assembly on the evening of Thursday 14 March? With seats filling up fast and Senator Doug Cameron’s attendance confirmed, register today.

Organisations that register more that 25 people are invited to join the roll call at the start of the Assembly, which is a fantastic way to publicly highlight your commitment to advocating for policy that supports the delivery of affordable housing. If you are interested in organising a delegation of tenants and staff from your organisation, please contact Thomas Chailloux at Shelter NSW to arrange a bulk registration.

The Assembly is being convened in partnership between Everybody’s Home, the Sydney Alliance and Vinnies NSW. Together we will be seeking clear, concrete commitments on affordable housing, household energy and rental reform from both state and federal politicians.

With 2000 community members and leaders expected to attend, this is a fantastic opportunity for those working in the community housing sector to stand together with the broader community and call for the policy change needed to address the growing housing and energy affordability issues.

Mental Health First Aid Training

Centre for Training in Social Housing is launching a new course in Mental Health First Aid. Many members have asked for this course and we will be running our inaugural course on the 20th March with our experience and qualified trainer Chris Wilson. Please register your interest on the website or through enrolments@communityhousing.org.au

Mental Health First Aid: 20th – 21st March 9.00 – 4.00
Centre for Training in Social Housing
619 Elizabeth Street, Redfern NSW 2016
Booklet and lunch provided, $270 per participant



And don’t forget our professional development master class on Domestic and Family Violence Toolkit run by the distinguished Sue Cripps. The course cost is $250. Please register your interest on the website or through enrolments@communityhousing.org.au.


CHIA NSW Submission to the FACS Consultation on the Draft Community Housing Leasing Program Guidelines

In late January CHIA NSW commented on the proposed changes to the Community Housing Leasing Program Guidelines (CHLP). CHLP is a recurrent funding program that allows community housing providers to rent properties in the private rental market and then to rent them on to tenants at a social housing rent.

CHLP is the longest running program for community housing in NSW and formed the basis of the first portfolio for many of the organisations that we now know as mainstream community housing providers. It still funds a significant number of properties for some smaller housing providers, mainly in regional areas of NSW.

Most CHIA NSW members fully supported the proposals in the new Guidelines that 50% of their CHLP allocation would be guaranteed for 10 years enabling them to enter into longer lease agreements and to plan more effectively about location and property type. They did though want more clarification as to how the indexation rate for program funds would be calculated. Rental costs continue to escalate at a greater rate than the income of most social housing tenants, and this is beginning to squeeze providers in terms of the properties they can afford to take on.

CHIA NSW is also supportive of the proposal that surplus CHLP funds can be used to support private finance borrowing to purchase additional social housing properties. This is a really effective use of surpluses but does mean some additional risk for providers who may have to service loans as part of any purchasing arrangements.

One of the questions CHIA NSW raised in its submission relates to the inclusion of transitional housing properties in the general CHLP program funding arrangements. To date, transitional and crisis accommodation has been funded separately based on actual costs. This is different to mainstream CHLP funding that is now aggregated into a lump sum for a community housing provider to deliver a target number of properties (or ‘quota’).

There were concerns raised by members that there are additional costs associated with transitional and crisis accommodation (for example, increased turnover, more intensive tenancy and real estate management), and that providing a lump sum for a target number of properties may not meet all of the costs incurred.

Thanks to all of our members who provided input to the submission which can be found here. Please contact Deborah Georgiou at CHIA NSW if you would like any further information.

Energy Training

CHIA NSW is announcing another round of free energy training for community housing staff and tenants.

The training has been developed in partnership with The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON), and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) to help tenants reduce energy costs and promote energy efficiency.

The next training dates are:

  • Redfern: 27th March 2019 – CHIA NSW, Suite 5, 619 Elizabeth Street, Redfern
  • Penrith: 9th April 2019 – Wentworth Community Housing, Borec House, Suite 1002, Level 1, 29-57 Station street, Penrith

Click here for the energy training flyer and registration form. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

For more information contact Leoni Lynch on 9690 2447 ext 203 or email leonil@communityhousing.org.au

The NSW Financial Inclusion Network 2019 State Election Platform

We can only agree with the Chair of the Financial Inclusion Network that the “cost of early intervention to support financial inclusion is far less than the cost of addressing the impacts of financial exclusion.”

In February the NSW Financial Inclusion Network launched its 2019 State Election Platform to highlight the action needed to start reducing financial exclusion in NSW. The Network is made up of a number of non-government and government agencies (including CHIA NSW) that have an interest in reducing this crippling phenomenon.

Financial exclusion affects 17% of all people in Australia compared to 3% in Germany and 6% in the UK. More than 2 million Australians experience severe or high financial stress, with one in five reporting they cannot raise two thousand dollars in an emergency.

The Financial Inclusion Network is chaired by Jenni Beetson-Mortimer, who is also the CEO of Northern Rivers Community Gateway. In launching the election platform, she also noted that, “reducing financial exclusion in NSW will reduce poverty and homelessness, mental health problems and continued welfare dependence. It will make escaping a violent relationship easier, improve child educational outcomes and decrease law breaking or criminal offences.”

“Investing to support financial inclusion not only reduces such impacts, it saves the government and tax payer money,” she added.

The key actions in the 2019 state election platform are for the NSW Government to:

Adopt a whole of government approach to addressing financial exclusion and resource a central unit that works with the financial inclusion network to develop a whole of government costed strategy. Obtain a baseline for financial exclusion and set targets for improvement.

Invest in building financial resilience by funding financial capability workers, including designated Aboriginal workers. These workers, as an early intervention measure, would address a huge gap in the current service system.

Develop financial inclusion strategies for aboriginal communities and people living remotely.  Even though Aboriginal people and those living remotely are two of the most disadvantaged communities in NSW, there is very little research that examines their financial exclusion.  Aboriginal economic activity is vital to build a stronger foundation for social, economic and cultural prosperity.  Supporting greater participation and opportunities for Aboriginal people will create jobs and employment, lift education and skills, and activate regional economic potential.  We call for the government to consult with Aboriginal communities, fund research into the financial exclusion of Aboriginal, rural and remote communities.  To set targets that reduce financial exclusion and expand energy and water cost reduction initiatives in Aboriginal, rural and remote communities.

Develop innovative programs to intervene early and prevent escalating tenant debt.  Debt associated with housing costs often leads to the loss of utilities or worse eviction.  Rent arrears is a significant cause.  The inability to repay debt in private rental as well as social and community housing ruins lives.   We call on the government to fund financial counsellors to work with tenants that have rent arrears, support housing providers to trial innovative incentive programs to enable them to pay off their rent arrears, fund the retro-fit of social houses with energy saving devices to reduce energy costs and to establish a no interest loan program to enable tenants to repay rent arrears.

Seek urgent action from the federal government to change legislation pay day loans and rent to buy goods.  Reforms in this area will lead to reduced need for financial counselling and legal services to support people who fall victim on unscrupulous lenders and allow services to focus on early intervention strategies.  It will also reduce the flow on impacts of financial exclusion such as alcohol, other drugs, mental health and gambling.

Improving financial inclusion in NSW will provide protections for the most vulnerable, ensure safer communities, and improve services that support families and individuals.

For further information about the Network and the Election Platform please contact Nic Tate at nictate@nrcg.org.au.

Applied Urban Development Researcher- Health Equity Research and Development Unit

The Health Equity Research and Development Unit (HERDU) based at the University of NSW is seeking a suitably qualified Applied Urban Development Researcher to join their team.


Sydney Local Health District is experiencing a high rate of urban (re)development, with the population expected to increase by 40% by 2030. Given the close relationship between health and the built environment, this presents high levels of both risk and opportunity. If health and wellbeing are not adequately considered in strategies, plans and projects, the health of the local population could be negatively affected for decades to come. Conversely, there is an excellent opportunity to influence this development to facilitate positive health impacts in the short, medium and long term.

The Role

The Applied Urban Development Researcher will advocate for and support healthy urban development by conducting Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) on development proposals, conducting research on development projects, and developing guides and checklists that support others to contribute to urban development processes and outcomes.

If you are interested in the position please contact A/Professor Jane Lloyd, Director, Health Equity Research and Development Unit (HERDU), UNSW Sydney Research Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity on  +61 9515 9652 (Tues, Wed, Fri) 9385 8382 (Thurs), or by email at j.lloyd@unsw.edu.au

In The Media