Community Housing in NSW
Community housing provides affordable rental housing to people on low to moderate incomes, housing over 29,000 households all across New South Wales, Australia.
In 2007 the NSW Government announced a plan to increase the sector’s role over the following decade, with the expectation that it would manage 30,000 tenancies by the end of that time – more than 20% of all social housing. Housing Ministers nationally have now agreed that community housing providers should manage 35% of social housing by 2014.
The majority of the housing provided is subsidised by government and is part of a broad social housing system that includes community housing, public housing and Aboriginal housing. However, housing associations are increasingly taking on a wider range of affordable housing services.
Community housing has a well deserved reputation for innovation. It is 'people centred' and approaches housing issues locally. It has a strong emphasis on involving tenants in decisions about their housing.
It already provides a range of housing – from housing that is affordable to moderate income working households, through to housing for people with very high needs (usually in partnership with a specialised support provider).
Increasingly community housing providers are working in partnership – with support providers, with local government, with public housing providers, and with private sector partners.
Different types of organisations
Some community housing organisations are very small - focusing just on their local community. But the vast majority of community housing tenancies are managed by much larger organisations with the largest housing association managing over 4,000 houses. Over the next year or two, more than a dozen housing associations in NSW will also grow to manage over 2,000 tenancies.
In between are a broad range of organisations - small, medium and large - and a variety of management styles.
There are 3 main types of community housing: housing associations, co-operatives and church owned housing. They reflect different objectives and management models. Housing associations manage the vast majority of community housing tenancies. But the others play a crucial part in making community housing the vital and diverse sector that it is.
- Housing associations are specific professional not-for-profit housing providers. While they mainly manage rental housing, they may provide other services as well.
- Co-operative housing is subsidised by government, but is fully managed by the tenants themselves, providing real control and ‘ownership’ of their housing.
- Church-based agencies have responded to need in their local communities and bring church resources to the table. In partnership with government they have played an important role in providing local solutions.
Recently both housing cooperatives and church housing have established umbrella bodies to hold assets, raise finance and provide some management services.
The Federation is the peak industry body for housing associations. Churches Community Housing works with the church sector to coordinate and represent the interests of churches in housing.
Aboriginal housing – There is also a distinct, Indigenous-controlled, housing system. While much of this housing is managed through the NSW Department of Housing, there is also significant number Aboriginal community based housing providers. This sector is administered by the Aboriginal Housing Office.
In NSW, many organisations support the provision of community housing. See our links page for a fuller list of government and community organisations in NSW, Australia and overseas, who may be relevant to community housing management.