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March 2017


  1. CEO Talking Points
  2. Domestic Violence Toolkit
  3. Research on improving economic arguments for more diverse and affordable housing models for Sydney
  4. Ageing On The Edge - The Older Persons Homelessness Prevention Project
  5. Link to FedEx presentations
  6. NSW Government delivers new homes to Hunter region
  7. Centre for Training in Social Housing update
  8. AHURI Invitation to launch of the Inquiry into Australia’s affordable housing industry capacity
  9. Housing Appeals Committee Survey Opportunity
  10. PwC- A place for everyone: Tackling Sydney's housing affordability crisis
  11. North Coast Community Housing – Working for Older People 
  12. Link housing art competition
  13. In the News

CEO Talking Points

On the evening of Tuesday 28 March 2017, I joined Julie Harrison, CEO at Metro Housing and John Nicolades, CEO at Bridge Housing at the Inner West Council. On the Council agenda was adoption of the Council’s affordable housing policy which has been on public exhibition between mid-December and mid-February.  Almost 80 percent of those making submissions supported the policy which was formally adopted (with a few minor amendments) to loud applause. Over the next few years it should see a significant increase in the amount of affordable rental housing for people on very low to moderate incomes. Given that even the lowest priced strata dwellings are affordable to only the highest earners in these bands, this is a real win for the vulnerable disabled and aged pensioners and essential but lower paid workers in both the private and public sectors.

The policy’s main objective is to determine ‘feasible affordable housing contributions’ across the Council area and is underpinned by robust research. The research has considered both housing needs and the scope for sharing the benefits created through planning decisions to re or up zone land between the owners and the local community. The policy establishes the requirement for affordable housing contributions of 15 percent of gross floor area for new release sites above a size threshold of 20 plus residential dwellings or 1700sqm. The Council has also determined that 30 percent affordable housing contributions should apply in the Bays Precinct, subject to feasibility testing.

The Council will now move to implement this policy through voluntary planning agreements and by seeking State government consent for the Council to be included in the State Environmental Policy No.70 that allows mandatory affordable housing contributions to be set.
The Federation and its members want to congratulate the Council and its officers on a job well done and look forward to working with other Councils across NSW to see similar adaptation of strong policies on affordable housing.

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Domestic Violence Toolkit

Women should not be homeless or in unsafe housing in Australia in 2017. One in four Australian women has experienced domestic and family violence.  In NSW just under half of all homelessness service clients are women escaping domestic and family violence.  In 2015/16 this was over 33,000 women.

The NSW Federation of Housing, Domestic Violence NSW, and Homelessness NSW joined forces to develop a toolkit program, designed for community housing providers to help strengthen practice in responding to domestic and family violence and older women’s homelessness. The new toolkit program was officially launched on International Women’s Day 2017, 8th March at The Mint, Sydney.

The ‘Safe as Houses’ event featured journalist and TV presenter Deborah Knight as MC who did a wonderful job and reminded us that it isn’t really necessary to add ‘domestic’ to the violence part. It is violence pure and simple. Via Skype we were joined by Gudrun Burnet, Senior Business Partner (Domestic Abuse) at Peabody Housing in London. Peabody is seen as a model of best practice in the UK housing sector. The organisation has also co-founded a national alliance, the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance, which aims to improve the housing sector’s response through a national accreditation process.

Sue Cripps the toolkit ‘designer’, Rebecca Pinkstone from Bridge Housing, Lucy Andrews from Compass Housing and Deborah Georgiou from the Women’s Housing Company participated in a lively panel discussion about the program and issues surrounding housing and domestic violence. 

Susan Ryan, the former Age Discrimination Commissioner with the Human Rights Commission and the inaugural Minister assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women, also spoke at the event, addressing the issues of domestic and family violence and older women’s homelessness, neatly bringing together the previous speakers points and leaving everyone motivated to implement the toolkit and continue their advocacy work.

City West Housing sponsored the launch recognising that affordable, stable housing options as vital in enabling victims of domestic and family violence to seek shelter and a safe and secure place to live.

Pictures from the event can be accessed here https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ryb7y6axyudae34/AADkF_35o-9ZdXLnnhzF_v6Ma?dl=0

The Strengthening Practice in Responding to Domestic and Family Violence within Community Housing Providers: A Toolkit has been funded under the NSW Government’s Community Housing Industry Development Strategy 2013 – 2016 which is a partnership between the NSW Federation of Housing Associations (the Federation) and NSW Family and Community Services and is available here http://www.communityhousing.org.au/DFVtoolkit.html

To ensure the toolkit makes a difference, a reference group composed of community housing providers, the peak bodies, public housing and expert advisors will oversee its implementation and evaluation. We are anticipating that it will be adapted for use in other states and territories and hope to announce a partnership with another jurisdiction soon.

Training is also being provided. One webinar has already taken place and a second webinar will be held in June. Information will be forwarded to Middle Managers once a date has been finalised. If you are interested in attending the next webinar, please email your intentions to KevinS@communityhousing.org.au

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Research on improving economic arguments for more diverse and affordable housing models for Sydney

The NSW Federation of Housing Associations and the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) have recently commissioned the City Futures Research Centre of the University of NSW to prepare a report on Improving the Economic Arguments for more diverse and affordable housing models for Sydney.     
Our aim for this research is to develop a framework for capturing the economic effects of housing outcomes and housing policy interventions that is based in applied housing economics research, and may be used to relate key housing outcomes to the key economic policy goals of local, state and national governments. The report will set out housing cases in a language that the sector will understand, but that also connects to the understandings of budgetary policy-makers by way of better quantification of the economic benefits of a more diverse housing system. The research is being led by Professor Duncan Maclennan and Professor Bill Randolph, with support from Dr Laura Crommelin and Mr Ryan van den Nouwelant.

The research has just kicked off and we would like to thank the organisations below for their contributions.  If you have any questions or would like to participate in this research please contact helenk@communityhousing.org.au


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Ageing On the Edge - The Older Persons Homelessness Prevention Project (NSW Campaign)

By 2056 a quarter of the NSW population will be 65 years of age and over, rising from 16 percent, and 10 percent will be 80 plus. Whilst we hear a lot about older people living well in properties they have bought outright and living comfortably, there is an increasing trend towards older people existing on no more than the aged pension and living in rental housing.

Public housing provides a good option for those who are eligible with affordable rents in safe and secure homes. There are 55,000 people in public and community housing who are 65 years of age and over (34 percent in public and 18 percent in community housing) who pay rents appropriate to their income and are in safe and secure homes.

However, there is a whole other group for whom decent affordable housing is not within their reach. There were about 22,000 people aged over 55 seeking homelessness services in 2015-16, an increase of 15% from the previous year and higher than the growth rate of the general homelessness service population (9%). Trends are also showing that more people will be entering retirement living as private renters. Private rental housing is in most cases unsuitable for older people due to lack of secure tenure, affordability and lack of adaptability. It is predicted that by 2016 there will be 419,000 lower income older renters - up from 336,000 in 2011. NSW has around a third of these older renters.

Jeff Fiedler from Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG) in Melbourne and Dr Debbie Faulkner from the University of Adelaide’s Adelaide’s Centre for Housing, Urban and Regional Planning (CHURP) have been funded by The Wicking Trust over five years to conduct an Australia-wide project addressing the housing needs of older Australians.  The research team are in the closing stages of finalising the South Australia part of their work overseen by an Older Persons Housing Roundtable co-ordinated by the Council On The Ageing.

The Federation is pleased to be helping HAAG and CHURP to co-ordinate the NSW stakeholder reference group which includes Homelessness NSW, Uniting, North Coast Community Housing, the Benevolent Society and Womens’ Housing Company. A great deal of work has already been done by the housing and homelessness sectors in NSW including significant research over the past ten years that has clearly identified this problem and recommended a range of strategies. This project aims to add to the momentum and continue to develop a compelling case for government and the sector to take action on housing justice for older people. If the national project has a point of difference with past work conducted it may be the focus on the availability of specialist services that can provide support and help older people to navigate their way towards housing solutions.

The NSW report will be launched in August 2017. More information about the project is available here: http://www.oldertenants.org.au/national-action/ageing-edge-national-action-project.
 You can contact Jeff Fiedler on jeff.fiedler@oldertenants.org.au or Debbie Faulkner  debbie.faulkner@adelaide.edu.au


March Federation Exchange Presentations

The presentations from the March 2017 two day Federation Exchange Conference are now available for reference via this Dropbox link:


NSW government to deliver 78 new group homes in the Hunter region

Seventy eight new group homes will be built in the Hunter region. Locations of the homes will be chosen by people with disability and their families to replace large residential centres.  Minister for Disability Services Ray Williams announced the purpose-built accommodation will be constructed by Home4Life.
“More than 390 people currently living in Kanangra, Stockton and Tomaree residential centres will benefit from the new group homes which will allow residents to be more engaged in the community,” Mr Williams said. “I am confident Home4Life will deliver high quality homes that meet the needs of hundreds of people with disability and their families.”

Home4Life are a new disability housing organisation and joint venture between two not-for-profit housing providers; Newcastle based Compass Housing, and BlueCHP. Compass Housing Group Managing Director Greg Budworth congratulated the NSW Government for adopting the more supportive housing model, stating “We believe people have a right to live in a community, rather than an institution and to participate fully in that community”.

BlueCHP Chief Executive Officer Charles Northcote said Home4Life was committed to making sure tenants and their families were included in the design process. “Our philosophy is to only develop or invest in projects we would be happy to live in ourselves so all dwellings built by Home4Life will be designed by expert architects Kennedy and Associates and will be in accordance with the standards for disability housing set by the NSW Government and the NDIS”.  Full story at

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Centre for Training in Social Housing update

The Training team continues to be passionate about delivering training in social housing to CHPs as well as some Specialist Homelessness Services. So far this year we have delivered over 25 Units of Competency to workers in NSW, Tasmania and the ACT. A reminder too that we can deliver non accredited professional development training on any area you wish and tailored to your organisation’s needs.

We recently ran a Hoarding and Squalor workshop facilitated by Sue Cripps and this proved very successful. We will run another one later in the year unless there is a need beforehand. The feedback we receive from participants is always very encouraging and we thank you for the opportunities to meet your training needs.  There are still vacancies in many of our courses so please click HERE for the full calendar

We have just received additional funding for our Smart and Skilled program to enrol more workers in this generously Government subsidised program. As always please contact our Training Manager, Kevin Saide with any specific requests for training and professional development.


AHURI Invitation to launch of the Inquiry into Australia’s affordable housing industry capacity

The Community Housing Industry Association is pleased to invite you to a special event to launch the Final Report from Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute’s Inquiry into Australia’s affordable housing industry capacity

This AHURI Inquiry aimed to advance understanding of Australia’s affordable housing industry and the capacity constraints that limit its expanded activity. In addition, the research team was tasked with formulating recommendations and priorities for industry capacity building.

Join lead researchers Professor Hal Pawson and Dr Vivienne Milligan from the University of NSW, CHIA Chairman Michael Lennon and a number of industry leaders at this free event to hear from the lead researchers and network with colleagues on how the key recommendations can be progressed.
Date: Thursday, 20 April 2017
Time: 4:00pm - 6.30pm
Venue: NAB House, Level 15, 225 George Street, Sydney
Tickets: http://www.ahuri.edu.au/events/affordable-housing-industry-capacity


Reminder: The Housing Appeals Committee (HAC) Customer Satisfaction Survey

Housing Appeals Committee is interested in your experience with them.  Reminder to complete the Customer Satisfaction Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/housingappealscommittee.
The Housing Appeals Committee (HAC) is conducting a Customer Satisfaction Survey to understand stakeholders levels of satisfaction and awareness of the HAC.  The survey results will be published publicly in the 2016/17 HAC Annual Overview. As valued stakeholders, HAC is keen to hear about providers’ experience with them. The survey should take no longer than 2 minutes to complete, and does not seek any personal or identifying data from you.
It would also be appreciated that if providers could complete this survey by the end of this week.

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PwC- A place for everyone: Tackling Sydney's housing affordability crisis

PwC has released a leadership paper: 'A place for everyone: Tackling Sydney's affordable housing crisis'. The paper recommends a practical and implementable initiative focussed on rental affordability. As you know, Australia's housing affordability crisis isn't a single issue that has a single solution - it requires levers to be pulled across the entire housing continuum. Whilst PwC advocates for other much-needed solutions (such as funding reinvestment and renewal in social housing, or reforms that enable 'first home buyers' to have a fair go in the housing market), PwC's Affordable Housing Initiative focuses on one part of the housing continuum which can be overlooked - the private rental market. 

This initiative offers an opportunity for landowners to harness the value of their single lots, whilst providing affordable rental housing for the people who keep our cities running. It provides a solution which seeks to address both the 'missing middle' and affordable rental housing through a simple, but potentially profound change to State planning regulation.  The paper is available to view here.

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North Coast Community Housing – Working for Older People 

North Coast Community Housing (NCCH) manages more than 900 units of social and affordable housing, a third of which are over 60 years of age.  This is expected to increase with the predicted ageing of the general population.  NCCH wanted to understand more about older tenants and have surveyed this group and met face to face with many through five regional day long forums.  Results have been turned into 21 recommendations.
A total of 201 of our ageing residents have identified as living with a disability; and a further 4% of our ageing NCCH residents identified as being Aboriginal (as compared to almost 15% of all NCCH properties are occupied by tenants who are Aboriginal).  A total of 129 residents are aged 75 years of age or older and 39 are aged 85 years or older. NCCH commenced a ‘Seniors Living Well’ program at the beginning of 2016. From its commencement the project grew into two primary streams of data collection and analysis:

Stream 1:  NCCH Slip and Falls Prevention 

Slip and Fall prevention work

A pilot of our ageing residents’ dwellings was audited against an internally drafted audit document enabling analysis of slips and fall risk in and around a property.  The audits were undertaken in February 2016 by the Asset team simultaneously with the Asset team’s PAS regulatory, three-yearly building audits.  A sample of 34 properties (10% of housing stock housing the ageing) was selected from Tweed; Byron Shire; Richmond Valley and Grafton local government areas.
The Slip and Fall Audit sheet was created in conjunction with the Asset team.  A total of 39 work orders ordered were created in relation to the properties audited as a result of the pilot program (and simultaneous PAS inspections).


 A factsheet, ‘Seniors Living Well Program’, aimed at residents was created to increase awareness of slips and fall risks and occurrences.  Factsheet emphasis is on exercise, education and environmental modifications to enable independent living and physical safety.
The factsheet also encourages residents to contact NCCH if they have a slip or fall, no matter where, so we can re-check their property for modification or maintenance needs.  

Gutter cleaning policy expansion  

The policy informing Tenant responsible maintenance was also amended to state that ageing residents were no longer responsible for accessing or cleaning the gutters attached to their dwellings.  

Staff training 

Staff training commenced with all tenancy management staff in relation to slip and fall tenant prevention.  The slip and fall audit document then evolved into an additional audit procedure to be undertaken by staff when tenant clients are housed with NCCH, and aged 60 years and older.

Further, it was decided this audit was to be undertaken every 2 years (in line with best practice) and again immediately following any slip/fall reported to NCCH.  Staff understood these audits would not only enable analysis of the physicality of the home environments, but also be an important social outlet for residents that are experiencing isolation; and mandated that quality time to fully engage and process the audit was a necessary aspect to these home visits.

Stream 2:  In-depth survey work of ageing resident population
 After formation of a survey, it was decided data would be collected through NCCH holding various targeted forums aimed at sampling residents 60 years of age and over. The survey was drafted to further understanding as to the needs, desires and issues facing our ageing resident population.


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Link Community Housing art competition

Leading Northern Sydney Community Housing provider Link Housing is hosting its second art exhibition at Warringah Creative Space this June. Budding and established artists across Sydney are invited to submit an artwork using the theme ‘What a Home Means to You’. Artworks can be created in any medium but must be in line with the theme and will be displayed over the four-day exhibition.
Last year, over forty artists contributed to the exhibition using a range of mediums, including paint,
ceramics and sculpture. The eclectic mix of art and interpretations of the theme, encouraged thought and reflection on the importance of a ‘home’ and the role it plays in each of our lives.
Andrew McAnulty, CEO at Link Housing said; ‘We are delighted to be hosting ‘What a home means to you’ again. We had a wonderful response last year and we look forward to seeing artists of all levels take part this year.’

For more information on how to enter your artwork, call Suzanne Sheerin at Link Housing on (02) 9412 5104. Deadline for entries is Thursday 15th June 2017.
art competition

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In the News

Over the past month the Federation and CEO Wendy Hayhurst have been mentioned in the following news articles:

March 10th Scott Morrison says government bonds could finance affordable housing loans
Scott Morrison has backed the idea of using government bonds to raise cheaper, long-term finance for affordable housing to be deployed through an affordable housing finance corporation. The chief executive of the NSW Federation of Housing Associations, Wendy Hayhurst, welcomed the announcement, saying that attracting large scale institutional investment would be “critical to establishing the community housing sector as a third tier of the Australian housing market”.  Full article at

March 10th Federal Government considers setting up affordable housing corporation based on UK scheme

The Federal Government is considering setting up a new affordable housing finance corporation to help people on low incomes find rental properties. The so-called 'bond aggregator' scheme is used in the UK to boost investment in community housing.  Listen to the full report at http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2016/s4633781.htm


March 14th Foreign property buyers are pricing locals out of the market
More than 1 in 10 NSW residential properties is sold to foreigners.  NSWFHA CEO Wendy Hayhurst said there was anecdotal evidence some investors were buying apartments as investments and then leaving them empty — a move which is driving up prices, “the demand from Chinese ... investors is definitely increasing, but it is also increasing from people investing from the UK, US and
New Zealand as well”.  Full article at

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