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April 2018


  1. CEO Report
  2. FedEx Report
  3. Conference Caucus Launch
  4. CHIA Vic Brave New World
  5. Delivering better housing outcomes for people leaving prison 
  6. Masterclass Opportunity: Designing and developing affordable rental housing for communities supported by communities
  7. Landcom’s Housing Affordability and Diversity Policy
  8. Disability Services Consulting forum ‘SDA Gets Serious: The Forum’
  9. Boardroom lunch – update on new directions for NSW planning system to support affordable housing
  10. DFV safety modifications survey report
  11. Affordable Housing Local Solutions Forum
  12. Federation submission on proposed changes to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 – Boarding Houses
  13. Housing Appeals Committee briefing for Aboriginal CHP
  14. Bridge Housing: Launch of HomeGround Real Estate Sydney
  15. $300,000 Grants available for homelessness or domestic abuse
  16. BlueCHP announces Compass Housing will manage tenancy services
  17. Tenants Network Presentation
  18. Farewell to Kevin Saide
  19. In the media


CEO's Report

On Friday 20 April the NSW Department of Planning and Environment announced that applications from five Sydney councils - Inner West, City of Canada Bay, City of Randwick, Northern Beaches and Ryde, for SEPP 70 to be extended to their local areas had been successful. With City of Sydney also operating inclusionary zoning, and a number of Councils, including in regional NSW, adopting affordable housing policies, Councils are playing an increasingly important role in developing ways to meet the affordability challenge.

Councils with close links to their communities realise there are increasing numbers of households in rental stress and understand that many essential service workers are moving out to more distant suburbs.   While some Councils have used existing powers to negotiate voluntary planning agreements for affordable homes, newly published research by Nicole Gurran  ‘found that between 2005 and 2016, the NSW voluntary incentive approach delivered around 1,300 affordable rental dwellings in greater Sydney, which is equivalent to about 0.5-1 percent of total housing output for the period’.  Hardly the easiest, most efficient and effective way to get affordable housing.  

The proposed affordable housing contribution schemes should make a measurable difference to the numbers of affordable homes in locations rich in jobs and increasingly well connected, transport wise.   Mandating site targets for affordable housing where the value of development and thus the profit to a developer rises because of a public planning decision is fair to local communities by ensuring that they benefit from new development.  Many of the Councils have also signalled they will lead by example by pursuing opportunities to use a proportion of their own land for affordable housing. City of Sydney has set clear targets for the number of new affordable homes. Governments often shy away from putting a number on what they are aiming for, but we see it as strong and confident leadership.

All the Councils intend to partner with community housing providers. Our industry is regulated, invests in homes that are well constructed - after all the responsibility to repair them remains with us, and we invest all profits back into more homes and / or new services.
And make no mistake how much these policies are needed. Sydney is thriving and its success impacts directly on how well the economy performs. Housing is directly linked to productivity. First, good quality secure housing is a prerequisite for good quality human capital – it is hard to be well educated, healthy and employable if you grow up moving around between expensive but low quality and poorly located homes.  Second, rising house prices, and rents impact on household consumption – simply put people have less to spend on other goods and services in the city. Third, there are also the spatial effects that arise as households reduce housing costs by relocating to lower cost land areas leading to increasing commuting distances – and congestion.  Or those households decide for example, the hospital job in Newcastle or the lab tech position in Brisbane looks so much more attractive.

In Canada Municipalities were important advocates for affordable housing and can take much credit for that countries adoption of a national housing strategy. Let’s hope our Councils have a similar influence here.

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March FedEx Report

The March Federation Exchange Report is available here.  Thank you to all who made this Federation Exchange the biggest yet.  We hope that you found the Federation Exchange informative and worthwhile. The primary goal of the Exchange was to bring together members from across the state to hear from industry leaders regarding sector innovation and policy updates, as well as sharing ideas and providing networking opportunities.  Our next Federation Exchange will be help on the 12 and 13 September 2018. We welcome any feedback you might have from the Federation Exchange – please email mollyo@communityhousing.org.au

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Caucus Launch - Affordable Housing Conference 2018

On Monday 7th May the Federation will be launching a series of Caucuses to compliment the Affordable Housing Conference.  The Caucuses will be held on the afternoon of the 26 June.  The three Caucus sessions are:

Emerging Leaders Caucus: the Emerging Leaders Caucus is for young housing and homelessness professionals who seek to play a leading role in the future of the social and affordable housing sector.  The Caucus will provide an opportunity to step away from everyday business and join your peers to debate, discuss and learn about key skills that are essential to lead a successful organisation with a social purpose.  The caucus will focus on the skills you need to shine as a leader as well as equipping you with the tools to excel at the art of verbal communication.
You will hear from experts in the field such as Rebecca Oelkers, Alex Notay and Jenny Stokes, and also get the opportunity to contribute your own ideas

Agenda 2030 and the New Urban Agenda:  Implications for Housing in Australia:  the United Nations has achieved three groundbreaking agreements in recent years which, if implemented, will move the world to greater environmental sustainability and greater social justice.  The 2014 Paris Agreement, the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2016 New Urban Agenda (NUA) agreements have major implications for urban life and particularly how access to housing contributes to quality of life, social justice and sustainability. 

The supply of affordable housing is the life blood of any city or human settlement and social and affordable housing providers can play a key role in determining the future of urban living.  With presentations from Greg Budworth, Vice Chair UN Habitat, General Assembly of Partners and Sonja Duncan, Director, SD Environmental Management and Consultant to NSW Office of the Environment and Heritage Sustainability Advantage Program, this Caucus is an unmissable opportunity for those wishing to progress the right to adequate housing in Australia leveraging the community housing sector. 

Aboriginal Caucus:  the Aboriginal Caucus is an essential opportunity for people working in the Aboriginal community housing sector, in particular CEOs and managers working in the sector.  International speaker Rosanna McGregor Cariboo, Friendship Society, British Columbia, Canada will speak about the Canadian Indigenous Housing sector, drawing comparisons to the Australian experience and providing practice advice on how those in the sector can maximise their impact and be agents for change.  The Caucus will feature a workshop session with the Aboriginal Housing Office, outlining the sector’s view on housing and homelessness priorities and making detailed recommendations to feed in to Aboriginal Housing Organisation’s strategy.

The Caucus will also serve as the platform to launch the next phase of the sector’s industry body – the Aboriginal Community Housing Industry Association or ACHIA for short – providing an overview of activities to date, accountability within the sector and the plans and priorities for ACHIA moving forward.    Finally, Charles Northcote will provide experiences from New Zealand and Blue Community Housing Providers in making property development work for Aboriginal communities using examples and exploring the pitfalls. 

Registrations open Monday 7 May!  Click here for more information.

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CHIA Vic – Brave New World

CHIA VIC held its Brave New World of Community Housing Conference on 19 April.  It kicked off with The Hon Martin Foley MP, Minister for Housing, Ageing and Disability outlining how community housing fitted in to Homes for Victorians, the state’s housing initiatives.  More vision stuff than precise detail - but more of the latter came courtesy of a later speaker – and hard to argue with his statement that it all starts with a roof over the head. The question remains how many does Victoria need.

A bolder approach came via the next speaker the incoming chair of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Derek Ballantyne - who set out the detail of the national housing strategy.  No doubt over in Canada they will argue about how much new money there is, whether the provinces will match the contributions but from an Australian perspective it looks pretty good.  There are clear targets to create 100K new housing units, repair or renew 300,000 existing homes and reduce chronic homelessness by 50%.  More details about the $15.9B Federal co investment fund composed of $11.2B low interest loans and $4.7B in financial contributions will be announced this coming week.

The Canadians also sound open to scrutiny – a new National Housing Council will be established and an independent Federal Housing Advocate will be appointed to keep everyone on track.   There are gender specific actions and recognition that First people’s housing needs specific measures.

Getting Provincial buy in has been a process of year long negotiations and consultation. Having the National Plan and additional dollars has been motivational. Also critical was the push from the big cities with the Mayors strongly supportive of action. We look forward to watching what happens next.

And back to Homes for Victorians, Jacky Barry, Director of Housing Asset Strategy and Financing in the Department of Health and Human Services later described the consultative approach taken to developing the $1.0B Victorian Social Housing Growth Fund - and the S1.1B loans and guarantees. Described as ‘tools for you’ (the sector) she emphasised the funds are there to deliver more new homes and could be packaged together along with land, equity and private finance to max the outcomes.   

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Delivering better housing outcomes for people leaving prison 

In 2017, the NSW Federation of Housing Associations and Homelessness NSW commissioned research into housing options for people leaving prison in NSW.  This report of this work was launched at a Roundtable attended by representatives from Corrective Services, community housing providers, homelessness services, FACS, industry peaks, the Community Restorative Centre and the Women’s Justice Network held in Sydney on 28 March.

The report by Tony Gilmour, Pathways Home; NSW Community Housing’s Role in delivering Better Outcomes for People Exiting Corrective Services (Feb 2018), looks at current policy and practice in housing people leaving custody in NSW, and recommends improvements that could be made particularly through the involvement of community housing providers. The transfer of around 14,000 public housing properties to management by community housing providers in the next two years makes it even more important that this issue is firmly on the agenda.  

The report identifies the growth in the numbers of people being incarcerated in NSW, particularly Aboriginal people and women, and the lack of housing options when they leave prison. One of the key recommendations is that we should seek support for trialling two regional initiatives located in Social Housing Management Transfer areas that engage prison management, housing providers, local support services and other key agencies in developing an integrated housing and support response for people leaving custody. Due to the proximity of local jails and of existing initiatives that can be built upon, the areas currently being looked at for the trials are the Shoalhaven and the Mid-North Coast.

The full report can be found on the Federation’s website here.  If you would like any further information about this project, please contact Deborah Georgiou on 9281 7144 ext. 204 or by email deborahg@communityhousing.org.au

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Masterclass Opportunity: Designing and developing affordable rental housing for communities supported by communities

The Federation is launching two really important pieces of work with a Masterclass event on 3 May: Best Practice in Multi-Tenure Developments and Building Community Acceptance for Affordable Housing. 
The Masterclass will be hosted by Dr Judy Stubbs who is an internationally recognised expert in affordable housing research, policy, economics and strategy.  Judy led both of these research projects on behalf of the Federation in conjunction with Landcom and the Department of Family and Community Services.
This Masterclass has been designed for a range of people that have an interest multi-tenure or mixed income housing development, so is suitable for:

  • Government agencies such as Landcom, Department of Planning and Environment, the Land and Housing Corporation
  • Local government planners and planning consultants
  • CEOs, development managers and staff of registered community housing providers and other affordable housing agencies
  • Private developers

Judy will share video and web-based resources to help participants understand:

  • international and national contemporary practice in developing affordable rental housing that delivers sustainable community outcomes
  • the roots of community acceptance for affordable housing development
  • the design features that make a multi-tenure development successful
  • the key principles of developing and managing quality, effective multi-tenure housing

A limited number of places are still available and interested people can register here.   

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Landcom Community Housing Provider event

The Federation partnered with Landcom on an event on 27 March.  Landcom’s Housing Affordability and Diversity Policy commits it to a 5-10% target of affordable housing for its housing projects which must be provided by a registered community housing provider.  This ground-breaking policy means that Landcom must work with community housing providers to achieve its aims. 
The March event was part of a push by Landcom to boost its engagement with the sector.  It was an opportunity to share insights and information about the community housing industry in NSW with senior Landcom staff and to talk about the role that community housing providers they can play in delivering affordable housing.
John Brogden, Landcom’s CEO and Sarah Hill, the CEO of the Greater Sydney Commission spoke about the current policy context, including the affordable rental housing targets in the Greater Sydney Region Plan
Three of our member organisations also spoke to give their insights on some of the key issues in affordable housing projects from the sector’s perspective: 

  • Scott Langford, CEO SGCH spoke about financing affordable housing projects
  • Stephen McIntyre, CEO Wentworth Community Housing spoke about design
  • Fiona McConnell, Property and Development General Manager at North Coast Community Housing spoke about partnerships and building relationships with local communities

The insights of our members were very well received by Landcom and the Federation’s engagement with Landcom will be ongoing.  Later in the year, the Federation will be supporting training about the community housing industry for Landcom Development Managers.

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Disability Services Consulting forum ‘SDA Gets Serious: The Forum’

Disability Services Consulting held a full day forum, which was intended to shift the conversation from policy to practice and provide organisations involved in the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) space with the tools and knowledge to navigate the increasingly complex system. Community Housing Providers, Supported Independent Living Providers, for profit developers and families of people with SDA came together for a day of lively discussion, collaboration and debate.
The focus of the day was how to make SDA work both for recipients and for the organisations involved in the delivery and management of SDA properties. A huge breadth of content was covered, but there were a few key issues that came up repeatedly:

  • Getting SDA into NDIS plans: while it is estimated that 28,000 people will be eligible for SDA payments, just 6,400 people currently have it included in their plan.
  • Vacancy risk: on paper it often seems most financially viable to develop 5 bedroom SDA properties, however this comes with significant vacancy risk as it can be a major challenge to find five people who are happy to live together.
  • Role of CHPs: CHPs should be considering the value they can add to the SDA market in terms of tenancy management. What is it exactly that sets the community housing sector a part from Government and other organisations that have previously managed disability accommodation?

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Boardroom lunch – update on new directions for NSW planning system to support affordable housing

The Federation attended a lunch event to hear about the latest developments in the NSW planning system from Carolyn McNally, Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment.  Ms McNally noted that one of the biggest challenges facing the Department was community consultation and engagement and the need to ensure that communities are key stakeholders throughout the entire planning and development journey.

There has been significant resistance to development, particularly density uplift, in Sydney in recent years and this has prompted the Department to reconsider their own communication and engagement strategies. Communities want to be involved at all stages of the planning process and this involvement is critical in gaining community acceptance. Transparency is also critical for community acceptance as it provides assurance that developers and those making planning decisions are sticking to the rules of the game.

The Federation is holding a ‘Designing and developing affordable rental housing for communities, supported by communities’ Masterclass on 3 May, which will cover these key issues from an affordable housing perspective.

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DFV safety modifications survey report

Following the release of the DFV Toolkit, the Federation surveyed members in order to gain an understanding of practice around DFV related safety modifications. There was a great response rate with a mix of metropolitan, regional and rural providers, including four Aboriginal community housing providers.

The findings of the survey have reiterated the sectors commitment to supporting tenants experiencing DFV, while also highlighting some areas for further work, particularly developing shared definitions around DFV safety modifications and best practice policies and procedures.
You can read the full report, which includes breakdown of survey responses as well as an indication of the areas where further work would be useful in supporting the sector to respond to the needs of tenants experiencing DFV on our website.
You can read the full report here.

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Affordable Housing Local Solutions Forum

You are invited to the Affordable Housing Local Solutions Forum on Thursday, May 3rd and Friday May 4th at the Uniting Church Hall in Bellingen.   This is because we are bringing people together with an interest in housing and the wellbeing of the Bellingen and Nambucca shires and beyond.

Housing affordability is a serious national concern and a big issue locally.  We need to explore new approaches to home ownership, long term rental, joint ventures and innovative developments.  Housing is complex and there are no easy answers - but we think that together we can make a difference.

Registration is free. You can attend one or both days.  The forum is action focused with speakers, panels and workshops.  Highlights include:

  • Gary White, NSW Chief Planner
  • Karen Walsh, CEO NSW Shelter
  • James Brown, CEO Common Equity Ltd.
  • Dr John Martin, Chief Investigator: Local Government and Housing in Australia

This forum is for people who want to be part of the solution and explore what might make a difference locally. It's not for people interested in just complaining that the government, local council, developers or real estate agents alone should fix the problem.  The forum is not for people who need somewhere to live right now - it's about longer term change.  For the full program and to register: bnc.org.au

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Federation submission on proposed changes to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 – Boarding Houses

The NSW Federation of Housing Associations made a submission to the NSW Government on its proposed changes to parking requirements for new generation boarding houses.

The Federation does not support the proposed changes.  The proposed changes are likely to make the cost of developing some new generation boarding houses for low income people prohibitive and in other cases the numbers of rooms provided will be reduced. We anticipate that the changes to parking requirements would reduce the numbers of genuinely affordable homes that are developed in NSW.

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Housing Appeals Committee briefing for Aboriginal CHP

The NSW Housing Appeals Committee (HAC) is an independent agency which hears second tier appeals from social housing clients who are unhappy with decisions made by social housing providers, including Community Housing Providers (CHPs) and registered Aboriginal Community Housing providers (ACHPs). The HAC has 15 members, including two Aboriginal members, who will hear Aboriginal cases.

Appeals can be about decisions made across a wide range of issues affecting tenants of social housing and applicants for housing services. See what can be appealed.
Social housing clients can lodge a second tier appeal online. A new version of the online form is available from 23 April 2018 at the HAC website www.hac.nsw.gov.au. Community Housing Providers could go to Housing Hub > News and Notices > Housing Pathways Notices > Appeals online to read the news.
For more information about the HAC and appeals, please visit our website at www.hac.nsw.gov.au or email us at hac@facs.nsw.gov.au.

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HomeGround Real Estate Sydney invites landlords to help end homelessness

An innovative real estate agency with a social purpose has been launched by Bridge Housing to drive investment in and supply of affordable housing in the challenging Sydney market. HomeGround Real Estate Sydney (HomeGround Sydney) is a spin-off of the successful HomeGround real estate social enterprise founded by Launch Housing in Victoria four years ago and which now manages some 400 properties. More than $300,000 in financial and in-kind sponsorship has been provided to Home Ground Sydney, including from a private philanthropist, the City of Sydney, PwC Australia and the REA Group, which owns the realestate.com.au website.

City of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, launched Home Ground Sydney with Bridge Housing CEO John Nicolades at an event on 11 April attended by business, government and community sector stakeholders. The City of Sydney has invested $100,000 in HomeGround Sydney to encourage more affordable housing supply in inner city areas.

HomeGround Sydney offers three models for property owners and investors to help end homelessness:

- List their properties with HomeGround Sydney and it will reinvest the management fee profits back into more affordable housing
- Offer their properties at below market rents to directly support people into affordable housing
- Donate the use of their properties without seeking an income return on their investment.

HomeGround Real Estate Sydney will be particularly useful for property developers and landlords with market and affordable housing in new housing developments who require community housing management. Bridge Housing is also in the process of securing an ATO tax ruling whereby landlords will be able to claim the difference between their reduced housing rental income and a full market rental income as a tax deduction.

HomeGround Sydney will operate from Bridge Housing's offices in Redfern under the direction of a team of licenced and registered real estate agents led by Terry Livingstone, who has 15 years' experience in residential real estate. It has already signed up more than 14 properties. Landlords contract directly with HomeGround Real Estate Sydney, making it easier to manage multiple properties on their behalf and to deal with any tenancy or maintenance issues that arise.

CEO John Nicolades said: "With fewer than one per cent of private rental homes in greater Sydney affordable for people on low incomes and homelessness growing at the rate of 27% per year, this initiative is sorely needed. It will sit alongside a range of approaches Bridge Housing already uses to source affordable rental homes across Sydney." Lord Mayor Clover Moore said: "Affordable housing is a problem for all Australians – and for the most vulnerable in our society, it has become an urgent issue that can lead to homelessness, inter-generational poverty and social dysfunction. We are proud to support this new initiative which brings a creative approach to solving this urgent problem – working with landlords to help increase the supply of affordable rental housing in the inner city."

Launch Housing Deputy CEO Heather Holst said: "We are thrilled to have Bridge Housing as our first interstate partnership under the HomeGround brand and for them to take this effective, proven model for creating more affordable housing into the biggest and most difficult housing market in Australia."
Watch the launch video here.


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$300,000 Grants available for homelessness or domestic abuse

Community Sector Banking has today announced its 2018 Social Investment Grant Program will increase by $100,000 – with not-for-profits able to apply for grants totalling $300,000 to support people experiencing homelessness or domestic abuse.

“We received an overwhelming number of applications to last year’s program, highlighting the huge need in the community and the sector for addressing these issues. We’re proud to be continuing and increasing our support,” said Andrew Cairns, Community Sector Banking CEO. Community Sector Banking has launched the theme for its 2018 Social Investment Grants Program, which is once again focused on building resilience and capability in people experiencing homelessness or domestic abuse. The total grant pool available for this year is $300,000.
Key dates for the 2018 Social Investment Grants Program:

  • Applications open on 1 May 2018
  • Applications close at 5pm AEST on 31 May 2018

Find out more about the Social Investment Grants Program at: communitysectorbanking.com.au/grants

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BlueCHP announces Compass Housing will manage tenancy services

This month BlueCHP, a Community Housing Provider based in Leumeah, announced Compass Housing was the successful bidder for its recent tender of tenancy management services. Compass Housing will now provide tenancy services for more than 330 BlueCHP homes. Nine submissions were received from Community Housing Providers and commercial real estate agents, including from local and interstate organisations. Compass Housing ultimately won the tender because its bid demonstrated the best services for tenants, value for money and knowledge of the Community Housing Sector. The new tender will initally run for 3 years and Compass Housing will base three of its staff at BlueCHP’s offices in Leumeah.

BlueCHP wishes to thank Wentworth Community Housing and Hume Community Housing who were the incumbent providers of tenancy management services. BlueCHP is a specialist Community Housing Provider focussing on the development and retention of affordable housing and is currently celebrating its 10 year anniversary. Over that time BlueCHP has delivered 1700 dwellings, retaining 750, home for 1300 people. BlueCHP is passionate about helping everyone find an affordable home. Compass Housing is based in Newcastle and is a Community Housing Provider who specialises in tenancy management services.

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Introduction to the Tenants Network

The Tenants Network are a group of tenants from different Community Housing Organizations in NSW, including Bridge, Evolve, Hume, Link, Metro, North Coast, St. George, Wentworth & Women’s Housing.

  • The Tenant Network provides a unique opportunity for Tenants from all over NSW to meet and get to know each other, and talk about any housing issue that is of interest or concern.
  • Currently, we are a small group of hard working dedicated Volunteers who are determined to rebuild The Network. Our aim is to develop The Network to it’s full potential.
  • Approx. half of C.H. tenants have disabilities, health issues, or are aged over 50, and this number is growing. We are going to devise & trial a number of different approaches and backup plans that are flexible and workable to enable smooth transitions to fill in crucial roles at times as needed, to ensure The Network maintains full functionality at all times.

Click here to learn more about the Tenants Network.

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Farewell to Kevin Saide, Training Manager

The Federation would like to inform our Housing Matters readers that Kevin Saide, Training Manager, will be leaving the Federation at the end of June 2018.

The training business provides a great opportunity for workers in both the housing and homelessness sectors to gain skills, knowledge and accreditation in both a supportive and flexible learning environment.

Kevin is moving to Victoria, however he will continue to have some input into the support of workers currently studying.

The Training Manger position will now be called Head of Learning and Development and if you know of anyone interested the link to position details is http://www.communityhousing.org.au/S6_jobs.html

The Federation would like to thank Kevin for his many years of hard work and dedication. You will be missed Kevin.

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In the Media

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

New initiatives set to increase supply of social and affordable housing (28/04/18)

A RAFT of new initiatives aimed at increasing Sydney’s supply of social and affordable housing have offered low-income earners new hope of getting into the rental market without a hefty price tag.
Projections from the NSW Federation of Housing Associations have shown community housing providers are forecast to deliver 1200 affordable homes by 2020.

Housing Incentives fail to ease Sydney's affordability crisis (10/04/18)

The wellbeing and productivity of Sydneysiders has taken a direct hit because of a lack of affordable housing, a new report suggests. Getting housing right could be key to reducing problems and saving money in other sectors, said Wendy Hayhurst, the chief executive of the NSW Federation of Housing Associations, which commissioned the report with assistance from the Greater Sydney Commission.

Why Sydney needs more apartments (19/03/18)

The state government’s plan for the development of greater Sydney will require it to be more forthright about the future of high-density housing, a lobby group representing developers has argued.  “The important thing is that the GSC has recognised that housing is essential infrastructure,” said CEO Wendy Hayhurst. “The Federation’s members look forward to hearing more.''

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