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September 2017


  1. CEO’s Report
  2. Federation applies to join CHIA
  3. Save the date: Affordable Housing Conference 2018
  4. CTSH Update
  5. FedEx Thank You
  6. IPART Final Report
  7. Social impact investment to increase opportunities for young people at risk
  8. Link takes part in homeless sleep out
  9. Foyer51: SGCH, Uniting and Social Ventures Australia partnership
  10. The Federation in the Media
  11. Four courses from four Master degrees in four semesters - new UNSW postgrad package


CEO's Talking Points

This month has seen both the Commonwealth and NSW state governments make progress on initiatives that will deliver more social and affordable housing.

On Friday 22 September, the Commonwealth government released a consultation paper on its National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC). The NHFIC ‘intends to grow the community housing sector’ and ‘accelerate the supply of housing where it is needed most’. The Federation has advocated for a key part of the NHFIC, the affordable housing bond aggregator, through its own financial intermediary proposal. The Federation is very pleased to see that the intention is that it will be launched in July 2018. The bond aggregator should lower the cost of borrowing for community housing providers.  If its introduction is accompanied by other significant government action to directly invest in additional social and affordable housing supply we will see a difference to the numbers of people in housing stress. It remains a big ‘if’ though.

The state government’s announcement of a second round for the social and affordable housing fund (SAHF) is welcome and focusing on the needs of older women is positive. The proposed 1200 new units is, however, only a small fraction towards what is needed.

The second Commonwealth government announcement this month to help tackle housing affordability were two tax related initiatives to attract both small and larger investors into affordable housing.  Firstly, the additional capital gains tax discount for affordable housing and secondly, management investment trust (MITs) will enable investment in dwellings used for affordable housing.  In both cases properties will need to be managed by community housing providers, ensuring that those allocated the homes meet eligibility criteria.  It is difficult to predict the appetite for this type of investment but our sector is ready to participate.

With negotiations on the new national housing and homeless agreement taking place we will be arguing that a new agreement really needs to be supported by national and state housing strategies that clearly set out targets for new supply to meet existing and projected demand and identify the resources to secure success.

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The Federation applies to join CHIA

At the NSW Federation of Housing Associations (the Federation) Special General Meeting on Wednesday 13 September 2017 our members voted to apply for associate membership of our sector’s national peak body, the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA).

The Federation will remain a separate entity and continue to advocate and represent our members in NSW.  By joining CHIA we will also strengthen the community housing sector’s national voice and contribute to the goal of increasing the supply of social and affordable housing across Australia.

The Federation and CHIA have settled a framework agreement to govern our relationship which clearly articulates our respective roles. To further cement our relationship we also anticipate changing the Federation’s trading name to CHIA NSW.

We will keep you informed of the progress.

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Save the date: Affordable Housing Conference 2018

The Federation are delighted to announce the return of their Affordable Housing Conference, to be held on 26, 27 and 28 June 2018.  Next year the conference will feature a new half day caucus on the 26th of June.  The 2016 conference was an outstanding success with record attendance, a wide-ranging program of high quality speakers and presentations along with excellent delegate feedback. The 2018 conference is expected to be even better, with the theme ‘Everybody’s Home’.  Save the date now to ensure you are able to make it along!

Date: 26-28 June 2018
Venue: Sydney Masonic Centre, 66 Goulburn Street Sydney

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CTSH Update

Again, a busy time for CTSH and thanks to all of you who are taking advantage of our training opportunities. Just a few points to highlight:

  • We are delivering training in the new Domestic and Family Violence Toolkit to three CHPs. If you are interested in this training, please let me know. It is proving to be quite popular
  • We are starting our first delivery of training to CHPs in the Aboriginal Cultural Competency Standards in October and we will give you an update in the next HM
  • The training in the new Part Qualification program that I mentioned in the last report ( 5 accredited Units of free training starts on the 4th October – this also has proven to be very popular with the class filling quickly.
  • Kevin facilitated a discussion at the recent FedEx meeting on whether we should have a national workforce development strategy given that the sector is growing nationally, and whether the Certificate IV in Social Housing should be a required qualification. There was a very positive repose to this – more details as we progress
  • We are also in the process of developing a training handbook for Employers – I expect this will ready for 2018
  • We also launched the Foundations in Social Housing Practice program at the FedEx in September. This program allows us to deliver modules in 2 hour blocks on a range of topics at the CHPs discretion. We are expecting to have our materials prepared for some modules by the end of the year ready for 2018

As always, our Training Manager, Kevin is happy to meet with you and discuss your training needs.  Please contact him at kevins@communityhousing.org.au or phone 02 9281 7144 (ext. 215) or 0418716463

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FedEx Thank You

Thank you to all that attended the September Federation Exchange.  It was a jam packed two days full with updates and ideas-sharing from the sector. A full report from the event will be sent out in the very near future.

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IPART Final Report: Review of rent models for social and affordable housing – a siloed view of the housing system

IPART have published their final report of the Review of rent models for social and affordable housing. In the report they reconfirm that ensuring rental affordability and provider viability are key findings from the review and confirm their support for an explicit subsidy to be paid to all social housing providers to meet the gap between the market rent (a proxy for their analysis of the income that providers need), and what tenants can pay under the current income based rent model. These findings are really welcome. The analysis of the subsidy gap and the clear recommendation that this should be explicitly funded by Government is in line with previous reports and enquiries that have recognised the underfunding of social housing provision in Australia.

IPART confirmed the recommendation in the draft report that FTB and the Pension Supplement be considered as income and assessed at 25% for the purposes of rent payment. However, a significant change to the final report is that IPART has accepted that their original recommendation of making people who are ‘unsuitably’ housed a priority for rehousing ahead of those in urgent or priority need, was not appropriate, and has reversed this. In the ‘short term’, unsuitably housed people will rank second, but still higher than those on the general waiting list without priority status.  IPART has also acknowledged in the final report that applicants should be allowed to identify multiple allocation zones, something that was suggested by the Federation. 

Aboriginal housing providers will be eligible for the same subsidy proposed by IPART as mainstream housing providers and the final report has the same recommendations about Aboriginal housing as the draft which includes transitioning ACHPs to the same funding and rent model as mainstream community housing providers.

The recommendation that no government subsidy should go to affordable housing is a really disappointing and short sighted element of the final report. IPART states that the recent housing affordability package announced by the NSW Government focused on increasing supply and first home buyers will address housing affordability.  The findings and recommendations in IPART’s final report about affordable housing don’t recognise that social housing can only work well in a housing system that is working well for all Australians, and that this means tackling the housing continuum, not just one small part of it. Unfortunately this serves to undermine what is in many ways a really sensible report from IPART on what the system needs to move forward.

The NSW Government has r4eleased its response to the final Report and has stated it will not support changes to the assessment of FTB and the Pension Supplement for the purposes of assessing rent but that it does support the reports recommendation of a Social Housing Strategy to provide ‘clarity and certainty’.

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Social impact investment to increase opportunities for young people at risk

The NSW Government will use social impact investment to fund purpose-built supported housing, which will provide young people who have been in out-of-home care with access to accommodation, education, training and employment opportunities.  Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward said Foyer51 would provide 51 studio style apartments and intensive support services as well as 24/7 onsite care.  “I am incredibly excited that for the first time ever, a program of this kind will be funded through social impact investment,” Ms Goward said.  “We know that children and young people in out-of-home care are at a greater risk of homelessness than their peers. We need to invest in youth programs like Foyer51 so we can give young people a better chance at a stable, safe and independent future.”

The NSW Government will commit up to $33 million over the life of the bond, which will be managed by Social Ventures Australia. St George Community Housing will build Foyer51 with Uniting to manage the operation of the centre - the City of Sydney is contributing $3 million towards the initiative.

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Link Housing inaugural fundraiser Home Sweet is a success.             

Member for Wakehurst Brad Hazzard with Elissa Griffin and Christian Wilkins

Northern Sydney Community Housing provider Link Housing’s first major fundraiser has been a ‘huge success.’ The charity sleepover, Home Sweet 2017, has raised more than $120,000. More than fifty people were sponsored to spend the night at the Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club and heard from a range of speakers, including young people who shared their personal stories about being homeless and how the housing and support provided by Link Housing and The Burdekin Association changed their lives. Participants also explored how they can contribute to ending youth homelessness. Key speakers included Health Minister and State Member for Wakehurst, Brad Hazzard, and Member for Manly, James Griffin. The event was hosted by Christian Wilkins, who spoke of his experience on the streets of Melbourne as part of the powerful SBS documentary ‘Filthy Rich and Homeless’. All proceeds from the event go directly to the Burdekin Association, providing accommodation, counselling and employment training to homeless youth on the Northern Beaches.  

Home Sweet, group shot

Link Housing and The Burdekin Association have been working together for more than 25 years, and have helped house and support more than 500 young people in need. The event was a natural progression for Link Housing, Chief Executive Andrew McAnulty says. “As an established organisation with substantial resources and contacts, we’re in a great position to help support our partners. The Burdekin Association does amazing work and by raising funds and awareness about youth homelessness, we can help support more young people in need – and have a long term benefit for the wider community.”

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Foyer51: SGCH, Uniting and Social Ventures Australia partnership to provide housing and support for young people at risk of homelessness

On 12 September 2017, the NSW Government announced Foyer51, a new program in central Sydney to tackle youth homelessness.  Foyer51 supports young people who have exited out of home care move toward independence, by giving them the opportunities to realise their potential. The project is being delivering in partnership by SGCH, Uniting and Social Ventures Australia with support from the Department of Family and Community Services, NSW Office of Social Impact Investment and the City of Sydney.

The Foyer is modelled off a globally successful program and delivered at a critical development age, giving young people the chance to live an independent future. Foyer51 will support young people aged 18-22 for an average of 18 months. The program will focus on engaging young people in study, work or training opportunities whilst providing them with a safe housing environment staffed 24/7.

Foyer51 will be located in Chippendale, central Sydney. The site will be completely redeveloped, with bespoke design features to suit the needs of the Foyer’s students. Foyer51’s mix of self-contained units and communal areas allow students to learn how to live independently and positively contribute to a community. In addition, the project will include up to 26 new affordable housing units for low income workers which will be accessed by a separate entrance.

Uniting will support the young residents with their work and study, mentoring them to build new skills and transition them to independence. The support services delivered by Uniting will be funded through a social benefit bond managed by Social Ventures Australia.

SGCH and Uniting are currently consulting with the local community about the program and the Development Application is on schedule to be submitted later this year. It is expected that Foyer51will be completed in early 2021.


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The Federation in the media

In August/September the Federation and CEO Wendy Hayhurst have been mentioned in the following news articles:

24/08/17: Thousands Of Homes Left Vacant In the Inner West: New figures from the 2016 census reveal that nearly one in 10 homes in the Inner West are currently vacant, prompting calls for a crackdown on investors who leave their properties unoccupied. The NSW Federation of Housing Associations (NSWFHA) has proposed slamming long-term vacant properties with higher council rates.  “If you’re not using the home as a place for people to live ... in this crisis — it’s reasonable there’s an extra charge,” said Wendy Hayhurst, CEO of the NSW Federation of Housing Associations.

16/08/17: 40 percent of all Melbourne apartments purchased overseas, say reports: Roughly 11 percent of all residential properties sold in NSW are being snapped up by foreigners, according to new figures reported by News Corp earlier this year. The NSW Federation of Housing Associations CEO Wendy Hayhurst has been quoted saying that some investors were buying apartments as investments and then leaving them empty, a move which she says was “obviously driving up prices”.

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Four courses from four Master degrees in four semesters – new UNSW postgrad package

Are you a housing professional ambitious to progress your career in this field? UNSW’s new Graduate Certificate in Advanced City Policy and Practice could help you do just that. ACPP is a bite-sized post-grad program targeted towards mid-career staff in relevant government agencies, local councils, consultancies and NGOs. It will enable you to bring the latest thinking about cities and housing into your workplace. It can be a gateway to the UNSW Urban Renewal and Housing Master degree.

ACPP is a taught program of four courses that can be studied part-time so that, studying one course per semester, you can complete in 1.5 years. Then, if this has whetted your appetite, you can transition into a related UNSW Master program, with the ACPP units already to your credit. The four Master degrees linked to the ACPP pathway are: Urban Policy and Strategy; Urban Renewal and Housing; Sustainable Built Environment and City Analytics.

All ACPP courses are taught intensively (Fridays and Saturdays) for the best possible fit with your working life. If all of this sounds attractive, talk to your employer about sponsorship. Or do it yourself – the fees can be tax deductible.

Interested to find out more? Visit Advanced City Policy and Practice. Come along to theUNSWPost Grad expo on 11 October.Sign up online.

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