Home4life wins Hunter Residences Program

Home4Life, a joint venture between Hunter’s Compass Housing and the Campbelltown-based BlueCHP, has won the Hunter Residences Program to support people with disabilities. This initiative was announced last week by Minister for Disability Services, Ray Williams.

Under the program, 69 homes designed to be accessible for people with disabilities will be built in the Hunter Residences.

“I’m thrilled to give more than 330 residents the good news that their new homes are one step closer to becoming a reality,” said Minister for Disability Services, Ray Williams.

All the new dwellings will be built in accordance with the standards for disability housing set by the NSW Government and National Disability Insurance Scheme. While Home4Life are responsible for constructing and managing the properties, the residents will be cared for by the organisations.

“We have listened to what residents and their families want every step of the way in the redevelopment process,” Mr Williams said.

Home4Life’s rent would be 25 per cent of the disability pension plus any Commonwealth rent assistance – together with SDA payments or Continuity of Support (CoS) payments for those over 65.

Later this year, a select tender process for a Supported Independent Living service provider will commence. Families will be able to meet with potential providers before a decision is made.

Housing Plus gets $95 million

Housing Plus, a NSW community housing provider, has received $95 million in funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

Roughly 220 new affordable homes have been designed which are energy efficient and will be available to low-income earners. Housing Plus, based in regional NSW, received CEFC finance as part of its successful bid for inclusion in the second funding round offered by the NSW Social and Affordable Housing Fund.

47 new affordable homes will be delivered in Bathurst, 87 in Dubbo and 86 in Orange over the next three years as construction begins. To abide by the National Housing Energy Rating System standard, the new homes will have a minimum 7-Star rating. The new dwellings will feature rooftop solar battery installations, heat pumps, additional insulation, double glazing, smart meters, LED lighting and energy efficient white goods.

“Once families settle in these new homes, the clean energy benefits will speak for themselves, with increased levels of comfort requiring significantly less energy for day-to-day living. These homes, because they require less energy, will also help reduce the emissions impact of our built environment,” CEFC’s chief executive Ian Learmonth said.

COMMUNITY HOUSING LTD – A TRAIL BLAZER AT HOME AND AWAY

Australia’s largest national not for profit community housing provider, Community Housing Limited (CHL), delivers affordable housing in Australia, South Asia, South-East Asia and South America and is unstoppable in expanding its international footprint across those regions in the world where extreme housing poverty remains pervasive.

In Australia, CHL targets low to moderate income people who have the highest housing need or who have been disadvantaged by market failure in their efforts to secure long-term rental accommodation. These people may be living in metropolitan areas or in regional Australia.

In other countries, CHL works with people who are languishing in slums or in informal housing, unable to secure safe, affordable homes to achieve home ownership.

CHL’s 1993 founding was inspired by the need “to develop more organisations outside of public housing to deliver housing to specialised client groups in need,” recalls Founder and Managing Director, Steve Bevington.

When government funding came down the pipeline, the organisation got its start helping community groups in Victoria carry out small scale, specialised housing projects.

The not for profit has continued to grow ever since and is now the largest community housing provider in the country with over 11,000 properties under its management with the widest reach.

“We have been on a long journey, from the little projects with community groups in Victoria, through to expanding across Australia, to expanding overseas,” Mr Bevington recounts.

But, regardless of how large CHL has grown, “the original intention of the organisation is still there at the core,” says Steve marking the organisation has been in existence for a quarter of a century.

Under the leadership of its Managing Director and a forward-thinking and supportive Board, CHL has undoubtedly been the biggest champion of affordable housing at home and in these developing countries.

“We analyse the circumstances of communities and develop programs or projects so that they can secure affordable housing; it’s just that the extent of it has grown dramatically from those small projects.”

It has been CHL’s passion and commitment to provide stable accommodation to those most in need regardless of where they live in the world, that has seen the organisation’s international operations develop.

To effectively manage these operations, CHL has established subsidiaries in each of the international jurisdictions in which it works making differences to the lives of many in Timor Leste, Chile, India, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Rwanda.

“We have always been an adventurous and optimistic organisation. Prepared to take a chance when needed.  We’ve always had people who were prepared to dream and do things and it has been this persistence that has enabled us to move into places and drive change.

Whether it be in Australia or overseas, we have never been the ones to sit by idle, in fact we’ve always operated in environments which are extremely challenging and at times difficult to function, but despite this we have managed to advocate and achieve affordable housing outcomes for those disadvantaged and that is something I am very proud of. Operations have developed incrementally whether in Australia or overseas until the local environment is responsive to addressing housing affordability. For example, CHL established both its Tasmanian and Timorese operation in 2004 and neither achieved sustainable size and growth until 2014 but the fact that CHL had always been there meant that it was in a position to respond when circumstances changed such as the introduction of the Better Housing Futures stock transfer program in Tasmania and Government funding for affordable housing in Suai, Timor Leste.

Our international operations are all tailored to meet the needs of the local communities, there is never a “one size fits all” approach to delivering housing services and the flexibility and capacity that we have been able to offer to the communities we work with makes all the difference.”  emphasises Steve. It has been this level of understanding of the need to be flexible and respective of the needs of the people at a local level and the willingness to work alongside that has seen CHL thrive.

From Papua New Guinea to Chile, the environment is carefully analysed to determine what kind of housing is culturally acceptable, where this housing needs to be located, and how much people can afford to pay for this housing. The team must also consider what kinds of construction technologies should be introduced and what type of financing arrangements can be developed to ensure affordability.

Developing projects in regions which have always failed to create sustainable housing for the poor requires tenacity in maintaining trust and confidence to move forward. CHL is the only Australian housing organisation that has ventured overseas starting with Timor Leste and has been operational in the region for 14 years.

The venture has seen the development of a building technology which has introduced housing to the country at a cost that people can afford by creating employment and providing training in the manufacture of materials and construction of their housing.

“Our goal is always two-fold as we not only intend to eradicate housing poverty through the provision of affordable homes, but our intention is to provide the necessary support where necessary to empower communities through training and skill development”, Steve Bevington continued.

When CHL ventured overseas, the team encountered some new challenges that had to be addressed in new and innovative ways. “We went to countries where people subsisted off their land and had no income whatsoever,” shares Steve.

“There was no means by which they could pay for housing.” Governments were unable to offer much help, leaving CHL to forge a novel path. “In order to provide people with the means to pay for their housing, we added to our aims the development of training and employment related to construction and housing delivery.”

Over the period that CHL has operated in Timor Leste it has employed a 100 percent Timorese workforce which can carry out all stages of housing development.

This workforce was responsible for the completion of an affordable housing project in Timor Leste and included 87 homes, while delivering an accredited training program for the local workers and providing on-the-job training opportunities to up to 400 local unskilled workers. This project is now being expanded with the completion of design of a further 64 houses in the same region and planning for major affordable housing developments in the south of the country.

Recently, CHL Timor completed the construction of an accommodation facility for the teaching and administrative staff of San Carlos School in Dili, an Educational Retreat for the Marist Brothers in Baucau, design of a Teacher’s Training Centre to be funded by Monte Saint Angelo Mercy College in Maliana.

In Chile in the city of Valparaiso, CHL has carried out a number of projects comprising 35 houses priced at around 75% of the market value available to those lower income workers who receive a government subsidy to secure housing as well as projects to move communities living in slum conditions in central and southern Chile comprising 68 homes, CHL is now ready to commence affordable housing projects comprising 40 apartments for low income workers of Playa Ancha University and in Limache, Chile, some 50km from Valparaiso, we are about to commence an affordable housing 54 unit project as an alternative to the high rising apartment prices in Valparaiso. The build will be an ideal economic solution to those willing to commute as it will be along the major train line.

In Peru, CHL has made great advancements, with the commencement of its first build project in the city of Chincha. While employment is solid in the region, affordable housing is scarce and so CHL Peru considered Chincha to be an ideal location to assist those in need. The pilot project of a 20 unit complex is now under construction and in March, CHL Peru opened a sales office close by to negotiate sales of these competitively priced homes.

Prior to this, CHL Peru delivered a variety of housing design prototypes for 600 families in a rural central Peruvian community as part of a consultancy project with the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID), the South American branch of the World Bank.

The consultancy included numerous field trips to analyse existing buildings and to conduct workshops with affected residents who will soon lose their homes due to the construction of a freeway.  Most of the designs featured rammed earth, the only building material that local people are experienced to work with.

CHL Peru proposed that houses are built by their future owners, with the assistance of engineers, architects and community workers, as it is important in such a remote area to keep the number of external workers who are unfamiliar with local customs to a minimum.

At present CHL is exploring the rehousing options of slum communities in Iquitos on the Amazon river where thousands of families may be able to be rehoused in multistorey accommodation with improved security and better living conditions and alongside this CHL is examining assisting remote Amazonian communities with essential infrastructure to supply drinking water and electricity given that they have no access at present.

In Africa, CHL Rwanda Ltd (CHLR) has signed a MOU with the Government as part of a joint venture to develop a site in Kigali, Rwanda, dedicated to the construction of an affordable housing project on 13.15 hectares for low-income singles and families comprising of 1,184 homes priced at around 50% of the market rate prevailing in Kigali.

As part of its South East operations, CHL Building and Design Services Pvt Ltd, an Indian subsidiary of CHL has partnered with a real estate development group Shivdhan Infra based in Ahmedabad & Mumbai to participate in affordable housing projects.

The first partnership project is the Pooja Heaven Affordable Housing project located in Dehgam near Ahmedabad that is now commencing construction. The project comprises the construction of 134 apartments for key workers in Dehgam who will be able to take advantage of concessionary loans to secure housing. The housing is priced at 22-26 lakh (A$44,000-53,000) which is eligible for first home owner grants and GST concessions and will be affordable for lower income administrative workers at around 65% of the price of equivalent housing locally.

In Indonesia, CHL Indonesia has been working with a local foundation, Grya, that it assisted the establishment of to create solutions for housing the poor. In the lead up to the national election Grya, became the policy think tank assisting the Director General of Housing to formulate a reform agenda for housing the poor in Indonesia. Over the next year six pilot projects in different parts of the country will be commenced with slum communities and an overall plan to encourage a national program for slum redevelopment is being formulated.

Under Steve’s stewardship, CHL continues its willingness to innovate and evolve its offerings both locally in Australia and overseas.

Its steady and sustained focus on a vision of ‘a world without housing poverty” ensures a journey outside its comfort zone to make progress towards this outcome.

Throughout Australia – and around the world – there is an ongoing need for affordable housing solutions. Meeting that need will always be fraught with challenges – but CHL is committed to overcoming them.

The organisation has already blazed a new trail in the affordable housing industry, redefining what is possible both at home and abroad.

And with a full roster of projects already lined up for several years, the team will continue to make a difference and is excited about approaching the next 25 years of its journey.

*CHL’s country presence outside of Australia.

 

Anglicare Australia publishes Rental Affordability Snapshot 2019

Anglicare Australia has published its Rental Affordability Snapshot for 2019, highlighting Australia’s bleak reality for housing affordability. The organisation’s member agencies conducted the Rental Affordability Snapshot over a weekend in March 2019. The study revealed that it is almost impossible for people receiving welfare payments to find affordable housing across the country.

This year’s snapshot surveyed 69,485 private rental listings and found that, devastatingly, no capital city in Australia had properties affordable for a single person on Youth Allowance or Newstart. Only one property out of the 69,000 examined over the snapshot weekend was affordable for people on Youth Allowance. Just two properties – one in the Riverina and one in the Orange regions – were able to be rented by a single person receiving Newstart.

554 rental properties were found as affordable for a single person on Age Pension, and only 317 were affordable for a person on Disability Support Pension.

The Rental Affordability Snapshot also assessed housing affordability for those working full-time on a minimum wage. Just 2 per cent of rental properties were affordable for this demographic, and 75% of properties were unaffordable for couples who both earn minimum wage and have two young children. While the number of available properties for people on minimum wage has increased since 2018 in Greater Sydney, the majority of these are located further away from the CBD in areas such as Western and Southern Western Sydney, the Central
Coast and the Blue Mountains.

This report has once again highlighted the urgent need for a firm and long-term commitment to the supply of more affordable housing from all levels of government, community and business sectors. The 2019 Rental Affordability Snapshot also includes detailed policy recommendations.

Read the Rental Affordability Snapshot 2019 – Greater Sydney and Illawarra here.

Read the Rental Affordability Snapshot 2019 – Breakdown of Results by Statistical Area – Greater Sydney and Illawarra here.

Housing Trust to build $2.4m affordable rental home complex

Community housing provider (CHP), Housing Trust, has begun work on a $2.4m affordable housing project in Flinders, NSW.

The Housing Trust development will be built on Willinga road and will feature two three-bedroom villas and five two-bedroom villas. One of the two-bedroom villas will also incorporate disabled access in its design.

This development will be Housing Trust’s third in 12 months, as the CHP continues to provide affordable housing for Illawarra. A total of $10m has been committed to building properties in Bulli, Corrimal and Flinders.

“We’re looking at a very substantial ongoing investment into the community which is not just creating homes but keeping money and jobs in the community and looking after families that are here.

“We’re thrilled to be able to be making this investment and commitment to the Shellharbour community,” CEO Michele Adair said.

The Flinders villas are expected to be complete by early 2020, with tenants moving in soon after.

Recent Research – More Reasons for Investing in Affordable Rental Housing

There is always plenty of research, policy proposals and housing news, and too few hours to digest it all. Over the last month three particular pieces are worth your time and effort. In this issue we focus on two of those. The May issue will feature the third – Shaping Housing Futures.

On 25 February, an audience at Sydney Museum heard Professor Duncan Maclennan presented the findings from ‘Strengthening Economic Cases for Housing Policy.’ It was commissioned from UNSW, City Futures by a 17 strong consortium led by CHIA NSW and including organisations from the private, government and not for profit sectors. The research subjected selected housing economy effects (identified in an earlier ‘Stage 1’ study to econometric modelling). The project also involved the expertise of SGS Economics & Planning and Cadence Economics.

In essence, the project involved comparing the productivity gains from locating housing near to jobs and services by modeling outcomes for both well and poorly located neighbourhoods in Sydney. The results are startling. In summary:

  • Individual workers could save the equivalent of $2,500 per year in travel time through shorter commute times, and with half the saved time used for working, this would lead to extra $1.13 billion of labour supply for the growing NSW economy;
  • Moving workers closer to a wider range of jobs will see their skills better used and their incomes increased by between $12,000 to $41,000 more a year (depending on their qualifications) by locating to neighbourhoods with job densities;
  • These increased earnings should lead to a $17.57 billion boost to the economy over 40 years.
  • Even after factoring in the $7.8 billion it will cost to invest in 125,000 affordable rented homes over 10 years, the economy would still be around $12 billion better off.

Those of us working in the sector have long argued that safe, secure and affordable homes make a substantial difference to people’s life chances and overall wellbeing. What this work shows is that by failing to properly invest in affordable housing, we are throwing away potentially billions in lost income.

There is more work to be done on other economic effects. While we could estimate the ‘excess rental burden’ of lower income households paying more than 30% of their income on housing costs, we could not model what this means for savings and expenditure elsewhere in the economy. A stage 3 beckons.

A few days later, UNSW City Futures published a report estimating the costs of delivering new social and affordable housing to meet needs (across Australia) over the next 20 years. It builds on the AHURI research ‘Social Housing as Infrastructure: An Investment Pathway’ to extend that methodology to estimate the need for affordable rental housing from households in the second income quintile who are in housing stress.

Again the numbers appear startling. The one million homes that are needed attracted some comment. Of that, almost two thirds are required to play catch up i.e. to meet existing need, and is a consequence of failure to invest in the past.

The cost to government of meeting needs is modelled in the report based on a number of funding scenarios.  What stands out, is how land influences the development costs in many metro areas and thus how valuable government land contributions or inclusionary zoning can be. The report can be accessed here.

Together, these two reports set out the scale of the social and affordable housing shortfall, what an affordable housing program could cost, but also the positive impact government investment could realise in achieving wider economic gains.

– Wendy Hayhurst, CEO of CHIA National

Anglicare to develop Coca-Cola site into affordable housing

A section of the recently-closed Coca-Cola Amatil manufacturing site in Thebarton will be transformed into social and affordable housing for people on low-incomes, InDaily can reveal.

The ageing Thebarton line produced its final bottle of Coke last week, ending 66 years of local production.

The 2.5ha Port Road site had been valued at almost $17 million in February last year when it was rezoned to allow for residential development of up to eight stories.

Anglicare SA CEO Peter Sandeman told InDaily this morning that his organisation had this week purchased a 9,500m2 portion of the site for an undisclosed sum to build its third housing and services hub in metropolitan Adelaide.

The purchased site, approximately two-blocks in size immediately south of the bottling plant, will be developed into multi-storey affordable and social housing, an Anglicare services centre and a space for “back-room administration”. It will complement Anglicare’s two existing services hubs, located in Elizabeth and Noarlunga.

Coca-Cola Amatil had formerly used the site as a storage space and car park.

Sandeman said it was “enormously rare” to secure a plot of land so close to the city and he was “quite confident” that construction would begin in six months, with the build expected to be completed by about 2020-21.

“I suspect Anglicare will be the first to develop on the site so we will have to use due-care in making sure the design is appropriate and sets, I hope, a high standard of what will be developed along that stretch of Port Road in the future,” he said.

Read more here….

Affordable build to rent project wins award

A Queensland community housing provider is ‘over the moon’ after winning an UDIA’s Affordable Housing award for what it has dubbed Australia’s first truly affordable build to rent project.

Churches for Christ Housing Services took out the award for its 50-dwelling townhouse complex in Kallangur, in Brisbane’s northern suburbs. The development, which includes a community centre, was built on well-located land gifted to the organisation by local philanthropists Ian and Neva Handy.

CoC Housing Services General Manager Frances Paterson-Fleider says the successful partnership of local philanthropists, funding by their parent organisation Churches of Christ in Queensland, and a local builder National Construction Management (who they had used previously) who was willing to provide a fixed price for the project, all assisted to make it affordable.

Frances says her organisation was delighted at the win, particularly knowing it was competing against property heavy weights like Grocon.

The award ‘recognises outstanding product that’s pricing is aligned with the selected target market and has considered issues such as ongoing operating costs, sustainability, its integration with the local community, and quality finishes amongst other criteria.’

The UDIA noted that the townhouses, ‘deliver well considered design, construction quality, and diversity of product focussed around a community centre and adjacent open space. The development considered both lifecycle costs and practical sustainable initiatives within a tight budget. The project received strong market acceptance from individuals and families in need of safe and quality accommodation at an affordable price.’

‘This was an amazing outcome for Churches of Christ and our Housing team,’ Frances says. ‘I believe every staff member had a role to play in this achievement – whether direct or supporting processes or holding the fort while staff worked on this.

‘Thank you everyone – a remarkable achievement to be recognised by our peers and most importantly, transforming the lives of another 50 households.’

Interested in becoming a registered NT provider?

The NT Government will be hosting free information sessions for housing providers interested in becoming registered Community Housing Providers under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH).

The NRSCH was developed to regulate providers of community housing, including social and affordable housing, indigenous community housing providers and other specialist community housing providers.

Obtaining registration may improve eligibility for future funding and investment opportunities in the community housing sector, however registration is voluntary.

The information session will cover:

  • Overview of the NRSCH
  • Benefits of registration
  • Capacity Building for Capability
  • Registration Process
  • Wind Up Clause – National Law
  • Examples of performance evidence requirements
  • Compliance assessment
  • NRSCH Resources and Questions

Sessions will be held as follows:

Darwin Thursday 22 November 2018

Alice Springs Friday 30 November 2018

Following the information sessions, interested providers will be able to register to meet with representatives to discuss registration of their organisation in further detail.

If you are a community housing provider and interested in attending one of these sessions, please email NRSCH.DHCD@nt.gov.au by 16 November 2018.

For more information, please call the Community Housing team on 8999 8409.

Community housing welcomes new ACT Housing Strategy

Community housing organisations have welcomed this week’s launch of the ACT Government’s new Housing Strategy, which included a substantial $100m investment in public housing renewal and growth, and a commitment to the growth of the community housing sector.

Whilst detail on the specific support to the community housing sector was limited, the strategy has set a target of ensuring 15 per cent of all future government land releases are for either public housing, affordable rental housing or affordable purchase opportunities.

The government has also committed to reducing the cost of land made available to the sector and to investigating planning controls or lease variation charge remissions to encourage additional affordable rental and purchase opportunities on privately owned land.

Other key measures include the provision of head lease opportunities to the sector for 151 (just over 1 per cent of the total) public housing properties over the next five years; a commitment to explore extending land rent scheme eligibility to the sector; and, measures to grow the supply of affordable rental properties from private owners to be managed by the sector.

Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) ACT Region Chair Andrew Hannan says the community housing sector is keen to further engage government as it undertakes investigation on potential measures outlined in the strategy, as well as some other complementary reforms, to lift the supply of affordable housing in a way that would enable the government to access the benefits that would flow from leveraging the community housing sector.

‘The community housing sector has the capacity to more than double its current property portfolio of 1,000 properties over the next 10 years with government support,’ Mr Hannan says.

‘Having our sector develop and manage properties reduces the capital burden on the government and reliance on its services. It also attracts more Commonwealth money into the ACT as community housing tenants are eligible for Commonwealth Rental Assistance.’

‘Community housing is a proven cost-effective way for the government to deliver affordable housing, but we do need help to bridge the gap between revenue from the low rent able to be charged to our low-income tenants and the costs of supplying accommodation,’ Mr Hannan says.

‘Only by bridging that yield gap can we close the gap between the high levels of demand and the low level of supply of affordable rental homes for people in the ACT.’

CHIA’s ACT Region Committee member organisations include Argyle, CHC, Catholic Care, Focus ACT, Havelock Housing and Northside Community Services.