Encourage survey participation

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) 2018 National Social Housing Survey (NSHS) has been distributed to a randomly selected group of community housing tenants and members are encouraged, through their communications, to impress upon them the importance of participating.

Whilst organisations won’t know if any of their tenants have been selected for the survey, the AIHW has asked that they still ensure tenants know the surveys are legitimate and important: the data collected helps inform service improvements to social housing programs and is used for national reporting purposes.

Selected tenants will have received a pre-approval letter that advises them to expect the survey. A  follow up letter includes the survey, which they can complete online.

The AIHW has also requested that community housing organisations refrain from running their own surveys between mid-April and June to avoid confusing tenants.

The 2018 NSHS will collect information from a sample of tenants in social housing, including community housing tenants, from all states and territories. Community housing tenants who are selected to participate in the 2018 NSHS will receive the survey by mail. Information collected from community housing tenants will include:

  • tenants’ satisfaction with current housing and housing – related services
  • tenants’ housing histories
  • tenants’ need for, and ability to access, other community and health services, and
  • demographic data about the tenant and their household.

The NSHS will also include tenants in Public Housing, State Owned and Managed Indigenous Housing and, for the first time in 2018, will include tenants in Indigenous Community Housing in Queensland.

Some of this year’s survey results will be included in the Productivity Commission’s annual Report on Government Services in January 2019, with the rest to be released in March/April 2019.

The last NSHS was held 2016. Click here for the 2016 results.



Scam warning

A warning to members and stakeholders that someone impersonating a CHIA employee has been emailing organisations in the housing space and asking them to get in touch to share some documents.

If you receive an email from Stephen Ronald, who is purporting to be CHIA’s Manager Policy and Standards, please do not engage and definitely do not open any attachments. This person is in no way associated with CHIA and never has been.

Genuine emails from CHIA will include the domain @communityhousing.com.au rather than being from a generic gmail or other email account.

Please share this warning with your staff and networks.

PPHA delivers 73 new homes for low income residents

Port Phillip Housing Association (PPHA) will team up with the Whitehorse City Council and property developer MAB Corporation (MAB) to deliver 73 brand new architect-designed, affordable homes for low income residents, particularly older people and those living with a disability.

The $25 million affordable housing project in Bruce Street, Box Hill will further expand PPHA’s social housing capacity in the inner-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, at a time when rental properties for low income residents, are critically low.

Whitehorse City Council is one of the first local authorities in Melbourne’s east to take the lead in increasing affordable housing.

PPHA Chairman Frank O’Connor said: ‘This project proves just what can be achieved when private enterprise, local government, great design and innovative community housing come together with a sincere, common purpose.

‘A critical solution to the housing affordability crisis being felt right across our communities, is to fundamentally increase the number of affordable, quality homes available to rent.

‘There are simply not enough affordable homes to fill the need, where that need is located,’ Mr. O’Connor said.

‘Building contemporary, beautiful, good quality homes where people can live safely, with dignity and at an affordable price brings relief not just to them, but to the whole community.’

Whitehorse Mayor, Cr Andrew Davenport said this new development will provide 73 well designed apartments for local residents who will pay rent only within their means.

‘In Whitehorse, only 1.6 per cent of all rental vacancies in 2016 were classified as affordable,’ Cr Davenport said.

‘With Port Phillip Housing Association and MAB Corporation involved in the project, Box Hill locals can be assured that the development will be attractive and will integrate beautifully into the character and amenity of the local area.’

This will be the second affordable housing collaboration between PPHA, HAYBALL architects and MAB Corporation, a leading, diversified Melbourne-based development group. The same team was behind the Moorabbin Affordable Housing development completed in 2011 with a project value of $23 million. Located in South Road Moorabbin, the project delivered seven storeys and 75 apartments at completion.

The Bruce Street Box Hill project will comprise;

  • 73 architect-designed affordable housing apartments,
  • built to the Victorian Government’s Better Apartment Design standards,
  • a mix of studio, 1 and 2-bedroom and dual key dwellings,
  • will include apartments specially designed for those living with a disability, with
  • 40 apartments suitable for older residents.

The site will also include a social enterprise café as well as commercial and retail opportunities, to create a supportive vibrant neighbourhood for residents.

PPHA Chief Executive Haleh Homaei said building resilient and sustainable neighbourhoods to support good quality housing is the key to long term, stable, affordable housing tenancies and ensuring return on investment.

This expertise, plus our 30+ years’ experience in tenancy management are the unique elements that we, as a robust, regulated community housing agency, bring to this table and to all our collaborative partnerships.

‘We are thrilled to be working on our next exciting project with Whitehorse City Council, MAB and Hayball. This project will deliver $25 million high quality – affordable housing to Box Hill.’

  • article contributed by PPHA

Job: CHIA WA looking for state manager

CHIA WA is seeking to appoint a State Manager, who will report to the CHIA WA Regional Director and receive some administrative and secretariat support from Access Housing Australia Ltd, a member organisation of CHIA WA.

The State Manager will be independently responsible for the following areas:

  • Sector Development & Training
  • Communications and Stakeholder Engagement
  • Policy Development & Advocacy
  • Revenue Consolidation and Diversification

This role is currently budgeted as Part Time (0.5 FTE) for a period of two years subject to funding.

Click here for details

Meet your Board Members: Leonie King

CHIA Board member and City West Housing CEO Leonie King brings a unique perspective to her community housing role.

Leonie spent a number of years working in housing as a senior NSW Government executive. She bowed out of the bureaucracy in 2016 as an Executive Director in the Department of Family and Community Services, her most recent roles including responsibility for community housing and specialist disability accommodation.
‘I had developed a passion for the community housing sector,’ Leonie says, ‘And I thought the obvious thing to do was to go into in the sector that I had been involved in growing and supporting for a considerable period of time.

‘What has always appealed to me about housing, and about social and affordable housing in particular, is that tension between the commercial imperative and social objectives and how you use use both levers to make lives better for people. That makes it a very interesting area to work in because you are always having to make judgement calls and trade offs.’

Leonie is optimistic about community housing’s potential to develop and grow over the next few years.

‘There had been a bit of a drought nationally in recent years in terms of government focus and attention on the community housing sector, but now there are so many different parts of government that all see the community housing sector’s usefulness in terms of their ability to deliver on the government’s policy agenda.’

Not that the attention is without its difficulties, as different government agencies and tiers of Government have different contractual obligations and different risk profiles, adding to the administrative complexity and costs of managing multiple similar, but slightly different, programs and contracts.

‘It would be really nice to see a bit more consistency; if they contracted in a similar way, if the standard terms and the standard risk profile for like programs was similar that just makes the decision making process so much easier.’

City West has been a major beneficiary of the only planning scheme in Australia (in the City of Sydney) that sees developer contributions levied on developments and passed through directly to a community housing organisation.

‘We have received quite significant contributions under that model which is invested in new affordable housing.’

Leonie says it is unfortunate that many local governments who receive affordable housing in exchange for density bonuses to developers are hesitant to consider a role for community housing beyond property and tenancy management.

‘The standard model is that the councils receive those affordable housing units at the end of the project, maintain ownership and outsource the management; I think there is a potential missed opportunity in either transferring ownership to community housing providers or thinking about forming a joint venture or partnership arrangement with community housing at the front end of that process.

‘The strength of the City of Sydney model is that they saw that owning and managing community housing was not their core business or their core strength,’ Leonie says.

While City West Housing has not participated in the NSW Government’s transfer of more than 6,000 public housing properties to community housing providers in recent years Leonie, unsurprisingly, is a major fan of this initiative.

‘I passionately believe that the first major tranche of property transfers in NSW, which also saw a transfer of ownership, was the trigger that was needed at that time in NSW to build the balance sheet capacity for the sector so it could then borrow and deliver more affordable housing.’

NSW now has a number of large community housing providers, holding significant assets, undertaking development and operating at scale which is a direct result of those title transfers, she says.
‘If you want to grow through borrowing you can’t do that without a balance sheet.’

A number of those providers now stand to benefit from the NSW Government’s commitment to transfer the management of a further 14,000 public housing properties.

Looking to the future, Leonie would like to see more public housing transferred to the community housing sector.

‘I strongly believe in having a diversified delivery system to provide more choice and to create innovation. I think that is really hard to create when, as is the case in NSW, you still have a 130,000 property portfolio managed by one provider. So I would like to see change of at least management, if not ownership.

‘The more this sector grows, the more housing outcomes we can deliver for people…so I hope governments continue that trajectory.’

Job: Launch looking for CEO

Launch Housing is seeking to appoint an outstanding Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to provide visionary leadership to the organisation and drive performance in every aspect of service delivery.

Reporting to the Board, the CEO will lead the design and implementation of the strategic plan, provide leadership and identify opportunities to enhance, and contribute to the overall objectives of Launch Housing. Maintaining a strong public profile, delivering improvements in performance and further strengthening stakeholder relationships across all levels of government, community and corporate agencies, the CEO will represent and advocate for the interests of the organisation’s client base.

Click here for details and to apply.

Job: Unison seeking Management Accountant Melbourne

We are currently seeking applications for the Management Accountant position to play a key role in our Finance team. As a Management Accountant you will support Unison by providing management accounting and financial support services, such as completing month end processes, project and asset accounting, cost centre reporting, budgeting/forecasting, responding to queries from the organisation, compliance and governance activities along with providing general accounting advice and analysis.

Click here for details and to apply.