New development for family violence survivors

The Victorian Property Fund has financed a new housing development to be managed by Women’s Housing Ltd in Newport, Melbourne, that has been designed specifically for women and children escaping family violence.

The project replaced seven existing housing units  with nine one-bedroom units and 11 two-bedroom units.

Women’s Housing is a community housing provider with a focus on housing older women and survivors of family violence.

Read more…

Job: Female tenancy manager needed

Women’s Property Initiatives (WPI) is a Community housing developer and registered housing provider creating homes that will enable low-income women and their children to live with dignity as contributing members of local communities.

WPI currently manages 84 properties with ongoing expansion expected in the near future. WPI is looking for a woman (Human Rights List Exemption H246/2016) to provide management of tenancies, records and reporting, property maintenance, contractor management, maintenance tracking, input into asset management and other administrative support for the organisation.

Women’s Property Initiatives (WPI) is an innovative social housing developer and manager of properties that provides female-headed families on low to moderate incomes appropriate housing options to enable them to live with dignity as contributing members of local communities.

It’s mission is to build a future for women and children in need by developing and providing good quality, long term, affordable housing.

Click here for details on how to apply for this role.

Job: Evolve into a Comms role

Evolve Housing is seeking a full-time Communications and Public Relations Officer.

Reporting to the Senior Manager – Marketing & Engagement this position is responsible for providing timely and professional communications and public relations support to the business by contributing to the development of the social media strategy and proactively develop and maintain relationships with media contacts and key stakeholders.

You will primarily be responsible for maintaining high-quality editorial content, providing proof reading and editing support to the business unit and updating website content using WordPress. You will also need to identify opportunities for engagement with media, Government, industry and partner organisations and develop media releases, case studies, articles, speeches, submissions, presentations, fact sheets and other written and digital resources.

Click here for details on how to apply.

Job: Support worker, Melbourne

Launch Housing is looking for a patient, yet passionate, person to join its dedicated team supporting families living in its South Melbourne crisis accommodation and in the community.

Launch is looking for someone who understands homelessness and wants to work with people in the community to address barriers to long term, sustainable housing. If you are empathetic, organised, enjoy collaboration and working with people in their space, this is the job for you.

Fixed term, full time role until 2/11/2018 (maternity leave cover), $62,900 +Super,  salary packaging benefits & additional leave.

Position description and application details are available here.


Social Impact of Affordable Housing

AHURI has released a new report , Understanding opportunities for social impact investment in the development of affordable housing.

The report examines the opportunities for, barriers to, and risks to social impact investment (SII) for social and affordable housing in Australia.

SIIs aim to achieve a specific beneficial social objective together with a financial return, and measure the achievement of both.

The researchers looked at US and UK models and interviewed government experts, social impact investors and not-for-profit housing providers, to inform the analysis.

You can download the report here.

Baptistcare’s $39M development gets go ahead

The Sydney Western City Planning Panel has approved an application by BaptistCare Community Housing’s to undertake a $39 million development for seniors in Narellan, a region that is lacking in affordable housing.

The panel has approved the two stage development that will see the construction of an initial 84 senior housing dwellings and 38 affordable rentals (group homes) followed by a 129 room/134 bed residential aged care facility and 46 retirement villas.

New Aboriginal housing peak for NSW

The NSW Aboriginal Housing Office has partnered with the NSW Federation of Housing Associations (NSWFHA) to support the development of a new peak body to represent that state’s Aboriginal community housing sector.

The new body is to be called the Aboriginal Community Housing Industry Association NSW– or ACHIA NSW – to promote a close working relationship with the mainstream peak bodies; the national Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) and state NSWFHA (which plans to change its name to CHIA NSW in 2018).

Since being established in December, ACHIA’s interim committee has been developing its terms of reference, a work plan and strategic priorities to take back to the sector for consultation.

NSWFHA has also been working hard to raise the profile of the new peak with stakeholders, including all levels of government, so that Aboriginal housing is not just seen as a specialist area dealt with by specialist agencies.

The interim committee will consult with the sector on the governance structure for ACHIA, including elections and the selection criteria for Board members.

Strong economic argument for govt investment in housing

Economist Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ is looking a bit arthritic when it comes to the housing market, according to Professor Duncan McLennan.

At a seminar in Sydney this week, Professor McLennan proposed a strong set of economic arguments for government investment in housing to support the traditional arguments of affordable housing as a merit good which makes a critical social contribution.

Professor McLennan observed that, across the western world, governments had stepped back from investing in affordable housing in the 1980s, following the idea that the market should prevail. It is now abundantly clear that Adam Smith’s theory of the invisible hand of the market would see the self-interested actions of individuals frequently benefiting society more than if actions that were intended to benefit society is not ensuring good outcomes for those on low incomes.

The broader housing market is made up of a mosaic of housing sub-markets that interact in complex ways with the wider economy. In cities like Sydney, the housing market has become so overinflated compared to the wider housing market that government cannot manage it using the usual monetary policy solutions without disrupting the wider economy.

It is surprising how little analysis there has been in Australia of the impact of housing on the economy, he said.  Yet housing represents 20 to 25 per cent of the household budget; it is the most significant asset and major debt of households.

When households spend more and more of their income on housing costs, they divert spending away from consumption of other goods and services and they save less. Productivity is lowered by the long commutes of key workers, congestion in our cities, and the mismatch of jobs and housing.

There is a strong intergenerational impact as well he said.  Children’s educational outcomes are impacted by poor housing and concentration of low income households in more affordable areas, away from job opportunities, compromises the school to work transitions of young people. A new narrative is needed, he argued, which deals with housing as part of a country’s essential infrastructure, not as separate or in opposition to investment in transport or energy, for example.

McLennan’s presentation was followed by a panel discussion involving Jennifer Westacott, CEO of the Business Council of Australia, Emeritus Professor Judith Yates, and Dr Marcus Spiller of SGS Economics.

Ms Westacott  flagged that the Business Council of Australia is keen to work with the sector on housing policy.  She identified that one of the reasons for our housing problem was the failure of planning systems to take a long-term, integrated view of transport housing and other infrastructure.

We need to encourage large scale private sector investment into affordable housing and reform the taxes and charges that distort the housing market. Westacott said it was time to look again at how housing subsidies were delivered into social housing, observing that the situation now might be very different if the Howard government’s 1996 proposals had succeeded (to replace the Commonwealth-state housing agreement funding to the states with  rent assistance).

Innovation in the monolithic public housing system was nigh impossible, Ms Westacott said.

Judith Yates urged the audience not to abandon the social justice narrative in the pursuit of stronger economic arguments for government investment in housing. There is plenty of evidence that growing inequality itself lowers a country’s productivity, she said, but we should not just be concerned about inequality because of its impact on productivity.

Yates asked if we succeed in changing the housing system to increase productivity, how will the benefits of that increase be shared across the community? Looking towards Australia in 2117, she challenged the audience to think more creatively about the housing challenge – should we be building more cities for instance?

Marcus Spiller of SGS Economics challenged the audience to consider why governments had become so deaf to the economic arguments for intervening in the housing market.  Since neither the Federal nor state governments appear able to deal with Australia’s housing challenge, he proposed that a better way to transact housing policies would be to devolve authority for matters such as planning and taxes to the regional level.  Regional, he hastened to add, means metro-wide planning approaches. Spiller also asked the question of who owns the development rights to land – while ownership of the land is clear, surely the development rights belong to all of us.


Submission rejects expansion of ACNC role

In a submission to the Treasury’s Review of the Australian Charities and Not For Profit Commission (ACNC), the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) has rejected a proposed expansion of the ACNC’s remit.

The ACNC had recommended that its Act be amended to include promoting the effective use of  resources of not-for-profits and accountability to donors, beneficiaries and the public.

CHIA Executive Director, Peta Winzar, says the recommendation is misguided.

‘First and foremost, the Board of a not-for-profit organisation is responsible for ensuring its resources are used effectively,’ Ms Winzar says.

‘Second, in the community housing sector the state-based regulators which operate under the National Regulatory Scheme for Community Housing, and its counterparts in Victoria and Western Australia, periodically review the effectiveness of both for profit and not-for-profit registered community housing organisations.

‘Third, the he National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH) publishes sector-wide data on the effectiveness of the registered sector. Sector-wide information about tenant and housing outcomes of community housing organisations is also published by the Productivity Commission in its annual Report on Government Services.

‘So we see no value in the ACNC shadowing the functions of a Board, or duplicating the existing arrangements for regulating and reporting on community housing organisations,’ Ms Winzar says.

However, CHIA did support the ACNC’s proposal to include a statutory definition of a ‘not-for-profit organisation’ to clarify how assets will be handled in the event of an organisation winding up.

‘CHIA would also welcome further work by the ACNC and the Australian Accounting Standards Board to improve the reporting framework for registered charities,’ Ms Winzar says.

‘We would, of course, expect that changes to the reporting framework will advance the existing objective of the Act to reduce unnecessary regulatory obligations on the Australian not-for-profit sector.’



CHIA Vic opens early bird tix

CHIA Vic’s has released early bird tickets for the Brave New World of Community Housing conference, to be held on Thursday, April 19.

Keynote speaker, Derek Ballantyne, is the new Chair of the organisation tasked with the implementation of Canada’s new National Housing Strategy.

Derek will provide insights into the development of the strategy, and expected a vital educational and networking event that provides our members and key stakeholders access to the industry’s latest developments, policy and best practice via inspirational speakers.

See details on the conference program, or secure your early bird tickets now.