Why you should join CHIA in 2018

Do you want to have a say on affordable and community housing issues in 2018? Then this is the year to join CHIA.

Happy new capital gains discount

Effective today, the Federal Government will lift the capital gains tax discount from 50 to 60 per cent to Australian residents who invest in qualifying affordable housing.

The government has clarified that tenant eligibility and rental payments will be determined by registered community housing providers, consistent with state and territory affordable housing policies.

Taxpayers must hold the property for use as affordable housing for an aggregate of three years in order to access the additional discount.

We look forward to seeing the legislation hit parliament in February and seeing the details from the states and territories re its implementation.

Media Release: New housing agreement outcomes under threat

The ability of a new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement to deliver an increase in social housing will be reduced by the Federal Government’s decision to withdraw $6.5 million to monitor its effectiveness, the peak body for community housing has warned.

CEO of the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA), Peta Winzar says the old National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) did not deliver more social housing because of a lack of transparency and she fears the new agreement will meet the same fate.

Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, Michael Sukkar MP, told a meeting of community housing providers in September: ‘The Federal Government contributes $1.3 billion a year under the NAHA, we have done so for more than a decade…and on virtually every measure in that decade we have seen housing worsen. We have seen social and public housing stock decrease in many jurisdictions.’

Minister Sukkar cited the old agreement’s lack of impact as the motivation for creating a new agreement that would require the State’s to demonstrate the effectiveness of the funding in adding more social housing stock.

Despite this, the Federal Government’s Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook statement has reneged on its commitment to set aside $6.5m over four years for the National Competition Council to monitor the effectiveness of the new agreement. Instead, the Department of Treasury will be asked to assist with the implementation and ongoing assessment of the new agreement, using existing resources.

‘Monitoring this agreement requires a level of expertise in housing,’ Ms Winzar says. ‘We need to learn lessons from the failings of the old agreement and ensure Federal funds are spent in a way that delivers the safe, affordable and appropriate social housing that is so desperately needed.’

‘Perhaps the government could rethink the $10m it is setting aside for a communications on its housing affordability measures – and direct some of those funds to ensuring the measures are working in a transparent and effective way.’

New Chair for CHPs for QLD

CHPs for Qld/CHIA Qld has a new Chair with experienced and independent board member Anne-Maree Keane elected to the role. Anne-Maree is Partner Transaction Services at KPMG Australia and has over 20 years’ experience in accounting including a Fellowship of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and a Fellowship of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia. Her expertise includes acquisition, due diligence, transaction and negotiation support, deal support, valuations and data analytics.

The former Chair, Jo Ahern, has been appointed as CEO position.

‘Having held the role of Chair over the last seven months and having worked closely with CHIA and other state/national players, I am really looking forward to this change in role and working to achieve our new strategic goals,’ Ms Ahern says.

‘Linda Cupitt, our EO will step down in the coming week or so, after providing a handover. As you would be aware, Linda has worked really well with the board over the last year and has contributed substantially to the board’s achievement of many of our goals including cementing our relationship we CHIA. We are sad to see Linda go but she has other professional and personal plans; hence her decision. The board and I wish Linda the very best and we look forward to maintaining this relationship.’

Ideas needed

Your input needed for 2018 Federal Budget

CHIA has started work on what we want to see in the 2018 Federal Budget to improve housing affordability and we want your ideas. However, time is short, so you’ll need to get them to us fast!

In an unusually early start to the Budget process this year, the Treasurer has asked for Budget submissions to be lodged by mid-December.  This means we will need to get your policy proposals by December 1, 2017, so we can finalise our submission by the deadline.

If you have ideas to improve housing affordability for renters or for home buyers, ideas to increase housing supply, or ideas to help people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, then we want to hear them.

We are particularly interested in your proposals for reforming taxes – not just the well-rehearsed suggestions like changes to negative gearing and the Capital Gains Tax, but ideas for the other quirky bits of the tax system that make it difficult to do business, create inconsistent outcomes, or could create big opportunities for change.  (For example: enabling developers to claim gift deductibility on their tax if they donate housing stock to charities could encourage developers to increase the amount of affordable housing in developments. Currently, donated stock can’t be regarded as a gift if it has been transferred as a condition of a planning permit that requires the provision of affordable housing.)

So send us your ideas – anything from a couple of sentences to a page is fine. Here are a few questions that will help us pull all the ideas together: What is the problem that needs to be fixed? What are good arguments in support of this proposal? Will it benefit any particular group (for example, older renters, people living in regional areas, Indigenous Australians, first home buyers)? Would it affect many people? How much is it likely to cost or save?  Is the wider community likely to support or oppose it?

Email your ideas through to peta.winzar@communityhousing.com.au

Housing issue ignored in Qld campaign

Almost half of all low-income households in Queensland are suffering from housing stress due to a failure of governments to address the issue.

Despite a 13 per cent increase in federal funding over the past seven years, Queensland continues to lag behind the rest of the country in supplying social and affordable housing according to the states peak body for community housing providers (CHPs).

Chair of CHPs for Queensland, Josephine Ahern, said the issue was of vital importance to Queensland but one thats probably not on the political radar of parties during the current campaign.

Read CHPs for Qld’s media release.

winning picture

CHL to house 2,200 plus in NSW

National Tier one and largest not for profit housing provider, Community Housing Limited (CHL) is excited at the prospect of providing social housing to over 2,200 more people on the NSW Mid North Coast.

In an announcement made by the NSW Minister for Social Housing, Pru Goward, CHL was successful in its tender under the Social Housing Management Transfer Program for the Port Macquarie, Kempsey and Nambucca areas.

CHL will take management responsibility for around 1,300 additional properties, currently managed by Family and Community Services (FACS). Alongside this portfolio growth, CHL will also take responsibility for managing all applications for social housing and private rental assistance in the area, and will take a lead role in coordinating the social housing and homelessness sector across the Mid North Coast region.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for CHL to provide more services to more people, in places where the company has a long history of serving the community”, says Steve Bevington, Managing Director of Community Housing Ltd.

The NSW Government is transferring the management of around 14,000 social housing tenancies to community housing providers by 2019 bringing the total stock under management by community housing providers to 32 per cent.

Properties are scheduled to transfer in late 2018 with the NSW Government maintaining ownership of all of the properties and leasing them to CHL for a 20-year period.

“CHL is looking forward to working closely with tenants and communities, our key partners in the region and FACS over the coming months, to make the transfer a success and improving the overall social housing outcomes in the region,” adds Dr Lucy Burgmann, NSW State Manager for CHL.

This transfer will close to double the total number of properties under CHL’s management in NSW to 2,900 bringing the total national portfolio to around 7,500 properties.

#WTF logo

#WTF are people saying about housing?

CHIA Chair Michael Lennon has been asked to take part in an innovative community engagement initiative that aims to connect everyday Australians with decision-makers and experts and develop solutions to key issues.

The not-for-profit Australian Futures Project is running the #WTF (What’s the Future?) project over four weeks this month, covering four key issues facing Australians: the energy crisis; the future of work; housing affordability; and, thriving kids.

On Monday, October 23, Mr Lennon will be one of eight housing affordability experts fielding  questions from the public via various #WTF social media channels. The public will then be invited to contribute their solutions to the issues, which will be added to a report that brings together the facts and discussion and will be used to inform a roundtable debate by decision-makers.

Community organisations will then be funded to act on solutions.

CHIA members and stakeholders are encouraged to be part of the debate. Go to the #WTF website for details on how to take part.

1,201 NSW public housing transferred to community housing

Leading Sydney community housing organisations Bridge Housing and Women’s Housing Company have been awarded the NSW Government tender to manage 1,201 public housing tenancies in the northern beaches for the next 20 years.

The winning partnership under the Social Housing Management Transfer Program will see the two experienced housing organisations take over management of the properties over the next 20 months and assume all housing customer service functions – allocations, tenancy and maintenance – previously delivered by Department of Family and Community Services in the area. Bridge will also be responsible for managing and coordinating services support from government and non-government organisations.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, the Hon. Pru Goward, today announced the winners of all nine packages, representing 14,000 public housing properties across New South Wales, including three portfolios in metropolitan Sydney. Bridge Housing CEO John Nicolades said: ‘I am delighted that Bridge Housing’s enormous investment in the past three years in becoming fit for significant growth has paid off. Over the past decade, we have successfully integrated public housing estates and multi-unit developments into our tenancy management, including in Balmain and South Coogee, but on a much smaller scale.

‘Our two organisations will separately manage housing in the northern beaches portfolio but with an alignment of best practice processes and principles, and with Bridge Housing as the contractual partner with government.

‘I am confident that our new northern beaches tenants will feel welcome and supported and that the government will see its housing assets very well maintained under the combined management of Bridge Housing and Women’s Housing Company.’

Women’s Housing Company CEO Debbie Georgopoulos said: “Women’s Housing Company brings our specialisation in housing and supporting single, vulnerable women to the partnership and will manage 12.5 per cent of the new portfolio, focussing on locations where single women are housed.’

‘Our partnership with Bridge Housing will enable us both to do what we have been doing best for more than 30 years and for Women’s Housing Company to house more people from one of the fastest growing demographics of homeless in Australia.’

Bridge Housing’s portfolio will grow from around 2,000 properties to some 3,100 properties while Women’s Housing Company will grow from almost 750 properties to over 900 properties. The Package 8 portfolio stretches across Mosman and the newly formed North Beaches local government areas and comprises houses, townhouses and units, 724 of them one-bedroom units or studios. The vast majority of households are single person and about 50 per cent of tenants are women. Tenants will remain in their current homes under the management transfer.

Bridge Housing and Women’s Housing Company will keep new and existing tenants informed as information about the transition process becomes available.

(With thanks to Bridge Housing for this article)

Housing hub home for disabled dwellings

The Housing Hub is a new way for Community Housing Providers to list their disability housing vacancies, and people with disability to find suitable housing, thehousinghub.org.au website:

  • lists housing vacancies for people with a disability, including NDIS housing, affordable housing and general social housing
  • enables eligible people to submit an Expression of Interest in NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) housing
  • has a library of useful information about housing options and planning your move.

The Housing Hub currently lists vacancies from housing providers in Melbourne’s north east, with NSW Hunter New England region vacancies coming soon.

Summer Foundation, which has been involved in developing the site, is testing it to make sure that it is accessible and user-friendly prior to it begin developed into an Australia-wide website.

The Housing Hub will continue to grow and develop as it is tested, with more vacancies, features and information continually being added. Help make the site a success for people with disability by spreading the word and sharing the link thehousinghub.org.au