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SGCH releases Impact Report, outlining ESG approach

SGCH, NSW’s largest community housing provider, has released its first Impact Report in recognition of the growing interest in the sector by investors, Government and commercial partners, and the broader sector. 

The Impact Report draws a clear link between SGCH’s strategy and the long-term impact and value that this emerging investment class is creating in the social and affordable housing area.

Speaking about the launch of the report CEO Scott Langford said, “As a profit-for-purpose organisation, SGCH takes a commercial approach to delivering social outcomes. 

“It has become increasingly clear that potential investors and other partners such as Government will benefit from a clear understanding of our approach and baseline performance so they can clearly see the social, economic and environmental benefits that are underpinned by strong governance in our organisation.”

Full media release and the report here

Media Release: CHIA applauds the elevation of housing to federal cabinet

The Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) congratulates the Hon Julie Collins MP on her appointment to Cabinet as the Minister responsible for the housing portfolio. “We warmly welcome Ms Collins to her new role” said Wendy Hayhurst, CHIA’s CEO. “We have long argued that housing deserves a seat at the Cabinet table. Access to a safe, secure affordable home is fundamentally important to all Australians and to the success of our national economy” she said.

She went on to say “CHIA fully supports the new Government’s housing commitments, including establishing an Australian Housing Future Fund to invest in 30,000 new social and affordable homes. We also strongly welcome the institutional reforms in the ALP’s housing platform. The housing plan, the proposed Housing Supply and Affordability Council and the new national housing agency, Housing Australia – which, together, should provide the essential foundation for a serious effort to tackle our national housing affordability problem.”

Media release here

Media release: CHIA congratulates Albanese and the ALP on election win

The Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) congratulates Anthony Albanese and the Australian Labor Party on Saturday’s election victory. “We look forward to working with an Albanese Government over the next term to tackle systemic housing unaffordability across Australia” said Wendy Hayhurst, CHIA’s CEO.

CHIA fully supports the new Government’s pre-election housing commitments, including establishing an Australian Housing Future Fund to invest in 30,000 new social and affordable dwellings.

Ms Hayhurst noted, “The Fund is a great start. We also know there’s a lot more to do; social housing has reduced to less than one in twenty homes across Australia. That’s because public and community housing has grown by only 4% over the past 25 years while our population has increased by 30%. Only 1-2% of housing built each year is social and affordable housing – far short of the 16% we managed in 1950s and 1960s”.

The Fund is a great start. We also know there’s a lot more to do; social housing has reduced to less than one in twenty homes across Australia. That’s because public and community housing has grown by only 4% over the past 25 years while our population has increased by 30%.

Only 1-2% of housing built each year is social and affordable housing – far short of the 16% we managed in 1950s and 1960s”.

She went on to say, “That’s why we also strongly welcome the institutional reforms in the ALP’s housing platform. The housing plan, the proposed Housing Supply and Affordability Council and the new national housing agency – Housing Australia – aren’t made for a media sound bite. But together they should provide the necessary foundation for a serious effort to tackle our national housing affordability problem. This is a long term project that requires a non-partisan approach to delivery”

Full media release here

Media Release: National housing peaks CHIA and National Shelter give thumbs up to a National Housing Plan

Housing sector peak bodies representing low-income households and community housing providers have welcomed today’s policy announcements by the Australian Labor Party as a timely recognition of the urgent need to tackle intensifying housing unaffordability.

The media focus has been on the Help to Buy shared ownership scheme to assist lower and moderate-income households get on the housing ladder.
Ms Emma Greenhalgh, Chief Executive Officer National Shelter, said…

Full media release here

NAHA Media Release: Cracking Australia’s affordable housing funding and supply crisis

The National Affordable Housing Alliance (NAHA) – a unified group of peak building, property, community housing, social services, union and industry superannuation funds, are calling on all sides of politics to commit to an Affordable Housing Working Group Mark 2 to deliver innovative funding solutions to tackle Australia’s worsening housing crisis.

This would build on the success of the first Affordable Housing Working Group (2016) which delivered the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC)1. This initiative garnered bi-partisan support and transformed the finance options available to community housing organisations to increase the supply of affordable rental housing across Australia. It also consolidated reporting on housing data on supply and demand within NHFIC.

Full media release here

CHIA Media Release: New reporting standard to demonstrate community housing industry’s ESG credentials

The Community Housing Industry Association and a consortium of private and public sector partners have commenced the development of an industry specific environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting standard, putting Australia at the forefront of ESG reporting for the sector globally.

Apart from the UK, Australia will be the first country to develop a community housing ESG reporting standard, opening the way for deeper institutional investment, according to CHIA CEO Wendy Hayhurst.

The reporting standard will demonstrate the added value community housing generates in driving improved economic and social outcomes and in doing so will help encourage and attract more diverse private sector lending, including from ESG investors.

Full media release here

Article: The rise and rise of the social enterprise real estate agency

This article first appeared in CHIA’s eNews, April 2022

Since 2014, when Melbourne based community housing organisation, Launch Housing founded HomeGround Real Estate agency, there has been a steady increase in the number and geographical range of social enterprise real estate agencies. The HomeGround ‘brand’ itself has expanded with CHC operating an agency in Canberra and Bridge Housing Ltd in Sydney. In NSW, Pacific Link and Evolve Housing established, respectively Key2 Realty in Gosford and, Echo Realty in Sydney. In Queensland, Coast to Bay founded Purpose Real Estate and BHC, set up Elevate Residential. Urban Choices part of Housing Choices Australia manages homes in Melbourne.

So, what are social enterprise real estate agencies? They operate like any others on the market, except that they usually owned and operated by not-for-profit community housing organisations (CHOs). While there are differences between them, most are focused exclusively on managing privately owned investment properties. They draw on CHOs’ property management experience and service ethos, marrying that with a commitment to invest profits back into their communities. So, property owners not only get a quality service but also know they are contributing to local community programs.

Ashleigh Williams, Business Manager of Key2 Realty, provides one example of what this means in practice, “Our profits are directed to three charitable programs operated by Pacific Link Housing for those less fortunate, including a learner driver program, education scholarship program and a sports and wellbeing initiative for kids. ”And, it has proved popular as she noted. “We have received immense support from investment property owners and have grown to manage over 200 properties in less than three years which is a significant achievement.”

Recognition of the value add social enterprise real estate agencies bring is well illustrated by HomeGround Real Estate receiving the 2021 REIV Award for Excellence Community Service.  In one year, HomeGround provided over $550,000 in contributions to its CHO partner’s, (Launch Housing) operating income. As Manager of HomeGround Real Estate, Samantha Gatherum-Goss said, ‘While the bulk of this income was secured through property management fees, HomeGround’s generous, community minded rental providers have also made direct donations to Launch Housing’s fundraising efforts’.

As Queensland’s regional rental market tightens and homelessness soars, the state’s emerging social enterprise real estate sector has a wider role to play. Andrew Elvin, CEO from Coast2Bay Housing Group says, ‘We know more properties are needed in the rental market to meet community needs. We operate Purpose Real Estate from Caboolture to Gympie offering full property and tenancy management services. The key difference is that all our profit goes to building more housing for people doing it tough’.

Social enterprise real estate agencies can often bring together organisations that headlease residential properties and offer property investors and developers long-term leases. These organisations may include disability support services, not-for-profit support agencies and community housing providers. For the ethical property investor, these agencies are also uniquely positioned to offer tax breaks such as the Capital Gains Tax Discount (CGTD) for affordable housing, which can reduce CGT by an extra 10%.

Ian Lynch, CEO at Pacific Link Housing, which operates Key2Realty, emphasised the advantages of using a social enterprise real estate agency for property developers who have affordable rental obligations (for example that generated through the planning system, where a DA obliges the provision of affordable rental housing and usually a CHO to be the managing agent). He said, ‘We are very familiar with this type of housing – its our BAU.  We can offer simplicity along with the expertise – end to end property management, including everything from high-end market rate properties, affordable housing and potentially headleases, that can all sit within the one completed development/build’.

Horizon Housing Realty(HHR) is a not for profit real estate social enterprize operating in Queensland, NSW, SA and WA. HHR follows suit in that profits are distributed to its parent company CHL to deliver more social housing outcomes. It also drives other initiatives that support social and affordable housing. HHR can deliver the ATO’s 60% CGT exemption for affordable housing products and is delivering large scale BTR.Listed below are the websites for of the leading social enterprise real estate agencies operating in property markets around the country:

CHIA Media Release: Safe, secure and affordable housing for every Australian

The Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) is calling for all parties to make crystal clear how they will deliver safe, secure and affordable housing for Australians who are priced out of the housing market, wondering how they can afford sky rocketing rents, or paying huge energy bills because their home is so poorly insulated.

“Over the last year rents and house prices have surged ahead of wages, and around one-third of people seeking help from homelessness services can’t get their immediate accommodation needs met, up by 29% from 2016. Even after receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA), almost half of renters are still in housing stress” said Wendy Hayhurst, CHIA’s CEO.

She went onto say, “Recent research shows that underinvestment in social and affordable housing is costing us all tens of millions of dollars per year through the impact on health spending, justice services and employment levels. These costs will only go up, if we fail to act’.

Download the full release here

CHIA Media Release: Response to the 2022 Federal Budget

The Federal Budget needs to go beyond loans and directly invest in key infrastructure- social and affordable housing

Increasing the government guarantee for the National Housing Finance and Investment
Corporation (NHFIC) by $2 billion is a welcome step from the Federal Government, but only
direct investment in social and affordable rental housing would create homes for the growing
number of families in rental stress and facing rising food and fuel price, the Community Housing
Industry Association (CHIA) has said.

“We welcome the Federal Government’s commitment to extend NHFIC’s lending capacity to
help the community housing industry build more housing. However, lower cost loans on their own
aren’t sufficient to generate the scale of social and affordable rental housing we need. This
budget has recognised the benefits of investing in infrastructure so it is disappointing that social
and affordable rental housing wasn’t included in their plans. As with roads and rail, social and
affordable housing creates value – it delivers significant economic growth, reduces expenditure in
other public service budgets as well as improving the wellbeing of Australian families in desperate
need,” says Ms Hayhurst.“

Download the full media release here

Online seminar: Grant funding for Community Housing Providers

Homes for Homes is an innovative, sustainable source of funding dedicated to increasing the supply of social and affordable housing, so those on the margins will have a place to call home.

Homes for Homes raises new, private funding and grants it to community housing providers to tackle the lack of social and affordable housing. Already we have granted over $1.14 million in funding to 10 social and affordable housing projects, which will house 53 people.

The team invite you to learn more about Homes for Homes at an online seminar on Monday 21 March at 11:30am AEDT. Led by the Homes for Homes team, you will learn about:

  • Who we are
  • How we raise funds and help create social and affordable housing
  • Future opportunities for grant funding.

To register your interest for this seminar, please email [email protected] with your details, subject line ‘Registration for  Homes for Homes CHP Seminar’ Shortly after registration you will receive your seminar link.

Everybody’s Home: Housing stress takes centre stage in Bass

Media Release

A majority of voters in the battleground seat of Bass believe the federal government has failed to confront the housing rental crisis, with new opinion polling showing people want greater investment in social and affordable housing, amid skepticism that first home owner grants can fix the problem.

The Everybody’s Home campaign is today releasing the results of a survey of 637 voters in the seat of Bass, and a separate analysis of wage and rent data in the electorate.

It shows the surge in rental prices is swallowing an ever larger chunk of the wages of those who’ve had some of the most difficult jobs during the pandemic, in aged care, child care and supermarkets.

An overwhelming majority of respondents (74 per cent –  thought it was either ‘hard’ or ‘very hard’ for people on low-to-middle incomes to buy a home in their community while 77 per cent said the same about renting.

Full media release here

Everybody’s Home: Housing stress takes centre stage in Longman

Media Release

A majority of voters in the seat of Longman believe the federal government has failed to confront the housing rental crisis, with a new opinion poll showing people want greater investment in social and affordable housing, amid skepticism that first home owner grants can fix the problem.

The Everybody’s Home campaign is today releasing the results of a survey of 1025 voters in the swing seat of Longman and separate analysis of wage and rent data in the same electorate.

It shows the surge in rental prices is swallowing an ever larger chunk of the wages of those who’ve had some of the most difficult jobs during the pandemic, in aged care, child care and supermarkets.

Full media release here

Everybody’s Home: Housing stress takes centre stage in Gilmore

Media Release

A majority of voters in the federal seat of Gilmore believe the federal government has failed to confront the housing rental crisis, with a new opinion poll showing people want greater investment in social and affordable housing, amid skepticism that first home owner grants can fix the problem.

The Everybody’s Home campaign is today releasing the results of a survey of 666 Gilmore voters and separate analysis of wage and rent data in the same electorate.

It shows the surge in rental prices is swallowing an ever larger chunk of the wages of those who’ve had some of the most difficult jobs during the pandemic, in aged care, child care and supermarkets.

Full media release here

Forecasting strong new housing supply: but how many of these will be homes for Australians doing it tough?

CHIA Media Release

The Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) congratulates the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) on its second State of the Nation’s Housing Report. Since the demise of the Housing Supply Council, Australia has lacked the succinct digest of housing data, necessary to inform both government and industry responses to housing need. This report is a great foundation to build upon.

On the upside, the report’s message is, that despite the pandemic, housing supply has held up well, that new dwellings are forecast to grow by more than 550,000 over the next three years, and that this level of supply is roughly consistent with household growth. Equally, housing affordability has generally worsened – both for aspiring homeowners, and also the often overlooked lower income private renters.

Full media release here