Media Release: Community housing industry association congratulates the re-elected coalition government

The Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) today congratulated the Coalition on being re-elected to govern Australia for the next three years.

“After a hard-fought campaign in which housing featured prominently, CHIA looks forward to working closely with the new Government to address Australia’s far-reaching housing affordability crisis. This critically affects not only aspiring first home owners, but also many low-waged working and vulnerable households doing it tough in often expensive and unsuitable private rental housing,” CHIA Chair Michael Lennon said today.

Mr Lennon acknowledged the work initiated by the last Coalition government’s Affordable Housing Working Group under then-Treasurer Morrison, and which led directly to the creation of the National Housing Finance Investment Corporation (NHFIC). He said ‘the NHFIC has already had an impact by enabling community housing organisations to refinance existing loans, with considerable resulting savings through lower interest charges.’ He also welcomed the Coalition’s election campaign announcement to use NHFIC to administer a government guarantee to support first home buyers.

Wendy Hayhurst, CHIA’s CEO added that the Coalition’s $25M pledge to research housing supply and demand via NHFIC was very much in tune with CHIA’s own proposals as published in the organisation’s 2018 National Housing Plan. She said ‘independently-produced analysis of the housing system augurs well for housing policy achieving more prominence in government decision making that, as essential social and economic infrastructure, it deserves.

UNSW research for the community housing industry and other partners – Strengthening Economic Cases for Housing: the Productivity Gains from Better Housing Outcomes – clearly demonstrates the gains to individuals, communities and the country in constructing well-located affordable housing. Ms Hayhurst said “the research demonstrates that the productivity ‘return’ from investing in affordable housing for those many households in rental stress can easily exceed the cost to government.”

CHIA also welcomes the creation of a dedicated Housing Minister, the Hon. Michael Sukkar, and an assistant minister for Community Housing and Homelessness, Luke Howarth MP. This week we have also seen the appointment of Jason Clare MP, Labor’s Shadow Housing and Homelessness spokesperson.

 

Contact: Wendy Hayhurst 0421 046 832

CHIA WA Press Release – Morrison Govt needs to make social and affordable rental housing its key housing priority

MEDIA RELEASE
Morrison Government needs to make social and affordable rental housing its key housing priority

Jennie Vartan, State Manager for the Community Housing Industry Association WA, the peak industry body for community housing providers in WA, today congratulated Scott Morrison and his parliamentary team on winning Saturday’s general election and urged them to remember the importance of affordable housing rental supply as it prepares to serve another term of Government.

“The Liberal party’s pre-election pledges focussed predominantly on assisting first time buyers into home ownership. While helping people into home ownership is a laudable aim, the most pressing issue is ensuring the nation’s stock of social and affordable rental housing continues to increase. When it comes to housing need no one is doing it tougher than low income renters, for whom home ownership is often unachievable, said Ms. Vartan.

“The previous Government should be applauded for the establishment of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC). NHFIC will play a vital role in the years ahead in providing development finance to community housing providers looking to build new housing for people in need. However, it is only one part of the solution. More needs to be done if we are to address the growing social and affordable housing deficit, continued Ms. Vartan

“The simple truth is that the Federal government investment in social and affordable housing is insufficient and needs to increase. Institutional, policy, and regulatory reform are also an important part of the overall solution as set out in CHIA’s National Housing Plan, said Ms. Vartan.

“CHIA WA members look forward to working with Mr. Morrison and his team on the pressing housing issues affecting all of us and wish them well as they commence the new term of Government” concluded Ms. Vartan.

ENDS
For further information, please contact Jennie Vartan, CHIA WA State Manager on 0409 889 437

The Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) is the peak industry body for the Australian community housing industry, which provides one in five of Australia’s social housing properties, complementing public housing.

Community housing providers manage a $30 billion-plus portfolio of more than 80,000 rental properties, which are home to people who are on low and moderate incomes who find it hard to access affordable or appropriate housing in the private market.

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.

Joint Media Release: Community groups condemn mock rent increase notices and negative gearing scare tactics

Housing, homelessness and community peaks today condemned the use of mock rent increase notices as election material, which target people already living in rental stress.

The groups said that mock notices distributed to renters by the LNP are grossly misleading and likely to cause unnecessary anxiety amongst vulnerable renters.

ACOSS, National Shelter, the National Association of Tenant Orgnisations, Homelessness Australia and the Community Housing Industry Association after calling for an end to scare tactics around negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions.

“We strongly condemn the use of mock rent increase notices which target people who already live in rental stress. Renters in Australia already face some of the weakest regulatory protections, from which landlords currently benefit. Many tenants have faced repeated rent hikes which cause deep financial stress,” ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said.

The Chair of the National Association of Tenants Organisations, Penny Carr, said:

“This kind of political tactic is irresponsible and deliberately designed to alarm renters, including many who are already deeply concerned about paying the rent every week or in fear of unfair evictions by their landlord.”

Shelter CEO Adrian Pisarski said the current tax concessions for housing investors have driven up house prices and rents and should be wound back.

“We have together advocated for reforms to housing tax concessions for more than a decade. These concessions overwhelmingly benefit higher income households, do nothing to increase the supply of housing and are unsustainable,” said Mr Pisarski.

“There is no evidence to suggest that rents would increase as a result of Labor’s proposed reforms. To the contrary, these changes are likely to reduce pressure on the housing market, improving affordability for both buyers and renters.

“Labor’s proposal will not apply to properties that are currently negatively geared, so existing investors will not be affected. Instead of scare campaigns we need to pursue a sensible reset of these concessions so that our housing system works for everyone.”

CEO of the Community Housing Industry Association, Wendy Hayhurst, said the property and real estate industries were lone voices in their opposition to reforming investor tax breaks.

“Two thirds of voters support government investment in social and affordable housing over negative gearing tax breaks for property investors,” Ms Hayhurst said.

“We need proper bipartisan support for policies that will address all pressure points in our housing system.”

Homeless Australia Chair Jenny Smith said that the campaign scare tactics would instil fear in people at risk of homelessness.

“The major parties should be offering hope to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in this Election, not creating fear. That means putting homes ahead of investment portfolios, making renting fairer for tenants, investing in more social and affordable housing for the 811,000 households struggling in the private rental market, and developing a national plan to end homelessness in Australia.”

“We appeal to all political parties and candidates in the last days of the Election campaign not to exploit the fears of vulnerable people with misleading scare tactics.”

 

ACOSS: 0419 626 155

National Shelter: 0417 975 270

Community Housing Industry Association: 0421 046 832

National Association of Tenant Organisations: 0418 747 921

Homelessness Australia: 0435 966 251

 

Helping rough sleepers find a home in Geelong

Minister for Housing Richard Wynne announced today a $17 million housing package for Geelong; as part of the Victorian Government’s $45 million Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Plan.

The new plan will be implemented across Geelong to help those sleeping rough find a secure home, and includes 20 new modular homes to be built in areas of high need. The homes will cater to people with complex needs who have been sleeping rough for an extended period and will also have intensive onsite support.

Teams of outreach workers will parol the homeless hot spots in the streets of Geelong as part of the rough sleepers’ package initiated by the Andrews Government. The program seeks to support vulnerable Victorians through providing them with tailored and targeted support. Outreach workers will help direct rough sleepers to emergency accommodation and ongoing support.

“We’re taking targeted support directly to rough sleepers to break the cycle of homelessness for vulnerable Victorians and help them get back on their feet,” Minister for Housing Richard Wynne said.

Labor’s Housing and Homelessness Package will seek to combat homelessness through:

  • Outreach teams in Bendigo, Maroondah, Warrnambool, Swan Hill, Frankston, Dandenong and Geelong.
  • Supportive housing teams in Frankston, inner Melbourne, Geelong and Dandenong.
  • Modular housing support in Bacchus Marsh, Geelong (Norlane) and Dandenong.

Sacred Heart Mission, Uniting Ballarat, Brophy Family and Youth Services, Haven Home Safe, Neami Ltd, Wellways and Launch Housing are partnering with the Government as part of the program.

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.

 

The Federal Parties’ Housing and Homelessness Platforms

The Federal Parties’ Housing and Homelessness Platforms

We are fast approaching the Federal election and so make no apologies for giving top billing to the Coalition, Green and Labor housing election platforms. While there has been a focus on the Labor (and the Greens) proposal to reform negative gearing, there has been far less prominence given in the news to some of the other initiatives to directly help people living in rental stress.

As we know work done by UNSW City Futures for CHIA NSW and Homelessness NSW shows that across Australia more than 700K new social rented homes are required by 2036 to meet both existing needs (the backlog) and plan for a growing number of households. Add a further 300K affordable rental homes for lower income workers priced out of homeownership – due to the cost of a deposit, and what are still very high prices compared to many people’s wages – and the case for urgent action is clear.

A shortage of affordable housing hurts individuals, communities and the Australian economy. Research commissioned by CHIA NSW for a consortium of organisations drawn from the public, private and not for profit sector demonstrated that Government investment where the market fails reaps rewards that benefit everybody.

In our table below, we have summarised in tabular form the elements of the Coalition, Labor and Greens housing and homelessness commitments in their published platforms, or gleaned from press releases. It was produced on 1 May and thus there may be further announcementsm, as not all the parties have outlined their positions.

In addition to the policies documented in the attached table, the Federal legislation that brings in changes to managed investment trusts (MITs) that could potentially incentivise investment in affordable housing was given assent just before the caretaker period and its provisions should come into effect from 1/7/19. Eligible foreign residents will generally be able to take advantage of a reduced withholding tax of 15 per cent on investment returns from affordable rental housing.

The Coalition also proposed to incentivise affordable housing investment through increasing the capital gains tax discount to 60% for homes that are rented as affordable for at least three years. This legislation has not (yet) received assent.

All the parties’ platforms have what we might consider a ‘gap,’ although in some cases it may simply be that they have not been explicit in stating what they will do.   We also recognise that housing policy is shared between the three levels of government and that in some cases  – say planning initiatives – a Federal government has few levers other than persuasion to influence whether inclusionary zoning is adopted and in other instances States could make contribution – say their surplus land, to provide the deeper subsidy that social housing needs to make its construction viable. The one ‘policy’ omission that could be federally driven is a comprehensive rent policy review. This more than just about increasing commonwealth rental assistance but setting and transitioning to a system that is affordable to tenants, at the same time as generating sufficient income to maintain and when necessary, upgrade homes.

2019 Party programs/commitments relevant to housing/homelessness

Policy Lib/National Coalition ALP Greens
Institutional reform (1). Appoint housing and homelessness minister. (2). Re-establish National Housing Supply Council with wider terms of reference
Tax reform – private rental investors LNP will ‘stop Labor’s Housing Tax’ (1). CGT discount to be halved to 25% for all new rental property purchases (2). Restrict negative gearing to newly-built rental property acquisitions. (3). All existing rental property ownership to be grandfathered. (4). SMSF direct borrowing for housing acquisition outlawed (1). CGT discount to be phased out over 5 years. (2). Negative gearing to be phased out over 5 years for those with 2+ properties. Investors with one property will be exempt (3) End negative gearing for all new rental property acquisitions
Tax reform – Build to Rent Re-balance tax treatment of large-scale institutional investment in (market) rental housing to remove disincentive for overseas investors
Empty properties Establish COAG process to co-ordinate/facilitate uniform vacant property tax across major cities
Renters rights Introduce national tenancy standards for all residential tenancies to protect tenants’ rights e.g. on eviction, unfair rent increases, repairs, property quality. National standard residential tenancy agreement incorporating (a) tenancy termination on specified grounds only; (b) restrictions on rent rises; (c) ruling out blanket bans for pet ownership; (d) dwelling safety and energy standards.
Facilitating private finance for affordable housing (1). Maintain affordable housing bond aggregator (NHFIC) (2). Carry through review of community housing regulation
Affordable housing subsidy Initiate 10-year program to deliver 250,000 affordable rental homes supported by annual revenue subsidy to investors. Initial target: start 20,000 homes within 3 years. Target: 500,000 new PH and CH homes within 15 years – mainly funded via loans from Federal Housing Trust. This will be supplemented by an initial $1.5B capital grant program rising to $2.5B  after three years.
Homelessness Develop national prevention strategy to counter domestic and family violence and sexual assault (1). Develop national plan to reduce homelessness through COAG. (2). Set up Safe Housing Fund $30M p.a. for tenancy advocacy services; $500M p.a. for crisis housing services
Regional economic development Engage with WA Govt and Qld Govt on City Deals for Perth and SEQ Overhaul and replace City Deals with City Partnerships program
Indigenous Housing Tackle overcrowding in remote communities

(1). In NT, commit an additional $550 million over 5 years from 2023-24,

(2). Provide $251 million in funding to Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia in 2019-20.

(3) Following these interim arrangements, work with the States and Territories to develop an, ongoing partnership to tackle overcrowding, as part of the Closing the Gap Refresh.

 

Other (1). Strengthen NHHA on planning reform, inclusionary zoning and state/territory govt-owned land release. (2). Work with state/territory govts
to support, maintain and grow public housing
Federal Govt to provide financial support to state/territory govts to encourage transition from stamp duty to land tax

Sources: Party websites and media releases. Labor detail mainly from National Platform 2018

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.