Category Archives: Tasmania

News specific to Tasmania.

$30m funding for Hobart’s affordable housing

In the City Deal announced by the Morrison Government last week, all three levels of government have come together to improve Hobart’s housing for Tasmanians on low to moderate incomes.

Three community housing providers in Tasmania will benefit from the deal. Housing Choices Tasmania, Community Housing Limited and CatholicCare Tasmania are the three providers who will be receiving the funding, and they are all members of Shelter Tasmania and the CHIA Tasmania group. $30 million has been allocated to creating over 100 new affordable dwellings in the greater Hobart area, in a partnership between the government and the community housing sector.

“Our Hobart City Deal will open the city and Tasmania up for locals and for the world,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

Shelter Tasmania, the peak body for housing and homelessness in Tasmania, welcomes the government’s move to increase the supply of affordable homes across the state’s capital.

“Given that Hobart is now Australia’s least affordable capital city for renters, here is an urgent need to boost the supply of social housing and address Tasmania’s rental housing crisis,” said Pattie Chugg, Executive Officer of Shelter Tasmania.

“It is great to see the City Deal recognising that housing is essential infrastructure,” she continued.

Currently, the community housing sector in Tasmania manages 6,076 properties – with this number only due to increase following the Government’s City Deal.

“Initiatives like this need to be implemented on a much larger scale to deliver social housing to meet our state’s escalating need. We call on State and Federal Governments to invest in housing as a top priority,” Ms Chugg said.

Read the Prime Minister’s media report on the City Deal here.  

Anglicare Tasmania responds to youth homelessness

Anglicare has opened a supported youth accommodation facility in Devonport to support young people as they move into adulthood.

Eveline House features 25 units, five of them purpose-built for people with a disability. Each tenant has a self-contained unit with access to a laundry, gym, common areas, outdoor spaces and a games room.

Anglicare CEO Chris Jones says the complex is a much-needed response to youth
homelessness in Tasmania.

‘Eveline House provides tenants with safe, affordable housing, as well as opportunities to participate in community activities, education, employment and training. It is a vibrant place where young people are encouraged to build on their existing strengths and capabilities.’

Anglicare manages similar facilities in Launceston (Thyne House) and Hobart (Trinity Hill).

Tenancies at Eveline House are for young people aged 16-24 years who are on a low income and eligible for social housing. The general tenancies at Eveline House are already full and two of the purpose-built units are occupied, with talks underway with the National Disability Insurance Scheme about the final three places.

Earlier this year, Anglicare’s Rental Affordability Snapshot showed that for young people  receiving Youth Allowance, there were no affordable rental options anywhere in Tasmania.

‘No Tasmanian should have to worry about where they’ll sleep that night or how they’ll afford to eat,’ Dr Jones says.

‘Long term, affordable housing is foundational for people to fully participate in education, training and employment’.

Anglicare manages similar facilities in Launceston (Thyne House) and Hobart (Trinity Hill) and Dr Jones says Eveline House was made possible with the support of the Tasmanian Government and many advocates in Tasmania’s North West.

‘I look forward to seeing how the young people who live here will use their strengths and skills to contribute to this community.’

Short stay accomodation inquiry

The Tasmanian Legislative Council is holding an inquiry into the the short stay accommodation industry in Tasmania.

Shelter Tas is currently consulting with members and will be making a submission.

If your or your organisation would like to make a submission, see the instructions on the Parliament of Tasmania website.

Submissions should be received by no later than close of business on Friday, 10 August 2018.

– courtesy of ShelterTas

Happy new NHHA?

Four jurisdictions have now signed up to the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA) but, despite its early promise, there’s barely a mention of community housing in the four bilaterals so far finalised.

The six national housing priorities of the NHHA are social housing, community housing, affordable housing, tenancy reform, supporting home ownership and reform of the planning system.

Specific mention is made in the priorities of community housing strategies that improve the viability and encourage growth of the sector (may include redevelopment and stock transfers). However, there it stops; the four bilateral agreements released to date contain little to support the viability or growth of community housing.

Jurisdictions must produce a housing strategy that indicates the level of housing supply needed to respond to projected demand, outlines the reforms and initiatives that will contribute to meeting this need, includes planned or expected levels of social housing, and set out how the State will contribute to the housing priority policy areas. (Clause 17(a) of the NHHA). Most states and territories are reported to be working on new strategies, with varying levels of consultation.

Jurisdictions will report annually, with public reporting by 31 October of the following year.

While we encourage you to read the agreement in full, here’s what caught our eye:

South Australia
South Australia promises to have a new housing strategy and a new homelessness strategy in place and publicly available by July 1, 2019.
It aims for an adequate supply of land to meet long-term demand and a 30-year plan for Greater Adelaide to deliver a compact urban reform.

Improving the liveability of social housing stock is included, but only via a commitment that 75 per cent of new stock built by the SA Housing Trust will meet Universal Design criteria.

The development and efficiency of CHPs will be supported through finalising the transfer of 5,000 properties, with contractual requirements ‘that support the upgrade and renewal of CHP managed houses’.

Three reviews of current housing pathways/programs are mentioned, including:
• develop contemporary service responses for young people leaving care, with a new protocol between the Department for Child Protection and Housing SA to support young people into independent housing, in 2018.
• new supportive housing for people who have experienced chronic homelessness will be implemented by 2020
• the existing aged housing program (no timeframe).

The bilateral acknowledges the importance of community housing – over 40 per cent of social housing is managed by community housing providers in Tasmania. However, there are no measures in the bilateral targeted at community housing and only two measures specifically for social housing – a commitment to 15 new (hopefully extra) social housing dwellings a year, and $13.6m to upgrade 1,050 public housing dwellings.

The bilateral does provide for 10 rapid rehousing homes a year for people exiting institutions (from 30 June 2019), to avoid exits into homelessness.

The Tassie Government has an aim to keep home ownership at least 5 per cent above the national average, and will maintain its First Home owner grant program and review what government land could be re-purposed to housing.

The Tasmanian Government will continue to produce quarterly reports on progress against the state’s affordable housing action plan.

According to the bilateral agreement, the ACT has the most targeted public housing portfolio in Australia with housing allocated to those in greatest need. There are 22,000 people in public housing (it omits to mention the further 1,500 in community housing).

The bilateral promises a new ACT Housing Strategy in 2018. It will address legislative requirements and the requirements of clause 17 (a) of the primary housing
Agreement, covering ‘the full housing spectrum, from homelessness, through public
housing and affordable rental and home purchase opportunities’. Sadly, however, no mention of community housing.

The agreement does promise that the ACT will set and publish annual targets for public, community and affordable housing as part of the Indicative Land Release Program.

The existing ACT social housing model will be reviewed ‘to improve viability, identify and develop initiatives to achieve efficiencies and improve stock utilisation’. This is the closest the bilateral agreement comes to addressing community housing.

Like SA, the ACT undertakes to construct public housing dwellings that are built to national liveable design standards, but is silent about any retrofitting of existing social housing stock to meet the standards.

Northern Territory
The Northern Territory bilateral describes its ‘public housing portfolio’ as including community housing.

However the NT is to be congratulated for specifically including measures to develop and implement an urban Community Housing Strategy that identifies ways to support the growth of the NT CHP sector and inform the transfer of 750 urban public dwellings to the sector, as well as construct community housing dwellings in urban centres (by 2023).

The NT will have a new housing strategy in place and publicly available by September 30, 2019.

A review of rent setting models in urban and remote areas will be undertaken by December 2019.

The NT will also consult senior Territorians and those approaching retirement about aged care housing (to identify demand) and provide findings to the private sector to help identify potential opportunities for future private sector development of seniors-appropriate accommodation.

Planning reforms include allowing more scope for providing affordable housing products through
the incorporation of a flexible approach to zoning, including through the use of Specific Use Zones in the NT Planning Scheme, and facilitating land release in remote Aboriginal communities by extending the exemption under the Planning Act (Regulation 3A), which removes the need for subdivision approval for development associated with the $1.1 billion remote housing program.

Australia’s least affordable capital city: Hobart

Tasmania’s peak body for housing and homelessness continues to be concerned at the escalating levels of unaffordable rents, highlighted by the latest Rental Affordability Index (RAI) produced by SGS Economics & Planning.

“Rental affordability in Tasmania has fallen to its lowest point since the Index began in 2015. Hobart now outstrips Sydney as the least affordable capital in Australia with Tasmanian incomes failing to keep pace with soaring rental prices. The combination of rising rent and low income growth has created unprecedented hardship for many people seeking to find an affordable home”, Shelter Tas Executive Officer, Pattie Chugg said.

The RAI reveals the reality of renting across Tasmania, as it is the only index of its kind that compares household incomes with the cost of renting. The index is showing an increasing trend of rental stress across the state, where the households on the lowest 40% of incomes pay 30% or more of their income in rent.

“Rents in Tasmania are now on par with the rest of Australia, however average Tasmanian households earn over $300 a week less than mainland households. With over 8,000 low income households already in housing stress, rental unaffordability is now rising up the income ladder, increasingly impacting average working families”, Ellen Witte, Partner at SGS Economics and Planning said.

“The results for Hobart are a real wake-up call. There has been a single-minded focus by State Government on population growth, but a complete lack of vision of where this growth needs to go and how all households are going to be accommodated. Renting households, many of them working families, are now paying the price”, Ms Witte said.

The situation in greater Hobart has deteriorated over the past year, with even the average household now on the brink of housing stress, paying 29% of their income on rent. The problem isn’t confined to Hobart, as the decline in affordability for average households is increasingly felt in both Launceston and regional towns in the South like New Norfolk, Geeveston, Huonville and Cygnet.

“While the impact on average households is concerning, it is masking the grim reality that those on low incomes are facing an increasing risk of homelessness across Tasmania”, Ms Chugg said.

In regional North and North West Tasmania, rental homes in Devonport and Burnie are moderately unaffordable for low income Tasmanians such as single pensioners and single working parents on benefits. Across Tasmania, low income earners are being forced out, further away from jobs with poor transport options, or into severely overcrowded dwellings, entrenching their disadvantage.

“In such a competitive and unaffordable rental market, many low income earners must make impossible choices between essentials such as food and heating or having a home. Single parent working families, young people and aged and disability pensioners are the worst affected, paying up to 80% of their income on rent”, Ms Chugg said.

The lack of affordable and safe housing is the biggest cause of homelessness, and we know that homelessness is increasing. On any given night 1,622 Tasmanians have no place to call home. We know that young people are disproportionately affected by homelessness, making up 52% of homelessness services’ clients. We can and must do better”, Ms Chugg said.

“A strong economy must be built upon foundation of secure homes for all Tasmanians, however the rental affordability crisis is pushing out vital workers like those in tourism and hospitality from areas where they are needed the most. We must also plan ahead for our housing needs with an integrated approach to overall population growth and State economic development”, Ms Witte said.

“There are multiple policy levers at the Government’s disposal to address the housing crisis and work together with the development sector, for instance in regard to build-to-rent. Fact is, increasingly more households rent for the long term, as they can no longer afford to purchase a home, so there is a need to ensure renting is a sustainable, secure and affordable living option”, Ms Witte said.

“Tasmania’s deepening shortage of affordable and social housing has serious implications for the Tasmanian community as a whole as it undermines our economy’s ability to attract and retain a skilled workforce, and directly impacts our community’s health, education and overall wellbeing”, Ms Witte said.

“The benefits of our growing economy must be shared. With the State budget just around the corner, Shelter Tasmania repeats its call for the $60m in stamp duty windfall from the booming property market to be invested in new social housing. Tasmania needs at least 150 new public an community housing dwellings each year, which is the best way to guarantee that housing will stay affordable in the long term”, Ms Chugg said.

Media release courtesy of ShelterTas

CHL supports kids dreams

scholarship winners and CHL CEO Steve Bevington

Community Housing Ltd (CHL) has helped four disadvantaged young people achieve their dreams through its scholarship program, which is now in its fourth year.

CHL awarded the cash grant scholarships to young people in Launceston, Tasmania, to help them achieve their sporting, education or artistic goals and set them up for a career.

The program is now fully self-supporting with active participation from the communities its supported, The previous recipients are all still working or studying in their chosen fields.

Click here to read more.



Tasmania sets its budget

Tasmania government logo

Shelter Tas welcomes the State Government’s commitment of $62m over the next 2 years in its Budget 2017-18. While this creates a solid base for implementing Affordable Housing Strategy, without additional investment in social housing, Tasmania will continue to fall well behind meeting demand for affordable housing. We are disappointed that the $60m Stamp Duty windfall created by the current housing boom has not been re-invested into social housing to alleviate the growing rental crisis that is squeezing low income households out of the housing market.

The key features of this year’s Budget that we particularly welcome are:

  • $15m for further implementation of Tasmania’s Affordable Housing Strategy
  • The major projects announced, including the completion of the Devonport Youth Supported Accommodation Facility, the relocation and expansion of the Hobart Women’s Shelter, additional units for young people at Thyne House in Launceston and Moonah
  • $12m for social housing units in major urban centres
  • The establishment of the Affordable Housing Working Group to investigate government land potentially available for increased housing supply. As a participant in this Working Group, Shelter Tas will be seeking an increase in the supply of social housing along with more innovative approaches in the planning system
  • $6m funding for a HomeShare program to assist low-income Tasmanians purchase their own home and the continuation of the First Home Builder’s Grant and reduced Stamp Duty on new house and land packages.

Shelter Tas urges the Tasmanian Government to negotiate away the State’s public housing debt as part of the new national housing agreement that was announced recently in the Federal Budget.  Tasmania can no longer afford to return half the State’s annual funding allocation, almost $16m each year, back to the Federal Government.

Click here for further information on housing and homelessness initiatives in the Tasmanian Budget 2017-18, read the Shelter Tas media release here or ABC article ‘Tasmanian budget report card: Generally good results, but some room for improvement’ here.

Reprinted with thanks to Shelter Tasmania’s eNews