News relating to Victoria.

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.

Joint venture to boost social housing in Hepburn

The Hepburn Shire Council is partnering with national not for profit housing provider, Community Housing Limited (CHL) as part of a joint venture program that will increase the number and quality of social housing dwellings within the region.

Locals in housing need or those facing the risks of homelessness will benefit from the program, which will provide safe and appropriate housing in the form of 19 dwellings.

With grant funding provided by the Hepburn Shire Council in the amount of $589,000, CHL will deliver four (4) new purpose-built double bedroom units to low income earners in the Clunes community.

‘This program will not only increase the supply of social and affordable housing in the Shire of Hepburn, which is so desperately needed, but will greatly improve the quality of life for struggling residents providing them with real opportunities and pathways,’ says CHL State Manager Shari McPhail.

As part of the CHL’s management, tenants will reap the benefits of services that will connect them with employment, education, training and other community engagements opportunities.

‘We are totally committed to serving the community, and we are really looking forward to working within the region and with the council. Not only will this project provide much needed housing options, but it will also contribute to the local economy with a host of employment opportunities both long and short term, expected to be generated.’

A tender invitation for the construction of the new units is expected to be released shortly, with CHL encouraging local builders and trades within the Clunes Community to partner in the delivery of this very exciting project.

Mayor Cr John Cottrell said that Council was pleased to be working collaboratively with Community Housing Limited.

‘Affordable housing is an issue facing all communities and this is a great opportunity to make a difference in Clunes. The funding raised by Council together with the Clunes community will deliver additional housing options and real opportunities for low income earners.’

Upon completion in the second half of 2019, the new properties will be made available as housing options for the elderly, key workers and younger people, and via CHL will be coupled with resources and support to allow them to engage with their community, develop support networks and grow and lead productive lives.

For almost a quarter of a decade, CHL has been managing the end to end delivery of affordable housing including design, construction, tenancy and property management and currently has more than 9,000 properties under its management nationally, of which over 15 percent are in Victoria.

CHIA Vic launches election platform

Councils call for mandatory inclusionary zoning

In the lead up to November’s Victorian State Election, frustrated councils in Melbourne’s outer east are calling on all political parties to commit to mandating the inclusion of social or affordable housing in new developments.

Six councils have formed the Eastern Affordable Housing Alliance, campaigning for a commitment to provide more than 11,000 homes to cover the shortfall in the eastern metropolitan region.

Launch Housing chief executive Bevan Warner said political parties needed to ensure that councils could make decisions regarding affordable homes.

“Local government should be able to include conditions to promote the broader public interest and that must include affordable and social housing. I think both sides of government need to clarify whether legislation is needed or not,” Mr Warner said.

The Victorian Greens Samantha Ratnam says the Greens would legislate to ensure every new large housing complex had a minimum of 30 per cent affordable homes.

‘The effectiveness of this idea has already been proven. Cities such as New York, London and San Francisco have undergone housing stress similar to what Melbourne is experiencing, and the use of genuine inclusionary zoning helped ensure that more people had a safe place to live,’ Dr Ratnam says.

The Victorian Government and opposition have not made a commitment.

Read more…

Homelessness map heats up electorates

The Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) in Victoria has released an interactive Homelessness Heat Map which gives a true picture of homelessness across the state.

The interactive map is based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and has been analysed by Victorian state electorates.

It was developed to coincide with the launch of CHP’s Victorian Homelessness Election Platform, a ‘blueprint’ for ending homelessness in Victoria.

You can click on the map to see a break-down of how many people are experiencing homelessness of different forms in every electorate in Victoria.

Job: Exec General Manager Victoria

The Executive General Manager, Operations South primary role is that of General Manager of Housing South for Haven; Home, Safe. However, the incumbent will be the lead GM in South operations, taking a lead in areas as agreed by the Chief Operations Officer, and to act as the Senior GM for the Chief Operations Officer at Department of Health and Human Services regional meetings, to oversee the response to any incidents or provide extra support in the event that the COO can’t attend or be reached.

The intention of the role is to add extra management responsibility, delegation and resource to the role in the event that the Chief Operations Officer is unavailable or not geographically positioned to take the lead, and to support the Chief Operations Officer generally at a strategic level.

This role is also responsible for managing Haven; Home, Safe’s housing provision within metropolitan and suburban Melbourne and Barwon South West.  This includes but is not limited to:

  • Managing Operational aspects of HHS Housing in the Division
  • Managing relevant HHS relationships
  • Managing Service arrangements and quality
  • Collaborating with other HHS key staff

The key accountabilities, and performance indicators for the position are:

  • Strategic Business Development and Directions
  • Quality Client Service Management and Business Operations
  • Exemplary team, people and stakeholder management
  • Financial Resource and risk management
  • Management reporting and compliance with legal, regulatory and contractual requirements.

Haven; Home, Safe expects a high level of innovation from its executive staff. We expect role-modelled commitment, quality, passion and energy from our employees. In return we offer competitive remuneration packages and attractive benefits. We offer a supportive workplace culture, flexible working conditions, family friendly workplace, training & development opportunities, Employee Assistance Program, salary packaging arrangements and an opportunity to make a real difference within our growing organization.

Closing date for all applications – COB 21st September 2018

Visit Haven; Home, Safe’s website to apply, or contact Jocelyn Heazlewood for details 03 5444 9047.

Shocking rent/income gap revealed

A new report has revealed the shocking gap between the incomes of typical renting households and the incomes required to avoid housing stress in Australia’s three most populated states.

Compass Housing’s Affordable Housing Income Gap Report, takes a new approach to the measurement of housing affordability for renters. The Report establishes the amount of additional income required to avoid housing stress on various types of rental properties in more than 300 suburbs, towns and local government areas across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. This amount is referred to as the Affordable Housing Income Gap (AHIG).

Compass spokesperson Martin Kennedy said in many cases the median incomes of renting households were tens of thousands of dollars per year below the level required to secure a basic two-bedroom apartment without experiencing housing stress. The situation for renters seeking a 3-bedroom house is worse, with median incomes up to $100,000 per year short of the level required to avoid housing stress in certain areas.

Annual income to afford a 3br house Amount above annual median income (AHIG) Annual income to afford a 2br unit Annual amount above median income (AHIG)
Inner Sydney $172,467 $78,139 $121,333 $27,005
Inner Melbourne $130,000 $50,336 $93,600 $13,936
Inner Brisbane $94,987 $17,299 $83,200 $5,512


Housing stress is experienced by households with incomes up to 120% of the median that are paying more than 30% of their income on housing costs.

Mr Kennedy said the Report proved housing stress isn’t just a problem for low-income households. He said working families with average incomes are struggling to afford suitable rental properties close to where they work.

“To avoid housing stress in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, a typical renting household often has to choose between living a considerable distance from the city or living in a one-bedroom apartment,” Mr Kennedy said.

“Neither of those things are practical for lots of families so they are effectively forced to accept living in housing stress. This can have a real impact on living standards because people in housing stress are less able to pay for other essentials like food, utilities, insurance, healthcare, childcare, and debt repayments.”

Mr Kennedy said that even in regional towns, where prices are nominally cheaper, comparatively lower household incomes mean renters in many areas still face significant affordability income gaps. The impact is particularly severe in “commuter belt” cities close to the capitals.

“The steady decline of housing affordability for renters is part of a broader housing crisis driven by a combination of low interest rates, preferential tax treatment for investors, rapid population growth, artificial rationing of land supply, high transfer duties, and a prolonged failure to invest in social and affordable housing.”

The Report recommends the creation of a national housing plan with initiatives crossing all levels of government. They include:

  • the construction of 500,000 social and affordable housing dwellings in the next 10 years,
  • reviewing the tax and transfer system to strike a fairer balance between the level of support provided to investors, first home buyers and renters
  • reforming state tenancy laws to provide greater security of tenure for renters and decrease demand for social housing.

Vic appoints inaugural tenancies commish

Deputy CEO of Launch Housing and CHIA Vic Board Member Dr Heather Holst has been appointed as Victoria’s inaugural Commissioner for Residential Tenancies.

CHIA Vic CEO Lesley Dredge says Dr Holst is a ‘brilliant’ choice for the position.

‘Heather has worked in the housing, homelessness and tenancy sectors since 1989. With her experience of the sector stretching from the coal face of being a frontline worker through to senior executive and board roles, she will bring invaluable knowledge and skills to this new role.’

‘Victorian tenants will have a committed and diligent advocate,’ Ms Dredge says.

As Commissioner for Residential Tenancies, Dr Holst will work closely with stakeholders across the rental sector to identify systemic issues and make recommendations to government.

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Marlene Kairouz says, ‘Dr Heather Holst has long been an advocate for housing rights and I congratulate her on her appointment.’




Job: IAP position in Victoria

The Intake Assessment and Planning (IAP) Worker provides high quality initial assessment and planning services to people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness and work in close collaboration with other agencies and housing providers.

This role reports to Senior Workers and IAP Manager and focuses on assisting individuals and families in housing crisis through conducting assessments, provision of information and referrals, with follow up and financial support where appropriate. The IAP worker will work as part of a close team delivering front-line IAP services and long-term housing in line with organisational values and policies.

About you

To fill this position, we are seeking staff who:

  • has experience in housing or homelessness support and qualifications in a relevant discipline
  • can adopt a flexible, responsive approach to assist individuals and families to achieve positive outcomes.
  • is empathetic, committed, reliable, positive, respectful and a values-led person
  • has the skills and experience to work effectively and sensitively with a broad range of clients, including those with complex and mental health needs
  • will contribute to the delivery of high quality service to people in housing crisis

Click here to read more and to apply for this position.

Partnership approach to deliver more housing

The Victorian Government’s moves to work in partnership with the community housing industry through a new Victorian Social Housing Growth Fund and Low Cost Loans initiative has been welcomed by the industry’s state peak body.

The Community Housing Industry Association Victoria’s (CHIA Vic) CEO Lesley Dredge says, with the waiting list for social housing in Victoria sitting at 42,162 households, action on creating more affordable housing supply is urgently needed and the government’s moves to increase the impact of the community housing sector via the growth funds and low-cost loans, are significant.

To resolve unmet housing need by 2051, factoring in population growth, Victoria must add another 3,000 social housing properties each year to house our most disadvantaged, plus another 3,000 affordable rental properties each year for low income households facing housing stress.

When the government’s $1b Social Housing Growth Fund is fully operational it will provide about $60 million annually, with the aim of adding only 2,200 social housing places over five years, an important step forward, Ms Dredge says.

‘The $1bn fund is the first time there has been a long-term, ongoing commitment to produce an income stream to be used for social housing in Victoria,’ Ms Dredge says.

‘We are hopeful that once this architecture is embedded, more funding will be allocated by subsequent governments; enabling community housing organisations to leverage the funds and plug the gap between the cost of delivering new social housing and the rents they are able to charge their low income tenants.’

The Low Cost Loans initiative for community housing organisations is also a step in the right direction, Ms Dredge says.

‘Making loans more affordable will assist some community housing organisations to leverage funds to be used to house more Victorians in need,’ Ms Dredge says.

Click here for details on the Victorian Social Housing Growth Fund and the low interest loans and guarantees.