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CHIA Media Release: Build back better with community housing organisations

‘COVID-19: Rental housing and homelessness policy impacts’, the new report published by the UNSW-ACOSS Poverty and Inequality Partnership, demonstrates how much can be achieved with a ‘can do’ attitude. To protect from the pandemic during 2020, over 12,000 people sleeping rough were helped with emergency assistance. This has been followed by a significant step up in state-funded social housing construction, with 7,500 plus new homes planned over each of the next four years – well over double the 2-3,000 per annum that had become the disappointing norm over the past decade.

The Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) congratulates Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania on their pandemic response and its members welcome the opportunity to play a prominent role in delivering the high quality, energy-efficient homes so badly needed by lower income Australians.

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Download the full media release here

NHFIC: Social Bond Report 2021

The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) has released its Social Bond Report for 202021. NHFIC’s Social Bond Report provides insights into bond issuances, including borrower profiles and use of proceeds.

Highlights include:

  • Issuing 3 bonds – including NHFIC’s first sustainability bond and longest-tenor bond, and first floating rate note – raising a total of $805 million.
  • Supporting more than 4,900 dwellings, with around two-thirds (65 per cent) of the CHP loans funded by the three bonds underpinning new housing supply.
  • Provided 9 community housing providers with an estimated $161 million in fee and interest savings, through longer tenor and lower-interest loans.
  • Continued to attract private investment into social and affordable housing in Australia, by growing NHFIC’s investor base domestically and offshore, with 7 new offshore investors.
  • Meeting the housing needs of a range of cohorts including vulnerable women, indigenous households, and people with disabilities.

Full media release here

Social Bond Report here

CHIA: Sector rejects Mr Falinski’s uninformed and prejudiced comments about social and affordable housing

A coalition of affordable housing advocacy peak bodies has rejected the comments made by Jason Falinski MP, chair of the Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue’s Inquiry into housing affordability and supply in Australia, labelling them as uninformed and prejudiced. CHIA, Homelessness Australia, and National Shelter, object in the strongest terms to Mr Falinski’s misrepresentation of the sector and disregard for the important contribution that affordable housing makes to the wellbeing of Australians in housing need.

Mr Falinski’s statements at UDIA’s National TV event on 9 September denigrating social and affordable housing come in the same week that the Women’s Safety Summit issued a statement recognising that ‘Affordable, accessible long-term housing…… is fundamental to the safety and recovery of victim-survivors and must be a priority.’

Full release here

Expert housing panel: Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees conference

At the AIST (Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees) ASI 2021 conference last week one of many discussions that took place was on a newly developed investment model in affordable housing that aims to overcome some of the traditional barriers to pension fund investing in this asset class and deliver solid returns for members.

Carrie Hamilton, Consultant, Housing Action Network, Wendy Hayhurst, CEO @ CHIA and Associate Professor Christian (Andi) Nygaard, Deputy Director, Centre for Urban Transitions, Swinburne University of Technology as an expert panel provided their insights into this topic. The recording can be heard here.

Statement on Housing for Women’s Safety: Social housing cannot be overlooked during women’s safety summit

CHIA is pleased to be one of the 240+ signatories to the Statement on Housing for Women’s Safety, organised through Everybody’s Home. These organisations are concerned “about the continuing toll of violence against women, and lack of Government action to provide safe homes, so women and children can escape violence and rebuild their lives. Failing to include housing for women’s safety on the Agenda at the National Summit on Women’s Safety highlights the lack of focus on this critical issue. You simply can’t talk about women’s safety without talking about safe and affordable homes.

For the full statement please click here 

Media Release: Social and affordable rental housing: time for all levels of government to invest in this transformational social infrastructure

The Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) applauds the 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan’s break through call for all levels of government to invest in social and affordable rental housing. The Plan recognises that ‘well-maintained and designed social housing provides many community benefits, supporting individual and societal wellbeing and productivity, and reducing costs in health and justice services’ and recommends the design and implementation of programs to increase supply’.

“Infrastructure Australia is to be commended for the focus on social infrastructure in this plan. Too often Australian governments have viewed social and affordable rental housing investment solely as an impost and overlooked its positive impacts, not just for the individual who gets a home but for other service budgets.” said Wendy Hayhurst, CHIA’s CEO. “Only last week, for example the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) published research showing that helping ex-prisoners through social housing typically cuts re-offending and saves the tax payer thousands of dollars.”

Full media release here

Access Housing changes its name to Housing Choices Western Australia (Housing Choices WA)

As of 18 February 2021, Access Housing will officially change its name to Housing
Choices Western Australia (Housing Choices WA), as the merger between Access
Housing and Housing Choices Australia reaches completion.

The two organisations officially merged on 1 July 2020, paving the way for Housing
Choices to become one of the largest community housing providers in the country. In
Western Australia, Housing Choices WA has 1,850 properties with over 3,000
tenants and a total asset value of over $175 million. Since the merger, Housing
Choices (including WA) is now responsible for the management of nearly 7,000
social and affordable homes across five states in Australia, with assets valued in
excess of $900 million and with annual revenue of nearly $70 million.

The merger’s completion puts the Housing Choices Group of Companies in a leading
position to work with the WA Government and other industry stakeholders to help
resolve the State’s current housing crisis.

Full media release here

Evolve Pacific Developments Achieve Success

The establishment of Evolve Pacific Developments (EPD) brought together two leading and highly regarded Community Housing Providers, Evolve Housing and Pacific Link Housing, so that they could, jointly provide more affordable housing for those in greatest need in our community. Their combined efforts have resulted in the completion of three successful developments at Woy Woy, Roselands and Canton Beach, delivering a total of 87 new studio apartments.

The already significant existing need for social and affordable housing has surged even further with the economic impact of COVID-19. The EPD built apartments have provided the clients of both organisations with a high-quality housing solution and the provision of a safe and secure accommodation environment.

Full media release here

NHFIC release first flagship housing report

The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) has released its first flagship
report producing five-year projections for housing supply and demand across Australia’s major cities
and regional areas.

The State of the Nation’s Housing 2020 report assesses the number of new households that are
expected to form (new housing demand) over the next five years, the number of new net dwelling
additions expected to come on-line, and annual balance of new supply and demand, while also
assessing housing affordability

Full media release here

Link and Wentworth merger given the green light

Two of Australia’s leading Tier 1 community housing providers, Link Housing and Wentworth Community Housing, have announced they are joining forces. The two organisations have signed a merger agreement with the intention to formally become Link Wentworth Housing Ltd (Link Wentworth), on 31 March 2021.

Government endorsement was recently received and member approvals finalised at Link Housing’s Annual General Meeting on November 26, 2020, giving the merger the green light. The Board has appointed former Housing NSW CEO, Mike Allen, as Chair-elect, with Link Housing CEO, Andrew McAnulty announced as CEO-elect.

The merger of these two major Tier 1 community housing providers means Link Wentworth will be one of the largest community housing providers in New South Wales, able to leverage its scale to enable greater provision of social and affordable housing to those most in need.

For the full media release click here

CHIA & NHFIC: results from the COVID-19 impact interviews

CHIA & NHFIC interviewed leaders from 30 community housing organisations during June and July 2020 to find out how they responded to the challenges of the first wave of the COVID-19 crisis which emerged in Australia in March 2020.

The report outlines the key findings from those interviews as they relate to business continuity, financial impacts, general customer services, asset management, housing management, access and demand, human resources, learning from COVID-19.

CHIA’s report: ‘Responding to COVID-19: What we learned from talking to CHOs’  can be accessed here

NHFIC’s report ‘Australia’s social and affordable housing sector: A resilient response to COVID-19’ can be accessed here.

Audio file of the presentation session here

Venture Housing announce new development in Tennant Creek

Territory-proud, registered Community Housing Provider and ‘for purpose’ charity, Venture Housing Company Limited (Venture), is pleased to announce the successful completion and acquisition of five (5) new houses, for rental to key workers on low to moderate incomes, at 90 Peko Road, Tennant Creek, under a turnkey contract delivery by local builder, Far Northern Contractors Pty Ltd T/A T&J Contractors. NT Indigenous enterprise, Dice Australia, was also involved in the project, providing solar power to these dwellings, thus rendering them even more affordable for their tenants.

Full media release here

Federal Budget  –  a missed opportunity to meet social housing need while growing Australia’s economy and saving construction jobs

The Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) is disappointed that the 2020 Federal budget contains no plans to kick start the recovery through investing in social housing. “The Master Builders construction forecasts have pointed to a 27% fall in home building, with massive implications for employment in an industry that supplies over 9% of Australia’s jobs” said Wendy Hayhurst, CHIA’s CEO. “While the budget has some measures to support home builders, these are unlikely to be anywhere near sufficient to compensate for the drop in demand caused by zero migration and high rates of financial stress.

“While CHIA welcomes the $1 billion extension of the Commonwealth Government guarantee supporting the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation’s (NHFIC) lending but this on its own is insufficient to drive substantial new social and affordable housing construction.

For the full media release click here

Everybody’s Home: nationwide coalition pushes for 30,000 new homes

More than 300 organisations have signed an open letter calling for a social housing construction boom, similar to that of the post-war era

The Everybody’s Home campaign is pushing for Australia to build 30,000 new homes in the next four years, not only to deliver families much needed secure housing but to also in a bid to create some 18,000 jobs.

The broad coalition of signatories includes prominent national bodies, such as ACOSS, the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA), Anglicare Australia, YWCA Australia, ACTU, Country Women’s Association, Mission Australia, St Vincent de Paul Society, the Salvation Army, National Shelter and Homelessness Australia. Several city councils from across the country have also signed on, including Lismore City Council, City of Greater Dandenong, Cardinia Shire Council and Strathfield Council.

“Australia can kill two birds with one stone if it directs some of the massive stimulus spending at the coming budget to social housing,” said Kate Colvin, national spokesperson of the Everybody’s Home campaign.

Full media release here

Open letter (PDF) here

New App launched to help community housing tenants save money on utilities

Residents of WA’s leading not for profit social and affordable housing provider, Community Housing Limited (CHL), are set to take part in a pilot program to trial a new App that will assist in managing the consumption of energy and utilities delivering substantial savings for low income families and also help in reducing their carbon footprint.

Funded by Lotterywest and developed by social enterprise Climate Clever on behalf of the Rise Network’s consortium of not for profit housing providers, the ‘Bill Buddy’ App is designed to help users measure, monitor, compare and reduce their consumption of energy and utility bills. It will also calculate their carbon footprint and show how they can make a positive impact to the environment by making changes to the way they use appliances and utilities.

Managing Director of CHL Steve Bevington said CHL is not only focused on developing innovative housing options for those experiencing housing difficulty but is dedicated to helping residents sustain their tenancy through a wide range of such initiatives.

Full media release here

CHIA joins the call for a smart housing installation boom (National Low Income Energy Productivity Program)

Over 50 social, property, business, environment, local councils and research groups have banded together to call on Federal and State Governments to stimulate the economy with an energy efficient and solar, low-income housing installation boom.

Doing so would create tens of thousands of shovel ready jobs, cut energy bills for people on low incomes who will spend back into the economy, and reduce carbon emissions.

The call comes after the Federal Government’s Housing stimulus proposal failed to include measures for people most in need, instead focusing on high income earners undertaking expensive renovation without any related social or environmental benefits.

For the full media release, click here

For the The National Low Income Energy Productivity Program (NLEPP) proposal, click here