AHURI’s COVID-19 Research Hub releases first report

AHURI has released the first report that has been developed for its COVID-19 Research Hub, which it set up in May this year.

The hub houses AHURI’s latest research, policy analysis and news on housing, homelessness and urban responses to COVID-19 that fall under eight priority research areas. The aim is to help governments at all levels make the best housing policy decisions during and following the coronavirus pandemic.

The first piece of research, Renting in the time of COVID-19: understanding the impacts, found almost 40 per cent of the renters surveyed could not afford essentials such as bills, clothing, transport and food, after paying rent, because their incomes had been reduced significantly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click to visit AHURI’s COVID-19 Research Hub.

Federal budget missed opportunity

In the largest spending Federal budget in decades it was disappointing to see little in it for housing or most of our tenants. The key measure for the sector was an increase from $2 billion to $3 billion in the NHFIC Government Guarantee for the Australian Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator. While this is a welcome initiative debt alone will not build anymore social houses – subsidised housing requires a subsidy.

However, it was pleasing to see $150 million for the Indigenous Home Ownership Program which is a shared equity model that will support the construction of new homes in regional areas – something the Victoria’s Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Framework identified as a priority.

The Treasurer gave no indication about the ongoing rate of Jobseeker once the coronavirus subsidy is withdrawn. It is inconceivable to think that the government would expect people to return to living on $40 per day. More money in the hands of people on low incomes is not only good social policy but it is sound economic policy and would help reboot the economy.

Attention now turns to next month’s state budget and Tim Pallas said this morning that the ‘Victorian Government will hand down a budget that will kickstart the biggest economic recovery effort our state has ever seen.’ The Andrew’s Government is aware that Victoria has the lowest rate of social housing in the country and they understand the economic power of investing in social housing as demonstrated by the Rudd Stimulus Package in 2008. We are hopeful that this will translate into a sizeable commitment into housing.

– Lesley Dredge, CHIA Vic CEO

Mental Health Awareness during COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an added stress for employees in the community housing sector and this CHIA Vic online training is designed to assist participants to understand the steps they can take to protect their own Mental Health.

To maximise discussion, the workshop numbers will be capped at 15. The session will be held over two days, on Thursday, October 15 and Friday, October 16, from 11am to 3pm.

Participants will receive the 35-page manual via email prior to the first online session, to give you an opportunity to review it before the training begins.

Bookings essential, register here.

COVID-19 and the community housing sector

Find out how our sector has fared throughout the COVID-19 crisis by downloading the special edition of our CHIA Vic magazine. Out now.

Click here to view your copy.

Is COVID-19 causing a housing crisis?

CEO of the Aboriginal Housing Victoria and CHIA Vic Board Member Darren Smith will be one of the speakers on a Facebook Live event hosted by ABC Melbourne’s Raf Epstein on  Is COVID causing a housing crisis?

The online event is one of a series created by VCOSS and ABC Melbourne on some of the pressing social dimensions of the pandemic.

Darren will be joined by Dr Nadia Chaves, infectious disease specialist from cohealth and Georga Wootton, senior lawyer at Tenants Victoria.

It will be held on Thursday, September 10, from 7.30 – 8.30pm.

Click here to take part.

A problem and a solution

Australia’s lack of social housing is usually talked about as a major problem. And it is, particularly in Victoria, which languishes at the bottom of the pile in terms of social housing as a proportion of the total housing market. However, a Smart Company article, which quotes CHIA National’s CEO Wendy Hayhurst, lays out a reasoned argument about why social housing can also be a solution in the context of the Covid-19 generated economic turndown.

Read it here.

Social housing push to end homelessness during COVID recovery

More than three quarters of Victorians want the State Government to “build significantly more public and community housing” as part of its response to COVID-19.

According to a new Essential Poll commissioned on the eve of National Homelessness Week, support for more social housing was rock solid in all demographics, regions and age groups, and across the political divide.

This includes support for more social housing from:

84% of Labor voters and 78% of Coalition voters.
76% of women and 78% of men.
77% of Melbourne residents and 79% of people in country Victoria.

Support to build more homes for people on low-incomes and those who are homeless was also consistently strong amongst workers, retirees, parents and those without kids.

A whopping 83% of Victorians agreed the Victorian Government should be doing more to end homelessness, in the poll conducted on behalf of Victoria’s leading housing and social advocacy groups.

Click to read the media release.

Cast your vote in Wintringham’s online art exhibition

The Wintringham Art Space 2020 online exhibition is now open! It includes over 80 artworks from people who use Wintringham’s services, many who have experienced or have been vulnerable to homelessness. There are paintings, drawings, crafts, knitted pieces, poems, sculptures and much more. The exhibition is an annual Wintringham tradition that takes place during Homelessness Week. It provides Wintringham’s clients with an opportunity to get creative and express themselves through their art, especially during this pandemic – look out for the beautiful ‘Covid dreaming’ painting.

As part of the exhibition, Wintringham has also launched its first ever People’s Choice Award. Visitors to the website will be able to show their support for up to five of their favourite artworks through an online survey, but voting is only open from Monday 3 until Sunday 9 August, so get in quick! There are art voucher prizes up for grabs for the winner, runner-up and a lucky voter, very kindly provided by Melbourne Artists’ Supplies. Visit the Wintringham Art Space for some artistic inspiration and vote now!

DHHS community housing infection control information session

Almost 70 CHIA Vic members attended a Zoom presentation by DHHS staff on infection control in community housing facilities on Monday afternoon.

Members discussed a range of issues including the need for security to accompany testing teams.

The PowerPoint, including resources, is now available for members on the Coronavirus Members page of our website.

If you are CHIA Vic member and do not have access, please email Jason.perdriau@chiavic.com.au for a log in.

Community sector survey opens

You’re invited to participate in the Australian Community Sector Survey COVID-19 edition, which will provide an invaluable picture of the effects of the current COVID-19 situation on the community sector, as it allows a longitudinal comparison between the sector in late 2019 and now.

Your response is vital to give a full picture of the impacts of these events on the sector.

The survey will close on 21 July 2020. 

Click here to take part.