CHL’s $6.1m development delivers 24 new affordable homes

Community Housing Ltd (CHL) has completed 24 new affordable homes in Melbourne’s growing north-eastern suburb of Mernda – an initiative made possible by a three-way partnership between the philanthropic, public and not for profit sector.

The $6.1 million development has been jointly funded by the Philanthropic organisation Peter and Lyndy White (P&LW) Foundation who is the majority contributor with over $4.2million followed by $1.2 million from the Victorian Government’s Social Housing Growth Fund and the remainder by CHL. Designed and built by CHL, the new homes will be rented out to eligible people with local community links, at subsidised rent.

‘The contribution by Peter and Lyndy White Foundation is truly inspiring. It shows the impact the philanthropic sector can make in the community. We are proud of the partnership with the Foundation and the Victorian state government in delivering this project which will provide real opportunities for those who are homeless and on low incomes,’ said Steve Bevington, Managing Director of CHL.

Located in the heart of the Mernda township, the high-quality two storey development comprises of one and two-bedroom apartments and will be offered to those on the social housing waiting list. With medical facilities, schools, public transport, supermarket and retail outlets in close proximity, tenants will have easy access to essential services and local employment hubs.

‘These homes are modern, well located and will provide much needed additional supply of affordable housing at a time where the cost of living is increasingly unaffordable. It will provide a new lease of life to those who have fallen into difficulties due to issues such as unemployment, family breakdown, illness and others that have led to their having ended up being homeless,’ Mr Bevington said.

‘The completion of the development couldn’t have come at a more critical time as waiting lists for public housing and social housing continue to grow. We hope to see more investment into building social housing to ensure everyone has access to safe, secure and affordable housing.

‘This project is a great example of three sectors working together to address the shortage of affordable housing. We commend the P&LW Foundation & the Victorian Government for their leadership and look forward to continuing the partnership in the future,’ Steve added.

Minister for Housing Richard Wynne said, ‘Everyone deserves the safety and security of a roof over their head. This latest tranche of the Social Housing Growth Fund will deliver more than 780 units to make sure people sleeping rough, at risk of homelessness, and those escaping family violence can find a home.

Has your local member signed the pledge?

In Homelessness Week, CHIA Vic, along with other members of the Everybody’s Home campaign is urging local and federal members to sign the pledge and take action to address the massive shortfall in social housing supply.

Click here to view the heatmap showing the prevalence of homelessness in your local area.

#HW2020

ABC Radio National calls for more social housing

In an article published by the ABC’s Radio National, Peter Mares,the  author of No Place Like Home: Repairing Australia’s Housing Crisis, echoes our sector’s call for increased investment in social housing. 

In the article entitled, Can Australia build its way out of the coronavirus economic slump, with public housing the priority? Mr Mares writes: ‘Large-scale programs to build social housing aren’t a short-term fix to help the economy recover from the pandemic, they are a long-term investment in a prosperous and fair society.

‘It would take a lot of money. But unless we invest in social housing, we are going to spend a lot of money anyway; we’re just going to spend in different, less effective ways as we condemn a proportion of the population to housing insecurity and rental stress.’

Click here to read the full article.

Affordable housing stimulus calls grow

Great to see the construction industry has joined with charities and welfare groups to push for a post-COVID-19 social housing boom to stimulate the economy, create more jobs and head off a potential increase in homelessness.

Community housing organisations played an important role in the Rudd Government’s stimulus package during the Global Financial Crisis and we are ready to do the same again.

Read today’s Age article….

Extra housing for family violence victims 

Haven; Home Safe (HHS) has received funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to secure an additional 50 head-leased properties for women and children escaping family violence.

This is the fourth consecutive year the agency has received funding for its award-winning Moving On program, which operates across the North Region of the state, providing rent subsidy and wrap-around support services for households who have experienced family violence.

HHS Chief Operations Officer Trudi Ray said the aim of Moving On was to increase the supply of medium to long-term affordable rental housing.

‘The program means women and their families can access the support they need to stay safe and get back on their feet,’ Ms Ray said.  

HHS sub-lets properties to approved applicants for a period of up to 12 months, while locally based family violence services provide the wrap-around supports.

‘We use a rent step-up model which helps our clients slowly transition towards paying full market rent by the end of the 12 months,’ Ms Ray said 

Of the previous allocations, HHS obtained under the plan, 92 per cent of victim-survivors transitioned to a private rental lease of their chosen property at the end of the 12-month head-lease period.

The organisation will be sending out the call to specialised family violence agencies for referrals to the program in the Melbourne area from Monday, February 3.

‘Once Metro clients have been sourced, we will be accepting referrals from local specialised family violence agencies in Bendigo and other regions in Victoria,’ Ms Ray said.

‘We are pleased to be able to continue the important work we have started with Moving On.’


The regional sites include Geelong, Ballarat, Warrnambool, Bendigo and Mildura/Swan Hill.
 

ROGS data unsurprising

Last year’s ROGS data has been released and, as expected, it shows very little growth in social housing numbers for 2018/19. Victoria continues to invest in social housing at a lower rate than population figures would predict. Despite 25 per cent of Australia’s population (and growing) living in Victoria, the Victorian Government was only responsible for 15 per cent of the national expenditure on housing in 2018/19. However, the Victorian Government’s expenditure on all social housing did increase to $600m, up from $539m in 2017/18.

The number of dwellings in the public housing portfolio was 64,428 in 2018/19, down from 65,064 10 years ago. This decline in stock numbers cannot be explained by stock transfers, as the only transfers that occurred during this period were properties already managed by community housing and therefore were counted in the community housing stock figures. Over the same period, community housing dwellings increased by about 40 per cent, with funding via a combination of government, philanthropic grants and borrowings.

We all know that the throughput in social housing is decreasing with very few private affordable housing rentals available. Public housing assisted 3,990 new households in 2014/15 and that figure plummeted to 2,826 in 2018/19 – a decrease of about 30 per cent. This at a time when there are over 50,000 applications on the Victorian Housing Register.

The decline in throughput was not as great in community housing over the same period. There were 2,115 new tenancies in 2014/15 and 1,953 in 2017/18 – a decrease of about 8 per cent. In part, this would be explained by the sector’s transitional housing and rooming house stock.

Community housing continues to have a higher satisfaction rating than public housing and the latter houses a slightly higher percentage of tenants with the ‘greatest need’; 92 per cent compared to community housing’s 90 per cent.

While the data is interesting, different state and territory policy and practice make inter-sector and jurisdictional comparisons fraught. Also, community housing data is subject to many qualifications and some omissions. Changes in data definitions are amongst the reason comparisons over time are also not straightforward. In Victoria, 96 organisations are invited to fill in the survey while in some jurisdictions only the registered community housing sector is surveyed. There are 38 organisations registered in Victoria with about 20,000 properties under management yet in Victoria 80 of the 96 completed the survey, reporting well short of 20,000 properties!

The Commonwealth wants to improve the quality of the data and is committed to working towards a nationally-consistent data set. In the meantime, this is the best we have. CHIA Vic will continue to liaise with Department of Health and Human Services to improve the Victorian collection.

 

One Hundred Social and Affordable Rentals Delivered

One hundred Victorians are the proud tenants of a new, modern, safe and secure place to call home thanks to a joint venture between National Affordable Housing Consortium (NAHC) and Common Equity Housing Limited (CEHL), backed by the $1 billion Victorian Social Housing Growth Fund.

NAHC and CEHL created a holding company, Affordable Rentals Victoria, to deliver the project.

This Victorian State Government Program has enabled the delivery of 100 below market social and affordable rental units providing much needed additional supply of lower-priced housing at a time where the cost of living is increasingly unaffordable.

Located in key Melbourne suburbs chosen for their location, greenery and nearby amenities, this joint venture is providing not just affordable housing to Victorians but, more importantly, a place to call home.

Click here to read the press release

turning the sod in Mitcham

Delivering crisis accommodation

Ground has been broken on a project to deliver an eight-unit development in Melbourne’s east designed to support older women at risk of homelessness.

Community Housing Ltd (CHL), Uniting Vic.Tas together with other partners Mountview Uniting Church, Oak Building Group and the Department of Housing and Human Services (DHHS) have celebrated turning-the-sod on the project in Mitcham.

The homes will be located close to public transport and schools to ensure tenants maintain their links to local services and the community.

‘We are pleased to be partnering in this significant project which will provide safe, secure accommodation for older women in housing need. We will bring in our expertise of careful and sensitive design utilising 25 years of experience in designing accommodation for people in highest housing need,’  says Steve Bevington, CHL’s Managing Director.

The Hon. Bronwyn Pike, CEO-designate of Uniting Vic.Tas, says the facility will support women facing homelessness to take control of their lives and transition into sustainable, safe, long-term housing.

‘The numbers of women over 55 years of age requiring homelessness support are underestimated and under-reported,’ Ms Pike says. ‘Mountview House will be a step toward helping address the need for older women’s crisis accommodation in Melbourne’s East.’

The Mountview House facility is nearly two decades in the making. The Victorian Government is contributing more than $2.3 million to the facility’s development as part of its Accommodation for the Homelessness Phase 2 initiative.

 

 

City of Melbourne supports mandatory inclusionary zoning

CHIA Vic has commended the City of Melbourne  for its call for the introduction of mandatory inclusionary zoning, which would see developers compelled to include social and/or affordable housing in their projects.

The council’s Future Melbourne committee this week endorsed a submission to the Victorian Government’s Ministerial Advisory Committee on Planning Mechanisms for Affordable Housing that made the case for mandatory inclusionary zoning, at a rate to be determined by modelling, and with a cash-in-lieu option. This option would be complemented by flexibility for local governments to increase the minimum requirement where there was strategic justification and evidence of need.

The submission also called for local governments to be able to provide a voluntary uplift incentive in strategic development areas to encourage developers to include even more social and affordable housing than the level set for the state.

Currently, local governments in Victoria are able to negotiate with developers to include social and affordable housing, but the Affordable Housing Agreements are voluntary.

CHIA Vic CEO Lesley Dredge says making inclusionary zoning mandatory could play a key role in reducing the massive gap between supply and demand for social and affordable housing in Victoria, where the waitlist for social housing as at September this year was sitting at 44,152 households – and growing.

 

Brunswick tenants to benefit from Women’s management

Channel 10’s report demonstrates how much the Gronns Place public housing estate requires redevelopment.

Tenants in the new social housing are to benefit from management by Women’s Housing.

Click here to view the news report or here to read more about this major redevelopment project in Brunswick will lead to the creation of 119 new social housing properties.