Bendigo calls for input into affordable housing

The City of Greater Bendigo is calling for community input into its Affordable Housing Action Plan.

The council wants to better understand affordable housing needs in Greater Bendigo so it can address the growing shortage of affordable housing shortage, including utilising mechanisms to increase the supply of well-designed and efficient affordable housing.

The council has released a paper for public comment.

Click here to read the background paper and provide comment via a short survey.

How much do you know about VCAT?

Do you have the skills and information you need to prepare for appearances at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)?

This full-day training at CHIA Vic will give participants the confidence to ensure they follow polices and procedures correctly in the lead up to any appearance, including the correct serving of notices and calculation of rental arrears and termination dates.

The course will run on Tuesday, February 18 from 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Click here to register or click here to view our other housing-sector-specific training.

Productivity Commission Stats

Community housing assisting those in greatest need

Statistics released today in the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services 2020 shows new allocations of community housing properties in Victoria during 2018-19 were made to households in greatest need.

Nationally, the 2018 data shows that 84 per cent of community housing tenants stated the amenity of their housing met their needs and 87 per cent thought it was of an acceptable standard (compared to 80 per cent of public housing tenants).

Click here for details.

Family violence census extended

Victoria’s Workers Census has been extended.

If your job brings you into contact with people experiencing family violence or perpetrators you now have more time to have your say and tell us how you need to be better supported.

Be counted and help us make sure there is no wrong door for people who need help for family violence.

Click to participate in the census.

NHFIC update

In what has been a full year for NHFIC, the Board approved over $900 million of loans to 16 community housing organisations supporting the financing of more than 3800 social and affordable homes and over 1000 new dwellings.

The issuance of two bonds totalling $630 million during the year enabled NHFIC to provide lower cost, longer term loans to community housing organisations around the country with the second NHFIC bond issued last month supporting loans to seven CHOs in Victoria, NSW, Queensland, Western Australia, and South Australia.

NHFIC’s 2018-19 Social Bond Report details the use of proceeds from NHFIC’s inaugural  bond issuance in March 2019. The report demonstrates the positive impact that NHFIC’s transformative financing is achieving in improving housing outcomes for Australians.  You can view the report here.

New financial modelling tools

During the year, NHFIC launched two new financial modelling tools to assist CHOs. Workshops and training for the Project Finance Model will be available in early January, while workshops for the Financial Model will follow in February.

Capacity Building Program

NHFIC has also extended the $1.5 million Capacity Building Program to Tier 1 CHOs. The program provides access to professional advisory services to assist CHOs with the upfront work required to support a NHFIC loan application.

First Home Loan Deposit Scheme

Finally, NHFIC is looking forward to the launch of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme on 1 January 2020, a new Australian Government initiative that will help first home buyers on low to moderate incomes enter the housing market sooner. Fact sheets and eligibility criteria can be accessed on the NHFIC website.

Check out NHFIC’s new website featuring a number of product fact sheets and case studies.

  • article courtesy of NHFIC

Send your pollie an important Christmas message

The Everybody’s Home campaign is urging people to send their MP a Christmas Card setting out the reasons why more action is needed on social housing.


You can take part in the digital campaign by clicking on the Everybody’s Home campaign page and adding your postcode to find your federal MP and hit send to makd sure they receive the digital card by Christmas.

There’s only seven days until Christmas so be quick!



New service agreement

The community sector has signed a new four-year service agreement with the Victorian Government, detailing the rights and responsibilities of both the government and community service organisations that receive state funding.

What are the key changes?

  1. Formal acknowledgment of the independence of funded organisations.
  2. Support for embedding Aboriginal self-determination in our work.
  3. Clearer guidelines on what we must do if a data breach occurs within our organisation.
  4. Limiting the circumstances under which the government can recoup unspent funds.
  5. More notice when policies are being changed, or new policies are being introduced.
  6. Some limits on what records the government can access.

On 1 January 2020, DHHS will post the full text of the Service Agreement and some related documents on the Funded Agency Channel Service Agreement Module.

Holiday hours

CHL founder celebrates 25 year milestone

Steve Bevington, the man behind Australia’s largest not-for-profit social and affordable housing provider, Community Housing Limited (CHL), this month celebrates 25 years at its helm.

As founder and managing director of CHL for a quarter of a century, Steve has helped transform the affordable housing sector both in Australia and abroad and is determined to see ‘a world without poverty’; a goal shaped by his very own experience with homelessness during his younger days in England.

‘My experience sleeping on the streets and insecure, short term housing won’t ever leave me. It’s a powerful motivator and is the reason behind why I do what I do every day,’ Steve said.

‘What most people don’t realise is that safe and secure housing is life’s foundation. Housing either sets you up for life or sets you back. You can’t plan for a future when at first you don’t have a safe place to sleep. Slipping through the cracks is quite easy when there’s no safety net there to catch you as you fall.’

After migrating to Australia in the late 80s and picking up a housing role with the Victorian Government, Steve spotted an opportunity to make a difference by launching CHL with the aim of housing more Victorians.

What started as a one-man show, has now turned into a global housing powerhouse with more than 300 staff united in a commitment to house those in need. CHL currently manages 11,000 properties in Australia and has expanded operations internationally to countries including India, Rwanda, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste, Chile, Peru and Indonesia.

As well as being CHL’s driving force, Steve has been a leader in affordable housing advocacy nationally for more than two decades as a director of the national Community Housing Industry Association’s (CHIA) board and its predecessor, the Community Housing Federation of Australia. Tasked with solving the industry’s biggest challenges, Steve said that while Australia had made some large strides in the delivery of affordable housing since the 90s, much more needed to be done to ensure a sustainable path is forged for the next 25 years.

‘There are many great opportunities that the housing sector presents, but also many critical challenges that need to be addressed immediately in order to deliver innovative affordable housing solutions to more Australians,’ Steve said.

‘We saw news this week of a 20-year research project from AHURI finding that there’s a shortage of almost half a million rental houses for low income families in Australia. We are one of the world’s wealthiest and prosperous countries, and this is simply isn’t good enough.

‘Families need the support of the federal and state governments to invest in more affordable housing stock and the build-to-rent sector.  As a start, an increase to the Commonwealth Rent Assistance is vital for at-risk households so they can secure access to an increasingly unaffordable rental housing market for low income people.

‘My hope is that in 25 years’ time, housing poverty will be history. Easier said than done, but can we ignore this crisis at hand?’

FBT Salary Sacrifice Arrangements

Want to understand how salary sacrifice works and how to avoid common mistakes when making claims? This session, run by Auditor Ryk Eksteen, from Collins & Co, will outline the common mistakes and issues commonly found during the audit of not-for-profit organisations – and why resolving them is so important.

Ryk will look at salary sacrifice arrangements for both fringe benefits tax (FBT) rebatable and FBT exempt organisations and the nuts and bolts of getting it right.

This session will be of interest to finance and human resources staff as well as team leaders and workers who want to understand more about how salary sacrifice works.

It will be held on Tuesday, January 21.

Bookings essential.