Parity open for community housing submissions

Community housing organisations are urged to respond to a Call for Contributions for the upcoming August 2020 “Supporting and Sustaining Tenancies in Community Housing” edition of Parity.

Parity is Council to Homeless Persons national publication, which examines homelessness from personal, local, social and global perspectives.

The August edition will focus on the work taking place across the community housing sector to support and assist tenants maintain their housing, including policies, programs, services and initiatives.

Download details here.

New Haven chair seeks greater integration with broader housing industry

Highly respected property developer and enthusiastic community leader, Damien Tangey, has been appointed the new Chair of Haven; Home, Safe, Australia’s only fully integrated homelessness services and affordable rental housing provider.

Mr Tangey officially assumed the role following the retirement of long-serving Chair and Director, Sue Clarke at the Board’s 2 July 2020 meeting.

‘We’re so pleased to have Damien accept this pivotal role of Chair because it marks the next step of our transition into a much stronger organisation on behalf of the people that matter most, our clients,’ said Sue Clarke, having served 11 years on the Board.

‘His strategic input and wise counsel on our well-credentialled Board is invaluable, and his integrity, vision, passion, and commitment, mirrors that of our purpose and core values,’ she said.

‘Damien’s leadership will ensure we will transition into a dynamic, responsive organisation that continues to keep the people it supports at the very heart of all it does.’

Mr Tangey acknowledged the very significant contribution of Sue Clarke and said he was honoured to accept an enhanced role on the Board of Directors and contribute further to an organisation that continued to make a real difference to the lives of so many Victorians and their families

‘We are in a difficult economic period and also what is arguably the most significant period of sector reform experienced. Through this period we will continue to think intelligently, engage articulately and be nimble in innovation as we work to meet our goals and principals as a people-focused housing and support agency. This is critical for the many people and families who are, and seek to be, our clients so that they can find and keep a place to call home.’

Mr Tangey joined the Board in February 2019 and is also the managing director of Birchgrove Property.

He has significant experience in the property sector from a long career in valuations and development and has a strong understanding of national, state and local government policy impacting the housing affordability framework. He is the Immediate Past President and a current Board Member of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (Vic), Remembrance Parks Central Victoria and Be.Bendigo.

On taking over the role Mr Tangey said: ‘Housing Associations are an important and significant part of the property industry and their further integration with broader industry is important to open the door to more much-needed housing.’

Super interest in affordable housing

Industry super funds are showing increased interest in investing in affordable housing and are expected to support calls from the Community Housing Industry Association for state and federal governments to offer subsidies to make low-cost housing feasible as a long-term investment.

Read more….

Been working on green projects?

Has your organisation been working on social and environmental issues, and inspiring change for future generations?

Canon has introduced $5,000 worth of Community Grants for organisations including not-for-profits who have undertaken environmental projects and keep their community at the heart of what they do.

Applications close on July 31. Click here for details.

Building the Recovery

New modelling released today by CHIA National and National Shelter demonstrates how investing in social housing will create thousands of jobs and improve social outcomes.

The modelling shows investing in a four-year social house building program of 30,000 homes will create on average up to 18,000 full-time equivalent jobs each year.

Wendy Hayhurst, CEO at CHIA said, “The Social Housing Acceleration and Renovation Program (SHARP) will not just deliver great quality homes to those in need but also secure great jobs for thousands of Australians. SHARP’s main benefit will fall where the job losses have been greatest in Sydney and Melbourne but will also create jobs all over Australia in regions and towns.

“With the period 2021-22 earmarked as an anticipated economic weak point, SHARP will create up to 24,500 jobs both on-site and in the wider building services industry. The Federal Government has stated that we have to maintain a laser-like focus on jobs to get Australia moving and this new modelling shows that SHARP does just that,” says Ms Hayhurst.

Adrian Pisarski, CEO at National Shelter says, “The construction industry employs around 1.2 million people, which is over 9 per cent of Australia’s 13 million jobs. Because of Covid-19, there has been a 40 per cent reduction in forward contracts and SHARP is exactly the medicine the sector needs that will start to correct our social housing shortfall.”

The program should raise output in Australia by at least $15.7 billion in total, over the four years of construction and increase GDP by anywhere between $5.8 billion to $6.7 billion.

Terry Rawnsley, Principal and Partner at SGS Economics and Planning who led the modelling says, “Building homes has wide reaching impact beyond on site jobs, it makes a call on a host of services from equipment hire to waste removal. All this activity will have positive multiplier effects through local and regional economies, as construction and local supplier employees spend their newfound wages at local cafes, stores and even a weekend away.”

John Nicolades, CEO at Bridge Housing says, “We have social housing upgrading programs ready to go now. We can also bolster economic benefits even further by improving the energy efficiency of their homes, which would cut our tenants’ energy bills, leaving them with more money to spend.”

Nicola Lemon, CEO at Hume Housing says, “Community housing organisations are ready to respond now. We are experienced developers, with a proven track record of creating jobs through previous economic stimulus initiatives. We have strong relationships with local builders and councils, in both metro and regional areas and, through the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC), have access to low cost finance to make the government dollar go even further.”

Fiona Caniglia, CEO at Q Shelter says, “Investing government funds will create jobs while meeting social needs. There are 1.3 million Australians living in poverty simply because they are paying too much on housing. The new national cabinet sub-committee on housing can start making inroads to address this problem if Federal, State and Territory Governments collectively invest in SHARP which is a win-win for all.”

The Social Housing Acceleration and Renovation Program (SHARP) involves:
1. Wave 1 – social housing maintenance and upgrading
2. Wave 2 – acquisition of sites and properties requiring renovation / completion which are suitable for social housing
3. Wave 3 – shovel ready development projects
4. Wave 4 – longer term new development projects

The program calls for total government investment of $7.7 billion; $7.2 billion for new build/acquisition and $500 million for renovation of existing homes. Commonwealth contributions should be complemented by state/territory governments in the form of land and/or capital and local governments may also make a valuable contribution.

See the full report here.

Funding announcement offers a boost to Aboriginal housing

Aboriginal Housing Victoria (AHV) has welcomed funding announcements from the Victorian Government to upgrade and build more social housing for Aboriginal Victorians.

The government is investing almost $500 million to public and community housing as part of the $2.7 billion Building Works package, which will kickstart Victoria’s economy and create thousands of jobs across the state.

That includes funding for AHV sites in Hampton Park and Dandenong, creating 12 homes, as well as $35 million for upgrades, maintenance and repairs of existing Aboriginal social housing.

“This funding will enable AHV and other Aboriginal controlled organisations in our state to renovate hundreds of properties and build a dozen or so new homes. We expect Aboriginal Victorians to share in the new jobs to be immediately created in the construction sector while also providing more Aboriginal families with a safe place to live,” said AHV Chief Executive Officer Darren Smith.

“Every Victorian deserves a home and no sector of the community is denied this human right more often than First Australians. The commitment the Government announced yesterday to renovate thousands of existing properties (including those providing shelter for our people) is urgently needed, will boost morale and give a welcome charge to a flagging economy.”

Images of the property by Schored Projects supplied by Lucy Greenham.

Community housing input into Regional Adaptation Strategies

Community organisations know the impacts of climate change all too well, whether it’s helping vulnerable residents with extreme heat or building community resilience to disasters.

VCOSS is working with DELWP to engage the community service sector, including community housing organisations, to provide feedback or get involved in developing Regional Climate Change Adaptation Plans.

If you are interested in getting involved and shaping the Regional Adaptation Strategies for areas you operate in get in touch with Ben Latham to find out the options for participation.

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.

Call for Submissions: Monitoring Family Violence Reforms

The Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor was established following the 2016 Royal Commission to independently monitor and review the Victorian government and its agencies in delivering Victoria’s family violence reforms.

To inform her fourth report to Parliament next year, the Monitor is calling for submissions from organisations and individual practitioners who work with people who have experienced or perpetrated family violence, and organisations that represent and advocate for victim survivors.

The Monitor is seeking submissions that address the following topics:
1. How the family violence service system, and users’ experiences of it, have changed since the Royal Commission
2. Looking forward: what is still required in the family violence reforms
3. Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

See the submission website for details.

How to make a submission
– Visit engage.vic.gov.au up until 20 July 2020. Review the questions and areas of interest.
– Respond to questions directly into the website or upload a pre-prepared submission.
– Make a submission on behalf of an organisation or as an individual practitioner.

The Monitor welcomes submissions in whatever format and style is possible for you and your organisation at this challenging time.

What happens to your submission?
Submissions will directly inform the Monitor’s final report to Parliament on progress with implementation of the family violence reforms. The Monitor’s report will be released in 2021 as legislated by the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor Act 2016.

For further information, please contact:
Megan Wendt, Senior Project Officer
Office of the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor

HousingFirst secures funding for $100m plus projects

HousingFirst has been successful in securing funding for three projects through various funding arrangements delivered by the Victorian Government and will soon start building a total of 270 new homes for vulnerable Victorians in Box Hill, Parkville and Balaclava.

The combined market value of the three HousingFirst projects is over $100 million.

Click here to read the statement from HousingFirst Chair Frank O’Connor.