New NDIS and Housing Interest Group

The NDIS rollout is beginning to have a significant impact on a number of CHIA Vic members and their tenants, both in the development and management spaces.  This includes those seeking to develop new Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) and managing existing stock as the environment for both housing managers and support providers changes.

These changes also extend to ‘the Other 94 per cent’ who do not receive SDA funding and access other housing options such as  community housing. CHIA Vic has held a scoping meeting with a few members to begin to understand how the changes in support are impacting on tenants – but we need to do more.

CHIA Vic has engaged experienced consultant Joseph Connellan to bring together interested CHIA Vic members for meeting with the view of establishing a CHIA Vic NDIS and Housing Interest Group.

Interested members are invited to attend this inaugural meeting and participate in designing the operation and work plan for this Interest Group. Joseph will distribute a briefing paper to those who have registered a few days before the meeting, which will be held on Thursday, July 5 at CHIA Vic.

Click here for details and to register.


VPF gives people more housing choices

Housing Choices Australia will build 24 new homes for low income and vulnerable people in Dandenong and Newport after being awarded $4.9 million from the Victorian Property Fund (VPF).

The VPF distributes grants to support a range of property-related programs, including housing assistance for vulnerable Victorians. Housing Choices is using the grant to rebuild and expand vital housing options at two owned properties; one in Hemmings Street, Dandenong and the other in Oxford Street, Newport.

The Hemmings Street, Dandenong property will be transformed into a five-story, architect-designed apartment building, increasing the accommodation from 7 run-down flats, to 19 apartments, located close to shops, schools and public transport.

The Oxford Street, Newport property will see the construction of five new architect-designed townhouses in a leafy residential street in family-friendly Newport.

Construction will start late 2018 and be ready for tenants in mid-2019.

The Victorian Property Fund is administered by Consumer Affairs Victoria, with funds from license fees paid by estate agents and conveyancers and interest paid on their trust accounts and income from other investments.

Consumer Affairs Minister Marlene Kairouz toured the Dandenong site with Housing Choices Board Member Fabienne Michaux to announce the $4.9 million grant.

‘Affordable housing projects give vulnerable Victorians the security they need to thrive. We’re investing in more of these dwellings, so that people going through hard times can rebuild their lives,’ Minister Kairouz said.

Housing Choices Managing Director Michael Lennon commended Minister Kairouz and the Victorian Property Fund for their commitment to supporting housing initiatives for Victorians in need and for their confidence in Housing Choices as the developer and manager of high-quality, affordable housing.

‘We have already worked closely with all the people who resided at our two properties, who have been actively and professionally supported by our experienced and compassionate Housing Services Team to find the right accommodation while this building program takes place. All Dandenong tenants will be afforded the opportunity to return to the newly built dwellings once they’re finished if they wish,’ Mr Lennon said.

PPHA changes its name

Leading Melbourne community housing provider, Port Phillip Housing Association (PPHA), has changed its name to HousingFirst, reflecting its operational growth and expansion as it continues to provide safe and affordable housing to hundreds of vulnerable people across Melbourne.

First established in 1986 as the St Kilda Housing Association, the agency was renamed PPHA in 2001 after local government amalgamations created the City of Port Phillip. PPHA was not directly associated with the City of Port Phillip, but at that time its housing and accommodation services had expanded beyond St Kilda and into nearby suburbs.

Chief Executive Officer Haleh Homaei said the decision to rename the organisation is a well-considered and strategic one, following lengthy consultation with staff, directors and tenants.
‘We are so proud of our history of community service in St Kilda and the Port Phillip region of Melbourne. But in reality we are delivering desperately-needed housing solutions, across seven different local government areas in Melbourne.’

“It was time our growth and our philosophy was more accurately reflected in our name,’ Ms Homaei said.

‘We know the fundamental base for creating a home, a neighbourhood, a community and a stable healthy society is that every one of us should have an affordable and safe place to live.
Hence our new name – HousingFirst.”

HousingFirst currently owns or manages 1194 houses and apartments across Melbourne, providing homes for 1600 people who would otherwise struggle to find accommodation in the increasingly competitive public and social housing and private rental sectors.

‘Our continued growth is not only by choice, but to meet increasing demand,’ Ms Homaei said.

‘The housing affordability crisis that’s swept across our country has impacted most on those people on low incomes, the aged and those living with illness or a disability. We need to do more, to help more people.’

From May 14th 2018, the organisation will also relocate its head office from Fitzroy Street St Kilda to just up the road at Suite 301, 492 St Kilda Rd (near Commercial Rd), a location readily accessible by public transport.

‘Most importantly, as far as our residents are concerned – apart from a new name and a head office move – nothing else will change for them.’

The name change does not affect the Port Phillip Housing Trust (PPHT) which will remain as PPHT.

‘We are the same organisation, with all the same people providing the same warm, compassionate, high quality service for our residents. In fact, hopefully even better and more efficient!’

Budget ignores housing crisis

Victoria is set to retain its unenviable record of having the lowest percentage of social housing in Australia, with the budget lacking the type of investment needed to provide safe, secure and affordable housing for those on low incomes.

Chief Executive Officer of Community Housing Industry Association Victoria (CHIA Vic) Lesley Dredge says whilst the Victorian Government is to be commended on implementing the Homes for Victorians strategy, and putting in place the architecture needed for growth in social housing, Victoria’s level of social housing will continue to go backwards.

The latest statistics show there are currently 36,742 households on the Victorian Housing Register, awaiting social housing, including 17,848 on the priority list.

‘Those figures represents only some of the Victorian households experiencing extreme housing stress – impacting on all aspects of their lives and the communities in which they live, Ms Dredge says.

‘We must address the urgent backlog of social and affordable housing in Victoria. With Melbourne growing by 125,000 people last year and housing stress increasing in our regional centres, doing nothing is just not an option,’ Ms Dredge says.

‘We need 1800 properties just to stand still and remain the worst in the country – whilst the Budget target is a drop of 45 social housing dwellings.’

Ms Dredge says there were positives to come out of the Budget, including
– rebuilding the TAFE system and aligning the training system with industry
– big investments in mental health and addiction
– further investment in health and education
– continuation of the large focus on infrastructure.

‘But without an affordable, well-located home it is hard for those on low incomes to make use of these initiatives.’

Reduce your properties water costs

Community housing organisations have been invited to apply for a retrofit program to improve water efficiency in their housing.

South East Water, City West Water and Yarra Valley Water in partnership  with the Department of Environment,  Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) are behind the Community Housing Retrofit Program (CHRP).

Click here for details on how to apply.


PPHA delivers 73 new homes for low income residents in Box Hill

Port Phillip Housing Association (PPHA) will team up with the Whitehorse City Council and property developer MAB Corporation (MAB) to deliver 73 brand new architect-designed, affordable homes for low income residents, particularly older people and those living with a disability.

The $25 million affordable housing project in Bruce Street, Box Hill will further expand PPHA’s social housing capacity in the inner-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, at a time when rental properties for low income residents, are critically low.

Whitehorse City Council is one of the first local authorities in Melbourne’s east to take the lead in increasing affordable housing.

PPHA Chairman Frank O’Connor said: ‘This project proves just what can be achieved when private enterprise, local government, great design and innovative community housing come together with a sincere, common purpose.

‘A critical solution to the housing affordability crisis being felt right across our communities, is to fundamentally increase the number of affordable, quality homes available to rent.

‘There are simply not enough affordable homes to fill the need, where that need is located,’ Mr. O’Connor said.

‘Building contemporary, beautiful, good quality homes where people can live safely, with dignity and at an affordable price brings relief not just to them, but to the whole community.’

Whitehorse Mayor, Cr Andrew Davenport said this new development will provide 73 well designed apartments for local residents who will pay rent only within their means.

‘In Whitehorse, only 1.6 per cent of all rental vacancies in 2016 were classified as affordable,’ Cr Davenport said.

‘With Port Phillip Housing Association and MAB Corporation involved in the project, Box Hill locals can be assured that the development will be attractive and will integrate beautifully into the character and amenity of the local area.’

This will be the second affordable housing collaboration between PPHA, HAYBALL architects and MAB Corporation, a leading, diversified Melbourne-based development group. The same team was behind the Moorabbin Affordable Housing development completed in 2011 with a project value of $23 million. Located in South Road Moorabbin, the project delivered seven storeys and 75 apartments at completion.

The Bruce Street Box Hill project will comprise;

  • 73 architect-designed affordable housing apartments,
  • built to the Victorian Government’s Better Apartment Design standards,
  • a mix of studio, 1 and 2-bedroom and dual key dwellings,
  • will include apartments specially designed for those living with a disability, with
  • 40 apartments suitable for older residents.

The site will also include a social enterprise café as well as commercial and retail opportunities, to create a supportive vibrant neighbourhood for residents.

PPHA Chief Executive Haleh Homaei said building resilient and sustainable neighbourhoods to support good quality housing is the key to long term, stable, affordable housing tenancies and ensuring return on investment.

This expertise, plus our 30+ years’ experience in tenancy management are the unique elements that we, as a robust, regulated community housing agency, bring to this table and to all our collaborative partnerships.

‘We are thrilled to be working on our next exciting project with Whitehorse City Council, MAB and Hayball. This project will deliver $25 million high quality – affordable housing to Box Hill.’

  • article contributed by PPHA

Tony Keenan steps down

Launch Housing will begin to search for a new CEO after Tony Keenan today announced he will step down on May 25 from the role he has held for the past three years.

Launch Housing’s Chair Neil Chatfield noted Tony’s significant contribution to its mission to end homelessness, including in his nine-plus years as CEO of Hanover prior to its merger with Homeground to become Launch.

‘The depth of experience and sector knowledge, combined with a great passion to improve the lives of our clients made Tony a great choice to lead the bold aspirations which were established for Launch,’ Neil says.

‘Over the past three years under Tony’s leadership we have built an outstanding platform from which to serve our client base, through optimising our resources to increase the supply of housing, implementing a strong research and advocacy base, and restructuring our teams to focus on the ever growing needs of our clients.

‘On behalf of the Board and the entire Launch organisation we are thankful for the major contribution which Tony has made and we wish him well in his future endeavours.’


Street count shines spotlight on rough sleepers

The first Street Count in the City of Port Phillip has recorded 91 people sleeping rough in the municipality.

Coordinated by Launch Housing, more than 100 trained volunteers canvassed areas across the City of Port Phillip on 7 February to count the number of people sleeping rough between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Additional counts were conducted later in the morning at key homeless assistance services in the municipality to assess people in hard-to-reach areas who could not be engaged in the main count. Those who consented to participate in surveys were individually assessed to enable Launch to prioritise a service response to those found to be most vulnerable.

Read more….

Prime Minister must not walk away from indigenous housing

The future of the National Partnership on Remote Housing (NPRH) – a 10-year partnership to build and refurbish housing in some of the most disadvantaged communities across Australia – is in doubt with its funding due to end in June.

Queensland’s peak body for the housing and homelessness sector, Q Shelter, says the Commonwealth Government has not made any commitments to the partnership beyond June.

Q Shelter’s Executive Director, Leone Crayden, says that the state and Commonwealth governments had made significant inroads in reducing overcrowding and improving the quality of housing for people living in remote communities.

‘Commonwealth and state governments committed $5.4 billion over 10 years to build and refurbish thousands of homes across Australia,’ Ms Crayden says.

‘The Prime Minister’s own report into the program last year praised state governments for exceeding their targets in delivering new homes, refurbishing older houses, and providing employment opportunities for local communities.’

However, Ms Crayden says that despite this success, the job was far from over in addressing housing need in remote communities.

‘In Queensland, we’ve almost halved overcrowding but there’s still severe housing need across remote areas of the state.

‘This program hasn’t been perfect, and there’re a lot of areas that we could revise and tweak to achieve even better outcomes.

‘Right now all we need is a commitment from the Commonwealth that they’re willing to provide medium to long term funding for remote housing.’

Without ongoing funding and support, the $5.4 billion that’s been invested through NPRH could be all for nothing, Ms Crayden says.