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.

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.

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.

National Reconciliation Week

National Reconciliation Week begins today and its brutal to note that, in the housing space, Aboriginal Victorians continue to face extreme disadvantage.

Around one in five Aboriginal households in Victoria live in social housing compared to one in 50 in the general population.

CHIA Vic is currently working on a project to ensure the community housing sector is culturally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Stay tuned for details.

In the meantime, a great resource for gaining a glimpse into what life looks from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective can be found here, at Reconciliation Australia’s Share Our Pride website.

solar installation on roof

Calls for a solar powered stimulus

A successful program that has enabled almost 700 low income households to benefit from reduced power bills could be used as the basis of a solar-powered stimulus package that could benefit more vulnerable Victorians and the environment, create employment and support the economy.

The Community Housing Industry Association Victoria (CHIA Vic) and BOOMPower are partners on a project that has seen solar power and other energy efficiency products and solutions installed in social housing properties, including standalone properties and multi-unit apartment buildings.

With funding from the Victorian Government’s New Energy Jobs Fund, CHIA Vic and BOOMPower developed the BOOM! software platform. The platform makes it easy for organisations to produce a clear business case on the impact of installing energy efficiencies, as well as providing a seamless procurement process, and measuring and verifying performance and outcomes on an ongoing basis.

Additional funding from Solar Homes and the Victorian Property Fund saw seven community housing organisations use the platform to plan and implement $3.5 million worth of energy upgrades on social housing properties and counting.

CHIA Vic CEO Lesley Dredge says, ‘People on low incomes are the most vulnerable to high energy prices. It can have a real impact on their day-to-day lives, as they can avoid using heating and cooling even in extreme temperatures, which reduces their quality of life and their health and wellbeing.’

BOOMPower Director Alex Houlston says new funding for solar and energy efficiency from the Victorian Property Fund (VPF), along with the introduction of Solar Homes in 2018 and the availability of the BOOM! platform caused a surge in the level of engagement from the sector for a range of energy solutions.

‘This is evidence a stimulus package would be welcomed; in addition to construction projects, the community housing sector has $14 million in solar and energy efficiency upgrades that are ready to be undertaken in the next six to 18 months,’ Mr Houlston says.

Based on jobs figures provided by product suppliers and retailers for the initial projects, Ms Dredge says, ‘We can confidently say that a $14 million program would also directly support up to 356 jobs.’

CHIA Vic and BOOM! are hopeful Solar Homes will develop a separate funding stream for community housing, in recognition of the fact that, unlike private landlords or homeowners, they are unable to receive any of the financial benefits of their investment in energy efficiencies.

Stimulus package for community housing would boost economy

As coronavirus threatens to derail Victoria’s economy, the community housing industry is capable of providing a vital lifeline, just as it did during the GFC when it leveraged the Rudd Government’s stimulus package.

 

During the GFC, our industry built 19,700 social housing units across Australia, 13% more than the target. A KMPG evaluation estimated the social housing push increased FTE jobs in construction and other areas by 14,000 during the stimulus period.

 

Our industry has a number of shovel ready projects awaiting funding and there can be no doubt of the need. The latest figures from December have the number of low-income households on the waitlist for social housing topping 51,646. With the unemployment rate predicted to reach 10 per cent, this is only going to grow exponentially.

 

A social housing stimulus would enable Victoria to seize this opportunity to increase our social housing stock. Now, more than ever, Victorians need the safety and security of a job and a home. And, as SGS Economics commentator Terry Rawnsley pointed out (The Age, 16/4), ‘Social housing, after all, is not a cost to Victorian taxpayers, it’s an investment in an asset’.

Victoria now has an Aboriginal Housing & Homeless Framework

Aboriginal Housing Victoria (AHV) has launched the Victorian Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Framework to a large and enthusiastic crowd at Parliament House. The formalities opened with traditional dances performed by Aboriginal Wellness Foundation and were followed by speeches from Dr. Kerry Arabena, Chair of the Steering Committee, The Hon Richard Wynne MP and The Hon Gavin Jennings MLC.

The strategy, Mana-na worn-tyeen maar-takoort: Every Aboriginal Person Has a Home, is the first self-determined strategic housing policy developed by the Aboriginal community for their people.

CHIA Vic would like to congratulate Darren Smith and the staff at AHV for all their hard work in supporting the development of this framework. CHIA Vic is committed to the principles of self-determination and looks forward to working with AHV and the Victorian Government to implement this framework. In the coming months we will be releasing resources that support our mainstream providers in their work to deliver cultural safe services.

We welcome the initial commitment of $5.3 million made by government at the launch of the framework, and in particular the recognition of AHV’s award-winning More Than a Landlord program.

Download the framework.

Last chance for meaningful data

The Family Violence Workforce Census closes on Friday.

This is your organisation’s last chance for staff who deal with family violence victim survivors or perpetrators to have input into the census.

Click here to take part.

South East in the news

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.