AHURI conference wrap up

The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) Conference has wrapped up, delivering a wealth of evidence and information on what we in Australia can do to end homelessness.

If you missed out on attending the conference in Darwin, you can still click here for the wrap up and to download presentations from the conference.

Social housing need 310% higher than thought

If every household in Australia who met the eligibility criteria for social housing decided to apply, waiting lists across the country would increase by more than 310 per cent, according to a discussion paper released by Compass Housing Services.

The paper, Estimating Current and Future Demand for Housing Assistance, used housed income date to estimate the number of households in Australia who meet current eligibility requirements in their state or territory and looked into the likely impact of the expected wave of automation and digital disruption on wages.

It found while there were currently more than 144,000 households on the social housing waiting list, income and asset data suggested an additional 452,000 households were also eligible to apply for housing.

Report author Martin Kennedy said the findings were “deeply concerning” and could cause future headaches for governments already handling a backlog of housing applications.’

Click here to download the report.

CHOs key role in affordable build-to-rent

A report on Build to Rent in Australia has recommended providing discounted land grants to community housing organisations as the best method to ensure primarily market rental developments include an affordable component.

The report, Build-to-rent in Australia: Product feasibility and potential affordable housing contribution, by Landcom found the sector can more feasibly provide build to rent units though mixed-tenure affordable housing projects than by private developer for-profit projects.

Click here to download the report.

Few social housing tenants are lonely

Older social housing tenants are far less lonely than those in private rental, according to an article published in The Conversation.

The article, by Research Professor, University of Technology Sydney Alan Morris and Research Associate, University of Technology Sydney, Andrea Verasco states many older private renters have little disposal income, because the cost of housing uses up much of their income. They also live with the constant possibility that they may be asked to vacate their accommodation. Their limited budgets mean they often end up living in a poorly located property. These features, individually or in combination, create fertile ground for anxiety and loneliness.

Their dire financial situation was often an obstacle to social activities. One interviewee told of how she had to choose between food or breaking her isolation by using public transport.

‘In sharp contrast, only a small proportion of the social housing tenants interviewed said they were lonely. Almost all were adamant they did not experience loneliness and felt they had strong social ties. Their affordable rent, security of tenure, long-term residence and having neighbours in a similar position meant they could socialise and were not beset by anxiety.’

Read the full article here.

 

CHIA Vic launches new strategic plan

CHIA Vic has launched its new strategic plan setting the organisation’s vision, mission and key priorities for the next three years.

The plan, Building the Foundation for Opportunity, was developed using the Theory of Change principles, which involve setting a goal, then working backwards to achieve it. In our case, the goal is to achieve our mission: ‘A thriving Victoria where everyone has the safety, security and dignity of a home – the foundation of opportunity.’

CHIA Vic’s mission is to: Lead and enable a diverse and dynamic community housing sector that is integral to the housing system.

Four key priorities have been identified:

  1. Provide strategic policy leadership and champion a reform agenda.
  2. Harness and strengthen the capacity and capability of the community housing sector to play its integral role in a larger more inclusive housing system.
  3. Build awareness, engagement and trust in the community housing value proposition.
  4. Enhance CHIA Vic’s organisational strength.

You can read more about the objectives and outcomes in the Strategic Plan by downloading the four-page document here.

AirBnB impact on Melbourne ‘minimal’

Contradicting accepted wisdom, an SGS Economics and Planning report has found Airbnb has had little impact on Melbourne’s housing market.

The report, which used official Airbnb data, found the number of AirBnB listings in Melbourne in 2017 was equivalent to only 0.5 per cent of all dwellings in Melbourne.

Report co-author Terry Rawnsley, Principal and Partner at SGS Economics and Planning, said the hosting rate of Airbnb listings averaged less than 50 per cent of the time they were available.

In Melbourne, the median number of nights hosted per year has increased from 42 nights to 66 nights per year. Of the listings that have hosted guests, over 35 per cent of listings host guests for up to 30 nights per year. Approximately 27 per cent of listings host guests for more than 180 nights per year.

Mr Rawnsley says, broadly speaking, it is not financially beneficial to host a property on Airbnb instead of renting to a long-term tenant, unless the property is in the City of Melbourne, where the hosting rate averages 70 per cent.

‘In only a small number of cases, it is more profitable to list a property on Airbnb full time rather than on the rental market.’

Download the report

PhD Scholarship in Social Housing

The Unison Housing Research LaB (UHRL) is a unique education and research collaboration between RMIT University and Unison Housing, Victoria’s largest social housing provider. The LaB is situated in the Social and Global Studies Centre (SGSC) in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies (GUSS). The LaB was established in 2017 and is funded for five years to undertake an innovative research program informed by the experiences of service users and providers.

We are seeking highly motivated and qualified applicants for a PhD scholarship to commence in February, 2019. The successful applicant will have, at minimum, an Honours level qualification in social science or related discipline (e.g. sociology, psychology, anthropology, criminology, law, gender, politics, health) and will have experience in quantitative research methods. Utilising their skills with administrative and survey data, the successful candidate will examine why people leave social housing and what happens to them subsequently. The candidate will investigate three questions:

  1. What are the reasons households leave social housing?
  2. What sort of housing do people subsequently move into and, relatedly, what proportion end up experiencing homelessness after they exit.
  3. What are the patterns of service use following exits from social housing.

In answering these questions this PhD project will provide important insights into the personal, social and economic costs of leaving social housing. It will also provide useful information for Unison with respect to maximising positive exits and minimising negative exits which are costly to everyone.

A stipend of $30,900 per annum pro rata (full time study) for three years.

Expressions of interest must be submitted via email by Friday October 26th, 2018.

Expressions of interest should contain the following information:

  • A one-page summary justifying the applicant’s suitability for the role
  • An academic CV
  • Transcript of qualifying degree
  • A copy of any publications, thesis or other scholarly writing

For further information contact:

Dr Juliet Watson,  03 9925 3477

Prof Guy Johnson,   03 9925 9893

Members feature in social enterprise book

CHIA Vic members Haven: Home; Safe and St Kilda Community Housing (SCH) both feature in a new book on social enterprise.

Haven: Home; Safe’s maintenance subsidiary, HIVE, provides trade and non-trade services, to maintain its short and long-term housing portfolio across Melbourne and the Barwon South West region.

HIVE employs a mix of mature, experienced workers and young people who want to join the workforce for the first time or maintain work. The HIVE Team achieves a property clean turnaround time of 2.8 days, well below the commercial average of 7-10 days; it created 12,851 paid work hours in the 2017 financial year, and HIVE staff reported an overall satisfaction level of 85 per cent.

SCH also has its own maintenance social enterprise, TCM, which enables SCH to employ residents and develop and enhance the skills of tenants through training opportunities. SCH also runs its own social enterprise graphic design company skydesign, which puts money back into the housing organisation.

The book, Dollars & Sense, features 40 case studies to raise awareness of the impact of social enterprises – businesses that trade to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities, provide people with access to employment and skills development, or help the environment.

Purchase Dollars and Sense.

Why LGAs should work with CHOs

The new planning mechanisms for affordable housing came into effect on 1 June 2018 as a result of amendments to the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

CHIA Vic has created a factsheet for local government detailing how they can increase affordable housing in their municipality by working in partnership with community housing organisations.

Download your copy here.