Identifying older Aussies at risk of homelessness

A new AHURI report investigates the issues affecting older Australians who are experiencing or facing homelessness.

The research, An effective homelessness services system for older Australians identified three broad groups of older Australians who become homeless: those with conventional housing histories who experience a financial or other ‘shock’ late in life, such as eviction from rental housing, the death of a spouse, or a decline in their health; those who had experienced long-term social exclusion and had previously experienced homelessness; and people with transient work and housing histories.

One of the findings was a recommendation to expand the Assistance with Care and Housing program (ACH) as a simple first step to better support this vulnerable group.

Click here to download the report.

December VCAT update

CHIA Vic’s Victorian Civil and Administrative guru Mark Smoljo reports back on the latest VCAT news:

The new Head of the Residential Tenancies Division, Ian Proctor is very keen on improving VCAT processes and making the whole system easier to use for all parties. Improvements underway include:

  • Supreme Court summaries of important cases now being put on the VCAT website
  • a project looking at increasing the use of telephone and video for hearings
  • texts to be sent to tenant respondents at the time of application and again five days before a hearing
  • faster process for renewals of hearings. You no longer have to wait five to six weeks for them to retrieve files out of the archives in Werribee. Hearing waiting times should be the same as for new applications.
  • new information on supported disability accommodation on the VCAT website
  • major project underway to prepare for next year’s changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, including many changes to the RT VCAT Hub. Unfortunately for those of you managing rooming houses, this will mean a further wait until you can use the Hub for rooming house matters. Ian is aware of the issue with rooming houses and hopes it can be addressed later next year.
  • VCAT has a new Koori Engagement Officer – Wendy Harris.
  • a major project is being conducted on increasing the use of email communication by VCAT. They may need to investigate texting as well because many tenants don’t have email addresses.
  • a new purpose-built VCAT venue at Oakleigh is opening in early 2020. It will cover cases currently heard at Moorabbin, and some of the caseload from Frankston and Dandenong. Another new VCAT venue is under construction in Frankston. VCAT is trying to get away from the use of Magistrates Courts.
  • Portland Magistrates Court is closing for VCAT hearings. VCAT is investigating alternatives.

If you have questions about any of these developments  or you are having any issues with VCAT please contact Mark Smoljo on 9654 6077 or on a Monday or Thursday.

 

AHURI finds high rates of homelessness in vet community

Approximately 5.3 per cent of Australian veterans who left the Australian Defence Force (ADF) between 2001 and 2018 experienced homelessness, AHURI research has revealed.

This rate of 5.3 per cent, which equates to 5,767 veterans, is significantly higher than that for the general population (1.9%), and although these rates are not directly comparable, this finding strongly suggests that veterans are over-represented in the Australian homeless population. It is also much higher than the estimate of around 3,000 homeless veterans previously assumed by government agencies such as the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Read more…

Planning & buildings approvals consultation opens

Consultation on the Planning and Building Approvals Process Review discussion paper is now open, with feedback able to be supplied until November 15.

The consultation follows a review into the root causes of the increased complexity of planning and building approvals, which has identified 27 points for improvement in the approval chain.

You can download the discussion paper here.

Comments can be submitted online.

A final report including specific recommendations on implementation will be submitted to the Red Tape Commissioner, Anna Cronin, in December 2019.

Have your say in community sector survey

The Australian Community Sector Survey closes next Friday 1 November.

The short, voluntary survey gives employees of community sector organisations the opportunity to tell us ACOSS about the issues that matter most to them: the impending Social and Community Sector Equal Remuneration Order  funding cliff; continuity of funding; levels of indexation; the demand for services; funding relationships…all the issues that impact your capacity to achieve outcomes.

Everyone who works in the community sector can complete the survey.

Click here to take part in the survey.

This survey is being conducted by researchers from UNSW Sydney who have been commissioned by the Councils of Social Service , and is supported by Community Sector Banking.

If, after reading the information for participants, you would like further information or to talk to one of the researchers, please email Dr Natasha Cortis (UNSW) Penny Dorsch at ACOSS.

Five ways community housing has an edge over private developers

Victoria’s community housing industry is making an increasing significant contribution to the development of housing for people in need. Between 2010 and 30 June 2019, the community housing industry provided 1,033 additional social and affordable homes in Victoria.

Here are just five of the reasons why community housing organisations are well placed to be the engine room for social housing growth in Victoria:

  1. community housing organisations can deliver 25-30 per cent more dwellings than for-profit developers by folding the developer margin and tax advantages back into additional supply
  2. they can benefit from land lax, stamp duty and GST concessions through their charitable not-for-profit status
  3. they can complement government funding with other forms of investment, including philanthropic, to increase supply
  4. they can design and build high-quality homes with lower running costs for tenants
  5. they can protect social and affordable housing as public assets.

Download our Development Snapshot for details.

Millennials fading hopes of home ownership revealed

The ongoing affordability crisis is entrenching a generation dependent on parents for housing, with a surge in the number of Millennials giving up hope of moving out of home by 30 years of age.

The 2019 Perceptions of Housing Affordability report released today by CoreLogic, identified that the proportion of Australians who think they will be at least 30 years of age before leaving home has rocketed from 20 per cent in 2017 to 34 per cent.

Lisa Claes, CEO CoreLogic International says, ‘The report proves that the “cubby house” syndrome – where children are prolonging their home stay with parents – is intensifying. Our youngest generation is effectively being locked out of the market and increasingly dependent on parents.

‘If Millennials’ affordability disillusionment continues, we risk entrenching a generation who become disenfranchised from society. It raises serious issues around intergenerational equity and should be a catalyst for policy makers to address affordability at a foundational level.’

Click here to read more.

The rest we forget

An article in the Daily Telegraph reports that almost 6000 veterans are homeless every 12 months at a rate nearly three times higher than the national average.

A three-year study by the Australian Housing and Urban Infrastructure (AHURI) for the Department of Veterans Affairs showed the highest recorded rate of homelessness in the Veterans community.

Click here to read the full article or read the AHURI 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.

NZ dumps housing scheme

The NZ Government has dumped its flagship housing policy, KiwiBuild, which was launched in 2018 by prime minister Jacinda Ardern as it repeatedly failed to meet targets.

New Zealand house prices are among the most unaffordable in the world, with Auckland the seventh most expensive city to buy a home, and all three major cities considered “severely unaffordable” by the latest Demographia international housing affordability survey.

Click here to read more….