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.
The Victorian Government will soon release its Expressions of Interest process for community housing organisations to apply for funding through its new $498 million housing package.
The government has announced funding is to repair, upgrade and build more than 23,000 of social housing units, with a further $50 million to be invested in aged care and disability accommodation across Victoria.
The funding is part of the government’s $1.3 billion Building Works package, aimed at creating thousands of jobs across the state to kickstart the economy post COVID-19.
- $155 million for maintenance and upgrade works that can be delivered quickly – like painting and roofing – on more than 15,000 public housing properties
- $110 million for new kitchens and bathrooms in 2,100 public housing properties
- $50 million for community housing providers to undertake similar maintenance and upgrade work on social housing properties they manage or own.
- $58 million to deliver brand new, shovel-ready social housing in Reservoir, Balaclava, Dandenong and Hampton Park.
- $125 million for projects that increase housing options for women and children escaping family violence, Aboriginal Victorians, and those leaving State Government services.
- plus, $50 million will fund maintenance and upgrades to public sector residential aged care facilities across metropolitan and regional Victoria, as well as more than 450 Specialist Disability Accommodation properties.
What you need to know:
- The social housing projects are to start within the next six months.
- At least 25 per cent of maintenance and upgrade funding will be earmarked for regional areas.
An Expression of Interest process will be designed to ensure projects respond to the needs of priority groups in the community and benefit communities across the metropolitan and regional areas of the state.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will release the Expressions of Interest process in the coming weeks. The process will be a rapid application and assessment process, with funding flowing to organisations to begin works as soon as possible.
CHIA Vic has welcomed the funding and is working with the department to assist in successfully rolling out the package.
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’.
Following the recent National Cabinet announcement of an eviction moratorium, Premier Andrews has released a statement regarding the Victorian measures being introduced to limit evictions and support tenants in rental stress in the wake of the coronavirus.
CHIA Vic has sought further information about how these measures will impact the Victorian community housing sector and will be providing updates to members on this issue.
CHIA Vic is looking forward to the response from the Victorian Premier to a joint letter calling for action to eliminate homelessness caused by family violence by fully implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendations.
You can read the letter here.
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.
CHIA Victoria, and CHIA Vic, is the trading name of the Community Housing Federation of Victoria (CHFV).
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APPLY FOR HOUSING
Applications for social housing (public and community housing) can be made via the Victorian Housing Register.
Click here for details.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
CHIA Vic acknowledges the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures; and to elders both past and present.