Big Housing Opportunities

The New Year will bring significant opportunities for builders and developers to partner with community housing organisations to deliver 4,200 social housing properties over the next four years through the Victorian Government’s $5.3 billion Big Housing Build (BHB).

CHIA Vic CEO Lesley Dredge says the BHB provides an exciting opportunity for builders and community housing organisations to work together to provide much needed homes for renters who are priced out of the private housing market.

‘This task is both exciting and huge and can only be achieved if we all pull in the same direction,’ Ms Dredge says.

For many, this will be their first interaction with the community housing industry and CHIA Vic has developed information and fact sheets explaining the sector’s business model and what housing organisations will be seeking in development partners.

‘Key things to note are that our sector consists of heavily regulated not-for-profits who are looking to build and manage housing in well-located areas close to transport and jobs. Because we are looking to the long-term, our focus is on quality construction to reduce future maintenance costs and environmentally efficient design to reduce costs for our low-income renters,’ Ms Dredge says.

‘If social housing is to be part of a larger development, we will be conscious of the impact of amenities on ongoing owners’ corporation fees. Community housing organisations are unable to pay market rates for housing, which is why working in partnership with builders to bring down the cost of the build will be so valuable, providing a win for both parties.’

CHIA Vic will be running education and networking sessions in partnership with key developer peaks including the UDIA, Property Council and Master Builders Victoria early in 2021, but in the meantime, developers and builders can learn more here or sign up for CHIA Vic’s email newsletter.

Housing Minister to speak at CHIA Vic AGM

The Victorian Minister for Housing Richard Wynne will be the guest speaker at CHIA Vic’s AGM, to be held on Thursday, November 26 from 11.30am to 1pm.

The Minister’s attendance will be timely, following the Victorian Government’s budget announcements on November 10, when the community housing sector is hoping for some good news.

Click here to register for the AGM.

Why so little social housing?

Ever wondered why Australia has so little social housing? Why the number of social housing properties is in decline despite the increasing and desperate need? Why social housing fails to get political support despite the mountain of policy ideas setting out what needs to be done?

CHIA Vic is holding a workshop presented by Swinburne University Adjunct Professor Terry Burke to answer the question, ‘Why can’t social housing get greater political traction in Australia?’

Tuesday, September 29 from 10am to noon.

Register now.

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.

Has your local member signed the pledge?

In Homelessness Week, CHIA Vic, along with other members of the Everybody’s Home campaign is urging local and federal members to sign the pledge and take action to address the massive shortfall in social housing supply.

Click here to view the heatmap showing the prevalence of homelessness in your local area.


DHHS community housing infection control information session

Almost 70 CHIA Vic members attended a Zoom presentation by DHHS staff on infection control in community housing facilities on Monday afternoon.

Members discussed a range of issues including the need for security to accompany testing teams.

The PowerPoint, including resources, is now available for members on the Coronavirus Members page of our website.

If you are CHIA Vic member and do not have access, please email for a log in.

Homelessness pandemic support extended

The Victorian Government has announced support for homeless Victorians will be extended during the pandemic and beyond.

A Victorian Government media release states:

‘At the start of this pandemic, we acted swiftly to support over 2000 Victorians off the streets and into accommodation in vacant hotels – because you can’t “stay home” if you don’t have one and you can’t “stay safe” if you have nowhere to wash your hands.

Now, the Victorian Government will help these same Victorians out of homelessness and into their very own homes with the new $150 million From Homelessness to a Home package.

This funding will also see the Government extend current hotel accommodation until at least April next year while these 2,000 Victorians are supported to access stable, long term housing.

We will lease arrange to lease 1,100 properties from the private rental market, providing a permanent home for people once they leave emergency accommodation. This investment will give Victorians a roof over their head in the short-term, while also providing long-term support to help them find their home – and the security, stability and sense of belonging that goes with it.

The first of the Government’s promised 1000 new social housing units are also coming online now and will also support people to transition out of homelessness and into a home.

Each client will have access to flexible support packages to ensure they are getting the tailored help they need while in crisis hotel accommodation – including mental health, drug and alcohol and family violence support for those who need it. That same support will be available to help sustain a tenancy once they move to other long-term housing.

The Private Rental Assistance Program will also gain extra funding to encourage more people leaving emergency hotel accommodation to set up their own private tenancy, helping with the bond and initial rent.

This investment is an opportunity to break the cycle of homelessness – affording more Victorians the security and stability of a home, while also boosting the private rental market.

Funding will be allocated to homelessness agencies in both metropolitan and regional areas – enabling them to deliver a tailored and more responsive service based on the needs of individuals.

The investment builds on nearly $25 million in emergency housing, isolation and coronavirus recovery facilities for people experiencing homelessness, and almost $500 million to upgrade and build new community and public housing across the state.’


Do you manage a DHHS property?

CHIA Vic has produced a guide to Fire Risk Management in DHHS properties managed by community housing organisations (CHOs). It outlines CHOs responsibilities and provides checklists to ensure they meet them. The guide  has been devised in consultation with the DHHS Fire Services Team.

One of the catalysts for writing this document was uncertainty about how to assess tenants’ ability to evacuate in the event of a fire or other emergency event. A good indicator of this is that a tenant should be able to understand an alarm and evacuate the premises in three minutes.

If you are in any doubt that they can do this then you should contact the DHHS Fire Services Team and get them to make an assessment. The team will assess whether the tenant can safely evacuate, and may organise the provision of other fire services to ensure that the ongoing tenancy is safe.

The ability to evacuate includes evacuation with the assistance of a family members living permanently at the premises. If an unrelated paid or unpaid carer is living at the premises and can assist with evacuation, this should still be brought to the attention of the DHHS Fire Services Team so they can assess the situation.

While these guidelines only apply to properties owned by the Director of Housing, they include practices that CHOs should aim to follow for all their properties.

The guide is available on the resources page of our website or you can download it here.


Community housing Aboriginal Cultural Safety Framework officially launched

At an online launch this afternoon, Victorian Housing Minister Richard Wynne and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Gabrielle Williams launched the Community Housing Aboriginal Cultural Framework.

The Community Housing Industry Association Victoria (CHIA Vic) developed the framework after extensive consultation with tenants and its member organisations. It sets out the steps community housing organisations can take to become culturally safe and will be backed by training and consultancy services to provide further assistance.

Organisations that commit to the framework will begin to integrate an understanding of the impact of intergenerational trauma has had on Aboriginal tenants, and employees, and work to create services that are appropriate and welcoming. One aim is to increase the number of Aboriginal people taking up housing in the community housing sector and have sustained successful tenancies.

CHIA Vic will provide assistance to organisations keen to commit to the framework with training and consultancy services.

You can view the framework, and details on the launch, here.

Or download the media release.

Super interest in affordable housing

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.

Read more….