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Closing the funding gap

Australia has always looked to the UK to learn how to grow and fund social housing and increase the capacity of the community housing sector. In a speech aimed at shoring up her leadership, Theresa May, announced funding for a ‘new generation of council houses’ in England, which follows long-term underinvestment. 

The additional £2 billion will produce 25,000 homes by 2021. The UK National Housing Federation calculates that an additional unit of social housing provides six times its value as a social and economic return on that investment. The UK Government sees the value of social housing and our governments are beginning too also.

The Affordable Housing Working Group’s Report to Head of Treasuries looks at the complementary reforms that will be required to support the implementation of the bond aggregator. It is well reasoned and worth reading. The report understands that the aggregator is simply a vehicle for achieving cheaper and longer tenor financing and by itself will not lead to substantial growth in affordable housing.

Developing initiatives aimed at closing the funding gap is the primary recommendation of the report including:
•    direct subsidy
•    planning mechanisms and targets
•    tax settings.

The report also calls for a stronger and truly national regulatory system – one that includes Victoria and Western Australia – and recommends that the National Industry Development Framework for Community Housing be revised and updated. The report can be downloaded here and you can read a more detailed analysis of the report by City Futures Research Centre’s Hal Pawson below.

This enhanced Commonwealth activity has also seen Treasury consulting stakeholders on what should be included in the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement that will replace the NAHA; plus discussions on the Managed Investment Trusts and the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation. The bond aggregator and the fit for purpose regulatory system are scheduled to be in place by 1 July 2018. CHIA Vic is working closely with our national bodies and other state peaks to deliver the best outcome for community housing organisations.

Lesley Dredge
CHIA Vic CEO

 
 
 

New report maps route to affordable housing expansion

City Futures Research Centre’s Hal Pawson has published an article on theAffordable Housing Working Group report to the Council for Federal Financial Relations.

Mr Pawson says the paper maps out important new steps towards expanding Australia’s affordable housing and draws substantially on recent City Futures Research Centre findings.

Click here to read the full article.

 
 

RTA reforms announced


The Victorian Government has announced proposed reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act, including:
  • ‘Cracking down on rental bidding’ by mandating that rentals be advertised at a fixed price and ensuring that prospective tenants cannot be invited to make an offer at a price higher than the fixed price.
  • Limiting rent increases to once a year.
  • Abolishing ‘no specified reason’ notices to vacate.
Click here to read more.

Industry transition planning


DHHS has funded CHIA Vic to develop a four-year transition plan within the context of a broader 10 year community sector plan being produced by VCOSS – see details below.
 
We kicked off the project with a forum of stakeholders that included the CHIA Vic Board with representatives from government, the development community, peaks and financiers. Hal Pawson presented on the AHURI research about the capacity of the affordable housing industry – presentation here – and DHHS talked about their vision for the community housing sector in the context of Homes for Victorians.
 
CHIA Vic has employed Dyson Consulting to assist with the project and they will be liaising with members and key influencers over the coming months. Watch this space for opportunities to get involved.

Developing a 10-year industry plan for community services

The Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) is working with the Department of Health and Human Services and the community sector to develop a 10-year plan for the industry. 

Whether you work in the industry, use its services or are just interested in its future, VCOSS wants to hear from you.

Have your say by attending an upcoming community consultation:

Benalla: 17 October – Register here
Wyndham: 20 October – Register here

 

Don't miss CHIA Vic's AGM

Lock in the date: CHIA Vic's AGM will be held on Friday, November 17 from 10.30 at our offices at 1/128 Exhibition Street.
 
 

Family violence info sharing


The Victorian Government is introducing a new family violence information sharing and risk management scheme in response to a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. 

The new scheme creates a ‘trusted circle’ of prescribed Information Sharing Entities (ISEs). People working in ISEs have enhanced authority to share with people working in other ISEs personal information of perpetrators, victims, children and third parties to assess and manage risks associated with family violence. In many circumstances the consent of the individual is not required.  More information about the scheme can be found here.

At this stage the ISEs are limited to those government agencies and funded organisations that play a key role in assessing and managing family violence risks, including the police, child protection services and specialist family violence services.

Government has stated that, from mid-2018, further ISEs will be prescribed, which may include housing and homelessness workers. CHIA Vic has argued in a previous submission that:
•    it should be clear whether community housing organisations are included in the scheme or not; and,
•    if community housing organisations are to be included, then government needs to invest in appropriate workforce and sector development. 

Encouragingly, government has indicated that a requirement to be an ISE must be set out in a state government funding contract and that training will be available for staff of ISEs.

In addition to the family violence information sharing and risk management scheme, new legislation will also amend Victoria's privacy laws (the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 and the Health Records Act 2001). This will remove the requirement that a serious threat to an individual must be imminent before personal information can be lawfully shared. This will apply generally, not just in the context of family violence. The changes have not yet commenced, however once they do, members may wish to review their privacy policies.

CHIA Vic will continue to monitor developments in this area and keep members informed.

 

Measuring social impact

The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation has supported CHIA Vic to develop a business case for a sector-wide social impact measurement platform that will enable community housing providers to demonstrate the true value of providing affordable and secure housing to the most vulnerable in our community.

To learn more about the goals of this project, and to have your say on its design and rollout, members are invited to attend a forum on 19 October, 9.30 to 1pm facilitated by Think Impact. Click here for more information.

Please register at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 
 

Intel on planning scheme changes


CHIA Vic has, following consultation with members and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), published a guidance note for members and private developers on the government’s 2016 amendments to the planning scheme.

The State Government’s approved Amendment C270 to the Melbourne Planning Scheme establishes a ‘public benefit obligation’ for high rise developers in the CBD and Southbank including, potentially, the transfer of social housing units to registered housing associations or providers (at zero consideration).

Click here to see an explanatory report on the changes by the Urban Development Institute of Australia Victoria.

 

Health translations expands to housing

 
The Health Translations Directory is an online library funded by the Victorian government, which provides links to more than 14,000 translated health and wellbeing resources produced in Australia, in over 100 languages.
 
We are now expanding the Directory to include housing resources on a range of topics and issues. 
 
The Directory provides a fast, convenient and free way to access translated housing resources. You can search by topic, language or organisation. All resources are checked for quality so you know you are accessing reliable and up to date information. 
 
To continue to effectively expand and promote the housing category, we need your help. Read more
 
 

Land contributions

The Victorian Parliament has passed changes to the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to implement a land contributions model in the infrastructure contributions system.
 
The purpose of this change is for developers to be able to contribute land needed for public purposes by requiring landowners to contribute this land directly as part of their infrastructure contribution, (instead of paying cash). The changes include an increase and indexation of the community infrastructure levy that may be imposed under the existing development contributions system.
 
Click here to view the UDIA’s report on the new policy.

YWCA to give 250 women a makeover

 
Everyone knows what a positive impact a new haircut can have, with a new look often signally new beginnings and an affirmation of strength.
 
With this is mind, YWCA Victoria has launched its Queen for a Day campaign, which aims raise 12.5K towards beauty treatments for the 250+ residents living in YWCA accommodation - many of whom are survivors of family violence, have complex health issues, or are migrants and refugees.
 
Money can be tight for the residents, and creature comforts few, which is why YWCA Victoria wants to provide its residents the opportunity to indulge in some self-care in a safe and supportive environment.
 
All funds raised will go towards pampering the Y-women with a series of spa days at the YWCA residential houses, where tenants can get haircuts, facials or have their nails done. This type of activity has generated a huge positive impact for some of the residents in the past, which is why the YWCA is going BIG this time. But 250 makeovers is no small feat and we need everyone to pitch in!
 
Click here to find out more about Queen for a Day.
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Members shine in Homelessness Awards

 
CHIA Vic members were well represented in Council to Homeless Person’s the 2017 Victorian Homelessness Achievement Awards with BeyondHousing’s Celia Adams taking out the Beth Thomson lifetime achievement award.

Haven; Home, Safe won the Excellence in ending homelessness – children and families category for the Sidney Myer Haven, with Port Phillip Housing Association and Launch Housing’s City Gate Apartment Project and Anchor’s Hazel Hams Homes the runners up.

Jesuit Social Services’ Next Steps program took out the Excellence in ending homelessness – young people category with runners up including Kids Under Cover and Barwon Child, Youth and Family.

Suzanne Marriner, from Launch Housing, was a runner up in the Leading practitioner award, which was won by Adam Liversage of Uniting Ballarat. 
 

 

VHR online application update


The Victorian Housing Register online application has been enhanced in response to feedback received from users.

Click here to download an announcement from the department that outlines the major changes you will see in both the agency and client application from 2 October 2017.

 

Upskilling masterclass

Think Impact is running a one-day course on the latest theory and tools on how to build high-performing, impact-led organisations. It moves beyond measurement, to integrate impact into fundraising, strategy and the design of services.
 
The Impact-Led Design Masterclass brings together the team’s work over the last 20 years in designing innovative approaches to social change.
 
The course, which will run in Melbourne on Wednesday, October 25, costs $450 + GST per person. Click herefor more information and to register.
 

In the news


Andrews Government will make renting fair

Making Housing More Affordable For Victorians

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