Housing affordability is indeed the sexy new buzzword on the street and in parliaments around Australia. I am excited that there is a lot of talk, a lot of ideas and a dawning realisation amongst our political leaders that things cannot simply go on the way it has. I am excited that last week the Sydney Alliance Housing Assembly saw nearly 400 people from an incredibly diverse range of backgrounds gather together in unity to ask the Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts for higher targets in inclusionary zoning, namely 15% on private developments and 30% on government land. This ask is consistent with what has happened in other world cities. I am excited that, although the Minister was not able to commit to these targets, he did declare that he had heard the ask and is prepared to meet with us again – and bring some of the Greater Sydney Commissioners with him! – in two months. We are looking forward to gathering together with other Sydney Alliance partner organisations and supporters in two months time and hope you will consider joining us – the last one was a great demonstration of the power of ordinary people and a lot of fun to boot.
I am excited about the launch of Nightingale Housing projects in Sydney, a not-for-profit social enterprise that exists to support, promote and advocate for high-quality housing that is ecologically, socially, financially sustainable. Jason Twill from Urban Apostles came and spoke passionately about the potential of these projects and is seeking partnerships with churches and church organisations that may be interested in 30-40 unit developments. Although usually sold to owner occupiers at well below the market rate, there is potential here to include a % of units managed by a housing provider for affordable rental.
Excited may be too strong a word in regards to my reaction to this week’s Federal budget. However, in terms of affordable housing the access to lower interest rates by Community Housing Providers is a very positive move and welcomed by the sector. We may begin to see some movement in the next twelve months in regards to a greater appetite for development of affordable housing. Housing affordability was not meaningfully addressed with a few token measures that will do little to change the current affordability crisis.
I am excited about the number of housing providers that we have been able to assist in their renewal of registration as a community housing provider. This has been a great help to organisations that need upskilling due to staff turnover or some fresh input on policy and process or simply to assist in understanding what the Registrar is actually asking for. This is a fee-for-service support we provide at a discount to members, so if you think we may be able to assist you then please give our office a ring and ask for Rob.
I am also excited that a number of churches and church organisations have contacted me recently regarding the potential of using their land for affordable housing. We provide a free service to provide advice, information and a link to our network of trusted industry members, partners and professionals. If we can help you in any way then please do not hesitate to contact us, I would love to brainstorm possibilities with you.