Churches Housing is first and foremost an association of the key church social service organisations engaged in housing. It is about our members working together for a common cause, which is to unleash the potential within the church to support the vulnerable in our communities through the provision of social and affordable housing. I am proud that the church sector has not only advocated strongly for more proactive government policies and funding but have also stepped up to the crease, picked up their bat and have swatted a few sixers this last year.
Here is a summary of the year:
- The biggest six this year is the church winning approximately 70% of the first round of the State Government’s Social and Affordable Housing Fund, the billion dollar bank that will be funding 25 year service agreements for the provision of social (at least 70% has be social) and affordable housing. A key criteria here was that one had to bring land to the table and it is encouraging to see that the church sector responded so strongly.
- Strong advocacy through submissions to government, including the Productivity Commission in partnership with BaptistCare Australia – click here to read the report, participation with government and other peaks in social housing reform and homelessness and advocacy for increased supply of affordable housing through inclusionary zoning with the Sydney Alliance.
- Continued consultancy, advice, networking and information to dioceses, parishes, churches and para-church organisations exploring the development of social and affordable housing on their land. Churches Housing has worked strongly with the Sydney Alliance in advocating for clear and real targets for social and affordable housing.
- Expansion of a network of organisations and individuals that can provide sound and ethical support, services and advice to church organisations. We have continued to consult with a range of churches and church organisations who have land or aged/underutilised assets that may be used for affordable housing.
- Support with expert skills to organisations either registering for the first time as a Community Housing Provider with the Housing Registrar, or re-registering and requiring support to move across tiers or with updated policy and/or process. This is a fee for service activity, but one that has been jumped upon by our members as a means of training up new staff or gaining helpful support in updating policies.
- Networking together our members both with each other and with other parts of our sector. Our networking breakfasts have been feeding our members with knowledge, relationships and opportunities as well as cappuccinos and eggs.
We are looking forward to the year ahead and are thankful that God’s heart for the poor and vulnerable is very much at work through our members. We will in the next few months be sending out a member survey which will become an annual measurement of our effectiveness as a peak body. Please take the time to reflect and fill this out so we can continue to ensure we are assisting you in the best ways that we can.