Case Study – Lighthouse Youth Homelessness Project

LighthouseYIIt has been with some excitement and anticipation that we at Churches Housing put forward this research report into the Yallah Youth Housing Program. It presents as a unique and overwhelmingly effective initiative to provide transitional housing and community for youth who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless. In many ways you would think that the Lighthouse initiative at Yallah is wrong; its location is nowhere near many essential services, transport or areas of high employment. Yet this transitional housing program appears to be a lot more than just transitional; it appears to be genuinely transformative. With 67% of participants ending up in secure accommodation and 49% in full-time employment or training upon completion, this program has something special.

The first we heard about the Lighthouse initiative was a few years ago when working with Anglicare. Anglicare Illawarra commenced partnering with Lighthouse to deliver personal training to a group of young women who were in danger of becoming homeless, part of the Yallah program. This personal training program, delivered twice weekly, saw this group transformed. Many were dealing with much anger, frustration and past abuse, while some did not even have a pair of shoes to train in. Over a period of months the personal training saw this group compete in the local Illawarra Aquathon, of which Anglicare is the main charity beneficiary. Complete with new shoes and tri-suits, (thanks to some corporate sponsorship) this group of ladies not only competed, but felt so empowered afterwards that they commenced to recruit some of their friends to participate with them in another event. However, personal training was not the primary goal. The personal trainer shared that she knew she was there primarily as a life coach, looking to build long-term relationship in order to foster self-esteem. Relationship was the key!

The NSW Government’s own “Going Home Staying Home Reform Plan” seeks to reduce repeat homelessness, increase the proportion of clients who can establish and keep long-term accommodation and reduce the need for temporary accommodation. The Lighthouse initiative does all of this, but how? The key that comes through loud and clear through the client interviews is relationships; specifically caring relationships that build community, along with links into a broader caring community outside of the program itself. Some programs may evaluate success based on the number of beds made available, the number of interventions made or the number and types of services delivered. However, the defining measurement must be the outcomes that occur at the end of the program itself. Has genuine transformation begun, have the participants learned to become independent, have they secured long-term accommodation and are they either gainfully employed or in training to be so? Delivering services is simply not enough; services must be delivered in the context of a caring community and relationships that foster a sense of self-worth.

We hope that our state government benefits from the insights given in this report and can support and encourage programs that deliver more than just services. We hope that other church and community groups will be inspired by the findings in this report and can be encouraged to implement new and innovative programs to target youth in their own communities. Finally, we also hope that this report will be of great benefit to Lighthouse itself in evaluating, planning and making any necessary changes to ensure this program continues to be successful into the future.

Download the full report

Federal Budget – Housing & Not-for-profit Organisations

The New Federal Budget contains many changes which will affect the housing industry, not-for-profit organisations and the welfare sector.

Most troubling for the Affordable Housing sector is the axing of the NRAS scheme with no thought or alternative to those who spent time, energy and finances applying for the now redundant Round 5.

Here are some helpful links which discuss these issues:

The affordable housing industry: maximising opportunities

The development of the affordable housing industry in Australia is at a critical point. It is under pressure to increase the supply of affordable housing and to respond to the diversity of tenant and household needs within the wider housing market. Shifts in government policy and regulatory frameworks aim to promote the growth of the industry, reduce the regulatory burden on providers, increase opportunities across jurisdictions, and support future housing product development.

To-date the industry has responded effectively to opportunities to upscale and diversify. There have been significant organisational changes as the business models of affordable housing providers have become more diverse and complex.

How can this industry be further developed in Australia? What is the reform agenda to support this development and what is the capacity of the industry to respond?

This event convened by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) will be informed by the significant body of evidence AHURI has developed on this matter including the Final Report Understanding leadership, strategy and organisational dynamics in the not-for-profit housing sector and the soon to be released Final Report Understanding decision making in the not-for-profit housing sector: longitudinal and comparative components.

The event will bring together what is known about this issue from the research perspective with what it means to senior policy-makers and the affordable housing industry.

Hear from international guest, Professor David Mullins from the University of Birmingham in the UK, as well as local experts:

The event will conclude with an audience discussion and Q&A with panel members to address key issues:

  • Industry settings and industry players—what does an affordable housing industry look like?
  • The role of policy and regulation—how is the industry supported to grow and diversify?
  • Organisation capacity—what is the capacity of affordable housing providers?

Event Details:

  • Cost


  • When

    Tuesday, 13 May, 2014
    8:45 AM – 12:30 PM

  • Where

    SMC Conference and Function Centre
    Ionic room
    66 Goulburn Street

More Details…


Submissions are LIVE!


Federal Housing Submission has also gone live!


A re-worked edition of the State submission was also sent to the Senate Economic References Committee addressing the criteria of its “Inquiry into Affordable Housing 2014” on the 25th of March 2014.  Click here to read this submission.


Churches Housing has worked with ANGLICARE Sydney, supported by BaptistCare and Anglican Retirement Villages to make a comprehensive submission to the current NSW Legislative Council Inquiry into Social, public and affordable housing. The submission includes background research, case studies and recommendations. Click here to read the submission. A special thanks goes out to the research team at ANGLICARE Sydney for their most valuable contribution.

Housing, Disability and the NDIS

chfa_logo_high_res_no_bg_textHousing, Disability and the NDIS

27 March 2014, Canberra
(less than 50 places left)

9.30am to 4.30pm

Thursday 27 March, 2014
Manuka Oval Function Centre

This one day forum will examine the emerging role of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in supporting participants to gain appropriate housing with support. Its Chairman, Bruce Bonyhady, has agreed to be the keynote speaker for the forum. Other speakers will include NDIA housing specialists and key experts from government, disability, and housing sectors.
Please find attached the draft agenda for the day.
To receive further information or to register please visit:

Please note: this is a not-for-profit event and we have endeavored to keep the cost of registration as low as possible. The registration fee comprises the costs of catering, speaker support, event management, the registration system, staff support, event facilitation, venue and AV hire and catering. We have not received any form of sponsorship for the forum.

New Housing Companies

Two new housing companies are being established to provide a specialised focus on housing solutions for young people, and women and children experiencing domestic and family violence.

The companies will be not-for-profit, registered community housing providers, and in early 2014 the companies will seek registration under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing. It is expected that the housing companies will be in operation and registered by June 2014.

Funding from the Transitional National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness 2013/14 Development Fund has been committed to the purchase of up to 25 properties for each housing company to provide a new form of long term transitional housing. The properties being acquired for the housing company for young people will be in Western Sydney and the Mid-North Coast. The properties for the housing company for women and children will be located in South Western Sydney, Western Sydney, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie and the Mid-North Coast.

The establishment of the housing companies is a partnership between Housing NSW with the peak agencies, YFoundations and DV NSW. The model for each housing company is being developed in consultation with services that provide accommodation and support to young people, and women and children experiencing domestic and family violence.

Click Here for their information sheets.

Affordable Housing – Essential for everyone!


Dear Colleague,
As part of our FAIRbruary campaign, NCOSS is seeking the sector’s support for the affordable housing proposals in our 2014-15 Pre Budget Submission.
We seek your assistance in spreading the word about our campaign by including the following text in your forthcoming newsletters or member bulletins.

Alison Peters

Suggested text follows:

There is ample evidence that low income households in NSW are finding it increasingly difficult to secure rental housing that is affordable, secure and appropriate to their needs. This in turn limits their ability to obtain and retain paid employment, access education and training, and build a better life for themselves and their dependents.This is a problem that has developed over an extended period of time but the time has come for positive action.

As part of its FAIRbruary campaign, NCOSS is seeking support from the sector for the affordable housing proposals set out in our Pre-Budget Submission.

These proposals include:

  • a formal four year plan with numerical targets to increase the supply of social and affordable housing;
  • encouraging investment in innovative housing responses by community housing providers; and
  • recognising social housing as an integral part of the NSW Government’s infrastructure agenda.

NCOSS is calling on local services to raise these proposals with local state MPs; other organisations to email the Premier and relevant Ministers; and for as many organisations as possible to make a submission to the Legislative Council’s Select Committee on Social, Public and Affordable Housing.
Background material for all these actions appears on the NCOSS FAIRbruary website:

NRSCH Summary


This summary, based on the NRSCH website ( as well as information garnered by playing a part in the Consultative Forum of the NRSCH) is provided to our associated Community Housing Providers (CHPs) as you seek to come to grips with our new regulatory environment. In June 2011, Housing Ministers across Australia agreed to a blueprint for a National Regu

latory System for community housing providers. The proposed system seeks to introduce nationally consistent regulatory arrangements to promote the growth of the community housing sector nationally.

The NRSCG has undergone a “phase 1” evaluation with 23 CHPs across Australia participating (you can see the final report on the phase 1 evaluation by clicking here). This evaluation phase found that the guidelines and procedures for registration are “fit-for-purpose”, although some tweaking is required. The Registrars determinations were found to be credible and requirements for additional evidence or recommendations were found to be generally reasonable. For NSW CHPs these changes should not be significant as our existing system is already similar.

How will National Regulation Affect you?

From January 1 2014 the NRSCH will move into phase 2. All providers should by now have been notified in writing of their provisional Tier and Primary Jurisdiction allocation. The provisional allocation is based on information currently held by registrars about a provider’s community housing business. Please note this is only provisional. A provider can choose to apply for registration in any Tier. The Primary Registrar will always, on the basis of the evidence submitted by the provider to support their registration application, make a decision about registration and the appropriate tier of registration. More information is available in the Tier Guidelines on the NRSCH website. Alternatively you can contact your Primary Registrar for more information about your own provisional tier allocation.

There is an on-line “CHRIS” portal that will allow you to systematically upload documents to support your application, rather than having to collate and send hard copies. Using feedback from phase 1, this portal should now allow providers to upload a document that can support more than one requirement.

The Key Documents

There is a key suite of documents that you should read and use as a base prior to commencing your registration. Links are provided within the title of the document.



National Law The legislative framework which includes the Code.
National Regulatory Code National Regulatory Code outlines the seven performance outcomes. Focus is on what is done not how.
NRSCH Charter Provides an overview of the NRSCH: Vision, Objectives, Regulatory Principles and Philosophy.
Evidence Guidelines Describes the performance indicators and the evidence sources for assessment against the seven performance outcomes.
Tiers Guidelines Describes the various tiers and how any application is based on scale, scope and associated risk. It also allows a provider to appeal a tier ruling
Enforcement Guidelines Outlines the actions available to Registrars for provider non-compliance. Has been described as moving from “raising an eyebrow” to “taking out the baseball bat”.
Fact Sheets and FAQ A summary of what you need to know

Churches Housing supports the NRSCH and hopes that this system will demonstrate that the affordable housing industry is viable, well governed and well managed. If you are a smaller faith-based provider who requires assistance in the registration process, commence by familiarising yourself with all of the above documentation and then contacting the Registrar: . If you then require some technical support, advice or assistance you may also contact our office.

NSW State Government Announces a new Enquiry into Housing

The NSW Legislative Assembly has announced that a new Select Committee will be enquiring into the area of housing. The Legislative Council Select Committee on Social, Public and Affordable Housing was established on Wednesday 13 November 2013 to inquire into and report on demand for social, public and affordable housing in New South Wales. Click here to read the terms of reference.

Churches Housing is planning on making a submission and would like to hear from interested churches and church welfare and housing organisations who may like to be part of the process to contribute information and feedback. Please contact us if interested.

Vacant Bedroom Charge

vacantbedroomAs you may be aware Housing NSW is introducing changes to the current under-occupancy policy for public housing. These changes do not apply to community housing or Aboriginal Housing Office tenants, however I am providing this information to you in the event you may receive enquiries from providers or community housing tenants.

Currently there are over 17,000 large public housing homes in NSW with three or more bedrooms which are only occupied by single people or couples. As part of the announcement by the Minister in June, new incentives are being introduced to help free up these larger homes for households who may need them.

Effective today, a high priority will be given to under-occupying tenants who are relocating or transferring to a smaller more manageable home. In addition, a Vacant Bedroom Charge will be applied to under-occupying tenants who refuse to move outright, or who choose to continue living in a property that has more bedrooms than they are entitled to after they have been offered alternative accommodation.

Staff of community housing providers participating in Housing Pathways have been provided with information to assist them in understanding these changes.

For more information on the Vacant Bedroom Charge please visit the Housing NSW website.