A minute with Magnus

It has been a big quarter! Some highlights include:

# the Sydney Alliance Housing Assembly, ably co-chaired by Donna Easthorpe with the Sydney Alliance Housing Team currently being led by yours truly. Speakers included the Archbishop Anthony Fisher, the Minister for Planning Hon. Anthony Roberts, the CEO of the Greater Sydney Commission Sarah Hill, Professor Bill Randolph from City Futures and Dr Tim Williams from the Committee for Sydney. Although we went into this assembly knowing that the government was not going to be giving any ground in our ask for greater percentages of social and affordable housing we were greatly encouraged by the huge numbers turning up to support the Alliance (officially 603!) and also with the powerful message that was delivered to our State Government.
Click here for a video of the summary at the end of the evening.

# We have worked with BaptistCare Australia on a submission to the federal Productivity Commission, contributing the section on Social Housing. Click here to read.

# We have supported the church sector in Melbourne as they also grapple with extreme shortages of social and affordable housing as well as the ravages of housing stress.

# We have continued to consult with local churches and church organisations considering development of housing on their land.

# We are consulting with a number of organisations regarding possibilities of applying for the next round of SAHF (Social and Affordable Housing Fund).

# We continue to assist a number of member organisations as they seek re-registration with the Housing Registrar.

# Shortly you shall also be receiving our annual member survey. It is very important that this is completed by both our members and key stakeholders as we do require this data in order to report on our renewed contract for funding from FaCS. We hope that this survey will also be an important tool to assist us in shaping our services for maximum impact in the future.

We hope to see you at our next networking breakfast on the 18th August. Please also consider inviting me to one of your board meetings or for a one on one catch-up. Feedback on our activities and advocacy strategies will be well regarded as is suggestions for future activity. I’d also love to know how we can be assisting your organisation to continue to grow and to be providing both housing and support services for people in need.

Thanks and regards,
Magnus

Sydney Alliance Housing Assembly

On July 12, the Sydney Alliance brought both the NSW Minister for Housing, Anthony Roberts, and the CEO of the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC), Sarah Hill, to a packed house of over 600, to ask a few pointed questions. These questions focused on the GSC’s planning targets for affordable rental housing. The meeting sought to get agreement from both parties for a target of 15% of development on private land and 30% of development on Government land to be set aside for Affordable Rental housing.
The Sydney Alliance went into the meeting not expecting to make much ground and they didn’t. What they did achieve was a crystal clear view of the position of both the government and GSC.
It was evident from the outset that Minister Roberts came to give a speech on housing affordability and not address the questions agreed to in negotiations prior to the assembly. His answers addressed housing supply of new housing but failed to address the supply of affordable rental housing. He again promoted more supply leading to falling house prices, therefore making housing more affordable. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee or evidence that increasing supply will have a trickle-down effect to those truly in need and, even in this last year of record supply, we have continued to see prices increase in the order of 13.5%. Minister Roberts made the comment, “just because a suburb was once working class doesn’t mean it is going to stay that way”. This indicates his belief that key workers and low-income earners be forced out of gentrified suburbs and just move to places where there are houses they can afford. This thinking fails to address the need for essential workers to be closer to employment and the increasing struggle of businesses in recruiting and retaining low to moderate income earners.
The Minister labelled the Alliance’s approach to the viability of projects which mandate inclusionary zoning, as “simplistic sloganeering”. This was refuted very clearly by Professor Bill Randolph later in the night. He reaffirmed that affordable housing produced via inclusionary zoning is paid for out of the value captured in the uplifted portion caused by the re-zoning and reflected in the value of the land being lowered. Professor Randolph dispelled the furphy that the developer would have to charge more for the other dwellings in the project. Prices are in fact set by the market, not the developer.
There were rays of hope in the answers given by GSC CEO Sarah Hill. Although she could not commit to the 15% and 30% asks of the Sydney Alliance, she did confirm that the 5-10% (on the uplifted portion only) in the GSC plan was a minimum target and that higher percentages could be negotiated over time.
When asked about projected numbers of affordable housing Sarah could not give even a ballpark figure, despite the extensive modelling they claim to have done regarding viability across Sydney. Could it be that their model only produces embarrassingly low numbers?
Sarah also offered up the possibility of a ‘Build to Rent’ scheme. There were no details given (as per the GSC draft plan), but most Build to Rent schemes offer long term rental agreements and a stability in tenancy that has been absent from Australian markets. This is a good policy to implement, which will add to the supply of long term, stable rental housing. Unfortunately, with no details being made available, there is no way to know if they will be available as affordable for low to middle income earners and key workers.
Although disappointed with the answers given on the night attendees were not discouraged. There was also great support given by The Archbishop Most Reverend Anthony Fisher OP, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Tim Williams from the Committee for Sydney, Jack de Groot from the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, and Professor Bill Randolph from City Futures. The Sydney Alliance Assembly resolved to continue working with the GSC and the Minister, and persist advocating for higher targets.
Please check out the Sydney Alliance website here, if you would like to become involved in the fight for a fairer housing system for Sydney.

 

Upcoming Events

Investing in Communities: Regional Conferences Program
NCOSS
•    25 July – Orange
•    31 July – Kiama
•    8 August – Parramatta
•    15 August – Newcastle
•    22 August – Wagga Wagga
Full details are on the NCOSS website here.

RIGHT TO HOME campaign event
Vinnies
Where - Parliament of New South Wales
The Theatrette, 6 Macquarie St, Sydney
When - Thursday 3 Aug 2017 from 2:45pm to 5:30pm
Register here.

Churches Housing Network Breakfast
Date: Fri 18 August 2017
Time: 7.30am to 9.30am
Venue: Lachlan’s at Old Government House,
Parramatta Park (enter park from Pitt St)
Guest Speaker: Cherylann Biegler – AHURI
and also a panel discussion on the SAHF
(Social and Affordable Housing Fund)
Put it in your diary – Invitation coming soon!

10th National Housing Conference
AHURI
November 29 – December 1, 2017
Iternational Convention Centre – Darling Harbour, Sydney
Register on the conference website here

Reports Released

A place for everyone: Tackling Sydney’s affordable housing crisis
PwC’s Affordable Housing Initiative, March 2017

Housing, multi-level governance and economic productivity
Inquiry into housing policies, labour force participation and economic growth

AHURI – Dodson, J. et.al., June 2017

Housing assistance in Australia 2017
Australian Institute of Health & Welfare, July 2017

Productivity commission draft report: reforms to human services
Baptist Care Australia & Churches Housing Inc. submission to: The Productivity Commission, July 2017

Introducing Competition and Informed User Choice into Human Services: Reforms to Human Services
City Futures Research Centre submission to: The Productivity Commission, July 2017

Issues Paper #16 : Joining the Top Table – Benchmarking Sydney’s Performance
Committee for Sydney, July 2017

Interesting Reading/Listening/Watching

As with last quarter, I apologise for the length of this section, but there were so many good articles on housing affordability in the last quarter.

Who’s responsible? Housing policy mismatched to our $6 trillion asset
The Conversation – J.Dodson et.al., June 23

Policy failure as existing home owners get a free ride on new infrastructure
SMH – Michael Pascoe, July 26

Why should the state wriggle out of providing public housing?
The Conversation – Kate Shaw, June 20

Giving older single women the chance of owning a home
ABC – Sarah Farnsworth, July 18

Affordable homes for older women on Life Matters
ABC RN – Amanda Smith, July 18

Co-housing works well for older people, once they get past the image problem
The Conversation – C.Riedy et al., June 23

Sydney has no master plan to become bigger and better
The Age – Michael Pascoe, July 12

Four outdated assumptions prevent progress on affordable housing – to everyone’s cost
The Conversation – Fiona McKenzie, July 14

Social housing: Publicly funded beds left empty, while waiting list grows, new data shows
ABC – Antoinette Lattouf, July 21

How history can challenge the narrative of blame for homelessness
The Conversation – Anne O’Brien, July 19

Australia Building Too Few Homes in Low Income Brackets
Sourceable Counstruction News – Andrew Heaton, July 11

Social mix in housing? One size doesn’t fit all, as new projects show
The Conversation – Kate Shaw, July 21

Five lessons from Tokyo, a city of 38m people, for Australia, a nation of 24m
The Conversation – B.F.D. Barrett & M.Amati, July 11

Push for elected councils to have say on plans for 35,000 new homes along Bankstown train line
SMH – Jacob Saulwick, July 2

Send the market a price signal where affordable housing is most needed
The Conversation – Martin Payne, June 29

Tenants’ calls for safe public housing fall on deaf ears
The Conversation – Gemma McKinnon, June 27

New architecture designs for higher-density living preserve social amenity
Domain – Jenny Brown, June 26

How cohousing can make us happier (and live longer)
TED2017 – Grace Kim, April 2017

Social and affordable housing boost to support the vulnerable

The second phase of the NSW Government’s Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF) will provide more housing for vulnerable people across the State, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Social Housing Pru Goward announced today.

Ms Berejiklian said market sounding for the second phase of the SAHF would begin in the next financial year.

“The NSW Government established the innovative $1.1 billion Social and Affordable Housing Fund to deliver on our election commitment. This second phase will continue to provide quality dwellings close to social infrastructure as well as essential tailored support services,” Ms Berejiklian said.

First phase providers, announced in March, are working in partnership with Government and non-government organisations, landholders and the private sector to deliver the first 2,200 social and affordable homes within four years.

Ms Goward said the SAHF is part of NSW’s comprehensive strategy to help break the cycle of disadvantage.

“The Fund will continue to provide those on the waiting list and those seeking affordable housing with the homes and links to services they need to work towards greater independence,” she said.

NSW Council of Social Services CEO Tracy Howe said: “NCOSS welcomes the announcement of round two of the SAHF. It provides assurance that the Government has a long-term commitment to this innovative model that seeks to increase social and affordable housing outcomes for the most vulnerable in our community.”

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Chief Executive Brendan Lyon said: “IPA welcomes the government’s commitment to innovative social housing delivery and looks forward to further discussions on this important program.”

(Media Releases from the Premier – June 1, 2017)

A minute with Magnus

It has been a big quarter! Some highlights include:

# the Sydney Alliance Housing Assembly, ably co-chaired by Donna Easthorpe with the Sydney Alliance Housing Team currently being led by yours truly. Speakers included the Archbishop Anthony Fisher, the Minister for Planning Hon. Anthony Roberts, the CEO of the Greater Sydney Commission Sarah Hill, Professor Bill Randolph from City Futures and Dr Tim Williams from the Committee for Sydney. Although we went into this assembly knowing that the government was not going to be giving any ground in our ask for greater percentages of social and affordable housing we were greatly encouraged by the huge numbers turning up to support the Alliance (officially 603!) and also with the powerful message that was delivered to our State Government.
Click here for a video of the summary at the end of the evening.

# We have worked with BaptistCare Australia on a submission to the federal Productivity Commission, contributing the section on Social Housing and also supported BaptistCare as we spoke directly to the Commission. Click here to read.

# We have supported the church sector in Melbourne as they also grapple with extreme shortages of social and affordable housing as well as the ravages of housing stress.

# We have continued to consult with local churches and church organisations considering development of housing on their land.

# We are consulting with a number of organisations regarding possibilities of applying for the next round of SAHF (Social and Affordable Housing Fund).

# We continue to assist a number of member organisations as they seek re-registration with the Housing Registrar.

# Shortly you shall also be receiving our annual member survey. It is very important that this is completed by both our members and key stakeholders as we do require this data in order to report on our renewed contract for funding from FaCS. We hope that this survey will also be an important tool to assist us in shaping our services for maximum impact in the future.

We hope to see you at our next networking breakfast on the 18th August. Please also consider inviting me to one of your board meetings or for a one on one catch-up. Feedback on our activities and advocacy strategies will be well regarded as is suggestions for future activity. I’d also love to know how we can be assisting your organisation to continue to grow and to be providing both housing and support services for people in need.

Thanks and regards,
Magnus

Network Breakfast Wrap

If you didn’t make it to our latest Network Breakfast, you missed a brilliant presentation from Jason Twill of Urban Apostles.
An Innovation Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer within the Department of Design, Architecture and Building at the University Technology Sydney, Jason is a proponent of responsible density and amenable city living.
In a recent article by Sandra Edmunds, Jason states that Australia is behind other major world cities in regard to the way we are dealing with population density and liveability, saying that we should learn from the mistakes of London, New York and others by “Leap frog(ing) the errors and maintain viability.”
The presentation that Jason Twill (Urban Apostles and the Nightingale Project) made at our Autumn Network Breakfast Please can be located at a Dropbox here.
If you would like to see more of Jason’s work-or to contact him – please go to his website here.

Sydney Alliance Housing Assembly

Oh what a night!
356 participants filled Eastwood Uniting Church to the rafters. Prior to the Minister’s arrival, CHI Executive Officer Magnus Linder (with Erin from Uniting Voice) paid tribute to prior Housing Team members that had put in so much work to get us all to the asembly on May 4th.
The Assembly was co-chaired by Donna Easthorpe from Churches Housing and Northwest Community Baptist Church, along with Leah Emmanuel from the National Tertiary Education Union and the Assyrian community. Once Minister for Planning and Housing, Minister Anthony Roberts arrived and the Alliance worked together to display collective community power.
This included powerful testimonies, the persuasive academic case put by Professor Bill Randolph, along with critical endorsement from Kathryn Greiner, AO.
Then a huge roll call of supporting organisations where over 50 organisations displayed diversity, listed local and people power, and showed unity, with every organisation supporting stronger targets for affordable housing.
The Minister then gave his response. He said he was personally supportive, he said he was “with us” and he spoke encouragingly.
The Minister;
Did not give a public commitment on 15%
Did not give a public commitment (as expected) on 30%
Did not give a public commitment (as expected) on moderate incomes
Did not give a public commitment (as expected) on unrortable guidelines
Did not give a public commitment (as expected) on the question of “uplift” vs whole development.
However, he:
Did say “YES” publicly- that he has heard us on these five items.
Did give a public commitment (resoundingly) to meet with the assembly of the Sydney Alliance within 2 months
Did give a public commitment (unexpectedly) to bring the Greater Sydney Commission with him.
The Minister then left, escorted by the drummers of Granville Boys High School.
Many of those present then committed to be involved on the IZ (Inclusionary Zoning) action team over the next two months.
It is well worth noting that the Minister had never seen a public display of support for targets as wide and diverse before. He now understands that a wide, large diverse constituency with real local power, knows the difference between specific targets for affordable housing and generalities like “housing affordability”.Please contact the Sydney Alliance here if you would like to know more about how YOUR church can be a part of the next Housing Assembly in 2 months’ time.You can access a fair portion of the video from the night thanks to the YouTube Channel of Pitt Street Uniting Church here.