Reports Released

Faith and Belief in Australia
McCrindle – May 2017

2017 Rental Affordability Snapshot
Anglicare Australia – April 2017

Ready for growth? Inquiry into Australia’s affordable housing industry capacity
AHURI – April 2017

Sydney’s growing economy – Who is being left behind?
SGS Economics & Planning – May 2017

A place for everyone: Tackling Sydney’s affordable housing crisis
PwC Australia – March 2017

NSW Economic Update – Autumn 2017 – Statistical Indicators 02/17
NSW Parliamentary Research Service – Chris Angus – April 2017

Review of rent models for social and affordable housing
IPART – April 2017

Renewing Australia’s Promise – Report Card 2016
Foundation for Young Australians – 2016

Interesting Reading

I apologise for the length of this section, but there were so many good articles on housing affordability in the last quarter. Let me know here if you would like me to send out a monthly digest of articles that may be useful to you.

Understanding Inclusionary zoning

Government spending explained in 10 charts; from Howard to Turnbull
The Conversation – Alan Duncan & Rebecca Cassells

Disadvantaged should rate higher than rich and powerful
The Age – Ross Gittins

Can someone please get this to the Treasurer before Tuesday?
LinkedIn – Amy Brown

When it comes to housing affordability debates, everything old is new again
The Conversation – Rae Dufty-Jones

Four ways an Australian housing bubble could burst
The Conversation – Jenni Henderson & Wes Mountain

The five charts that prove there is a housing affordability crisis
SMH – Jessica Irvine and Matt Wade

We need a fairer plan for Sydney’s housing affordability problem
SMH – Nick Greiner

‘I’m not doing this any more': the rush to escape Sydney’s mad house prices
Guardian – Elle Hunt

Budget 2017: Don’t bet the house on Scott Morrison doing anything on housing affordability
ABC news – Ian Verrender

City of Sydney’s proposal to force developers to contribute to affordable housing
SMH – Lisa Visentin

Why older Australians don’t downsize and the limits to what the government can do about it
The Conversation – Brendan Coates & John Daly

Community resistance is impacting the supply of affordable housing, experts say
Domain – Kate Burke

Can Institutional Funding be Channelled into Rental Housing?
CityFuturesBlog – Chris Martin

Multi-family: Salta to create Melbourne’s first high-rise rental tower
Financial Review – Larry Schlesinger

Government urged to prioritise housing affordability for low-income Australians
The Guardian – Christopher Knaus

Rising population won’t prevent 7 per cent housing slump, says Citi
SMH – Matthew Dunckley

When a suburb’s turn for gentrification comes …
The Conversation – Sidh Sintusingha

Developers need incentives to build affordable housing, industry says
SMH – Lisa Visentin

Affordable housing is not just about the purchase price
The Conversation – Mark Gibbs

The green, amber and red of housing affordability policies
SMH – Matt Wade & Jessica Irvine

For renters, making housing more affordable is just the start
The Conversation – Emma Power

We’ve had a major housing crisis before – and this is how they fixed it
SMH – Rae Dufty-Jones

Housing: Affordable rentals at all-time low, Anglicare report finds
ABC – Nick Grimm

Housing affordability: thoughts for the Federal Treasurer from someone who cares
PwC – Amy Brown

5 ways we could make buying a house more doable
ABC – Michael Collett

Housing affordability: international insights on achieving affordability with quality density
University of Sydney – Professor Richard Peiser

Homelessness body warns of ‘disaster’ if Morrison scraps housing agreement
The Guardian – Calla Wahlquist

Greater Sydney Speaks!

Sydney Alliance

Churches Housing Inc. has joined with another 120 faith, union and community organisations under the Sydney Alliance to deliver a submission regarding the Draft District Plans, to the Greater Sydney Commission.

Please take a moment to read the submission here. The diversity of signatories at the end of the submission is substantial and powerful.

Please stay tuned to this page for further opportunities to influence the Greater Sydney Commission and the NSW Minister for Housing.



It is with great pride that we congratulate 3 members of Churches Housing Inc. who have successfully been awarded contracts for the first phase of the Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF) – a key initiative of Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW.


Combined, they will provide just over 1300 affordable units of housing for vulnerable people across the State. You can read the press release here.


  • BaptistCare NSW & ACT – delivering 375 homes for older people in housing stress and at risk of homelessness and 125 homes for single parent families with a focus on women impacted by domestic violence;
  • St Vincent de Paul Housing – delivering 500 homes to general and older aged tenants;
  • Uniting – 300 homes for people aged over 55 without children at home.


A minute with Magnus…

Have you made or are you planning to make a submission on the Greater Sydney Commission’s (GSC) draft district plans? This is the time to have a say and input into how Sydney will plan for growth through to 2056. The draft District Plans and Towards our Greater Sydney 2056 are on public exhibition until the end of March 2017 and the GSC encourages you to lodge a submission during that time. Churches Housing is in the process of developing its own submission and will be asking our members for input and feedback along the way. We are happy to partner with other organisations that wish to contribute to this process and to the final submission so please let me know of your interest. As a member of the Sydney Alliance, which is calling for inclusionary zoning mandates of 15% on all large developments and 30% on government owned land, we have actively been contributing to their submission and will be asking organisations in our network to sign off on this broad statement calling for the following:1.    Real Commitment to Affordable Housing
2.    Transparent Accountability Scheme
3.    Fairer Access to Affordable Housing
4.    World Standard Public Transport System

The Sydney Alliance aims to have more than 300 organisations sign off on this statement, so please let me or the Sydney Alliance know if you wish to make a stand together. Together we can make a powerful difference.

On a very positive side, our incoming premier Gladys Berejiklian, has nominated affordable housing as one of her top three priorities. We are very excited about the possibilities here and hope that our Federal government also will bite the bullet and implement some programs of relief in this space. Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison is belatedly taking some action and has now signed off on the development of a new financing model at a meeting with his state and territory counterparts in Canberra. It will be designed to group together financing requests to generate more investment at cheaper interest rates. Small steps forward for a system that seems increasingly focused on building wealth rather than providing much needed housing.

Magnus Linder
Executive Officer

Meet our Members!

We’re beginning a new series, introducing the members of Churches Housing Inc. We want to share with you what makes them tick – what motivates them and how their organisations respond to improving access to affordable housing.
We thought it would be a good idea to start with our Chairman!

Rob Burnelek – Axis housing: ethical real estateRob Burnelek 1

Rob has recently struck out on his own to create the sort of ethical real estate agency he was heading towards his whole working life. Rob seems to be uniquely positioned to create this business, which combines twenty years’ business experience in the corporate sector, his years working in the not-for-profit housing sector and the recent completion of his theology training.
Rob resigned from corporate life at IBM in 2006, uncomfortable with the limited ability to perform social good with the focus on shareholder profits. He felt called to find a way to transfer his corporate skills to a not-for-profit or church setting. He began working for the forerunner of CHI (Churches Community Housing Ltd.) as accountant and through that, realised the opportunity involved in partnering with churches to fulfil their mission to minister to the most vulnerable in our society.
When CCHL split into the peak body CHI and the housing arm Ecclesia Housing in 2010, Rob stayed with the housing company. He was excited when then Prime Minister, Mr Kevin Rudd launched NRAS (the National Rental Affordability Scheme), as it was ideally suited to churches. Rob says, “One of the challenges for an ordinary Community Housing Provider, is that they don’t have access to land. It seemed like an ideal opportunity to make things happen (for churches)”.
Churches are better able utilise their land to make housing projects financially viable. Partnerships can be developed between churches, developers and financiers – with churches holding onto their land title. During his time at Ecclesia, the project of which Rob is most proud belonged to the Catholic Assyrian Church of the East in Polding Street, Fairfield. Rob was involved from concept to completion and he was excited to assist this refugee church to help house their ageing community, and take some of the strain from the state aged care providers.
2013 saw Rob head up the new Salvos Housing. This is the community and affordable housing provider for The Salvation Army in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Rob saw the opportunity to leverage economies of scale, with Salvos having well located sites in areas of high need. Salvos Housing was poised to tender for 8 different projects in ACT, NSW and QLD which would have resulted in over 300 new dwellings, but to their great disappointment, NRAS Round 5 was axed after a change of Federal government and it never went ahead.
We had to look for other ways to continue with the developments. There are a lot of competing missional priorities, for which the scarce and valuable funds needed to be used. We DID develop a very strong internal collaboration with our Specialist Homelessness Services to develop best practice work for the clients, relying on mutual trust between the collaborating parties.”
As a member of Churches Housing Inc., Rob has been excited to have opportunities to partner with other churches as well as those in the private sector. Partnerships could be forged between ethically minded investors and developers, which were mutually beneficial with a social outcome. Rob is energised by the changing mentality in the sector – from feeling as if we have to rely on government grants, programs and stock transfers – to creating new and innovative ways to create relationships and partnerships, to making affordable housing happen. Being with one denominational organisation sometimes restricted that – so Rob took the opportunity to make a fresh approach to providing affordable housing to people on the lower side of the socio-economic divide.
Rob established Axis Housing with the Registrar of Community Housing in November 2016, and is excited to say that they have 29 properties to date – looking at up to 80 over the next month, and hoping for 120 over the next few months. The current focus is Western Sydney, but he has great prospects of moving into the Queensland in the near future.
Rob is looking to build up the portfolio with private developers, individuals, and churches that are wanting to provide affordable housing, but who also require the expertise of a registered CHP. Additionally, providing consulting services to churches to explore strategies on how they can use the vehicle of housing to fulfil their gospel mission.
The brief of Axis Housing is to develop a network of industry professionals that cover the building, design, development, financing and housing management as well as the regulatory environment. Rob continues to count it a privilege to be invited into different denominations to assist them in how they fulfil their mission to minister to those struggling in our society.
I asked Rob what were the snapshots, or defining moments that made him take stock of what he was doing. One was following the tragic death of a tenant – while he was devastated with the outcome – it made him wonder how many clients have we saved by doing what we do? This gave him the inspiration and spurred him on to greater industry – to take the tragedy and make a positive difference for as many as he could.
The other was when a client relinquished his tenancy. When questioned, he said that he was given the property because he was on a low income, but now he had improved his financial position and felt that it was selfish of him to continue to stay in the property, when someone needier than he could make use of it.

Stay tuned each quarter for a new profile of each of our members!

Opening of Hume Community Housing Association Development

Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness – Senator Doug Cameron, recently spoke at the opening of a Hume Community Housing Association Development. He called for the National Affordable Housing Agreement to be revisited and even changed, as it relates to specific performance measures and requirements as to how Commonwealth funding is expended.
You can access the full transcipt of his speech here.

FaCS High School Scholarships

FACS is offering High School Scholarships to help students enrolled in education or training to complete their studies. Successful applicants will receive $1,000 to help with school expenses.
Applications open at 9am on Monday 16 January 2017 and close at 7pm on Friday 24 February 2017.
Through the scholarships program, students can use the funds to purchase items like course materials and equipment, or to pay for excursions and tutoring, so they don’t miss out on educational opportunities.
Scholarships are open to those receiving housing assistance from Family and Community Services, community housing providers or Aboriginal housing.

This also includes students:
-on the social housing waiting list
-in Out of Home Care – currently under the care of the Minister
-in public, community or Aboriginal housing
-in transitional or crisis accommodation or receiving supported accommodation through a specialist homelessness service
-receiving private rental assistance, such as a private rental subsidy, bond loan or tenancy guarantee.

For more information, visit the website here, or for enquiries,
please contact 02 8753 8673 or email here.


Churches Housing, along with Shelter NSW and McCrindle Research, have produced an infographic which may be useful as you lobby your networks on affordable housing.
Please feel free to use the correctly attributed infographic below.
Click here or on the pictures below to be taken to the pdf on our website.

Public testing of NGO Benchmarking Model

Public testing of the online platform was announced on 16 November 2016 at the Investing for Good Conference. Public testing will close on 28 February 2017.
The NGO Benchmarking Model is a capability development tool, designed by the Social Innovation Council, to help NGOs develop the robust, customer-centred operations needed to deliver efficient, high quality and innovative programs and services. By completing self-assessment against the model, NGOs can identify their operational strengths and any areas for improvement. Your organisation can use this information to guide strategic planning, business operations and staff capability development programs.
The Social Innovation Council have developed an online platform that makes it easy for NGOs to gauge their performance against the model by answering a series of questions about their existing policies and business practices.

You can access the platform here.

This is a “preview version” of the platform, where your organisation can explore the platform and gather the evidence and resources needed before the NGO Benchmarking Model is implemented next year. Please note that as this is a “preview version”, your organisation’s benchmarking results are not valid and will not be used by the NSW Government in any way.

The Social Innovation Council also encourages you to complete a short survey afterwards. Your feedback will help them to improve the platform.

Please note that any information provided by your organisation during the preview period is confidential and will only be used to inform the development of the benchmarking model and online platform.