A minute with Magnus

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.

Magnus Linder
Executive Officer

Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF) Phase 2

Market BriefingNSW government

Thank you to everyone who attended the Social and Affordable Housing Fund Phase 2 Market Briefing last week. It was great to hear your feedback.

For the benefit of those who could not make the event, the videos of the presentations can be found on our website. You can also download the event booklet providing more information on Phase 2 of the SAHF.

Social and Affordable Housing Fund
Phase 2 Market Briefing
18 October 2017

If you have any questions or comments please contact us on sahf@facs.nsw.gov.au.

Food for Thought

Have you ever thought through the implications of the accommodation-sharing application Airbnb? This business can provide one-of-a-kind experiences of living within the community you are visiting. However, for the residents surrounding the property, this can have unintended consequences and poor outcomes.

Northern NSW coastal resident, Trish Burt – Convener of a community action group – has been garnering support for legislation protecting local residents and communities, to be placed around the Airbnb style of housing. The basis of Neighbour Not Strangers, is “Homes not Hotels-Communities not Transit Zones-People before Profits-Neighbours not Strangers”
Some of the issues this group (which is linked to similar groups world-wide) have sufered so far include;
– an alleged rape and murder of a Melbourne Airbnb client by his three ‘hosts’
– rooms and spaces rented by the hour
– Airbnb plans to grow Live Music Biz in Global Living Rooms Concerts…next to you, without your permission
– Consider the plight of Leichhardt Residents; 57a Albert Street Leichhardt (in a residential area) is now listed as a ‘Multi-Use Area’, “$150/hr, $1,000/day, $4,000/week, 110sqm, perfect for 30 people”.  Seven can rent ‘a desk in room’ (70sqm squeeze) at Newton for $109/week each, six can share 40sqm at Manly at $180/week per person, or 70 can hire a loading dock (58sqm) in Paddington at $45/hour. Then 75 can co-share a 200sqm house in Surry Hills for $2,500/day, or 60 can hire a 100sqm ‘KidzLounge’ at Bondi Junction for $77/hour, or a desk (total 10sqm) overlooking Leichhardt’s Italian Forum for $350/week.  And how to block the nightly rental of the roof terrace next door to you – 100 people – every night at Surry Hills?  Most properties have multiple ‘spaces’ assigned and rented.  So, just how many bodies do you reckon your neighbours can cram in next to your home and rent by the hour…and exactly what are these properties being used for?
– Airbnb’s Brent Thomas – holder of a Law degree/former staffer to NSW Labor Minister – is ‘warning’ South Australia legislators’:  “As the election fast approaches, our message to all sides of politics is simple, leave the fair, innovative rules for home sharing as they are.”

If you and your areas are experiencing similar problems, please feel free to contact Trish via facebook (link below).
Neighbours Not Strangers (Follow us on Facebook)

Lack of clarity around Sydney’s Airbnb rules causes anger, legal threats
Domain – Sue Williams – 24oct17

Upcoming Events

The People Seeking Asylum Team invites you to a special event celebrating the Sydney Alliance’s involvement in securing fee-free TAFE access for refugees & people seeking asylum in NSW/ACT.

Thursday 16 November
5.00-7.00pm (formal proceedings from 5.30 – 6.30pm)
St Stephen’s Uniting Church, 197 Macquarie St Sydney (opposite Parliament House)
Join us for tea and coffee at 5pm before the formalities at 5.30pm and please stay afterwards for some light refreshments.

There are limited spots available so, please register here or
contact me (ahogan@uniting.org, 0423 503 998) or
Chantelle (chantelle@sydneyalliance.org.au, 0412 876 630) for more information.

AHURI will convene the National Housing Conference 2017 – Building for better lives, in Sydney, in partnership with the NSW Department of Family and Community Services from 29 Nov – 1 Dec 2017 at the brand new International Convention Centre.

With Sydney as the destination, and NSW leading the way in social housing policy reform, NHC 2017 is expected to be our biggest conference ever, with more than 1000 delegates from across the country expected to join us in Australia’s largest city.

Stay informed
Subscribe to our e-newsletter to be kept informed of all the latest National Housing Conference news in the lead up to 2017.

Reports Released

Inquiry into Land Release and Housing Supply in New South Wales
Property Councll of Australia – September 2017

Review of rent models for social and affordable housing
Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal – September 2017

Social and Affordable Housing Fund Phase 2 Market Briefing: videos and content 
NSW Government – October 2017

‘Rent to buy’ in the UK is something quite different in Australia
AHURI – October 2017

Household Expenditure Survey, Australia
Australian Bureau of Statistics – September 2017

Housing Assistance in Australia 2017
Australian Institute of Health & Welfare – July 2017

Scrap stamp duty, replace with a land tax – what are the impacts?
AHURI – November 2017

Regional patterns of Australia’s economy and population
Grattan – August 2017

Shifting the Dial: 5 year productivity review
Australian Government Productivity Commission – October 2017

Modelling housing need in Australia to 2025
AHURI – August 2017

Housing affordability: Resurrecting the Australian dream – Melbourne
Grattan – 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

In the ‘fearless city’, Barcelona residents take charge
The Conversation – Amanda Tattersall

Creative houses from reclaimed stuff
TEDtalks

Designing suburbs to cut car use closes gaps in health and wealth
The Conversation – J.Rachele et.al.

Leadership needed from Greater Sydney Commission on Affordable Housing
Urban Taskforce

What do single, older women want? Their ‘own little space’ (and garden) to call home, for a start
The Conversation – Y.Hartman & S.Darab

Gladys Berejiklian announces social housing drive to target NSW older women
The Age – James Robertson

We are living alone together in today’s cities – and that calls for smart and ‘bolshie’ moves
The Conversation – Jaz Hee-jeong Choi

Homelessness: What can Australia learn from Finland’s housing solution?
ABC News – Simon Leo Brown

Airbnb and empty houses: who’s responsible for managing the impacts on our cities?
The Conversation – R.Tomlinson

Co-Housing by Design: A creative & deliberative solution for housing & community
LinkedIn – Damian Iles

We Live Here: how do residents feel about public housing redevelopment?
The Conversation – D.Rodgers et.al.

“It’s unacceptable:’ NSW Government admits more housing needed for Sydney’s key workers
Domain – Sue Williams

How the NDIS is using the market to create housing for people with disability
The Conversation – Winkler, Taleporos, & Bo’Sher

‘We are begging for housing': the crisis in Indigenous communities
The Guardian – Helen Davidson and Anna Livsey

How much more productive and liveable could our cities be?
Sunday Roundtable with Hamish MacDonald on ABC-RN

Lucy Turnbull’s plan for Sydney is a race to blandsville
SMH – Elizabeth Farrelly

‘Build to rent’ could be the missing piece of the affordable housing puzzle
The Conversation – Matthew Palm

Is Sydney really full? The politics of urban density
SMH – Lisa Visentin

Affordable housing shortfall leaves 1.3m households in need and rising – study
The Conversation – Steven Rowley & Chris Leishman

Calls for higher affordable housing targets as more people on ‘cusp of poverty’
Domain – Kate Burke

Why investor-driven urban density is inevitably linked to disadvantage
The Conversation – Bill Randolph

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.