Churches Housing advises on CHP registration

05 St Maron cave

Photo: in Lebanon, the cave of St Maron, founder of the Maronite Church

Over the past couple of months Churches Housing has been involved in the CHP registration of three member organisations and one non-member.

All are looking to start building social and affordable housing in the near future.

FreshHope is increasing its housing team and has now completed its compliance review with assistance and training from CHI.

Anglicare NSW South, NSW West & ACT and the Maronite Church of Australia are both registering for the first time.

Churches Housing has been helping them in three ways: managing the process, developing policy and understanding the requirements of registration.

The fourth organization we are currently working with is the Aboriginal Land Council. CHI has been engaged to help develop policies and advise on the registration process.

Minute with Magnus

LINDER MagnusElections loom and Churches Housing, as an active member of the Sydney Alliance, has a key role in organising our Housing and Energy Assembly at the Sydney Town Hall next week on Thursday 14 March from 6.30pm.

With likely more than 2,000 people in attendance, a rousing choir performance and commitments to attend from major parties as well as crossbenchers, this promises to be a night not to be missed for those of us who feel we need to do much more to deal with housing affordability as well as accessibility to affordable, renewable energy for lower-income renters, who have largely been locked out of this market.

My role will be as ‘pinner’, meaning I get to clarify with our State politicians their exact commitment to our housing asks. Please click here for details. Call Sydney Alliance on 8007 6055 to register.

Vinnies and the national ‘Everybody’s Home’ campaign have partnered with the Sydney Alliance in a tripartite collaboration to push both Federal and State politicians for policy reform and commitments.

We recently held a networking breakfast where we facilitated a conversation around ‘Re-imagining Communities’ and there was a genuine buzz as participants really got into exploring this topic.

Partnering with Melbourne-based Centre for Building Better Community, we were excited to have Andre Van Eymeren and colleague Nigel Smith stir our imaginations beyond the bricks and mortar, exploring exactly what it means to create flourishing communities.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend or if you did and want to get a refresh of what we talked about, their full presentations are on our website. There’s also a news summary below.

Hope to see you at the Assembly next Thursday!

Vinnies and Sydney Alliance win on SEPP70

SEPP70 winIn a major win for Vinnies and the Sydney Alliance, the NSW Government has cut red tape by listing all local government areas in SEPP 70 Affordable Housing. This amendment to the State Environmental Planning Policy No. 70 – Affordable Housing (Revised Schemes) (SEPP 70), means that:

  1. Councils no longer need to seek approval from the Minister to be listed in SEPP 70 before developing an affordable housing contribution scheme (AHCS).
  2. It is still optional for councils to develop an AHCS.
  3. Councils still need to develop an AHCS and amend their local environment plan before a contribution can be introduced.
  4. The definition of ‘affordable housing’ in SEPP 70 has been broadened to include Greater Sydney or the rest of NSW. A council can check the Australian Bureau of Statistics website maps to determine which definition it falls within.
  5. One Principle in Schedule 2 of SEPP 70 has been amended to ‘Affordable housing is to be made available to a mix of very-low, low- or moderate-income households, or any combination of these’.
  6. A guideline has been developed to assist councils to develop their AHCSs.
  7. The Minister has issued the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Planning Agreements) Direction 2019. The Ministerial Direction can be viewed on the planning portal.


These changes reflect consultation and feedback from communities, councils and industry.

For the full announcement, go to

Image: Google Images

And the SAHF2 winners are …

SAHF2Once again, faith-based CHPs are at the forefront of creating more community and affordable housing. In the latest Social and Affordable Housing Fund round (SAHF2), two of our members accounted for 850 of the 1330 housing units to be built.

Our congratulations to Anglicare Sydney and Uniting. This follows on from the success of BaptistCare, St Vincent de Paul and Uniting in SAHF1. Faith-based CHPs now account for 60% of SAHF housing.

Here is what Anglicare’s Ryan Miller announced recently. ‘Excited to finally be able to announce that Anglicare Sydneyhas been successful in Phase 2 of the $1.1 billion Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF) and will partner with the NSW government to build 550 affordable dwellings over the next 3 years.

‘These new dwellings, particularly designed to meet the accessibility needs of older people, will be constructed in locations across Sydney, the Illawarra and Shoalhaven. Tenants will also receive a high level of tailored support to foster community connection and improve personal wellbeing. Glad that all the hard work and late nights have had such a positive outcome, and that we can continue to make a meaningful, tangible difference in the lives of the people we serve. Our first SAHF dwellings should be completed and tenanted by mid-2019.’

Similarly, Uniting is proud of its record and achievement.

‘Inflated house prices and a severe shortage of affordable rental properties are pushing more people into housing stress. For those who are older and on low to moderate incomes, finding a secure, affordable home in a welcoming community can be beyond their reach.

‘Uniting welcomes the opportunity to continue our work with the NSW Government on the Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF), with the second phase of this important initiative enabling Uniting to add another 300 affordable homes to the program.

‘We are already seeing the powerful potential for this initiative to transform the lives of some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our community, with Uniting having already provided approximately 130 residents with a secure and affordable place to live under the SAHF program since 2017.’

‘Uniting has a proven track record of providing safe and affordable housing to older Australians, with over 10,000 people in NSW and the ACT calling a Uniting retirement or independent living village, or aged care service, their home.

‘We take pride in providing vibrant, diverse and inclusive communities, and we look forward to welcoming more residents to a Uniting home under SAHF2.’

Go beyond sustainability – residents should flourish

Patricia Morgan and Andre Van EymerenSustainability does not go far enough as a housing goal says Andre Van Eymeren, Managing Director, Centre for Building Better Community, and we should instead be asking how people can flourish in good housing.

Speaking at Churches Housing’s networking breakfast in early March, Van Eymeren outlined the framework for flourishing:Nigel Smith and Andre Van Eymeren

  1. Residents’ basic needs are met
  2. They feel a belonging to land and others
  3. Their contributions are valued
  4. They have meaning or purpose
  5. They can lament and celebrate
  6. Residents have a growing sense of meaning or spirituality

The full presentations are on our site. See links below:

‘Re-imagining Communities’, Andre Van Eymeren, Managing Director, Centre for Building Better Community

‘Housing ideas for a flourishing city’, Nigel Smith, Urban Strategist, Centre for Building Better Community

‘New ways of living spiritually’, Dr Patricia Morgan, University of NSW

Photos: Dr Patricia Morgan with Andre Van Eymeren

Nigel Smith with Andre Eymeren

Sun rises on investor-financed tenure

Garry and Stina KeransGarry and Stina Kerans (pictured) have developed a new model of homeownership by bringing together buyers with as little as $10,000 and investors who have a self-managed super fund (SMSF).

The Kerans’ first development in Young Street, Queanbeyan, is underway, with expressions of interest invited for the next two phases of Sun Villages WISE Housing (Working to Implement Social Enhancement through housing).

Go to

City of Sydney challenges on affordable housing

C of S AH ChallengeIf you have ideas about more housing diversity, then the City of Sydney wants you to enter the Alternative Housing Ideas Challenge.

It’s open to anyone with new ideas for housing: property professionals, financiers, lawyers, community organisers, policy managers, planners, designers and students.

An expert jury will consider all entries and then six entrants will receive $20,000 each to develop their concepts.

Creative tenancy arrangements such as shared or co-operative living and new funding or delivery models are encouraged.

Less than 1 per cent of houses and apartments built in Sydney during the last eight years are classed as affordable – the City of Sydney defines this as high-quality rental housing for low-income workers provided, in perpetuity, at 30 per cent or less of a household’s gross income.

The challenge opens on Tuesday 26 March and closes Wednesday 8 May 2019.

To sign on for updates, go to:

Photo: Affordable housing in Portman Street, Zetland, built by City West Housing with City of Sydney support

Re-Imagining Communities

You are invited

Churches Housing’s

networking half-day



Australians are facing a growing crisis in affordable housing. Investors rule the market, renters face insecurity and unaffordable rents while many home owners face the hurdle of mortgage stress.
The choice of housing appears bleak between buying or renting, apartment life or living in a house, paying more to be close to work or spend long hours commuting.
Surely there must be a better way!
Various models have arisen, many through church and religious communities: communal living, property trusts, shared equity and collaborations, to name a few.
We invite you to gather for a half-day exploring creative housing alternatives. We are keen to start a conversation and link people with similar ideas and hopes, so come and have this conversation together!


Facilitator ·

Magnus Linder

Presentation ·

André Van Eymeren

Managing Director, Centre for Building Better Community

Nigel Smith

Urban Strategist, Centre for Building Better Community

Patricia Morgan

Research associate, University of New South Wales

Question time & networking



19 February


8am – 11am




Old Government House

Parramatta Park






RSVP today

Book here



Philippa Yelland

02 9633 5999




Minute with Magnus

LINDER MagnusThings have been hotting up in housing advocacy as well as the weather. After a great turnout (150) at our Parramatta ‘Everybody Needs a Home’ Forum, in partnership with the Sydney Alliance, Vinnies, Uniting, and the CRMC, we followed-up with attendance and a question and plea for action at the next council meeting, only to see the councillors actually pass their affordable housing policy after deferring it twice before.

Power to the people! This has been a great victory.

After a series of local assemblies in various LGAs we are now planning a larger rally at the Sydney Town Hall on Thursday 14 March as a partnership between the Sydney Alliance, Everybody’s Home and Vinnies.

The theme will be Housing + Power – recognising that affordable housing is only so if it is also affordable to live in. By and large, renters have been blocked from participating in affordable and renewable energy, meaning most of them are now paying more for their power than people on considerably higher incomes. Please check out our write-up in this newsletter and register now – we would like to have 1,000 registrations before Christmas so we can show our political decision makers that we are serious.

We welcome the announcement by the Minister for Planning, Anthony Roberts, that SEPP 70, an environmental planning law to which some councils have access to demand more affordable housing, will now be available to all councils without the need to demonstrate evidence that affordable housing is required in their LGA.

However, councils still need to apply and we encourage you all to speak to your local government councillors to find out if and when your council may have a plan to participate in SEPP 70.

May we – myself and the Churches Housing team – wish you, our members, stakeholders and collaborators, a very happy, safe and restful Christmas.