Big changes are afoot for our sector and this will also affect Churches Housing and you, our members. In our last newsletter we let you know about the defunding of CHFA (the Community Housing Federation of Australia), the federal peak of which Churches housing is a member. Our sector has responded by voting to transition CHFA into CHIA, a new Community Housing Industry Association. Churches Housing, along with the other peak body, Federation of Housing Associations NSW, are both moving towards becoming members of this new national industry body. What will this mean for you, our members? It will mean that you will become part of a national organisation (CHIA) and Churches Housing will be one of the out-workings of this. We will still remain true to our core vision and purpose and the services we offer will still remain. But in the future your membership will be with CHIA first and then Churches Housing will be your local branch. Membership fees (currently proposed at $500) will be split 50/50 between CHIA and Churches Housing, with an extra $5 per unit of housing being charged. Members will either be full Voting Members, made up recognised community housing providers, or of Associate Members, individuals or organisations that support the objects of CHIA but who are not community housing providers. Please click here to read more about CHIA. Churches Housing will need to make changes to our constitution and will be calling on all our members to participate in a discussion and vote about the way ahead. Please keep an eye out for a special resolution that will pave the way for these changes to take place. If you wish to discuss this further then please do not hesitate to give me a call.
Advocacy is a big part of what we do and we currently have a submission in to the state government’s discussion paper on Social Housing. Churches Housing continues to advocate for sustainable plans and policies that will see the pressures of housing stress ease and innovative solutions to the unaffordability of housing. This week we have visited both Urban Growth and the Minister for Social Housing, Brad Hazzard. We look forward to working with the new minister in implementing solutions that will help the vulnerable groups in our communities to find safe, secure and affordable housing. The minister announced at last week’s Community Housing Conference that a forum to source innovative delivery methods will be established. From the minister’s press release:
Mr Hazzard said the forum will be chaired by two former NSW Premiers – former NSW Liberal Premier Nick Greiner and former NSW Labor Premier Morris Iemma – highlighting the critical importance of this issue to the entire NSW community. “Housing in NSW is a big and complex challenge and this forum will bring together government, community housing and the private sector – which has an unbelievable capacity for innovation – to get more social and affordable housing on the ground as soon as possible,” Mr Hazzard said. Addressing the NSW Community Housing Conference in Sydney today, Mr Hazzard said he expected the forum would deliver expert advice about unblocking roadblocks to housing, including planning laws and innovation in funding models. The NSW Government has signed an agreement with key social and infrastructure bodies to pave the way for a dedicated social and affordable housing fund that aims to hit the $1 billion mark. The fund is dependent on the lease of the NSW poles and wires with social and affordable housing for the vulnerable considered as key infrastructure under the Liberals & Nationals Government.