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05 Jun 2020

Homebuilder Scheme not as effective as social housing builds to boost jobs

The Federal Government’s new Homebuilder Scheme is a missed opportunity to tackle Australia’s housing crisis and create more real jobs for tradies according to leading community housing provider Compass Housing.

Acting CEO, Lyndall Robertshaw, said the scheme risked pushing up house prices and is inefficient because many of the $25,000 grants will end up being accessed by people who were planning to buy a new home anyway.

Ms Robertshaw said building new social housing would be more beneficial to construction jobs because it creates a pipeline of work that wasn’t there before. She said that this new pipeline of work can backfill the drop in demand for private dwellings and has the added benefit of providing much needed housing for vulnerable people.

Modelling by the Community Housing Industry Association and National Shelter, as part of the Social Housing Acceleration and Renovation Proposal, shows that investing in 30,000 new social housing homes over four years will create between 15,500 and 18,000 full time equivalent jobs per year. Not for profit community housing organisations can leverage these assets, using low cost finance from the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation, to build 5,000 more homes to further stretch government dollars.

“Such housing programs have proven effective with 20,000 homes built, supporting 14,000 jobs, after the 2008 GFC,” Ms Robertshaw said.

“The disturbingly high social housing waiting lists mean demand is there and community housing providers have developers with shovel ready projects, so the stimulus is almost immediate.”

Ms Robertshaw said the housing need is dire.

  • There is a shortage of more than 400,000 affordable homes nationally for low income households.
  • Compass’ latest Affordable Housing Income Gap report shows that many renters were facing rental housing stress pre Covid-19.
  • There are 150,000 Australian households on social housing waiting lists. A 2019 Compass Housing report showed these figures would be higher if everyone eligible applied for social housing.

“People in housing stress cut back on other spending – suppressing consumption which is also bad for the economy.”

“Funding new affordable housing will do more to reduce housing stress for both renters and buyers than these grants.”

The Government’s establishment of housing as a subcommittee of the National Cabinet is a welcome move. The first task of the subcommittee should be a national housing plan with initiatives that, together, will have the biggest benefit for the most people.

Compass Housing is a, not for profit, Tier 1, community housing provider managing more than 7000 properties in NSW and Queensland. 


Media information: Craig Eardley on 0437477493

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02 Jun 2020

Compass Branch Offices Back in Business

With state and federal governments now easing COVID-19 restrictions, Compass Housing Services is transitioning back to normal operating procedures.

All Compass offices with the exception of Cessnock will reopen to the public as of June 1. The Cessnock office will reopen on June 9. The Compass community hubs in the Central Coast and Broken Hill will remain closed for the time being.

As we re-open our offices, strict social distancing and other precautionary measures will remain in place to ensure community safety. Face to face meetings with Compass staff will be available by appointment only, and all visitors will be required to undergo screening measures prior to entering the premises.

Screening measures may include:

  • Visual assessment for symptoms of illness. Visitors with obvious symptoms of illness will not be permitted to enter the office.
  • A temperature check using a non-contact thermometer. Anyone recording a temperature of 37.6 degrees Celsius or above will not be permitted to enter the office.

Clients who are unable to enter the office for any reason will still be able to access our services by contacting the Compass call centre on 1300 333 733, or via our website at www.compasshousing.org/contact 

Urgent and emergency maintenance work will continue to be delivered under the same social distancing and precautionary arrangements as have been in place since the beginning of the outbreak.

The safety of our communities remains our top priority. We will continue to monitor the situation in the weeks ahead and will provide further updates to our operating procedures as and when things change.

If you have any questions about any of this information, please get in touch by calling 1300 333 733.

 

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02 Jun 2020

Compass Housing Welcomes National Cabinet Focus on Housing

One of Australia’s leading community housing providers says having housing as a National Cabinet subcommittee is a welcome first step to solving Australia’s housing crisis and stimulating the economy post Covid-19.

Group Managing Director of Compass Housing, Greg Budworth, said housing has been largely left to state and territories to administer and reform in different ways.

“National reform is urgently needed to resolve Australia’s undeniable housing crisis,” Mr Budworth said.

“Having state and federal ministers for housing sitting down to draft reform measures for the National Cabinet is a great framework from which to start,” he said.

Mr Budworth said leading housing experts, economists, academics, and welfare groups agree that a national plan is needed. 

“The first step of the subcommittee needs to be a national housing plan, linked to other infrastructure and economic plans, with agreed targets and key performance indicators.”

“Previously we have seen ad hoc reforms that haven’t delivered effective and lasting change for all housing users.”

Mr Budworth said the National Cabinet’s operation during the pandemic had shown what can be achieved if state and federal governments work together using independent, expert evidence.

Compass Housing in a not for profit, Tier 1, community housing provider managing more than 7000 properties in NSW, Queensland and in New Zealand.


Media information:

Craig Eardley on 0437477493

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21 May 2020

New, expanded report shows rental stress pre-COVID – need for housing reform

A new report, released today by Compass Housing Services, shows housing stress was a major problem for many typical Australian renters, long before COVID-19 lockdowns began to hit household budgets.

The Affordable Housing Income Gap Report found that, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, typical renting households in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart and some other regional centres earned thousands of dollars a year less than the amount required to avoid housing stress on an average home.  

The Report measures housing affordability for renters by establishing the amount of additional income a typical renting household needs to avoid housing stress on various types of dwellings in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania.

Report author, Martin Kennedy, said the report shows that housing stress isn’t just something experienced by people on low incomes.

“Even before the current crisis working families with average incomes often struggled to rent suitable properties close to jobs,” he said.

“Throw in the possibility of reduced hours or a job loss due to COVID-19 and things can become very tough indeed.  

“Although rents are expected to fall in the short term due to more stock coming on to the market, they may not fall far enough to become affordable for typical renting households.

“In some areas, rents would need to drop by up to 50% to become genuinely affordable, and that’s only if people manage to sustain their current levels of income.

“More to the point, it shouldn’t take a global pandemic, closed borders and widespread lockdowns to bring median rents more in line with median incomes.”

Mr Kennedy said the existence of the affordable housing income gap is part of a broader housing crisis.

“The problems facing renters are largely due to purchase prices being too high and social housing supply being too low.”

“Unfortunately, people who can’t afford to buy, and don’t qualify for social housing, have no option but to cut back elsewhere and try to manage as best they can.”

The Report’s recommendations include:

  • the construction of 500,000 social and affordable housing dwellings in the next 10 years
  • stricter controls on residential mortgage lending to keep borrowings to realistic multiples of household income
  • repealing stamp duty in favour of a broad-based land tax
  • relaxing urban growth boundaries which artificially ration the supply of land
  • scrapping first home buyer grants and stamp duty exemptions
  • giving renters more protection under state and territory tenancy laws
  • alternative allocation models for social housing.

Compass Housing is a not-for-profit, community housing provider with almost 7000 properties in NSW, Queensland and New Zealand. The report is available from www.compasshousing.org
 

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT HERE

 

Report Key findings

Hobart had some of the least affordable rental housing in Australia. There were no local government areas (LGAs) in the Greater Hobart area that were affordable for typical renting households seeking detached housing. Detached homes in the regional centres of Launceston, Burnie and Devonport are also unaffordable for typical renting households.

Median rents in some areas of Brisbane had fallen sharply, including desirable inner suburbs such as St Lucia, Highgate Hill and Yeronga. Rents rose strongly in other areas with approximately a third of postcodes experiencing rental increases above inflation.

There were no inner or middle Melbourne suburbs where the median rent on a detached three or four bedroom house was affordable for a typical renting household.

While the overall median rent in Adelaide’s LGAs is affordable for typical renting households in approximately 85% of cases, the median rent for detached three-bedroom homes is unaffordable in 70% of cases. All LGAs are affordable for typical renting households seeking a two-bedroom unit.

There was nowhere in Sydney’s inner or middle suburbs where the median rent of a 4-bedroom home was affordable for a typical renting household, and just three LGAs (Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland and Ryde) where median rents for a 3-bedroom home were affordable.

City

Least affordable LGAs/suburbs/postcodes

Most affordable LGAs/suburbs/postcodes

Greater Sydney

Woollahra, Waverley, Northern Beaches (Manly, Pittwater, Warringah), Mosman, Sydney

Campbelltown, Penrith, Fairfield, Blacktown, Hawkesbury, Blue Mountains

Melbourne

Brighton East, Brighton, Mt Eliza-Mornington-Mt Martha, Port Melbourne, Fitzroy, Carlton North

Melton, St Albans-Deer Park, Sunshine, Dandenong, Noble Park

Greater Adelaide

Walkerville, Adelaide Hills, Burnside

Playford, Gawler, Salisbury, Onkaparinga, West Torrens

Hobart

City of Glenorchy, Municipality of Sorell

Municipality of Brighton,

City of Clarence, City of Hobart

Municipality of Kingborough, District of Clarence

Greater Brisbane

4516 Elimbah, 4520 Camp Mountain/ Cedar Ck/ Mt Glorious/ Mt Nebo/ Mt Samson/ Samford/ Yugar, 4069 Brookfield/Chapel Hill/Kenmore, 4037 Eatons Hill 4035 Albany Ck/ Bridgeman Downs/ Cash’s Crossing.

4184 Coochiemudlo Is/ Karragarra Is/ Lamb Is/ Macleay Is/ Peel Is/ Russell Is, 4106 Brisbane Market/Rocklea, 4111 Griffith Uni/Nathan, 4304 Booval/ Blackstone/ Bundamba/ Ebbw Vale/ Silkstone, 4102 Buranda/Dutton Park/Woolloongabba, 4303 Dinmore/ Riverview.

 

The Affordable Housing Income Gap for 3br homes and 2 br units by sections of capital cities

 

Annual income to affordably rent a 3br house

Amount above annual median income (AHIG)

Annual income to affordably rent a 2br unit

Annual amount above median income (AHIG)

Inner Sydney

$164,667

$67,063

$121,333

$23,729

Inner Melbourne

$137,800

$55,373

$95,333

$12,906

Inner Brisbane

96,200

$15,814

$84,933

$4,548

Greater Hobart

$72,800

$13,104

$60,667

$971

Adelaide LGA

$81,467

$16,207

$72,800

$7,540

 

 

Media information: Martin Kennedy, Compass Housing on 0418 353 913.

 

 

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14 May 2020

Compass Housing Services Supports People Experiencing Homelessness during COVID-19

Compass Housing Services (Compass) is supporting a new resource to help Newcastle and Hunter service providers who are supporting people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hunter Homeless Connect is distributing a 108 page printed directory this week which contains details of local support services with specific Covid-19 updates. Orica has funded the initial printing of 2,000 copies. Lake Macquarie City Council and the City of Newcastle are assisting with distribution.

Hunter Homeless Connect Day Co-ordinator and Compass Events & Community Relations Manager, Michelle Faithfull, said the directory is normally distributed at the organisation’s annual Hunter Homeless Connect Day event, which has been rescheduled to October.

Ms Faithfull said it is still uncertain whether the event will go ahead then so the committee’s priority is to continue to connect people in need with services and support now.

She said people experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable during this pandemic and need support more than ever.

“An increased number of people in our community have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 restrictions and many are now at risk of homelessness,” Ms Faithfull said.

“They face hardship and have no idea where to find support,” she said.

“They will also bear the impact of local support services being affected by social distancing restrictions. Support services are facing funding uncertainty, reduced volunteers and staffing availability.”

The Hunter Homeless Connect 2020 Directory contains information on crisis contacts, clothing, emergency relief, healthcare, housing, food providers, domestic violence, refugee services, drug, alcohol and gambling services, financial support, mental health, and pet care. There are specific sections for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with a disability and young people. A PDF copy is also available on the Hunter Homeless Connect website.

Ms Faithfull said Hunter Homeless Connect has applied for a grant to create a live, updateable online version of the directory on its website.

She said the directory is a compilation of current services available as at May 2020. It is not exhaustive and updates from organisations are welcomed.

Hunter Homeless Connect is a not for profit organisation initially founded by community services volunteers in 2009. For more information visit the Hunter Homeless Connect Day Facebook page or www.hunterhomelessconnect.org

Homelessness statistics

  • 145,000 Australian households are waiting for social housing.
  • 28,000 Australians between 12-25 years old are experiencing homelessness every night.
  • A survey conducted by volunteers at the 2018 HHCD event revealed that for the third straight year, women outnumbered men among those seeking assistance. The 40-54 age group (combined) represented the largest number of attendees.
  • The Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said that 116,42 people were homeless on census night in 2016, representing 50 homeless people per 10,000. 1,750 of those were experiencing homelessness in the Hunter region.
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