Billion dollar social and affordable housing fund to deliver better outcomes

Published 30th January, 2016

The NSW Government has officially launched its social housing fund, which in its first phase will deliver an additional 3,000 social and affordable homes and slash waiting lists for vulnerable families.

Premier Mike Baird called for expressions of interest from non-government organisations, landholders and the private sector to tap into the new fund and deliver better outcomes for the State’s most vulnerable.

“We made an election commitment to deliver more social housing stock and we’re making good on that promise,” Mr Baird said.

“This new fund will allow us to unlock new homes for those who need them most.”

At present, social housing developments face a funding gap between the rental stream they receive from tenants plus government subsidies, and the revenue required to sustain a commercially viable project.

The Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF) will provide a long-term revenue stream to plug this gap and encourage private and non-government organisations to team up to develop housing projects.

The SAHF will be set up with $1.1 billion in seed capital from the Government and will provide much needed investment certainty to the sector.

The Government’s investment arm, TCorp, will invest the $1.1 billion and the returns will go towards social and affordable housing projects in the form of a stable 25-year income stream.

Proponents will be asked to put proposals forward that achieve social outcomes for tenants. These include:

• Improving employment and education prospects;
• Providing stability and support to women and children who have experienced domestic violence;
• Providing stability and ongoing support for people with mental health support needs;
• Improving connectivity with family, kinship and community; and
• Achieving economic independence for tenants.

This outcomes-focused model has been developed in consultation with the NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS) and Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) following a memorandum of understanding signed in March 2015.

Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian said the SAHF was the latest example of the Government’s innovative approach to delivering better outcomes and infrastructure for the people of NSW.

“We want innovative, value for money, service-driven outcomes that are going to help those people who need it most,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Private investors, NGOs and landholders will now have more opportunities to work together to boost our social and affordable housing stock through this new fund.”

Minister for Social Housing, Brad Hazzard, said the fund will complement the recently announced Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW strategy.

“The fund will deliver on the NSW Government’s commitment to protect our most vulnerable and to provide a safer and stronger community,” Mr Hazzard said.

NCOSS chief executive Tracy Howe said that the fund is a step towards ensuring everyone in NSW has a place to call home.

“Secure, affordable housing that is connected to transport and jobs, to education and support services is a crucial piece of the puzzle for reducing poverty and disadvantage in this state,” Ms Howe said.

“The community sector stands ready to deliver innovative, collaborative projects that will provide a huge boost to access to social and affordable housing across the state.”

Brendan Lyon, CEO of IPA, said these projects will be life-changing for families.

“The SAHF will see thousands of people get stable housing and tailored support services, but it also begins to trial new ways to solve the public housing backlog,” Mr Lyon said.

“The key is finding new ways to ensure the long term funding of the sector, which is why we look forward to continuing to work with NCOSS and the NSW Government In the pursuit of better social housing outcomes.”

The closing date for Expression of Interest applications is Tuesday 15th March.

Published 30th January, 2016