SOCIAL HOUSING IN NSW DISCUSSION PAPER
SOCIAL HOUSING IN NSW DISCUSSION PAPER RESPONSE BY: Compass Housing Services (“Compass”) February 2015 THE THIRD WAVE OF SOCIAL HOUSING: DESCRIBING THE NEW PARADIGM OF SOCIAL HOUSING WITHIN INTEGRATED HOUSING ASSISTANCE RESPONSES
- Contrasting Current System and Third Wave of Social Housing 12 The Compass Pathways Initiative - Newcastle Autonomous Social Housing Region 14 Compass Initiatives 16 The Compass Grow Program 16 The Compass Grow a Star Program 17 The Newcastle Foyer Project 18 The Deep Place Approach to Sustainable Communities 18 Compass Response to the Three Pillars 19
- Pillar 1:
- A social housing system that provides opportunity and pathways for client independence 20 Table:
- Pillar 1 Initiatives Proposed by Compass 20 Pillar 2: A social housing system that is fair 22 Table: Pillar 2 Initiatives Proposed by Compass 22 Pillar 3: A social housing system that is sustainable 23 Table: Pillar 3 Initiatives Proposed by Compass 23 About Compass 25 Conclusion 27 CONTENTS
03 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 Compass Housing Services (“Compass”), Australia’s largest non-Government social housing provider, welcomes the NSW Government’s commitment to a fair and sustainable social housing system as a safety net for vulnerable people and a means of providing pathways to tenant independence. In particular, Compass welcomes the NSW Government’s acknowledgement of the significant challenges and opportunities that confront social housing, driven by profound underlying changes in demographics and Government (including the Commonwealth Government) policy and funding.
These challenges include a lack of economic and social participation for social housing tenants, lengthening tenure, a burgeoning backlog of necessary maintenance, and the stigmatisation of public housing.
Further, the NSW Government has identified the reducing but still important role of social housing with the rise of Commonwealth Rental Assistance (CRA) and the need to integrate housing with broader social and economic development initiatives. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
- Is seamlessly integrated within a broader array of housing assistance mechanisms;
- Focuses on the impact that housing can have on people by considering all aspects of their lives, their pathways to social and economic participation, and the communities in which they live;
- Uses different but consistent approaches to different groups;
- Provides encouragement for people in social housing to contribute to their own advancement and the betterment of their community;
- Incorporates ambitious, defined and transparent goals and outcomes for both people and property;
- Makes property decisions by considering:
- The capacity of the property to facilitate efficient support for people’s social and economic participation;
- The economic efficiency and lifecycle stage of the property; and
- The opportunities for redevelopment to increase capacity, increase useful life, reduce costs and/or release value; and
- Positions social housing agencies as key partners in all urban, economic and social initiatives. Specifically, Compass is proposing to give expression to the Third Wave of Social Housing with the creation of a Newcastle Autonomous Social Housing Region, based on the transfer of the management of the existing public housing within the City of Newcastle (currently approximately 4,000 dwellings).
This initiative will develop and link multiple pathways that address tenant education and employment, transition to successful adulthood, access to the private property market, service development and co-ordination, social housing asset renewal and the better financing of social housing. The NSW Government’s leadership in addressing the future of social housing has created a unique opportunity to reposition social housing within a more sustainable and productive housing assistance framework. Compass is proposing to deploy this new approach to social housing in the Newcastle Autonomous Social Housing Region Initiative, building on proven practice from within NSW and beyond.
IN RESPONSE TO THE NSW GOVERNMENT’S LEADERSHIP, COMPASS PROPOSES RECOGNISING THAT AUSTRALIA NOW HAS A THIRD WAVE OF SOCIAL HOUSING.
- A lack of economic and social participation for social housing tenants;
- Lengthening tenure;
- A burgeoning backlog of necessary maintenance; and
- The stigmatisation of public housing. SPECIFICALLY, THE CHALLENGES CONFRONTING SOCIAL HOUSING HAVE RIGHTLY BEEN IDENTIFIED AS:
- Limited avenues or incentives for exits from public housing;
- Poor social and economic outcomes;
- Limited education, employment and health (including and mental health) outcomes;
- A poor response to young people confronting homelessness;
- Higher rates of domestic violence and crime;
- The poor condition and underutilisation of social housing;
- The mismatch between social housing location and employment opportunities;
- Alarm at the level of unaddressed antisocial behaviour (ASB) within social housing; and
- Government policy and practice barriers to more innovative leadership by social housing landlords. COMPASS RECOGNISES THAT GOVERNMENT HAS EXTENSIVE AND DIVERSE RESPONSIBILITY FOR PROVIDING HOUSING.
- Specifically, Compass accepts the advice of Harris Wheeler (Attachment: Advice regarding Social Housing paper: Harris Wheeler, Lawyers) that Government’s responsibility to provide housing is not always limited by the financial viability of that housing. Harris Wheeler identifies that Australia has obligations to provide adequate housing (“the right to live somewhere in security, peace and dignity”) as reflected in:
- Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
- Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and
- Other international conventions to which Australia is a signatory covering discrimination and the status of refugees.
WELCOMING SOCIAL HOUSING IN NSW DISCUSSION PAPER
- 06 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 COMPASS SUPPORTS THE THREE UNDERLYING PILLARS OF REFORM PROPOSED BY THE NSW GOVERNMENT: PILLAR 1 A social housing system that provides opportunity and pathways for client independence.
- A system that works to break the cycle of disadvantage and builds people’s capacity to move into or stay in the private market. PILLAR 2 A social housing system that is fair.
- An integrated and fair system that provides a safety net for vulnerable people.
- PILLAR 3 A social housing system that is sustainable.
- A sustainable system that provides appropriate housing assistance now and into the future. In recognition of the changing role of social housing, Compass proposes identifying this new approach as “The Third Wave of Social Housing”. This approach considers social housing as an integrated part of a broader Housing Assistance scheme. To bring this vision to life, Compass proposes the establishment of a Newcastle Autonomous Social Housing Region that will showcase a new and better framework, developed from robust and proven methodologies and practice from within NSW and outside, including overseas. HARRIS WHEELER ASSERTS THAT “THE SUSTAINABILITY PILLAR ... IS NOT CONSISTENT WITH AUSTRALIA’S OBLIGATIONS UNDER INTERNATIONAL TREATIES”.1 Additionally, the viability of housing should be considered holistically within the context of broader social or economic initiatives i.e. the capacity of that housing to contribute to the objectives of the broader program. For example, a social housing solution that allows an older person to leave hospital may generate significant savings for the health system, but would be unviable if rental income alone was relied upon to calculate viability. THE SECOND CONVENTION REQUIRES SIGNATORIES TO FUND “TO THE MAXIMUM AVAILABLE RESOURCES” AND NOT JUST AVAILABLE HOUSING FUNDING. 1 Page 5, 13 February, 2015, Advice regarding Social Housing paper: Harris Wheeler, Lawyers.
07 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 In response to the NSW Government’s leadership, Compass proposes that social housing is seen as being part of a continuum of housing assistance, and a central component of other social and economic initiatives. Today, housing assistance is broadly funded by the Commonwealth through the recurrent funding of Commonwealth Rental Expenditure (CRA) and the capital funding of social housing by the Commonwealth and States (largely funded through rental collection) with shared funding for homelessness responses. CRA is targeted at supporting people in the private rental market.
SOCIAL HOUSING AS AN INTEGRATED PART OF HOUSING ASSISTANCE
08 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 Over the same period, the amount of social housing stock has declined and turnover has decreased – accordingly, fewer people can be housed this way. (Social housing per head of population in NSW has declined by 10 per cent over the last 10 years3 ). Without significant capital funding for new social housing stock (an unlikely prospect in the current economic and political environment), this trend is likely to continue.
However, social housing remains an important response to housing need within the broader housing assistance framework, and a new approach must be undertaken if we are to maximise its effectiveness.
Compass is a long-standing Community Housing Provider with a trusted and established relationship with some of the most socially excluded people in our community. This unique experience can enable Compass to make a major contribution to the achievement of Government objectives, not only providing Government with access to ‘difficult to reach’ groups for improved housing services, but also to a wide range of agencies delivering social and economic interventions. Compass has pioneered a People, Places and Property approach to housing management that demonstrates the added value that housing services can bring to the achievement of educational, training, health and employment initiatives.
COMMONWEALTH AND STATE AND TERRITORY FUNDING SHARES, 2012-20132 2 Pg 16, Reform of Federation White Paper, Roles and Responsibilities in Housing and Homelessness ISSUES PAPER (2014), Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australian Government. 3 While public housing has declined by 25% ie there has been growth in community housing Pg 34, Reform of Federation White Paper, Roles and Responsibilities in Housing and Homelessness ISSUES PAPER (2014), Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australian Government. CRA HAS GROWN SIGNIFICANTLY SINCE ITS INCEPTION IN THE MID 1980S AND IS LIKELY TO CONTINUE TO GROW, BOTH IN TERMS OF THE NUMBER OF RECIPIENTS AND THE AMOUNT PAID TO THEM.
(THIS WILL BE ESSENTIAL IF CRA IS TO RETAIN ITS EFFECTIVENESS, GIVEN THAT RENTAL MARKETS HAVE RISEN FASTER THAN THE CPI.) 7%: NPA on Homelessness ($157 million) + NAH SPP ($250 million) 1%: NRAS ($29 million) National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) ($117 million) 5%: Homelessness Services ($185 million) 2%: NRAS ($87 million) 67%: Commonwealth Rent Assistance ($3,628 million) 19%: National Affordable Housing (NAH) SPP ($1,014 million) 6%: NPA on Remote Indigenous Housing ($303 million) 95%: Social Housing ($3,878 million) Commonwealth ($5,439 million) Commonwealth Rent Assistance ($3,628 million) Social Housing ($5,194 million) Homelessness Services ($591 million) States and Territories ($4,092 million)
- Integrated access points;
- A comprehensive set of integrated services and products that are broadly available;
- Robust and flexible management arrangements within a consistent policy framework;
- Transparent and consistent levels of subsidy;
- Few barriers between products and service offerings;
- Little or no service cliffs (i.e. where access to a different product or service dramatically changes the level of assistance provided);
- A focus on reducing, eliminating or, at a minimum, stopping escalation of the need for assistance;
- A focus on prevention, diversion and early intervention; and
- Recognition and provision of appropriate services to ensure that state statutory obligations to care for various cohorts are fulfilled.
- Housing assistance may include the provision of accommodation (Homelessness, Emergency Accommodation, Social Housing, and Affordable Housing) or assistance with the costs of private rental or private ownership. This can be seen as a ‘whole system’ approach with a graded response to a segmented population with different degrees of housing support needs. A NEW PARADIGM FOR A MODERN HOUSING ASSISTANCE SYSTEM *Includes varying degrees of limitation
- Inherent (disability or circumstantial (eg. sole carer for child under 5 years old, presently a child under 16), and;
- Episodic or permanent limitation.
SEGMENTS WITHIN SOCIAL HOUSING Person who cannot work and cannot volunteer Long Term Social Housing Tenancy Person who cannot work but can volunteer Person who can work with limitations* Person who can work Assistance with transition to private rental Segmented support continuum
10 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 TENANT ENGAGEMENT WILL BE STRUCTURED AROUND PLANS, INCENTIVES AND SUPPORTS THAT HELP TENANTS SECURE BETTER EDUCATION, MORE EMPLOYMENT AND/OR MORE PARTICIPATION IN THEIR COMMUNITY THROUGH VOLUNTEERING AS THEIR POTENTIAL CAPACITIES PROVIDE.
Issues that are placing tenancies at risk should be addressed by intelligence-led decision making – in other words, a well-researched general understanding of why tenancies fail will provide a framework by which individual cases can understood and considered in terms of their specific mix of circumstances. This should then inform the provision of responses that are tailored to the tenant, but could also include outright eviction (where the indications are that compliance would be unlikely even with support and a ‘last chance’ licensed tenure).
The proposal is to build a graduated set of responses with both positive and negative incentives to deal with issues such as failure to pay rent, property damage and anti-social behaviour - rather than relying simply on eviction (and the threat thereof). The shape of the incentives will be best determined by the response most likely to achieve the required outcome, so will vary depending on the issue affecting the client. It is assumed that the issues may be generated by a range (and possibly combination) of causes – ranging from lack of education, poor behaviour, cognitive impairment linked to disability, as well as drug and alcohol abuse.
- AN ESCALATING RANGE OF INCENTIVES COULD INCLUDE: Structured payment arrangements; Education; Rental reduction based on changed behaviours; Behavioural contracts; Rehabilitation programs; Support programs; and
- Changes in security of tenure (e.g. from tenancy to license). The key would be to identify the underlying cause(s) and assess what combinations of responses are most likely to generate the required responses, and also what to do if they fail. Eviction would remain an option. In fact, to achieve the paradigm shift required to effectively move to the Third Wave of social housing will require both growth and transfer of the control of social housing to more diverse and locally responsive entities: Community Housing providers. COMPASS ENDORSES THE NSW FEDERATION OF HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS ASSERTION THAT:
- The Community Housing industry is delivering for NSW;
- The Community Housing Industry is ready to do more;
- An Affordable Housing Strategy is required to co-ordinate efforts;
- New investment in housing is required as part of essential infrastructure; and
- Property transfers are required to achieve a viable social housing system.
- Focuses on the impact that housing can have on people by considering all aspects of their lives, their pathways to social and economic participation, and the communities in which they live;
- Uses different combinations of social housing products and services (including assistance into the private market) for different groups: people of working age, children, young people, older people, people with a disability, and people who are homeless or displaced by family violence;
- Places reasonable obligations on people in social housing to contribute to their advancement and the betterment of their community;
- Has ambitious, defined, measurable and transparent goals for both people and property outcomes;
- Focuses on different pathways to social and economic participation for the different segments while being bound by a consistent and integrated framework;
- Focuses on property by considering its capacity to enable people’s social and economic participation, its economic efficiency and lifecycle stage and the opportunity for redevelopment to increase capacity and useful life, reduce costs and/or release value; and
- Considers social housing agencies as key partners in all urban, economic and social initiatives.
DESCRIBING THE THIRD WAVE OF SOCIAL HOUSING
12 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 THIS MOVE TO A NEW ROLE FOR SOCIAL HOUSING WILL HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON HOW IT IS DEVELOPED, ARRANGED AND INTEGRATED INTO THE FUTURE. Contrasting Current System and Third Wave of Social Housing AREA CURRENT SYSTEM THIRD WAVE OF SOCIAL HOUSING Access Highest in need given priority. Segmented approach with viability and sustainability of community considered. Assistance Integration Limited and inconsistent between Government and .nonGovernment providers of housing assistance.
Fully integrated, with all products available to all providers of housing assistance.
Segmentation Similar policies apply to all. Tenants streamed depending on potential to work and volunteer and those covered by state statutory duty of care obligations. Lease Tenure Mixture of long term and short term leases on individual basis. Permanent tenure for those not able to work. Limited term linked to development and reviews for those that can work with limitations. Limited term linked to development and exit plans for those who can work. Compass asserts that social and economic initiatives are best delivered at a neighbourhood and community level, and that social housing developments must contribute to engaged, functional, productive, and socially and economically sustainable communities that include but extend beyond social housing.
Compass is currently enhancing its existing range of social interventions with the use of the “Deep Place” approach developed in the UK to tackle poverty, poor health and low educational attainment in marginalised communities, and to move communities challenged by long-term inequalities to more socially and economically sustainable futures4 . Social housing agencies play a key role in this approach by providing housing-led social and economic regeneration leadership. This work within Compass is being led by Professor Dave Adamson, a significant Welsh expert in social housing regeneration.
In this context, it is informative to compare the current social housing system with that which is emerging in the Third Wave of Social Housing.
4 http://bit.ly/1DglyOh TABLE CONTINUES OVER PAGE
13 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 Contrasting Current System and Third Wave of Social Housing (Continued) AREA CURRENT SYSTEM THIRD WAVE OF SOCIAL HOUSING License Options limited to Leases or eviction. For suitable situations, a transition to license could be provided as an alternative to eviction. This tenure would include a requirement to meet defined behaviour, supported by case-management with appropriate services. There would not be access to the usual tenancy appeal mechanisms.
Anti-Social Behaviour Reluctance/Inability to affectively address.
Comprehensive assessment of influencing factors that can be addressed such lack of support services for people with mental health issues. A dual approach to tenancy management that supports tenants with social or health barriers to tenancy compliance but with assertive enforcement of tenancy and neighbourhood rules and use of eviction and engagement with police in cases of criminality or serious anti-social behaviours. Rental 25% of income (plus CRA for community Housing). Market-based escalating to 75% of market. For non-working tenants rent is set low, but linked to market not income.
Education Limited. Structured program for every tenant who can work and/or volunteer. Created by partnerships with local schools, TAFE institutions and informal learning providers in the third sector. Employment Limited. Structured program for every tenant who can work including social enterprise programs. Creation of work opportunities in social enterprises and social procurement relationships with local anchor organisations (e.g. hospitals, universities, etc). Community Engagement Limited. Volunteer development and support program linked to Community Engagement, which deploys volunteering as a transition to the labour market where possible.
Private Rental Limited. Ongoing support (including financial as required) in the private rental market as a key element of the segmented continuum of support identified above.
Service Cliffs Significant levels of difference in the subsidy of people with similar needs. Limited difference in subsidy level between social housing and private rental.
14 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 COMPASS AIMS TO ADVANCE THE THREE PILLARS OF SOCIAL HOUSING PROPOSED BY THE NSW GOVERNMENT WITH A NEW INITIATIVE – THE COMPASS PATHWAYS INITIATIVE – THAT WILL BRING “THE THIRD WAVE OF SOCIAL HOUSING” TO LIFE. The Compass Pathways Initiative (“the Initiative”) proposes the creation of a Newcastle Autonomous Social Housing Region, based on the transfer of the management of the existing public housing within the City of Newcastle (currently approximately 4,000 dwellings).
The zone will be used to develop, deploy and refine new approaches to asset and social management, and will be resourced by $11m of Commonwealth Rental Assistance (CRA) and savings from social housing management rationalisation.
Stock transfer has provided a major route to more sustainable and effective housing provision in a range of jurisdictions, notably in the UK where different models have been deployed within the devolved regions. General outcomes have included improved housing management, delivery of social regeneration, employment, educational and health initiatives with higher levels of tenant satisfaction5 . THE COMPASS PATHWAYS INITIATIVE NEWCASTLE AUTONOMOUS SOCIAL HOUSING REGION 5 Year 6: The Socio-Economic Impact of the Welsh HA and Community Mutual Sector, Wales Economic Research Unit, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University 2013, Pawson et al (2009), The Impacts of Housing Stock Transfer in Urban Britain, JRF.
- Asset Renewal Pathway with a comprehensive maintenance program, the development of new stock for older tenants currently living in underutilised stock, and the redevelopment of the vacated properties;
- Pathway to Successful Adulthood through the development of a Youth Foyer to provide structured accommodation, employment, education and living skill development for young homeless people;
- Better Financing Pathway providing finance through a combination of commercial debt and social impact and housing bonds. The redesign of the Community Housing Leasing Program (CHLP) will be included;
- Tenant Development Pathway will resource education and employment supports via social enterprises (e.g. one providing property maintenance and one for NDIS client support services ), underpinned by an incentivised social housing rental model;
- Service Development and Co-ordination Pathway will be built around a Newcastle NDIS provider network and a NDIS housing advisory service; and
- Pathway to the Private Market including both Private Rental Headlease Program and the development of shared/ mixed equity ownership models.
16 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 COMPASS INITIATIVES COMPASS HAS A NUMBER OF INITIATIVES UNDER WAY OR IN DEVELOPMENT, OFTEN UNDERTAKEN IN BROADER COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS. THE COMPASS GROW PROJECT The Compass GROW Program takes a holistic approach to community development programs. Compass assists our clients to achieve self-reliance, contribute to solutions and participate in outcomes that affect them as individuals and ensure they are actively participating as members of the community.The GROW program incorporates community development and environmental aspirations, aiming to enrich the lives of tenants through enhancing their personal, social, environmental and economic sustainability. THE GROW PROGRAM ALSO INCREASES TENANTS’ AWARENESS OF AND PARTICIPATION IN:
- Health & nutrition programs;
- Esteem and well-being programs;
- Community contribution; economic participation; and generational advancement;
- Sustainable living practices; and
- Factors affecting security of tenure. The program focuses on the principles of social inclusion and environmental sustainability.
17 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 THE COMPASS GROW A STAR PROGRAM THE COMPASS GROW A STAR PROGRAM WAS INITIALLY A SPORT-BASED PROGRAM THAT WAS THEN FURTHER DEVELOPED TO HELP YOUNG PEOPLE ACHIEVE THEIR DREAMS AND ASPIRATIONS, WHILE STRIVING TO BE THE BEST THEY COULD. The program has evolved so that it is more holistic and seeks to give opportunities to young people to pursue any field including, but not limited to: sport, education, arts, dance, music and employment. An intended outcome of the GROW a Star program is to interrupt the endemic cycle of family unemployment, limited education and poverty by giving young people the opportunity and support to break free.
Over the period of the program’s operation, an unintended consequence has emerged, that is, in some cases connectedness and confidence has increased for parents/carers too.
Evidence clearly demonstrates that education and employment interrupts the cycle of systemic and entrenched poverty. This evidence propels the GROW a Star program as it provides practical supports to children and young people, making a significant difference in their lives and future opportunities.
18 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 THE DEEP PLACE APPROACH TO SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES FROM MAY 2015, COMPASS WILL BE DEVELOPING THIS INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC REGENERATION. Developed in Wales, UK, to tackle the child poverty rate of 33%, the program combines a ‘total place’ approach to public services with an economic development strategy based on the ‘foundational economy’ model of the Manchester Business School.
It seeks to reconnect long-term, economically inactive communities with newly created job opportunities developed in partnership with local anchor organisations.
By combining social procurement strategies with targeted recruitment and training of social housing tenants, it tackles the ‘cause of the causes of poverty’ i.e. the low level of economic activity in social housing communities. It also encourages more effective collaboration between public, private and third sector organisations and service providers by creating a ‘coalition for change’ that focuses on improved employment, health and educational outcomes for marginalised communities.THE NEWCASTLE FOYER PROJECT THE FOYER PROJECT FOR HOMELESS YOUNG PEOPLE COMBINES ACCOMMODATION WITH EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION AND TRAINING SUPPORT IN THE HUNTER REGION, NSW AND IS IN THE PLANNING STAGES. THE CORE ELEMENTS OF THIS APPROACH WILL BE:
- Strength to strength: Identifying and building on the strengths of the young people participating in the program to help overcome any barriers.
- Joined up service delivery: Building on existing services in the local area to provide a holistic service that connects housing, education, health and welfare.
- Focus on diversity: Providing for and tailoring to the diversity of needs for each individual as well as catering to the diversity of young people experiencing homelessness – from cultural diversity, to varying abilities, singles, couples and young parents. The community partners involved in the progressing this business case are Hunter TAFE NSW, Life Without Barriers, Compass Housing, Hunter Youth 2020, and Rotary Charlestown. These key elements are central to the Foyer model. Foyers combine stable accommodation with employment, education and training support, providing homeless young people with the necessary skills to forge independent sustainable lives. The aim of this program is to help young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to develop the skills they need to lead happy, independent and productive lives. SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES INCLUDE:
- Reduce the number of young people cycling through the housing system.
- Increase the number of young people completing education qualifications.
- Increase the number of young people productively employed.
19 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 COMPASS RESPONSE TO THE THREE PILLARS 1 2 3 A SOCIAL HOUSING SYSTEM THAT PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY AND PATHWAYS FOR CLIENT INDEPENDENCE A SOCIAL HOUSING SYSTEM THAT IS FAIR A SOCIAL HOUSING SYSTEM THAT IS SUSTAINABLE
20 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 PILLAR 1 A social housing system that provides opportunity and pathways for client independence.
AREA FOCUS INITIATIVE PROPOSED BY COMPASS Employment, education and other community engagement products and services: Connect with employment. Establish and deploy education and employment plans for tenants who can work (including with limitations). Partner with Job Network providers and Registered Training Organisations. Establish social enterprises e.g. Compass’s Handy Manny on Central Coast which is planning to engage suitable skilled up tenants to complete minor repairs and lawn mowing.
Create employment opportunities in the local economy through social procurement practices and targeted recruitment and training of tenants with capacity to work. Connect with education and training. Develop a Youth Foyer to provide structured accommodation, employment, education and living skills development for young homeless. Connect with community engagements. Employ appropriate tenants as NDIS support workers – employ jobs specialist – partner with other employment providers. Presently high outcome with tenants ‘giving back’ via volunteering.
Has been involved in tenant education outcomes – more of this.
Compass, in describing the Third Wave of Social Housing, asserts that there should be both support and incentives (social and economic) for people to move towards independence. This may include a move from social housing tenancy to subsidised, private rental. Both tenure and rent setting models will need to be adapted to support such a pathway approach. Those who are unable to work may still be encouraged to make a contribution (for both their own benefit and that of the broader community) through formal and informal volunteer roles. Compass already has well developed practice and strategies to support pathways to better education, better employment and ultimately private housing.
PILLAR 1: A SOCIAL HOUSING SYSTEM THAT PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY AND PATHWAYS FOR CLIENT INDEPENDENCE TABLE CONTINUES OVER PAGE
21 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 PILLAR 1 (continued) AREA FOCUS INITIATIVE PROPOSED BY COMPASS Strengthen partnerships with other government agencies, non-government organisations and the private sector: Strengthen partnerships between CHPs and FACS. The FACS delivery staff are to be employed by Compass with remaining FACS staff to concentrate on audit and QA roles. Strengthen partnerships between CHPs and government agencies.
Development of the Deep Place, Coalition for Change approach to public service partnership. Strengthen partnerships with the private sector.
Initiate discussions about the development of social housing bonds with private investors. Strengthen partnerships with the Not for Profit sector. Develop more formal arrangements with specific services providers to enable a clearer pathway of support to tenants (e.g. as utilised in The Way Home Program). Develop housing-led access routes to ‘difficult to reach’ sections of the community. More actively support clients to transition out of social housing: Transition out of social housing. Develop Private Rental Headlease Program. Administer the Rental Bond Loan Program. Administer the Mortgage Default Prevention Program.
Promote shared/mixed equity ownership models that are based on community accepted, fair distributive principles.
22 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 PILLAR 2 Initiatives Proposed by Compass - A social housing system that is fair. AREA FOCUS INITIATIVE PROPOSED BY COMPASS Develop a clear and measurable definition of the safety net required to support vulnerable people in social housing: Definition of the safety net to support vulnerable people. Workgroup, multi-disciplined, broad based etc. to determine. Develop a segmented housing support model that meets the clients’ needs in ways appropriate to their abilities and capacity.
Improve our understanding of clients’ needs in order to tailor programs and services, and improve wrap around support to tenants: Understanding of clients’ needs. Tenant Relations Support Officers undertake regular visits and assessments, including referrals to appropriate services as required. Develop evidence-based interventions. Wrap around support. Develop the Newcastle NDIS Partnership. Undertake further work on applicant eligibility and prioritisation, waiting list management, dwelling allocation and rent practice: Prioritisation. Employability and neighbourhood resilience. Waiting list management.
Replace social housing waiting list with a housing assistance approach that extends beyond social housing.
Dwelling allocation. Develop a range of support responses ranging from long-term social housing tenure to transitionary tenures and private sector transition. Rent practice. Discounted market based rental linked to people’s choices and development pathways. Explore options to provide greater tenant choices as a way to better prepare tenants for the private rental market: Better prepare tenants for the private rental market. Provide housing assistance aimed at supporting those who can exit into the private market. PILLAR 2: A SOCIAL HOUSING SYSTEM THAT IS FAIR Compass is committed to system that is fair, albeit within a range of housing and service settings, and that accommodates a diverse range of people.
23 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 PILLAR 3: A SOCIAL HOUSING SYSTEM THAT IS SUSTAINABLE Housing of the most vulnerable is a central role for the social housing system. As such, social housing is often part of a broader assistance program structured to discharge the Government’s responsibility (in some cases statutory) to provide those most in need. In this context, sustainability is best defined as a search for the most efficient use of resources rather than one that can be abandoned if revenues are not sufficient. Sustainability can be defined in financial, social and political terms.
The housing system must be seen as “fair” by the broader population if it is to be truly sustainable. One of the most significant and promising changes to the social housing system in the last decade has been the rapid development to scale of Community Housing Providers (CHPs) and Housing Associations (HAs). These rapidly growing not for profits, of which Compass is the biggest, are evolving to be much stronger and more private sector-like in their approach, while moderating the pursuit of profit with the effectiveness of human services delivery. These agencies provide a platform for housing assistance to be provided at the community level and articulated more easily into other social and economic initiatives.
The Third Wave of Social Housing represents significant changes to the existing system with many of these initiatives reflected in the Compass Pathways Initiative, which is framed around the creation of a Newcastle Autonomous Social Housing Region. PILLAR 3 Initiatives Proposed by Compass – A social housing system that is sustainable. AREA FOCUS INITIATIVE PROPOSED BY COMPASS Explore how best to fund the NSW social housing system, within the existing envelope, while ensuring transparency and accountability: Fund the NSW social housing system within the existing envelope. Redevelopment of the vacated properties.
Develop Social Housing Bonds. Develop Social Impact Bonds. Develop commercial debt facilities. Introduce mixed/shared equity schemes. Ensuring transparency and accountability. Publish housing targets and progress. TABLE CONTINUES OVER PAGE
24 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 PILLAR 3 (continued) AREA FOCUS INITIATIVE PROPOSED BY COMPASS Plan for a fully sustainable system which, at a minimum, has stock that is maintained and suitable for the needs of tenants: Stock maintenance. Develop and deploy a comprehensive maintenance program. Suitable for the needs of tenants. The development of new stock to decant older tenants in underutilised stock. Establish a NDIS housing advisory service. Environmental sustainability. Consider environmental sustainability as part of the procurement strategies used in both construction and maintenance functions.
Consider the impact on the sustainability of the system that might result from a different mix of government, non-government and private sector participants: Different mix of government, nongovernment and private sector participants. Redesign of the Community Housing Leasing Program (CHLP).
Consider the mix and modes of social housing products and services required to assist those in need: Mix and modes of social housing products and services. Development of a segmented service with a range of products reflecting he demographic complexity of those seeking social housing support. Increase the role of CHPs in the management of tenants and dwellings. Increase the role of CHPs in the management of tenants and dwellings. Create the Newcastle Autonomous Social Housing Region.
25 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 ABOUT COMPASS Compass Housing Services (“Compass”) is Australia’s largest community housing group and operates out of NSW with significant operations in Queensland.
Compass employs 95 staff in the head office, with nine branch facilities and five outreach locations. Compass is a Tier 1 accredited housing provider, currently managing 3,500 properties housing 5,700 tenants in NSW, as well as another 850 properties in Queensland. From June 2015, it will manage another 4,700 dwellings in Logan City.
Compass is leading the development of a national secular social housing group of organisations6 that will bring together a varied set of agencies that are deeply embedded in their communities and service a diverse range of needs. Compass recent won the management rights of the Logan Renewal Initiative with 4,700 dwellings. 5 Vision 2020, a vision for an integrated secular-based housing and other human services national brand: Concept Paper (Compass Housing)
- Affordable Housing Innovations Fund 2008: $600,000 in capital funding
- Debt Equity Scheme (2008): $1.3m in capital funding
- Building Better Cities (2208): $660,000 in capital funding from Newcastle Council
- Social Housing Growth Fund Round 1 (2009): Awarded $17m in capital funding
- Social Housing Growth Fund Round 2 (2009): Awarded $5m in capital funding
- NRAS Round 2 (2009): $5.6m.
- Growth Provider Status NSW (2010): 1,000 properties.
- NRAS Round 4 (2010): $9.6m.
- Office of Environment & Heritage and Department of Training (2010): $60,000 for energy efficiency training.
- Asset Ownership 2010: $19.8m in stock.
- Nation Building (2010): $90.3m. Now about $140m more.
- SAIF (2012): $7.4 to deliver 20 disability dwellings.
- NRAS 5 (2013); $3.9m AWARDS :
- 2008 Excellence Award Community Housing - High commendation: Service to tenants
- 2008 Excellence Award Community Housing - Award for Excellence: Annual Reporting
- 2008 Excellence Award Community Housing - High Commendation: Overall excellence in community housing
- 2008 Excellence: Award Community Housing - High Commendation: Tenant participation
- 2009 Bronze partner status in NSW Sustainability Advantage program
- 2010 Hunter Business Chamber Award for Environmental Sustainability
- 2010 Excellence Award Community Housing - Award for Excellence Service to tenants
- 2011 Silver partner status in NSW Sustainability Advantage program
- 2011 Hunter Business Chamber Award for Environmental Sustainability
- 2012 Finalist Hunter Business Chamber Award for Customer Service
- 2012 Finalist Hunter Business Chamber Award for Innovation to Environmental Sustainability
- 2012 Finalist Upper Hunter Business Chamber
- 2012 Australian Housing Institute NSW Leading Practice Award
- 2013 NSW Federation of Housing Associations Excellence in Green Initiatives
- 2013 NSW Federation of Housing Associations Overall Excellence in Community Housing COMPASS HAS SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL CAPACITY, CURRENTLY MANAGING ASSETS VALUED AT MORE THAN $1 BILLION AND WITH REVENUE OF $35M P.A. It has with net assets of $338m with debts of $25m
- Led by an experienced Executive, Compass has a skilled team of people dedicated to delivering better social housing outcomes across two states.
27 Compass Housing Services Social Housing in NSW Discussion Paper | February 2015 COMPASS, AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST COMMUNITY HOUSING PROVIDER, WELCOMES THE NSW GOVERNMENT’S COMMITMENT TO A VIBRANT AND EVOLVING SOCIAL HOUSING SYSTEM THAT IS A SAFETY NET FOR VULNERABLE PEOPLE, PROVIDES OPPORTUNITIES AND PATHWAYS TO CLIENT INDEPENDENCE, AND IS FAIR AND SUSTAINABLE. Compass recognises the changing role of social housing within a broader housing assistance framework and is proposing a new paradigm, the “Third Wave of Social Housing” that will provide a diverse and integrated housing assistance response to different segments of the community, depending on the individual’s need and capacity.
Specifically, Compass proposes the establishment of a Newcastle Autonomous Social Housing Region Initiative to begin to deploy this new approach.