NSW government housing agency pushing to become social housing broker under new plan

By Shannon Jenkins

Wednesday December 16, 2020

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The New South Wales government has launched a new plan to set it on the path to becoming an industry leader in delivering affordable, safe, and secure social housing that improves quality of life for individuals and communities across the state.

NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) chief executive Mick Cassel said the organisation’s new 20-year portfolio strategy would allow it move from being an asset manager to becoming an owner and broker of social housing.

“The need for housing is great and government alone can’t fix the problem, which is why this strategy will help us work more productively, and more often, with industry, councils and CHPs [community housing providers] to deliver more new, fit-for-purpose social housing throughout NSW,” he said.

In 2020, LAHC’s portfolio included almost 126,000 social homes, around 1,500 crisis and transitional housing properties, and a range of community and commercial properties. However, many of the homes are very old, bigger than necessary, and are concentrated on social housing estates, according to the strategy.

“This has negative consequences for the people and families we house, their communities, and our costs,” it said.

Meanwhile, demand for social, crisis and transitional housing has continued to outstrip supply, and more than half of all tenants have been living in social housing for 10 years or more.


Read more: Government investment in housing improvements could stimulate economies and enhance public wellbeing, according to new research


The new strategy sets out LAHC’s 20-year vision to grow and change its portfolio to one with more smaller, well-designed, accessible, sustainable and affordable homes. It aims to help the agency deliver on the government’s Future Directions for Social Housing plan, and outlines four focus areas: funding, flexibility, partnership, and decisions.

Under the strategy, LAHC will:

  • Develop a funded 10-year housing target and a pipeline of new homes,
  • Generate alternate funding to accelerate new social housing by increasing LAHC’s broker role in developing new homes and developing new financing partnerships,
  • Improve the flexibility of its portfolio so it better meets demand and is easier to manage,
  • Work with industry stakeholders more often to deliver cost-effective and efficient homes while generating more jobs and opportunities,
  • Partner with the Aboriginal Housing Office and the community housing sector more to collectively meet housing demand,
  • Improve decision making by using local area strategies and portfolio analysis to inform decisions and in assessing the impacts of decisions on portfolio value.

Last month the state government announced it would invest $812 million into building and upgrading thousands of social and affordable housing as part the 2020-21 NSW budget.


Read more: NSW government launches resource to improve design and delivery of social housing


 

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