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Housing Matters: capacity building and housing & homelessness sector news.
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Welcome to the March edition of Q Shelter's Housing Matters Newsletter
In March we celebrated Queensland Women's Week - ‘Queensland Women: Be involved. Lead the way.’

I'm proud to be a part of a sector where women are represented so strongly in leadership roles, and I believe we are well-placed to encourage women and girls to pursue leadership roles in their community and workplace.

Conversely, women are also increasing their representation in homelessness statistics. That's why I will be joining a panel at AHURI's conference in Brisbane on Friday 31 March to discuss 'Stable housing and sustainable tenancies - what works and why for clients?' where I will focus on the growing trend of women experiencing homelessness - particularly in South-East Queensland. 

Housing Affordability

The federal budget is only months away, and with Sydney and Melbourne seeing double digit year-on-year growth in housing prices, it is looking likely that the Turnbull government will be judged on how well they can address the issue of housing affordability.

An exciting development seems to be the government's adoption of an Affordable Housing Finance Corporation based on AHURI's research into a Bond Aggregator Model. In a nutshell, this initiative would provide low-cost loans to community housing providers to develop new housing. If you're confused about how this all works, I found this Op-Ed from Julie Lawson of RMIT to be a great summary of what it could look like.

At a state and federal level, it appears that governments have all options on the table to address housing affordability, including: 

Conference Update

Q Shelter has an exciting announcement to make later this week on our conference - watch this space!  Make sure you've blocked out 1 / 2 June in your calendars - you won't want to miss this event.



Leone Crayden
Executive Director
 

Q Shelter invites all leaders within the housing and homelessness sector to participate in our first Leaders Forum.

As the peak housing body in Queensland, we are bringing together all sectors including homelessness providers, the community housing sector, key community services organisations, government, and the private market to collaborate on strategies which will bring about change to ensure supply and demand and service delivery integration issues are addressed.

A full program will be distributed to confirmed attendees.

To find out more about this event, please call us on (07) 3831 5900.
 
RSVP to the leaders forum here
Q SHELTER UPDATE


Looking at insurance issues for community housing providers
 

 

We are excited to have commenced a project looking at insurance requirements for community housing properties leased from the Department of Housing and Public Works.

We know that the rising cost of insurance is an issue for community housing providers, and there is a large variance in cost between different regions of the state.

The first phase of this project aims to understand the issues for community housing providers, and identify possible solutions, as well as resources and tools to assist the sector.  

We have convened an Insurance Working Group consisting of a number of sector representatives who are operating across different regions of the state with varying sizes of leased portfolios. The group will inform the products and outcomes identified through the project.

We are looking for providers operating under the Specialist Homelessness Services Program and the Crisis Accommodation Program to join this group.

If you, or the person in your organisation who is responsible for property insurance are interested in participating in the Insurance Working Group (or wish to share your views and experiences), please contact Rachael Vidler – rachael.vidler@qshelter.asn.au

Reducing energy costs for tenants


 
A new resource for the sector on energy management options for unit blocks is under way.

Q Shelter has been funded by Energy Consumers Australia to look at options for housing providers to assist tenants in unit blocks to obtain cheaper and more efficient energy supply.

Two case studies, involving community housing providers in Brisbane and Cairns, will produce Energy Management Plans for unit blocks. This will include looking at network vs local generation options (e.g solar panels), managing relationships with retailers to get better value for tenants, the benefits of installing embedded networks, and the sometimes complex area of on-selling arrangements.

These case studies will be used to produce information, tools and resources to assist other community housing providers who own or manage multi-unit dwellings.  

The project will run from March to September 2017.

New smoke detector legislation, property inspection tools, and more


 
The Q Shelter Asset Management Working Group met this week – a joint sector/Department of Housing group looking at issues of common concern, especially around Department owned properties. 

Topics discussed included:
  • the new smoke alarm legislation, and the Department’s plans to bring all DHPW owned properties up to standard within a five year period. We heard that the Department will shortly be communicating with housing providers who lease DHPW properties about this program; 
  • ‘Reside’ (or ‘FOPATS’) – the Department’s new property and tenancy management system, and possible ‘go live’ dates for this; 
  • We looked at how housing providers are informed of any planned maintenance/upgrades the Department is planning to undertake in 17/18 on leased properties, and ways to facilitate this communication;
  • An electronic version of the Annual Inspection Checklist which the Department is hoping make available to the sector to utilise later this year. 
We are planning to hold our next Asset Management Forum in May/June 17 - if you have any suggestions for topics to cover, or for more information about any of the above, please contact Jane.West@qshelter.asn.au 
NEWS

Have your say - ATO review


The Australian Tax Office announced they will review their publication 'GST and non-commercial rules-benchmark market values'.

The ATO use their own market values in assessing whether accommodation supplied by an endorsed charity or gift-deductible entity (i.e. community housing providers) is GST-free if the consideration received for the accommodation is less than 75% of market value including GST.

As such, we encourage community housing providers to look at the specific document the ATO have referenced as part of this review (Table 5: Long-term accommodation – weekly) and contribute to the review.

The deadline for submission is 31 March. 
 
Provide your feedback to the review here

Dignity First Fund - Round Two now open!

 
Applications are now open for the second round of the Palaszczuk Government’s $2.5 million Dignity First Fund.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the fund was seeking proposals for innovative projects that will meet immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness and help them reconnect with the community.

“This time around, we’re especially hoping to receive proposals that address the particular needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, young people, women and children escaping domestic and family violence and older people across Queensland.

“We are also keen to see applications that offer ideas on how to prevent and reduce homelessness, and projects that will help Queenslanders in regional and remote areas.”


In the first round released in the weeks before Christmas last year, 24 projects from 79 applications were granted funding from the $2.5 million Dignity First Fund pool.

Applications will be open until 10 May 2017, with successful projects announced in July 2017.
Click here to apply for Dignity First funding

Rooftop solar power trial for Queensland public housing tenants



The Queensland government is delivering a trial to deliver electricity savings for some of the community’s most vulnerable electricity customers will be rolled out in four Queensland locations including Cairns and Lockhart River.

The Cairns and Lockhart River locations are part of a broader trial across Queensland which includes Rockhampton and Logan City, and will deliver up to six megawatts of new solar PV on up to 4000 new solar rooftops across Queensland.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the trial had been designed to provide a workable model that could allow solar power to be offered to Queenslanders renting in the private market.

“As the state's largest landlord, this trial presents an opportunity for the Queensland government to work through issues and develop a workable model for the private rental sector."

Tell them why the NDIS matters
 

A message from the Every Australian Counts Team:

It’s time to make a submission to the Productivity Commission’s review into NDIS costs and we need your help.

The NDIS is a once in a lifetime change to the way disability support will be delivered in Australia.

Yes, there are still issues that need ironing out – a reform of this size will take time to get absolutely right. But every day people are sharing their stories about how the NDIS is transforming lives.

With the review into NDIS costs happening now and the Federal Budget coming up in May, we need to remind our decision makers and the Productivity Commission that the NDIS is about more than just money.

It’s about people. It’s about you.

Will you share your story to remind the Commissioners what the NDIS means to you and your life?

We’ll send your story through as a submission to the review and we’ll also be including many of your stories in our own Every Australian Counts submission, shaped by your responses to our NDIS survey from the end of 2016.

This is a great opportunity to refocus the attention to why this scheme is so desperately needed.

EVENTS

QCOSS Cost of Living Showcase

 
Time: 10:00am – 1:00pm (including lunch 12:00 – 1:00pm)
Date: Wednesday 29 March 2017
Venue: BDO, Level 10, 12 Creek Street Brisbane

The corporate, government and community service sector all have a role to play in working together to build financial resilience, inclusion and address the compounding disadvantage from cost of living pressures. The QCOSS Cost-of-Living Showcase is an opportunity to share ideas and showcase a number of innovative and important partnership initiatives helping communities throughout Queensland manage cost-of-living issues.

We will be joined by The Honourable Shannon Fentiman MP, and The Honourable Mark Bailey MP along with representatives from business, government and community services as we explore a number of exciting projects that are being implemented now. We will hear from corporate and community leaders who will share their lessons – what has worked, what the challenges have been, and what they see as the opportunities for fostering partnership approaches to address cost of living issues in the future. Join us for a light networking lunch where you will have the opportunity to speak one-on-one with key stakeholders who have a shared interest in working together to address cost of living issues.

A light networking lunch will be held after the Showcase.

Register for this event here
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PO Box 214, Spring Hill, Qld, 4004.
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