CHL Managing Director Steve Bevington, speaking at the Housing Affordability Congress in Sydney on Thursday November 22, asserts that for quality affordable housing to make a meaningful impact on the lives of mainstream Australians, a national capital funding framework is required.
In considering the partnerships that the community housing sector engages in to create successful projects, Mr. Bevington identifies government partnerships at the federal, state, and local level as the key for large scale growth to occur in the sector. Specifically, he sees a national framework for funding affordable housing that integrates state and local government as a key lever in priming the supply side of the affordable housing market.
The increasing number of quality affordable housing properties that would develop as a result would have a ready-made tenancy via the Commonwealth Rental Assistance Program in providing tenants who could live in these properties for 50-75% of the market rate – a Community Housing Limited benchmark of affordability.
“Unless we have this national capital funding framework in place, the community housing sector will be resigned to producing high quality boutique level developments which will mean the affordable housing sector can’t reach the scale required,” says Mr. Bevington. “Rather than projects of tens or twenties, we need to be developing projects in their thousands across the country. This program would essentially kill the housing affordability crisis in the bottom 20% of the housing market without affecting housing prices in the remainder.”
Mr. Bevington cites a number of additional benefits to a national framework that integrates state and local levels of government, including lowering the tension in federal vs. state funding for housing, greater value for Commonwealth Rental Assistance recipients, and greater social stability and cohesion within communities.