Media Release: Thumbs up for energy efficient community housing

Media Release                                                                 10 February 2016

Thumbs up for energy efficient community housing

The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) and Q Shelter, have backed the Federal Government’s plans to spend $250 million for loans to provide energy efficient community housing, for much needed low-cost housing and to help with skyrocketing energy bills.

The move will see the government spend $250 million over the next five years to build 1,000 homes, according to a new report from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

QCOSS CEO Mark Henley said it was clear that the lack of low-cost housing and the rising cost-of-living, in particular electricity bills, were leaving many vulnerable and disadvantaged families struggling to cope.

“Our recent pre-budget submission raised the need for more to be done in the areas of housing and homelessness, and cost of living pressures, as well as support for people struggling with high energy bills in Queensland,” Mr Henley said.

“This program will go some way to address these areas of concern and provide quality, energy efficient and suitable housing for low-income families.

“Vulnerable and low-income families often find their financial situation compounded by living in inefficient housing with older hot water systems and fixed appliances which can be highly energy intensive and therefore costly to run.”

Q Shelter Executive Director Leone Crayden welcomed the announcement and said it was good news for the state’s community housing sector and vulnerable Queenslanders.

“Q Shelter wants to see a strong community housing sector that provides more access to better housing for vulnerable Queenslanders.” Ms Crayden said.

“We look forward to seeing this new and improved housing roll out across the state in the months and years ahead.”

Mr Henley said the program also included finance to retrofit existing buildings to improve energy efficiency for tenants which was a fantastic outcome and could change the future financial situation for many families living on the edge.

The retrofit program could include measures such as switching to LED lighting, updating household appliances, installing solar panels and improving insulation.

“We know that housing costs and energy bills are two of the biggest burdens for low-income families and by targeting these two issues together is a win-win, with the added benefit of creating a cleaner, greener Australia,” Mr Henley said.

“We look forward to this program being taken up in Queensland and hope that governments of all levels show their support and investment in these areas is continued long into the future.”

CONTACTS

QCOSS Communication Manager – Karen Murphy 0423 245 252

Q Shelter – Scott McGregor 0430 100 932

House Keys: Operations Aggregate Report year 1

House Keys Operations Logo

We are pleased to share the first aggregate report for House Keys Operations. The 2015 House Keys: Operations benchmarking club includes data from 37 Community Housing Providers from four jurisdictions – NSW, Queensland, the ACT and Tasmania. The report provides insight into the high level of overall performance of House Key: Operations benchmarking club members in a number of key areas through the provision of mean performance information. House Keys subscribers have a deeper level of metrics and comparison ability via an online platform enabling further understanding and use taking into their operating context.

House Keys is the new national benchmarking system developed by the NSW Federation of Housing Associations (the Federation) for community housing providers (CHPs) that will set industry standards and allow providers to see how they compare with peers around Australia.
The report provides information about the levels of tenant satisfaction, housing management and financial performance amongst the 37 CHPs that have participated in the industry’s own benchmarking system.

To read the report click here

Submissions to Queensland’s Human Rights Inquiry are due by 4pm on 18 April.

A Human Rights Act for Queensland: It’s time to have your say

Australia is the only liberal democracy without national human rights protection. The ACT and Victoria have had their rights protected through legislation since 2004 and 2006. Queensland’s government is now giving you a say in how you would like your rights protected and whether we need a Human Rights Act.

Submissions to Queensland’s Human Rights Inquiry are due by 4pm on 18 April. It is really important that the inquiry hears from a diverse range of people in the community and that they receive the message that this reform is well supported. Please consider making a submission. More information about the inquiry can be found here.

Human Rights 4 Qld have prepared a discussion paper and submission-making guides to help organisations and individuals to make submissions. These can be found on their website: http://www.humanrights4qld.com.au/resources.

Griffith University NDIS Symposia Series

The Griffith University NDIS Symposia Series aims to bring together a wide range of people to ask some challenging questions about the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and discuss the issues openly and honestly. This event, the seventh of the Series, is on housing for people with disability. The demand for housing assistance is expected to be high and the goal is clear. For more information click here.

As a not-for-profit event, Griffith University appreciates and relies on the support of sponsors including Q Shelter.

NDIS Transition – Sector Development Fund – Specialist Disability Accommodation Initiative

The Australian Government is inviting organisations to apply for an open competitive process to deliver services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme – National Disability Insurance Scheme Transition – Sector Development Fund – Specialist Disability Accommodation Initiative outside the NDIS trial sites for the period April 2016 to 30 June 2017.  Funding of up to $10 million will be offered through grants of up to $1 million to organisations as a result of this process.

Applications must be submitted by Thursday 11th February.

More information can be found here

Grants of up to $20,000 are now available as part of the Advance Queensland Young Starters Fund

Advance Queensland Young Starters

The Advance Queensland Young Starters program is designed to build, attract, and retain young entrepreneurial talent, build the startup ecosystem to position Queensland as an attractive investment destination with a strong innovation and entrepreneurial culture.

Grants of up to $20,000 are now available as part of the Advance Queensland Young Starters Fund. Organisations can apply to run activities such as startup weekends, bootcamps, networking events and workshops targeted at budding entrepreneurs.
Apply now

The Commonwealth Government to Establish a Working Group to Investigate Ways to Improve the Availability of Affordable Housing

The Commonwealth Government will establish a working group to investigate innovative ways to improve the availability of affordable housing.

Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, said the working group would look at improving the supply, quality and management of social and affordable housing across Australia.

Q Shelter works to ensure vulnerable Queenslanders have access to quality, affordable housing. The recent decision to form a working group to address the issue of  access to affordable housing is therefore significant to us and our community.

Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, Alex Hawke said the working group would seek proposals for housing solutions before working with states to implement some of the suggestions offered.

“We want solutions that will benefit Australians now and into the future,” Mr Hawke said.

“We will be encouraging proposals of social and affordable models that are ready to be implemented, as well as the presentation of new ideas.

“The government will be working collaboratively with states and territories and seeking input from the community – including through a formal public consultation process.”

The working group will comprise members of the Treasury and Department of Social Services as well as members from the NSW, Victorian and West Australian governments.

The Terms of Reference for the working group and an Issues Paper will be released before the end of January, along with a call for proposals from interested parties.

The establishment of the working group follows a request from Treasurers at the Council on Federal Financial Relations meeting in October 2015.

HESTA’s First Australian Impact Investment to Grow Supply of Affordable Housing

HESTA has made a $6.7 million investment in Horizon Housing, a community housing provider operating in Queensland, which is focused on increasing the supply of social and affordable housing and helping low income earners achieve home ownership in targeted areas.
The super fund, which has more than 800,000 members working in health and community services, made the investment through HESTA’s $30 million Social Impact Investment Trust that seeks to invest in opportunities that deliver both a financial return and a measurable social impact.
Managed by Social Ventures Australia (SVA), the Trust is one of Australia’s largest impact investment funds and represents the biggest single commitment by an Australian superannuation fund to the local impact investing market.
Through the Trust, HESTA and SVA aim to build a pipeline of investments and grow Australia’s impact investment market by attracting other institutional investors.
HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said the investment could make a meaningful social impact — not only through providing capital to the sector — but also by developing investable models that address social and affordable housing challenges.
“Many of our members are familiar with the difficulty of accessing affordable housing and achieving home ownership,” Ms Blakey said.
“So, it’s appropriate that HESTA’s first Australian impact investment has the potential to both earn a financial return and help address a social issue impacting the community and our members.”
This investment will involve the Trust partnering with Horizon Housing to finance the purchase of management rights for 995 existing affordable housing properties and the future development of up to 60 new social and affordable homes. Horizon Housing.