13 November 2019

Integrating social and affordable housing – restarting the conversation

Lack of affordable housing has been recognised as the main source of inequality in Australia. Ahead of a town hall forum on 20 November to discuss integrating social, affordable and mainstream housing, Partner Nick Slack, who, with fellow Partner Katrina Reye, leads our social and affordable housing practice, outlines why it is such a significant issue.

According to analysis from the Grattan Institute, housing inequality is now more significant than income inequality.

report by the UNSW City Futures Research Centre and Community Housing Association finds that Australia needs to build more than 1 million social and affordable homes by 2036 to arrest the shortfall caused by a lack of investment across decades and slow wages growth.

Encouragingly, greater interest from government (at all levels), industry and a broader cross-section of the not-for-profit sector means that ideas and potential solutions are proliferating.

However, without an integrated approach, efficient investment models won’t be developed and the potential for superior social outcomes may be lost.

Getting the settings right in this sector is absolutely critical. SAHF (the Social and Affordable Housing Fund), SMHT (Social Housing Management Transfer) and the emergence of the NHFIC (the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation) have unquestionably supercharged the opportunity for radical improvement of social and affordable housing outcomes.

But sustainable growth will only come from adopting a mindset of integration and innovation. Our town hall event will tease out some of these issues and provide not just food for thought but real solutions. We are bringing together a panel of experts with different backgrounds, disciplines and ideas and they will tackle some critical questions such as:

  • What is the best model to deliver better social and affordable housing outcomes?
  • From a built form perspective, what is the right level of integration between social, affordable and mainstream housing?
  • What is the best model of sector funding?

The panel consists of NSW Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey, PowerHousing Australia CEO Nicholas Proud, Urbis Regional Director Princess Ventura, National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) CEO Nathan Dal Bon, and Frasers Property Australia Development Directo, Cameron Jackson. Journalist Patricia Karvelas will moderate what we expect to be a lively debate.

Melinda Pavey is the first woman to hold the position of NSW Minister for Water, Property and Housing. She was sworn in to during April 2019 as part of the second Berejiklian ministry. Melinda began her career in radio journalism before moving into politics in 1988.

Nicholas Proud heads up community housing network PowerHousing Australia. He is also a board member and treasurer of Livable Housing Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that champions safer and easier to access homes for all Australians.

As well as being Urbis Regional Director Princess Ventura leads the company’s Sydney Property Economics and Research Practice. An economist, she previously worked for the World Bank, advising governments on policies to reduce poverty and promote economic growth.

Nathan Dal Bon has been CEO of National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation since September 2018, and was previously a senior Commonwealth Treasury official. Nathan led the Treasury team that worked extensively to establish the housing finance corporation that he went on to lead.

Cameron Jackson is the senior Development Director at Frasers Property Australia and specialises in strategic front-end planning and project strategy for large-scale residential and mixed-use developments. He is also Vice President of the Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW.

This event will be the first session of what we plan to be an ongoing conversation. Hall & Wilcox will continue to drive momentum in the social and affordable housing space. Stay tuned for further updates.

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Nick has 19 years’ experience acting for Australian and international financiers and borrowers in corporate finance, acquisition finance, real...