Outcomes of Community Housing Mapping Project
30 July 2007 at 4:00 pm
Planned growth in the community housing sector is set to make a significant contribution to alleviating housing stress and increasing housing affordability throughout Australia according to a nation-wide Mapping Project.
The Mapping Project was conducted during 2005-2006 by the Community Housing Federation of Australia (CHFA), the national peak body for community housing in Australia.
In its report findings it says that although there have been amalgamations and consolidations by many of the smaller community housing providers in recent years and the promotion of larger ‘growth’ organisations in states such as
Victoria and Western Australia, the community housing sector is still dominated by
a large number of small organisations.
These smaller housing providers, which are scattered throughout the country, target a diverse range of tenant groups and have a wide variety of operating structures. This embodies many of the strengths of the community housing sector.
However the report says it is the larger organisations that are most likely to grow in the future through a partnership.
The aim of the Mapping Project was to collect relevant, up-to-date information on the total size and make-up of the community housing sector in Australia, including organisations that do not receive funding through the CSHA, by providing a current snapshot of the sector.
This was done by conducting a nation-wide survey of all known community housing providers.
In terms of future growth nationally, 67% of organisations have plans to grow, or would like to grow in the future.
The project found that future growth aspirations are proportional to the size of an organisation, with larger organisations being more likely to want to grow than smaller ones.
Some 53% of organisations believe that future growth will be financed through a capital grant, while 49% believe that financing will be achieved through a joint venture with the private sector or government.
Yet 60% of organisations believe there are barriers to growth. The most common of these is a lack of funding, followed by a lack of title to their properties, lack of resources and difficulties with government. A lack of land and/or builders is a theme in Queensland and Western Australia.
A key finding is that partnerships were being seen as the new method of funding future development and expansion with 36% of organisations indicating they are considering a partnership arrangement in the future.
Joint venture and public/private/community partnerships are the most likely partnership type being considered for future partnerships.
The Project found there are major contrasts between past partnership arrangements and future partnership aspirations is the increase in the popularity of joint ventures, public/private/community partnerships (PPCPs) and small scale private sector developments and the decrease in the percentage of organisations considering head leasing arrangements.
There has also been a decline in the number of church based and welfare/Not for Profit organisations considering future partnerships, compared to past partnership involvement.
Organisations holding title to some or all of their dwellings are more likely to engage in future partnerships than organisations that do not hold title (54% and 47% respectively).
Who manages community housing?
– 31% of respondents are welfare or Not for Profit organisations.
– 25% are specific community housing organisations.
– 21% are community housing cooperatives.
– 14% are local government organisations.
– 7% are church-based organisations.
Size of the sector
– Survey respondents reported managing 22,468 dwellings.
– 81% of these are separate houses and flats (10,065 and 8,179 respectively). A further 2,107 of these are semi-detached dwellings.
– 63% of organisations report they receive no funding from their State Housing Authorities (SHA). It is possible, however, that many organisations who receive funding through an umbrella agency, or who received a capital grant many years ago, are not aware these funds came from their SHA.
– The most common source of income is recurrent rental income, which is a funding source for 83% of organisations.
– People over 65 years and people with disabilities are targeted by the highest number of organisations (37% and 36% respectively). A large number of organisations noted that they target people over 50, 55 or 60 years of age. As such, the proportion of people within a broader category of “aged” would comprise the majority of groups targeted by organisations.
The Mapping Project was funded by the Australian Government Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.