Collaboration is the Key to Affordable Housing
8 November 2012 at 10:17 am
The only way Australia will overcome the diverse and complex problems around affordable housing issues is if all sectors of the industry come together with a collaborative approach, a national Forum has been told.
Westpac’s second Annual Social and Affordable Housing Forum brought together over 100 delegates from government, industry regulators, Not for Profit organisations, urban planners, builders, financiers and advisors in a bid to identify and develop responses to the challenges facing the social housing sector.
The Forum was told that the social and affordability housing sector is already well overstretched.
According to Homelessness Australia, each day nearly 1 in every 200 Australians is homeless, without safe, secure or affordable housing. Last year, 220,000 Australians received support from specialist homelessness services.
Opening the forum, Westpac Institutional Bank’s Managing Director Property, Government & Infrastructure Mark John said “the only way Australia will overcome this diverse and complex problem is if all sectors of the industry come together with a collaborative approach.”
“A sustainable future for this sector will require development of alternative models of social and affordable housing including; government owning and managing assets as it has done historically, the ongoing vesting of State social housing assets to the Not for Profit sector as well as the private sector providing these assets through public and private partnerships.”
The Forum discussed experiences in the United Kingdom to highlighted how a social and affordable community housing sector is within reach for Australia.
“Westpac’s interest in this sector is driven in part by our social and sustainability agenda but also by the belief Australia can benefit from similar opportunities as in the UK where the sector has grown from small beginnings into a major contributor to the UK housing market,” Westpac’s Executive Director Property Government & infrastructure, Jon Ross said.
“The opportunity exists for a number of emerging and professionally run Not for Profit organisations to drive a viable growth path for this sector of the housing industry.
“Alternative models can fundamentally change the financial and risk profiles of these traditional businesses and will introduce new levels of risk management as well as corporate governance to the Not for Profit model.”