In March 2015, the NSW Government, NCOSS and Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) agreed on the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to develop a $1 billion fund to invest in new social and affordable housing stock to support vulnerable people.
It is envisaged that the fund will:
- Provide new housing stock, particularly through the facilitation of social and affordable housing proposals that might otherwise not be viable;
- Seek to leverage additional contributions;
- Fast-track or facilitate proposals in which proponents have land or other assets to be leveraged; and
- Be implemented in accordance with appropriate standards of probity and not give rise to any exclusive, favourable treatment or undue advantage.
As part of the MOU, NCOSS and IPA agreed to assist the NSW Government by undertaking consultations with housing proponents and the financial sector.
NCOSS has recently engaged specialist consultants, The Miller Group, to help facilitate this consultation and coordinate its outcomes.
NCOSS recently conducted three consultation workshops. Workshop 1 focussed on the structure of the Fund, including financing, and other structural and delivery options. The focus of workshops 2 and 3 on was social policy, social need and potential principles for the Fund, with workshop 3 having a specifically regional focus.
A summary of outcomes from these consultation sessions has been completed and circulated to participants.
With NCOSS, the Miller Group are now finalising further face-to-face scoping consultations.
Following this, a Report of Outcomes will be produced and provided to an Expert Advisory Panel (EAP). The Report will build a set of Social Sector Principles to support the design of the Fund, including the following:
- Ways to promote fund growth and sustainable social outcomes for housing residents;
- Innovation in design and service delivery;
- Improved collaborative partnership opportunities in relation to the Fund; and
- Leveraging improved pathways into the mainstream housing market for low income households.
Membership of the EAP will soon be finalised. In line with the standards of probity required under the MoU and NSW Government procurement policy and statutory obligations, EAP membership will be limited to organisations that are unable to put forward project proposals to the Fund or otherwise obtain commercial benefit from the Fund once established.
The EAP will provide feedback on the Report of Outcomes and direct the undertaking of further consultation, input or review as required.
A final Report on Sectoral and Key Stakeholder Engagement in the Development of the Social Housing Fund will then be provided to the NSW Government.
Any further queries concerning this project can be made with Mike Bailey, Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer at NCOSS. Mike can be contacted on (02) 8960 7905 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.