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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 $1.1 billion fund to invest in new social and affordable housing stock to support vulnerable people. The fund will deliver 2200 new social and affordable housing dwellings in its first phase.

Five parties have now been awarded contracts to deliver the first projects under Social and Affordable Housing Fund.

This comes after the Fund itself was established in legislation through the Social and Affordable Housing Bill 2016. Read the Hansard of the second reading of the Bill, recognising the work of NCOSS and its members in developing and shaping the SAHF.

NCOSS is really excited to see this first phase get started. It comes after a lot of excellent work from the sector, whose advice and ideas have been a key plank in the development of the SAHF. Read the report from sector and stakeholder consultation.

While we welcome the first phase of projects coming through, we believe now is the time to commence discussions about the experience gained through phase 1 of the SAHF and how these can help all involved to ensure phase 2 of the SAHF is an effective and targeted tool to produce social housing for our most vulnerable.

NCOSS has developed a positioning paper that brings together learnings from stakeholders so far. This paper has been produced in response to early discussions with members and stakeholders about how future phases of SAHF can be refined to maximise its capacity to deliver housing for those most in need.

Supplementary to this paper is a proposal to invest $3 million over two years in a SAHF Readiness Program to build the capacity of Aboriginal Organisations to be active partners in the future production of social and affordable housing.

We see this paper as a tool to aid the continuous improvement of SAHF. As with any new and innovative process, the next phase will need to be refined as we learn from the first phase.