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Plan affordable rental housing

Find resources for determining where affordable housing is needed, information about the government and non-government organisations involved in planning for, and delivering, affordable housing, including current initiatives and planning legislation which supports affordable housing delivery.

Who is involved in planning and delivering affordable housing?

Role of governments

Affordable housing (as a discount to market rent product) generally requires a subsidy or assistance from various levels of Government to make development feasible.

Commonwealth Government

The Commonwealth Government is providing funding for affordable housing through a range of initiatives, including: the Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator: National Housing Infrastructure Facility Social and Affordable Housing; the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) and the National Housing Accord Facility.

Housing Australia (formerly the National Housing Investment and Finance Corporation) administers the Commonwealth initiatives. It brings together all levels of government, institutional investors, lenders, community housing providers, faith-based organisations, private sector developers and construction companies to facilitate and deliver more social and affordable housing.

The Commonwealth will continue providing funding to the National Rental Affordability Scheme until the scheme ends in 2026. Click here for more information about NRAS.

NSW Government

A number of NSW government departments are involved in planning for, and delivering, affordable housing. These include:

  • Homes NSW (Department of Communities and Justice) - the agency responsible for delivering social housing in NSW. Homes NSW also has a key role in the delivery of affordable rental housing to:
    • Provide an exit pathway from social housing
    • Prevent the need for some households on low incomes to enter social housing.

Homes NSW develops and/or delivers affordable housing programs and projects within the planning framework, working with the not-for-profit sector, private sector and local government to broker partnerships and deliver affordable housing.

Homes NSW provides funding for affordable housing through the Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF), the Community Housing Innovation Fund (CHIF) and other smaller programs.

  • The former Land and Housing Corporation, which is now part of Homes NSW and has been renamed Housing Portfolio, has recently commenced partnering with community housing providers to develop affordable housing.
  • Department of Planning and Infrastructure – facilitates development of affordable housing through various planning mechanisms such as Inclusionary Zoning, Contribution Schemes, Density bonuses and Voluntary Planning Agreements under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and the Housing SEPP.  Planning works with local government on their housing strategies and are also administering the Transport Oriented Development Program
  • Landcom – as a NSW Government owned land and property development organisation, Landcom has a key role in the development of affordable housing through setting minimum targets for affordable housing in their developments

The Registrar of Community Housing also has a significant role in monitoring affordable rental housing developed through the Housing SEPP. The Registrar of Community Housing is responsible for registering, monitoring and regulating community housing providers in NSW under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH) and the NSW Local Scheme. The Registrar is an independent statutory officer reporting directly to the Minister for Housing.

Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act Regulations (2021), the Registrar has a role in monitoring affordable housing developed under the infill and boarding house provisions of the Housing SEPP.

Local government

Local government can play a major role in facilitating and developing affordable housing in NSW. Through the NSW Department of Planning and Environment district and regional planning process, councils are required to prepare local housing strategies. Councils plan to ensure there is an appropriate supply and mix of housing to meet community needs and can encourage the construction of affordable housing by offering incentives to developments which will include it.

Councils can also partner with community housing providers and provide direct grants and concessional land contributions to realise affordable housing projects.

A number of councils are already involved in some innovative projects to develop affordable housing, involving private and/ or community housing partners, for example Griffith Council, Shoalhaven Council, Lismore Council, Sydney City Council, Cumberland City Council and Central Coast Council.  (For more information on these projects, go to the council websites.)

Role of community housing providers

Community housing providers (CHPs) are non-government organisations which manage and/or own more than 54,000 social and affordable housing properties in NSW, including 34% of the social housing available.

CHPs own, manage and develop their own properties and manage properties on behalf of government, local Councils and private landlords.  They are also responsible for the management of affordable housing delivered under the Housing SEPP.

The NSW Government has recognised the not-for-profit community housing sector as a key delivery partner in providing affordable housing solutions.  Not-for-profit community housing providers re-invest any profits from affordable housing into provision of more affordable housing.  They also are able to hold properties as affordable in perpetuity.

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Last updated: 22 Apr 2024