Specialist Homelessness Services [Community Housing]
The community housing sector has gone through a fast pace of change in the last two to three years. Some of the changes in the community housing sector are driven by Housing NSW, whilst others are driven by other agencies both State and Federal.
The majority of the changes have been implemented firstly in larger providers, who are assessed as being exposed to a higher level of risk because of the scale and diversity of their operations. The changes are now being considered for roll out to other providers
The Government’s strategic approach has shifted over the years, and Housing NSW through the Community & Private Market Housing Directorate (CAPMH) operates principally as a funder, policy setter and monitor of performance and policy compliance. This change in role has caused a shift away from being involved in direct service delivery.
Improving the capacity and performance of providers, streamlining contracting and service delivery arrangements, and re-designing the frameworks for how Housing NSW delivers on its responsibilities to the sector creates benefits for providers and clients. It also helps to create more confidence in the community housing sector as a whole. Introduction of a legislative based registration system in NSW is an example of how changes to the sector have contributed to these benefits.
HNSW recognises the unique nature of the SHS operation and would like to ensure there is a coordinated and integrated approach in communicating and implementing policy or operational changes so that the impact on providers’ day to day operations can be minimised.
CAPMH is committed to communicating with the peaks and the sector on the planned changes. As much notice as possible will be given to the SHS sector before the implementation of any major new initiatives.
Any queries in relation to the work of CAPMH relevant to the SHS sector can be directed to SHScommunications@facs.nsw.gov.au or via their peak agency. Further information is also available through the links below.
Outsourcing Crisis and Transitional Maintenance
Outsourcing of Crisis Maintenance (responsive and planned maintenance) to Class 1 & 2 community housing providers commenced on 1 February 2013.
- For information on your local community housing provider contracted by FACS Housing to deliver maintenance to your location.
- To view the maintenance request process.
- To view the process to escalate maintenance issues.
- Outsourcing maintenance for crisis and transitional housing
- FAQ Outsourcing Maintenance Contracts
Any questions or queries in relation to this project can be directed to SHScommunications@facs.nsw.gov.au.
Crisis Refuge Property Visits
From February Community and Private Market Housing Directorate regional staff commenced visiting crisis refuge properties across the State in February 2013. More information about the visits can be found here.
National Regulatory System
The National Regulatory System is a national system of registration, monitoring and regulation of community housing providers. The proposed National Regulatory System seeks to overcome the barriers, gaps and inconsistencies that have arisen through each State and Territory regulating community housing providers in a different way. It will replace existing State and Territory systems where they exist.
The following provide further information about homelessness initiatives currently being lead by Housing NSW:
- Housing NSW - Homelessness Overview
- Going Home Staying Home - a program to reform the specialist homelessness services system in NSW.
SHS Transitional Housing Reform
The Community and Private Market Housing Directorate is implementing a reform for Transitional Housing managed by Specialist Homelessness Services. The Transitional Housing Reform applies to all Transitional Housing properties managed by Specialist Homelessness Services.
Transitional Housing properties provide interim accommodation (generally from three to eighteen months) for people that are experiencing homelessness or people who are at risk of homelessness.
From 1 January 2014 new tenants of Transitional Housing must be charged rent in accordance with the Community Housing Rent Policy. The subsidised rents of all new tenancies must be determined on the basis of a percentage of assessable income (generally 25 percent) plus 100 percent of the household’s entitlement to Commonwealth Rent Assistance.
From 1 July 2015 Specialist Homelessness Services managing Transitional Housing properties leased from the NSW Land and Housing Corporation must undertake the property management functions. This includes undertaking property maintenance by using rental income to cover the cost of responsive and cyclical maintenance, and using rental income to cover other property management costs such as local council rates and insurance.
To support the implementation of the Transitional Housing Reform a series of face-to-face and webinar briefings were conducted during September/October 2013 to provide an overview of the changes. During November and December 2013 the NSW Federation of Housing Associations also provided rent calculation training sessions to assist services to prepare to implement the new rent policy. Further training in property management will be provided in 2014.
The following documents contain more detailed information on the Reform:
- Transitional Housing Reform Policy Guidance Note
- Transitional Housing Reforms - Briefings Presentation
- Fact sheet - transitional housing reforms
- Asset Maintenance - SHS Providers
Please direct enquiries in relation to the Transitional Housing Reform to SHScommunications@facs.nsw.gov.au.