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What is the SAHF and why was the SAHF developed?

The Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF) came about through a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2015 between the Premier of NSW, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and the NSW Council of Social Service to develop a fund to support up to $1 billion in affordable housing.

The NSW Government designed the SAHF with support and input from an Expert Advisory Panel comprising representatives from the not-for-profit and private sectors, co-chaired by the NSW Council of Social Service and Infrastructure Partnerships Australia.

How does the SAHF relate to the NSW Government Priorities?

The SAHF contributes to a key policy priority for the NSW Government, breaking the cycle of disadvantage, by providing access to affordable, secure, quality homes and services to over 3,400 eligible households.

How does the SAHF relate to the Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW Strategy?

The SAHF is a key initiative under Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW Strategy which sets out the Government’s  ten year vision for social housing.  SAHF will  provide additional social and affordable housing and aims to empower people to live more independent lives and where possible, to move away from the need for housing assistance.

How will the SAHF deliver additional social housing dwellings?

The SAHF purchases accommodation as a service rather than the government purchasing and owning the properties used to provide accommodation.

Dwellings for the delivery of accommodation services may be delivered either through:

  • New construction.
  • Refurbishment and re-purpose of existing dwellings.
  • Long term lease hold arrangements.

Under the current agreements, SAHF services payments do not commence until dwellings are completed and all of the other contracted services are in place.

What does ‘social housing’ mean?

Social housing is secure and affordable rental housing for people on low incomes with housing assistance needs. It includes public, community and Aboriginal housing.

What does ‘affordable housing’ mean?

Affordable housing is housing that is appropriate for the needs of a range of very low to moderate income households and priced so that these households are also able to meet other basic living costs such as food, clothing, transport, medical care and education.

How is affordable housing different to social housing?

Affordable housing is not the same as social housing. Affordable housing is open to a broader range of household incomes than social housing, Households do not have to be eligible for social housing to apply for affordable housing, though people who are eligible for social housing may also be eligible for affordable housing properties.

What will be the mix of social and affordable housing for SAHF?

The current SAHF contracts require a minimum of 70% of the homes to be available for social housing tenancies with the remainder to be affordable housing once all of the homes are delivered. The precise mix is able to change flexibly over the term to best achieve the targeted social outcomes.

How are social housing and affordable housing linked under the SAHF?

Under the current SAHF contracts, the community housing provider must integrate affordable housing into the services package in a way that is consistent with the program objectives, including increasing the economic independence of households and transitioning tenants out of social housing.

If there are no social housing tenants who are able to transition, affordable housing tenancies may be arranged in compliance with the NSW Affordable Housing Guidelines.

How does the SAHF avoid concentrated social housing?

Under the SAHF contracts, community housing providers are required to deliver dwellings for accommodation such that the social and affordable dwellings are integrated within a diverse and mixed community. SAHF dwellings must be able to be approved under local development consent laws and policies and providers are required to demonstrate how the location of the dwellings will support the delivery of outcomes for SAHF households.

How did DCJ decide where dwellings and services would be delivered?

Locations for SAHF dwellings were determined on the basis of proposals brought forward by participants in the two SAHF tenders. Successful proposals had to establish that the intended locations had enough demand for social and affordable housing (including for specific population groups where they were proposed) and were close to transport and services that would enable people in social and affordable housing to access the supports and services that they need. Each procurement was guided by a 30% regional target for all social and affordable housing delivered through the contracts. View a map of the Locations of SAHF housing by DCJ district.

How can I apply for SAHF funding?

There are no current opportunities to access SAHF funding. Read further information on working with the NSW Government on social housing opportunities.

How are SAHF contracts managed?

The current SAHF contracts are managed by a dedicated team within the DCJ working under the high level oversight of a Program Advisory Board with members including senior officials from DCJ, the NSW Treasury and the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Tenants in SAHF dwellings

Am I eligible for a SAHF property?

All SAHF dwellings, whether social or affordable housing, are allocated in accordance with the existing systems and policies. Read more information on eligibility and applying for social housing.

For those eligible for and seeking affordable housing, the community housing provider is required to follow the NSW Affordable Housing Guidelines to identify tenants. Potential tenants who meet the eligibility requirements may approach providers directly to identify affordable housing opportunities.

Will the SAHF accommodation be accessible for tenants with a disability?

The majority of dwellings delivered under SAHF will meet the Silver level of the Liveable Housing Design Guidelines.

Where can I find out about tenancy and rent policies?

Community housing providers enter into a residential tenancies agreement (lease) with tenants. Rents must be set in accordance with the DCJ Community Housing Rent Policy.

How will DCJ ensure that tenant welfare is protected in SAHF properties?

The SAHF provides an innovative approach to the delivery of a sustainable housing system that focuses on services to achieve high quality outcomes for tenants.

Tenant welfare will be protected in a number of ways including:

  • Contracted community housing providers are required to report to DCJ on tenant satisfaction and outcomes.
  • Projects delivered under SAHF will work within residential tenancy and community housing laws to ensure that tenant rights are protected.
  • Organisations awarded SAHF contracts must be registered as Community Housing Providers when they deliver services and therefore meet the requirements of the National Regulatory System for Community Housing Providers.
  • Contracts include tailored support coordination that facilitates access to services that address the specific needs of each tenant and household member.

What happens to tenants at the end of the 25 year term contract?

The SAHF contracts provide for a managed five year transition process as the contracts approach the expiry of the 25 year term. This allows for the NSW Government and contracted community housing providers to work together to ensure that tenant welfare is protected and commercial interests are managed.

Development, zoning and land

What (if any) elements of the services package did Government provide? For example, did the Government provide the land?

The Government did not provide any part of the services package including land. The Government does not take an interest in the dwellings used to provide services under the contract, before during or after the contract term.

Organisations awarded SAHF contracts are responsible arranging finance for the housing used to deliver accommodation services. SAHF services payments do not commence until dwellings are completed and all of the other contracted services are in place.

The NSW Government is responsible for the commissioning and performance management functions for the SAHF contracts, including payment of the monthly service payments.

Will the Government provide assistance in relation to zoning and planning approvals?

SAHF developments are not given special treatment through NSW planning and development approvals processes.

Organisations awarded SAHF contract are responsible for obtaining all planning approvals which are managed through standard planning approvals processes.

If you have a concern about a proposed development you should raise this with the relevant organisation or the relevant decision-maker for the development consent.

Current status of the SAHF implementation

When will SAHF dwellings be available?

SAHF dwellings will be delivered progressively, with all dwellings expected to be delivered by the end of 2023.

View SAHF progress report.

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Last updated: 23 May 2023