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Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: Victorias Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy October 2016


Haven; Home, Safe is heartened that Infrastructure Victorias, Victorias Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy October
2016 highlights the shortage of social housing and welcomes the opportunity to respond to this most important issue.
Having experience in both business commerciality and high to medium level subsidy-provided social housing we have
a profound interest in this Strategy, understand the unique issues of those trying to provide housing services and
consider that we can contribute meaningfully to this discussion.
HAVEN; HOME, SAFE:
Haven; Home, Safe (HHS) is an integrated homelessness service provider and registered Housing Association.
For more than 20 years, in our current form, we have been helping and housing people in need through the provision
of innovative, multi-dimensional, affordable housing solutions and the delivery of a diverse range of case
management services. We offer a continuum of services from responses to emergencies such as fire or flood, to the
provision of emergency, transitional and longer-term affordable housing. A range of specialist, case-management and
support programs are provided to meet the needs of our diverse range of clients.
HHS employs more than 140 staff across the DHHS Northern Division of Victoria with offices in Bendigo, Preston,
Geelong, Mildura, and Robinvale with outreach services in Echuca and Kyabram.
DISCUSSION:
Affordable Housing
We understand that 30,000 applicants sit on the Victorian public housing waiting list and that an estimated 2.9
million people or 13.3% of all people in Australia are living below the internationally accepted poverty line.i
In the metro, rural and regional HHS offices in the 2015-2016 financial year alone we assisted 6118 individuals. Of
these individuals, 11.5 % were sleeping rough or sleeping in their car and of those housed, 51.5% were in housing
crisis and, 26.3% were experiencing housing affordability stress. Reflected in the results we know that there is a
housing affordability crisis throughout the country and that many people on low to moderate incomes experience
significant challenges in accessing suitable and affordable housing.
A household is defined as being in housing stress when it pays more than 30 per cent of its gross income in housing
costs and its income is amongst the lowest 40 per cent of all households (the 30:40 rule). Comparing median
household incomes with median rentals shows many households pay more than 30% of their income on rent;
especially as the size of the property required increases and particularly as Haven; Home, Safe clients tend to come
from the lowest income decile.
Appendix 1 includes rental affordability in the regions of North East Melbourne, Mallee and Bendigo in relation to
Centrelink income entitlements.
Appendix 2 shows a snapshot of the affordable rental properties in the regions of North East Melbourne, Mallee and
Bendigo sourced from the websites www.realestate.com.au and www.gumtree.com.au on the 10th October 2016.
This dependence on the private rental market leaves the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community at its
mercy. Not only is the private rental market an unchecked cottage industry, lacking regulatory controls, institutional
investment and management, additionally competition in the rental market has intensified as those having no
alternative but to rent compete with households on higher incomes. With half of the Australian population renting
by 2017, this situation is unlikely to right itself.
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We agree that a substantial response to affordable housing is warranted to address the undersupply of affordable
housing and support the recommendations put forward by the Strategy in Need 7.
Increased densification and reform of planning provisions
HHS strongly advocates for the promotion of increased densification, the review of planning provisions and
implementing inclusionary zoning in urban areas on the proviso that this is supported by greater economic
opportunity, savings on transport and greater choice of transport, minimisation of environmental impacts and
healthier lifestyle benefits for all the residents.
We welcome that the Strategy is not based on the assumption that the services are just there and, that public
transport and service availability will grow in tandem with the population growth.
In relation to low-income Victorians, increased densification and providing access to opportunities of social inclusion
such as health and social services, training, employment and community involvement can enhance a persons social
and emotional wellbeing to the extent that it is life changing. Shifting people away from dependency to a greater selfsufficiency in turn provides social and economic benefits to the community as a whole.
National Housing Policy
In conjunction with the Strategy, we agree that as distinct entities, the State, Territory and Commonwealth
governments along with the social housing sector and the private rental market do not have the capacity to be able
to deliver enough houses to meet the current and future housing demand. We advocate that a shared and
coordinated approach is the most likely option to be able to provide a robust response to the lack of housing supply
and regulation of an overpriced and unruly private rental market. To drive this model we maintain that the State,
Territory and Commonwealth governments need to take on a greater regulatory role and make real structural
modifications. The Commonwealth needs to develop a long-term plan wherein an agreement is reached between the
States and Territories under the direction of the Commonwealth in relation to policy direction and a commitment to
funding.
The role HHS can play
Government should work with innovative organisations such as HHS to address the issue of affordable housing. As
per recommendation 7.2.1, Housing Associations are anxious to participate in the management or title transfer of
public housing as Housing Associations are an important provider of affordable, safe and secure long term housing
that have the capacity and mechanisms to make transfers work. The transfer would allow for greater investment in
maintenance, tenant services and potentially more homes. Existing tenants would be able to access Commonwealth
Rent Assistance for the first time and provider the community housing sector the financial security to invest in more
social and affordable housing.

Conclusion
Overall, Haven; Home, Safe cannot stress strongly enough its agreement with the Strategy that a vital rst step is
the need for a policy on affordable rental housing that ensures all housing is affordable, available, accessible and of a
sustainable quality. People are now occupying the rental markets for longer, putting pressure on rental markets
generally and as rental markets have been skewed by virtue of poorly targeted federal policy (with investment and
taxation and the absence of a housing policy,) we continue to see a skewing of the rental market towards existing
properties rather than new supply. Affordable rental housing is not only necessary for those experiencing
homelessness, rental stress or mortgage stress but provides social returns on investment by contributing towards
sustainable and harmonious communities.
We applaud the 30-year focus of the Strategy and welcome the breadth of the initiatives in particular the
improvement of ICT connectivity across Victoria, access to transport and policy and regulatory reforms.
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Haven; Home, Safe Submission- Infrastructure Victoria Victorias Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy October 2016

APPENDIX 1
RENTAL AFFORDABILITYii NORTH EAST MELBOURNE, MALLEE & BENDIGO
NORTH EAST MELBOURNE RENTAL AFFORDABILITY
Location
Bundoora
Eltham
Epping
Greensborough
Heidelberg Heights
Hurstbridge
Ivanhoe
Lalor
Mill Park
Northcote
Preston
Reservoir

LGA

Median
Household
Income

Unit

House

Unit

House

Banyule
Nillumbik
Whittlesea
Nillumbik
Banyule
Nillumbik
Banyule
Whittlesea
Whittlesea
Darebin
Darebin
Darebin

$1172
$1923
$1283
$1524
$998
$1589
$1709
$919
$1368
$1563
$1155
$972

$350
$403
$302
$337
$354
$290
$387
$310
$324
$380
$348
$319

$399
$521
$356
$420
$393
$390
$543
$353
$367
$599
$442
$372

29.9%
21.0%
23.5%
22.1%
35.5%
18.3%
22.6%
33.7%
23.7%
24.3%
30.1%
32.8%

34.0%
28.2%
27.7%
27.6%
39.4%
24.5%
31.8%
38.4%
26.8%
38.3%
38.3%
38.3%

Median Rent

Rent as % of Income

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Haven; Home, Safe Submission- Infrastructure Victoria Victorias Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy October 2016

MALLEE RENTAL AFFORDABILITY


Location

Median Weekly
Household Income

Buloke Shire

$742

Gannawarra Shire

$739

Mildura Rural City

$854

Swan Hill Rural


City

$886

Median Weekly Rent

Rent as % of Income

1 Bedroom Flat
2 Bedroom House
3 Bedroom House
1 Bedroom Flat
2 Bedroom Flat
2 Bedroom House
3 Bedroom House
1 Bedroom Flat
2 Bedroom Flat
2 Bedroom House
3 Bedroom House
1 Bedroom Flat

$130
$150
$200
$180
$240
$285
$320
$180
$200
$230
$290
$135

17.5%
20.2%
27.0%
24.4%
32.4%
38.6%
43.3%
21.1%
23.4%
26.9%
34.0%
15.2%

2 Bedroom Flat
2 Bedroom House
3 Bedroom House

$215
$220
$260

24.3%
24.8%
29.3%

BENDIGO RENTAL AFFORDABILITY


Location

Median Weekly
Household Income

City of Greater Bendigo


Eaglehawk

$968
$812

Campaspe Shire

$769

Central Goldfields Shire

$689

Loddon Shire
Macedon Ranges Shire

$579
$1022

Mount Alexander Shire

$777

Median Weekly Rent


1 Bedroom Flat
2 Bedroom Flat
2 Bedroom House
3 Bedroom House
1 Bedroom Flat
2 Bedroom Flat
2 Bedroom House
3 Bedroom House
1 Bedroom Flat
2 Bedroom Flat
2 Bedroom House
3 Bedroom House
3 Bedroom House
1 Bedroom Flat
2 Bedroom Flat
2 Bedroom House
3 Bedroom House
1 Bedroom Flat
2 Bedroom Flat
2 Bedroom House
3 Bedroom House

$180
$240
$250
$290
$180
$240
$285
$320
$130
$210
$185
$250
$200
$282
$270
$280
$320
$200
$265
$265
$320

Rent as % of
Income
18.6%
29.6%
30.8%
35.7%
23.4%
31.2%
37.1%
41.7%
18.9%
30.5%
26.9%
36.3%
34.5%
27.6%
26.4%
27.4%
31.3%
25.7%
34.1%
34.1%
41.1%

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Haven; Home, Safe Submission- Infrastructure Victoria Victorias Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy October 2016

APPENDIX 2
RENTAL SUPPLY NORTH EAST MELBOURNE, MALLEE & BENDIGO

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Haven; Home, Safe Submission- Infrastructure Victoria Victorias Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy October 2016

i
ii

ACOSS, (2016). Poverty in Australia 2016.


Anglicare Australia (2016) Rental Affordability Snapshot
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Haven; Home, Safe Submission- Infrastructure Victoria Victorias Draft 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy October 2016