Sydney Anglican Property Targets Social and Affordable Housing

This development delivered by Anglicare under the similar SAHF program is an example of high quality of housing that can be provided under the HAFFF.

Access to good quality, affordable housing is fundamental to wellbeing, reducing poverty, enhancing equality of opportunity, social inclusion, and mobility.

In the Gospels, Jesus talks extensively about providing for the poor, seeking the lost, and extending open arms to those in need. It is clear that we, the Church, have a role to play in helping the overall wellbeing of our society.

On Monday 15 January, 2024, applications opened for the first round of funding for social and affordable rental homes under the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund Facility (HAFFF) and the National Housing Accord (NHA). 

This application process kickstarts the biggest Commonwealth investment in social and affordable housing in more than a decade. The HAFFF and the NHA are the spearheads of the Federal Government’s efforts to address the national housing crisis. With applications due to close on 22 March, Sydney Anglican Property (SAP) in partnership with Anglicare and Sustainable Development Group (SDG) are busy readying the paperwork for a host of key sites across the Diocese.

The HAFFF program is an exceptional opportunity for churches and other faith-based landowners to harness often exceptional legacy land resources to deliver much needed rental housing, engage with the community, and fund ministry activity. These are important projects with wonderful potential. 

SAP Chief Executive, Ross Jones, said the HAFFF program could be a real game changer for the delivery of affordable housing in Sydney and the church is perfectly placed to be a part of it.

“The thing about the Anglican Church is that we have a presence in every community,” Mr Jones said.

“We’ve been incredibly blessed by the inheritance we’ve received from previous generations and we want to ensure that inheritance makes a real difference in the communities we’re a part of. The HAFFF provides an excellent opportunity to do just that.”

“By repurposing some of our existing sites, which are incredibly well-located close to transport hubs, we can help provide a much-needed affordable housing resources for the future of our city and ensure a sustainable future for the churches that currently call those sites home.”

“Ultimately, we also hope that many of those who are blessed through this community-based approach will also come to know our Lord, who cares profoundly for those who are in need.” 

“The HAFFF funding would accelerate the existing Diocesan Urban Renewal Pilot Program (URPP).  It would enable these housing developments to proceed on under-utilised parts of church land while the Diocese retains ownership of the land and buildings.  This enables the land to be used now to assist those in need, while providing flexibility for future generations to either continue this use or reclaim the land for ministry purposes.”

Round One of HAFFF is designated for fast-moving projects – those that are deemed ‘shovel-ready’ or where it is expected that a development application might be quickly obtained for a project and construction commencing without delay. 

This is just the first of several opportunities for funding from HAFFF. Further funding rounds will be announced over the next five years. Projects with greater levels of complexity, uncertainty, or those where a feasible financing solution has not yet been identified may be better off being held over for future funding rounds. Furthermore, applicants with projects that are unsuccessful in Round One can participate again in future rounds.

Our team made good use of the consultation period to engage with Housing Australia (HA), potential service delivery partners and faith-aligned housing peak bodies. Some of the key work so far has involved:

  • Securing a portfolio of exceptional sites for the development of much needed social and affordable housing.
  • Learning through Anglicare’s experience in the provision and operation of similar developments as part of a State-based program known as the Social & Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF).
  • Developing building and apartment designs that maximise the quantity of housing and financial return, while ensuring the highest levels of amenity for tenants.
  • Developing financial models that determine project feasibility ensuring that development costs are covered, maximising the potential returns to churches/ landowners, and offering relative value to the government.
  • Testing the dwelling mix such that the right combination of social/affordable dwellings tailored to meet the needs of the surrounding community can be delivered on each site.
  • Securing preferred service delivery, finance, design, planning, and construction partners.
  • Ongoing engagement with HA and sector peak bodies, ensuring access to the latest and most accurate information and insights into the application and assessment process.

“Despite the work involved, this is a great opportunity for churches and other faith-based landowners to utilise their resources to deliver much needed social and affordable housing,” Mr Jones said. “So we’ll be working hard to help make that a reality. Please pray for the bid team as they undertake the significant work to be ready to submit applications on the 22nd March.”


For more information on the HAFF program, visit:
https://www.housingaustralia.gov.au/housing-australia-future-fund-facility-and-national-housing-accord-facility

Internal quality will also be very high
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