The urgent and pressing nature of Australia’s housing affordability crisis means that organisations like CEHL are likely to play a leading role in addressing the failure of our housing market.
CEHL’s operating model has proven to be a robust one, however it is also constantly evolving and adapting to our changing political, social and economic environment. Accordingly, CEHL is embarking on a new phase which requires balancing the needs of members, properties and finances to ensure its future financial sustainability and growth.
New tenancy and finance models
CEHL eligibility criteria currently focus on households who meet the criteria for community housing while housing registration ensures that CEHL will always offer affordable rent to those eligible, restricting all new members to this criteria restricts CEHL in terms of growing new sources of revenue and finance.
To address this, CEHL is investigating alternative governance and legal models to enable it to provide other types of housing such as housing for moderate income earners, who are also in need of affordable housing.
The future: Strategies for growth and replication
CEHL is undertaking two key initiatives to help plan and adapt for the future: Future Directions Project and Program Development Project. Together these three initiatives will help to address some emerging challenges and opportunities such as aging housing stock, changing members’ needs, downsizing as members’ age, alternative funding arrangements and business models to expand affordable housing. These two initiatives will inform the development of the next CEHL strategic plan.
Future Directions Project
The Future Directions Project will initially be a pilot working with several co-operatives to identify a future plan and highlight the support each co-operative needs from CEHL in ensuring a sustainable future. If successful, the program will be rolled out across all co-operatives (Common Equity Housing Limited 2015).
Program Development Project
The Program Development project will run over the next 18 months, with project outcomes feeding into the development of the next CEHL strategic plan in 2016 (Common Equity Housing Limited 2015). The Program Development project has three key phases:
- Vision: agreeing on the core program vision, objectives, principles and parameters of the housing programme
- Review current approach: reviewing CEHL’s current approaches such as objectives, principles and priorities and identifying if we have the right tools, structures and standards currently in place to deliver what is needed.
- Identify new approaches: identifying additional approaches or changes to the way we operate to ensure we continue to deliver on our vision and ensure future growth and sustainability.
CEHL will establish a Program Advisory Panel to ensure that the voice of co-operatives and members are heard. The panel will advise the Board about what co-operative members think and feel about their program now, and where they want it to go in the future (Common Equity Housing Limited 2015). The panel will be made up of an independent chairperson, a CEHL Board member and five co-op members who will ensure that the engagement process draws on input from across the program membership7.
Public housing stock transfers into co-operative structures
There is growing evidence of the failure of existing public housing models to create positive communities where tenants are empowered to make key decisions regarding their housing. CEHL will promote transfers which offer current public housing tenants the opportunity to form co-operative structures to manage their housing.
Growth of co-operative housing as a solution to our current housing system failures
It is clear that co-operative housing offers a viable solution for increasing numbers of people who are poorly served by the current private rental market and public housing models. CEHL will actively explore new co-operative housing and equity models which offer quality, secure and affordable housing to a wider range of income groups.