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 is driven by any requirements of government subsidies to the housing and currently focuses on households who meet the limited income criteria for community housing ensuring that CEHL will always offer affordable rent to those eligible, however 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 in the midst of deep engagement with its member co-operatives focused on two distinct goals; the future directions, viability and growth of each individual co-operative and the development of the programme framework to ensure, programme-wide viability and growth.
Future Directions Project
The Future Directions Project was piloted, adapted and currently being implemented with all co-operatives to identify a future plan for a viable mix of their membership, incomes and housing.
Following 30 years of successful operation, CEHLHEL has initiated an engagement plan to work with member co-ops to review and refresh the program framework, directions and key components.
The first phase involved establishing an advisory group of co-op members, with an independent chair to oversee engagement with the program to create a set of Program Principles which will guide future decisions about the program framework and key components. Program development has been embedded as a priority in the subsequent CEHL Strategic Plan. An Engagement Calendar has guided extensive work with co-operatives throughout 2017 including resoucing an advisory group to oversee consultation to recommend a program Participation Policy.
Public housing stock transfers into co-operative structures
There is growing evidence of the failure of existing public housing models to create positive communities. In 2017 the Victorian Government released a series of initiatives under the banner of Homes For Victorians, including the transfer of some public housing sites (for redevelopment into mixed-tenure communities) and transfer of management of some 4,000 public housing properties. CEHL will actively promote models 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.
Emerging groups that are likely to be attracted to co-operative models include:
- Last home buyers wishing to downsize;
- People seeking shared equity models;
- People seeking long term tenure in locations which are readily accessible to employment, educational and community opportunities;
- Women who are renting and ageing out of the workforce;
- People with disabilities able to access subsidies under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.