David Risstrom - Greens Melbourne City Councillor 1999-2004
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ACHIEVEMENT: The City Of Melbourne has established the Inner City Social Housing Company, which is managing housing stock and developing high quality environmentally sustainable housing stock in the Inner Melbourne area.

TARGET DATE: December 2002. PROGRESS: Achieved.

DESCRIPTION: Melbourne City Council has provided a staged grant of $1 million to be held in trust by the inner City Social Housing Trust. The Trust is administered by the Inner City Social Housing Company, which was established by the City of Melbourne in 2000. The City of Melbourne nominated Heather Scovell and myself as initial trustees for the establishment of the Company. Individuals were invited to become directors of the company through a publicly advertised application process.

The work of the company continues and has greatly expanded recently through the merging of the Inner City Social Housing Company and Ecumenical Housing to form a new company known as Melbourne Affordable Housing. I will provide further details about housing being provided by Melbourne Affordable Housing in the near future. You can visit MAH's website by clciking on any of the blue underlined links on this page.

FURTHER INFORMATION: While I was Chair of the Environment, Community and Cultural development Committee, the City of Melbourne developed a new social housing policy titled Linking People, Homes and Community: A Social Housing Strategy 2001-2004. The strategy is available as a 1 Mb PDF download by searching for it on the City of Melbourne website at www.melbourne.vic.gov.au.

A 2001 issues paper titled: A Liveable City: A Social Housing Strategy for the City of Melbourne is also available as a PDF download [170 kb] by clicking on the underlined title. The issues paper was used to scope discussion for the Social Housing Strategy.

The following description is taken from the Melbourne City Council website: The City of Melbourne has developed a new social housing strategy that builds on the achievements of (1997). An Issues Paper entitled Linking People, Homes and Communities, was used as a basis for community consultation with the housing sector and other stakeholders. A Housing Strategy Forum in early 2001 gave organisations connected with housing issues the opportunity of discussing and giving direction to Council's approach to Social Housing over the next 3 years and to discuss themes identified in the Issues Paper.

The emphasis of the new strategy is on linking people, homes and community. It builds on the strengths of the previous strategy, A Liveable City 1997, and develops additional strategies and actions to address the support needs of low income people who are highly vulnerable in terms of their housing status and the community. The Strategy was approved by Melbourne City Council in June 2001.

2002 Victorian ALP Affordable Housing Policy is available as a 308 Kb pdf download by clicking on the underlined title.

A June 2003 Melbourne City Council Environment, Community and Cultural Development Committee paper on Housing in Carlton titled: Carlton Housing Strategy is also available as a PDF download [356 kb] by clicking on the underlined title.

Downloadable copies of very interesting papers on issues relating to social housing are available on the F. Oswald Barnett website, as a record of the annual Barnett orations. Authors include Peter Newman, Terry Burke, Graeme Davison, Anthea Tinker, Lowitja O'Donoghue, Brian Howe, Judith Yates, Evan Walker and Renata Howe.


The Brotherhood of St Laurence and Committee for Economic Development Australia is launching a discussion paper titled: Better housing futures - Stimulating Private Investment in Affordable Housing. The report will be launched at an Affordable Housing Forum at CEDA Level 5, 136 Exhibition Street, Melbourne from 8.45am – 1.30pm, Monday 23rd February 2004

In February 2003, representatives from the housing, development, finance and government sectors agreed to work collaboratively to promote the development and implementation of a national strategy to increase the supply of affordable rental housing. The Allen Consulting Group was engaged to compare policy options that would increase the supply of affordable rental housing and to examine the impact of these options in terms of the costs and benefits facing governments and society more broadly.

The Affordable Housing Forum is now being reconvened to consider the findings of the report and discuss responses to it from representatives of government, the finance sector and organisations involved in the delivery of affordable housing. The forum is by invitation, so if you wish to attend, please contact Sally Jope on 03 9483 1306 or by email at sjope@bsl.org.au at the Brotherhood of St Laurence by Friday 13th February.

An executive summary of the report is available by clicking on the title Better housing futures: Stimulating Private Investment in Affordable Housing

I gave a short talk at a Housing Conference at the Melbourne Town Hall in May 04 on the history and operations of Melbourne Affordable Housing. I have provided the details below as a description of Melbourne Affordable Housing as of May 04.

The City of Melbourne has had a history of involvement in affordable housing provision dating back to the mid 1980’s through various policy forums. The PostCode 3000 project of the early 1990’s (a project to encourage residential development in CBD) highlighted the continuing loss of affordable housing in the city through the closure of the Salvation Army “People’s Palace”, the redevelopment of the “Great Southern Hotel” (1993) and Kingsgate Hotel (1995) and others. 

Council established the PostCode 3000 Affordable Housing Project in an attempt to respond to the continuing loss of low-cost beds.  $600,000 was set aside by Council in 1995 to be used as leverage for a project. Of the money $300,000 was used to initiate a project that has resulted in 40 x one bedroom units being constructed in the CBD.  At a total cost of around $4.2 million partners included Better Cities program, Dept of Infrastructure and the Director of Housing.

Spurred on by the above, Council appointed a full-time housing officer in 1997 and developed its first major Social Housing Strategy. Apart from endeavouring to retain existing public and community housing, rooming houses and low-cost hotels, the Strategy sought to address the issue of creating additional affordable housing in the inner urban area.

$1 million was set aside to establish a social housing trust.  The resultant Inner City Social Housing Co had its inaugural meeting on 2nd October 2000. Unique Trust structure and now MAH acts as the trustee for the Inner City Social Housing Trust and Fund and Ecumenical Housing Trust.

Today the Company is known as Melbourne Affordable Housing and manages around 130 properties – all but 7 of them in the inner city.  Construction is almost complete on a further 26 (Overton Kew and Lion Garden CBD). Plans are underway to construct a further 25 in Clifton Hill at the House of the Gentle Bunyip.

MAH is seeking, under the current Registration of Intent, to become a registered Affordable Housing Association and, take advantage of some of the growth funding being offered by State Govt, partnership arrangements and financing options.

Proposed projects:
• LaTrobe Close North Melbourne – mixed households/ income
• Footscray Anglican Church – Sudanese refugees
• Docklands – Low income, key workers
• St. Vincent De Paul – singles exiting crisis accommodation, Ozanam House

Criteria for housing - Office of Housing eligible clients. The rent model at this stage is 25% income plus Commonwealth Rent Assistance however looking at moving to a % of Market rents. This model is being developed and might include 35% of Market rent for singles and 65% Market rent for couples. MAH is trying to maintain an affordability benchmark of no more than 25% of income plus Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

12 OCTOBER 2004


The following media release issued by the State Government is the culminating of a great deal of work by Melbourne Affordable Housing. Melbourne Affordable Housing grew out of the Inner City Social Housing Trust formed by allocation of $1 million from Melbourne City Council in 2000, and the subsequent merging of ICSHCo with with Ecumenical Housing in 2002. I chaired ICSHCo then Melbourne Affordable housing from 2000 until last month, when I stood down to contest the Federal election. The Victorian Government delayed their announcement on the creation of affordable housing associations until after the Federal election.


The Bracks Government’s plan to create additional affordable housing for lower-income Victorians has moved an important step closer with the announcement of six organisations earmarked as prospective housing associations by the Housing Minister, Candy Broad today.

The Government committed at the last election to create housing associations to provide more choice and flexibility in affordable housing, and to grow the amount of affordable housing available to low income Victorian families.

Under the $70 million Strategy for Growth in Housing for Low Income Victorians initiative, a core group of not-for-profit housing associations will be established with capital assistance from the Government, which can be leveraged with non-government borrowing and other sources of capital.

“This is important because by using Government funds to attract other funding sources, we are able to achieve more growth of housing stock for low income Victorians than if the Government just spent the funds on its own,” Ms Broad said.

The six successful organisations were chosen after a rigorous process. The organisations are:
• Community Housing Ltd.
• Loddon Mallee Housing Services Ltd.
Melbourne Affordable Housing Ltd.
• Port Phillip Housing Association.
• Supported Housing Ltd.; and,
• Yarra Community Housing Ltd.

“These community organisations have a long history of providing affordable housing to lower income Victorians,” Ms Broad said

“Two of the organisations, Community Housing and Loddon Mallee Housing Services, have a strong presence in country Victoria. The housing needs of disabled and older Victorians will also be addressed through this initiative.”

“We’ll be meeting with the agencies to discuss practical and immediate ways of increasing the supply of affordable housing across Victoria. I look forward to working with them once they are registered under new legislation.”

Draft legislation to regulate the operation of the new housing associations was also released today for community consultation.

The legislation will create an Office of the Registrar, which will be responsible for registering and regulating the associations and eventually all other funded community housing agencies.

This is important to give confidence to financiers and other business partners and to ensure affordable housing for low income Victorians is achieved and maintained.

“We have consulted with more than 350 organisations, including local government, existing community based housing associations, tenant advocates and public housing tenants about the new associations, with widespread support for the strategy,” Ms Broad said.

“The initiative will not affect public housing rents and tenancies and public housing will remain the cornerstone of social housing in Victoria.”

The exposure draft of the Housing (Housing Agencies) Bill 2004 is open to further community consultation and can be viewed on www.housing.vic.gov.au - follow the links to Industry Development.


Cool Green Tip Of The Week -

23 April 2017: Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918 -1956.

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