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Communities Plus Program

Communities plus is delivering future directions for social housing in nsw

  • Deliver more housing and a better social housing experience, with more opportunities and incentives to avoid or move beyond social housing.
  • Develop new mixed communities where social housing blends in with private and affordable housing, with better access to transport and employment, improved community facilities and open spaces.
  • Partner with the private and not for profit sectors to fast track the redevelopment of sites in metropolitan Sydney and regional NSW.

The NSW Government’s Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW (Future Directions) strategy provides the blueprint for the Land and Housing Corporation’s (LAHC) role to support the State’s social housing system. Under the strategy, LAHC will deliver the Communities Plus program, one of the Government’s key initiatives to grow the social housing portfolio. The program will deliver up to 23,000 new and replacement social housing dwellings, 500 affordable housing dwellings and up to 40,000 private dwellings. Offering an innovative approach to social housing growth, Communities Plus is based on an asset management framework that leverages the value of the existing portfolio to accelerate supply. Communities Plus will redevelop LAHC land by engaging private sector developers and community housing providers (CHPs) to design, fund and build social, affordable and private housing. As each development is completed, new social housing properties are handed over to LAHC as payment for the land, making the program entirely self funding. Additionally, CHPs will be responsible for managing the social housing properties and owning and managing the affordable housing component.

pacific gateway (glendale)

The Pacific Gateway development in The Lake Macquarie LGA, will be aligned with the Communities Plus model of housing, which involves the integration of private, social and affordable housing.

This purposeful integration of housing types is vital for achieving the following outcomes:

  • Reduces concentration of large public housing estates
  • Aspirational effect for social housing tenants
  • Opportunity for social housing tenants to progress on the housing continuum and transition from social to affordable tenancy without the disruption of relocation to another area as envisioned in Government’s Social Housing policy – Future Directions.
  • Applying the Community housing sector’s experience of managing mixed tenure developments.

Potential Positive Outcomes from Quality Housing

The Glendale project will provide good quality and stable housing to social housing tenants and to those tenants eligible for the affordable housing scheme. This project through design, location and availability has the possibility of providing many positive outcomes for residents.

The key positive outcomes linked to the quality, stable and affordable housing that the Pacific Gateway project will provide has the possibility to enhance Health, Education, Safety, Empowerment, Social and Community and Economic factors for all residents. A brief outline of each beneficial outcome is provided below.

  • Health– good quality housing is linked to improved health outcomes. Poor physical health is related to poor living conditions and housing stress can increase the risk of depression and mental illness. By providing housing in quality neighbourhood promotes a healthy lifestyle and improves health outcomes.
  • Education– Housing affordability leads to less crowding and less parental stress allows for improved educational outcomes. Housing stability promotes less absenteeism again leading to improved educational outcomes
  • Safety– By providing good quality housing in a safe environment allows people, particularly in social housing to feel safe and allows children and young people to live and play in safety. It also has the potential to allow victims of domestic violence to live in safety
  • Social and community– good quality housing promotes more social activities in the home and community. Housing stability provides grounding for people to participate in community activities through volunteering, participation in local clubs and groups and involvement in decision making. Thus increasing social and community outcomes.
  • Empowerment– By providing quality and stable housing there is the opportunity for the tenant having a sense of empowerment leading to confidence and motivation to take steps to make changes in their lives and achieve improved outcomes. Empowerment is essential to achieving outcomes in the domains of economic, health and education and has a flow on effect on other domains. Empowerment enables individuals to identify and take advantage of the opportunities presented to them.
  • Economic– the links between economic outcomes and employment are indirect and depend on other factors such as education and training. By supplying quality and stable housing it can lessen some of the barriers, for example mental and physical health or access to public transport that could prevent gaining employment.

Pacific Gateway Tenure Mix

Overall, the Glendale project will supply a mix of 21 one and two bedroom units to tenants from the social housing waitlist (six units) as well as tenants eligible for affordable housing and tenants in the private market. The design of the project not only caters for a variety of affordability on the housing continuum, but also is suitable for a broad range of tenant groups including the elderly, singles, couples and possibly small families. There will be adaptable units for people with disabilities. The predicted tenant mix will provide a community with high diversity, enhancing tenant social outcomes further. Diversity has the potential to increase tenant social inclusion which in turn can:

Increase the health and wellbeing of tenants

  • Improve the quality of their life outcomes
  • Increase economic participation of tenants.

Class inequality has stigmatising effects on concentrated areas of low quality and low amenity households. By providing housing that is more diverse and socially balanced this stigma is removed. The Glendale project, through the ‘salt-and-pepper’ approach (a mix of tenant groups with varying affordability spread throughout the complex) has the potential to prevent socio-spatial segregation that develops in communities of high social concentration and deprivation. 

The ‘salt-and-pepper’ approach has many advantages in housing communities that in turn increase tenant outcomes particularly in Social Housing. It can reduce social exclusion and reduce areas of disadvantage, with the result that tenants feel more pride in their homes and their community. It has the potential to promote socially and economically integrated communities and allows residents to live more independently. This integrated approach can also assist in enabling people with mental health issues into a community they may have previously been excluded from.

Support Co-ordinators

PLH has numerous informal referral arrangements providing wrap-around support for residents who need assistance in sustaining their tenancies and building community engagement that aims to increase self-reliance and independence. Our Housing team works closely with our Client Support Co-ordinators (CSCs) who are committed to, and qualified in, the provision of assistance to tenants with medical, health and welfare needs. PLH’s CSC team identifies our tenants’ support needs and works to strengthen partnerships, build our mutual understanding and, where needed, push agencies to raise their standards of service delivery. The CSCs work with tenants on a one-on-one basis to help them get the care and support services they need, co-ordinating delivery of services from other support agencies and ongoing monitoring. Our approach reflects best practice in the community housing sector, as recognised in a past case study published by the Registrar of Community Housing.

Self-Funded Tenant Education and Employment Programs

Pacific Link will be providing opportunities to the Tenants of Pacific Gateway (as with all our tenants) to access our suite of award-winning, self-funded tenant programs providing training programs, education scholarships, employment schemes, learner driver lessons, interest-free loans for laptops, children’s sport and employment pathways. Our programs build tenants’ capacity and encourage improved educational and employment outcomes. We also run information forums and outings, regularly evaluate our programs and seek input and ideas from tenant focus groups to maintain our continual improvement.

Activities to Achieve Project Objectives

LAHC’s objectives under the Communities Plus plan include “seamlessly integrated community”, “sustainable outcomes for tenants”, “sustainable management of social housing dwellings” and “optimised value for money. With a capable delivery partner, within an acceptable level of risk”.

Planned activities can include but are not limited to:

  • Design solutions that maximise the landscaping of open communal areas.

  • An interactive tenant community gathering will be implemented to increase tenant engagement and social cohesion

  • Forming strong partnerships with key stakeholders and partnering with homeless, youth and employment services providers – co-ordinating support service delivery and assisting in developing opportunities for the tenants.

  • A suite of promotional projects to highlight the benefits of the project, not only to the tenants but to the wider, local community.

In conclusion, the Glendale project will not only provide homes for 21 households, it will through design, location and amenities give 21 households stable, quality accommodation that will allow them to achieve a range of positive outcomes as highlighted in this brief. With a focus on diversity, the development will enable 21 households to live in a socially inclusive environment that is safe and is designed to encourage positive outcomes for all residents.

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