Mixed Messages

Mar 11, 2014 | News

Mixed Messages

Dear members

February was a blur. As you all know, there is a lot going on. Here’s a summary:

Are you considering accessing the IRRS?

MSD has issued an Request for Information on the GETS website. CHA understands this is a general call for information where providers are asked to indicate how many units they may be able to commit to the IRRS programme, and whether the organization is already Registered or would need to obtain Registration under the new Regulatory Framework. We are not aware that any reply is actually required as it does not affect the organizations ability to enter into a contract with MSD for the IRRS.

CHA has already made the point to MSD that significant changes would need to be made to the IRRS in order for it to work as a lever to generate new supply. We look forward to further dialogue with you our members and with MSD on those proposals after they are able to complete their 14 April deadlines.

MSD has issued an open Invitation to Social Housing Briefings

Tuesday 18 March – Wellington
Wednesday 19 March – Christchurch
Monday 24 March – Auckland

By now you should have received direct communications from MSD on these briefings, which discuss the transfer of housing needs assessment from HNZC to MSD, and the availability of the IRRS to CHP’s on 14 April 2014. For pre-qualifed providers who were invited to briefings on 18-19 February, we understand these will largely be a repeat. If you’ve not been to a briefing yet we certainly encourage you to attend.

RSVP your attendance to Louise Jolliffe, social_housing@msd.govt.nz or 04 978 4297 by 4.00pm Friday 14th March. Background information on the change to social housing are available at www.msd.govt.nz/social-housing

Tenancy/Client Matters SSG update

Meeting on Thursday 27 February, ahead of the MSD external reference group meeting, this group chaired by David Zussman confirmed its purpose would focus on monitoring:

Does the housing needs assessment system working for clients? Are people’s needs being met?” The group would achieve this by advocating for a monitoring system to report on the housing needs assessment system, and ensuring it delivers a full picture of housing need (including but not limited to A&B’s). The work of the group would identify the information needed for such a system, dialogue with MSD on how that info can be produced, and involve sector members in committing to collecting the information.

Regulatory Framework – What’s it going to be called?

We’re disappointed that the feedback provided in our submissions on the regulatory framework don’t appear yet to have been taken up (to read these submissions click here) .

We have conveyed to the SHU officials acting as the interim operators of the Regulator the frustrations that many of you shared with us about the “Deemed Provider” letters. Namely, that the definition of a CHP is still flawed, that the letter asks your organization to sign up for performance standards that have not yet been confirmed, and that your entire portfolio is subject to the (unnamed) performance standards, even if you may only have 1 unit in the IRRS programme. We have conveyed that there is no value proposition for the sector so long as these settings remain. We will keep an eye on this.

New Tax Exemption Status for CHP’s

CHA was joined by members Accessible Properties, Habitat for Humanity and Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust at the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee on 19 February.

We have not heard yet whether our recommendations have been included in the final provisions.

Read our submissions here.

Submissions on Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan

The Auckland Community Housing Providers Network (ACHPN), Te Matapihi and CHA combined forces to prepare submissions, which were lodged on 28 February.

To read our submission click here.

Stock Transfers?

The Growth and Development Sector Solutions Group is meeting on Thursday 13 March to confirm its brief, and to debate a draft position for the sector on how we would want to see Stock Transfers progress.

The ACHPN is also reviewing this draft and commenting on 12 March. If you have any comments please contact Chris Glaudel atprojects@communityhousing.org.nz.

The work of these groups will inform further communications that CHA will be progressing over the next few weeks. What we hear is that there may be some limited attempts to get a small number of Stock Transfers done by mid-winter, yet in the absence of any clear strategy or framework.

What is our Minister saying?

We have written to Housing Minister Nick Smith asking him to confirm what we have been hearing – that there is no new allocation of funding proposed for the 2014-2015 year. We can’t see how the targets of 20% by 2020 will be reached if that is the case.

Will let you know what we hear back.

Conferences!

I’ll look forward to seeing you at both of these upcoming events:

Te Matapihi conference – 1-3 May 2014, Whanganui – register now-
http://tematapihi.maori.nz/conference-home/

CHA Conference- 2-4 July 2014, Nelson

– registrations open 20 March 2014

CHA Website refreshed

We’ve recently refreshed the CHA websitewww.communityhousing.org.nz and invite you to take a look.

One of the new features is the dedicated space for our four Sector Solution Groups, and over the next few months, we will be launching a direct member login to the Best Practice Guide. That work is still in progress but coming soon!

Partnering: CHP’s and private developers

A longer term piece of work with the Auckland Council is underway to establish clear pathways for CHP’s to partner with private sector developers for delivery of community housing as part of the Special Housing Area’s (SHA’s) that came about through the Auckland Accords. Our work is ensuring that when new developments are meant to deliver say 5% retained housing or 10% relative affordable housing, that you as a CHP have a well-established pathway to be the provider of that housing.

A Housing Bond, by – and for- our sector

The Funding and Finance Sector Solution Group is due to meet on 19 March and review its briefing paper on a replicable model to pool the mortgage needs of member CHP’s to provide an attractive housing bond product to investors, with the goal of driving down the cost of borrowing for both households and CHP’s. A lower cost of borrowing means improved affordability for families in need, and allows greater leverage of government investment. A win for both. Watch this space.

Housing Works NZ Edition

Thanks to those of you who are preparing articles for this NZ focused edition of HousingWorks, a joint CHA and AHI initiative.

Don’t worry, this is not your last chance to contribute as we want to ensure a steady supply for each issue on NZ topics. Contact Natalie Jameson at policy@communityhousing.org.nz with your ideas.

All work and no Play? Progress and Perspectives-AHI networking event

5-7pm, 6 March 2014- co-sponsored by CHA, The Property Group, and WCC.

The staff and the lifts in Wellington library were kept very busy last Thursday ferrying eager social housing-ites up to the first AHI networking of 2014. An audience of around 40 people were treated to light refreshment and different perspectives on NZ Social Housing Reform from four well-selected panelists.

Read the whole story here.

Home Performance Advisor (HPA) Certification

Through a collaborative project, three organisations (Community Energy Network, Beacon Pathway & The Enviroschools Foundation) have developed the first of its kind in NZ, Home Performance Advisor (HPA) certification. This training programme … to read more click here

We’ll aim to get these newsletters back on a fortnightly schedule. Thanks to all of your for your tremendous efforts during these times of change.

Happy housing

Scott Figenshow
director@communityhousing.org.nz

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