The purpose of the document is to provide “up-to-date information about the social housing market and MSD’s purchasing intentions, to support housing providers to make investment decisions”. Please read the document and let us (and MSD) know what you think. You can find the information on the MSD website here.
While the size of the document may seem daunting, this is because it provides a review of prior actions and announcements in addition to the new material on their purchasing intentions. For those who have been diligently following announcements over the past 6+ months you can focus on a few key sections (outlined below with our comments). For those who haven’t been able to keep up with the flow of information the document provides a good compilation of information to date.
For everyone concerned about social housing, the following sections are key areas to review and provide feedback to CHA and also directly to MSD.
Section 1.5 How will we know we have been successful: developing key performance indicators
Table 3: Proposed KPIs
The development of performance indicators is a good step to drive desired outcomes. CHA is quite interested in how these will be set, measured and applied. For instance, there is a suggested measure that “IRRS properties meet quality standards”. Does this suggest that government is (finally) considering setting such standards? Would this be based on the Warrant of Fitness trial? If a standard is set, would it also be applied to the much larger Accommodation Supplement spending on housing subsidies? Additional questions arise regarding how the application of these KPIs will relate to CHRA Registration status.
Section 2.1 Developing the purchasing intentions – trade-offs and principles
What are your thoughts about the community and family impacts of the statement that MSD will “In general, pay for lower cost locations within each TLA”. How does this promote balanced communities?
Section 2.5 Expected price and quality of social housing places
Table 4: Indicative upper limits for weekly market rents (based on median market rents)
Do the proposed upper rent limits seem realistic for the areas you work in? Would they provide sufficient incentives/ability for you to invest in developing new supply?
Sections 2.8 MSD’s purchasing intentions by location & 2.9 Locations where MSD seeks to purchase additional places
These sections provide the long-awaited detail on the Cities/Districts which are deemed to have increasing, stable and decreasing demand over time. The additional purchasing intentions by bedroom size are provided for the increasing demand areas.
Part 3: How MSD will operate as a purchaser
This section signals how MSD is currently operating, changes anticipated in 2015/16 and in 2-3 years. Many requests that the sector has identified, including longer term contracting, bundling service funding with rental subsidy, and outcomes-based contracts are discussed. What other changes should be added to enable you to provide more and better housing outcomes? Are the four priority areas in 3.2 for contracting changes in 2015/16 your highest priorities? Do the proposed changes in the tenant referral and placement process in 3.3 meet your needs?
Section 3.4 Policy settings
MSD intends to review the Social Allocation System needs assessment model in 2015/16. Concerns about this model have been expressed for many years. Hopefully an open dialogue with the social services sector and community housing organisations can improve the SAS to address these concerns.
The purchasing intentions for the increasing demand areas are summarised here along with demand, rent and other useful information. The compilation of data from multiple sources onto one document is helpful. While there are some inconsistencies, as a starting point this is a great step forward.