Communities Plus is delivering Future Directions for Social Housing in 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.
To facilitate this, LAHC is currently working with a number of NSW Government agencies and the private sector to progress projects that will meet social housing objectives and maximise return to government. The program’s market sounding process sought industry feedback on a range of innovative commercial structures to deliver the program and support the desired social outcomes. LAHC is engaging CHPs early to make sure that proposed developments are designed to meet tenant requirements in terms of suitability and function. Work is also underway with the private and not-for-profit sectors to deliver Communities Plus mixed tenure sites including Glendale, north of Newcastle, and Corrimal near Wollongong; and sourcing opportunities for NGO involvement in smaller-scale neighbourhood sites.
LAHC is working with the Department of Planning and Environment, local Councils, Transport for NSW and other Government agencies to maximise planning outcomes for Communities Plus projects. Currently many of LAHC’s possible development sites are subject to zoning allocations based on historical land use, rather than reflecting the density uplift and floor space ratios of surrounding developments. With such apparent inconsistencies, LAHC will be well positioned to negotiate with local planning authorities to adapt planning controls to support maximising the development potential of Communities Plus sites.
The Neighbourhood Renewal Project, part of the Communities Plus Program, offers viable development projects on a regular basis to private sector developers and not-for-profit community housing providers.
The sites range in development potential from approximately 20 – 300 residential dwellings with opportunities for Project Delivery Agreements on the larger sites and for LAHC pre-sales on the smaller sites.