What is the role of Council in homelessness, social housing and affordable housing?

    The City of Adelaide supports the State Government's position, outlined in Our Housing Future 2020-2030, that local government can influence housing outcomes as a regulator, through statutory planning, development processes, building approvals, rates, charges and land use planning, and partner, through leadership and governance mechanisms.

    The Homelessness, Social and Affordable Housing Policy identifies that in addition to these roles, Council will support homelessness, social and affordable housing sectors through the role of facilitator and advocate.

    The CoA does not have a role in the provision (direct delivery) of homelessness services, crisis accommodation, social housing or affordable housing. 

    What do we mean by 'Homelessness'?

    For the purposes of the Homelessness, Social and Affordable Housing Policy homelessness is defined as people who are rough sleeping or living in crisis accommodation, supported accommodation, boarding house accommodation, severely crowded accommodation, caravans (involuntary) or couch surfing.

    What do we mean by 'Housing Stress'?

    Households in the bottom 40% of household incomes that are spending more than 30% of their gross income on housing costs are considered to be in housing stress.

    What do we mean by 'Social Housing?

    Social housing is affordable housing provided by the government and community sectors to assist people who are unable to afford or access suitable accommodation in the private rental market. It includes public housing, state owned and managed Indigenous housing (SOMIH) and community housing. Public housing is owned and managed by state and territory governments while community housing is housing that is either owned or managed by not-for-profit community sector organisations.

    What do we mean by Affordable Housing?

    Affordable housing is designed and priced to cost people no more than 30% of their gross income if they are on a low or moderate income.  People paying above this are considered to be in 'housing stress'.

    In South Australia a dwelling for sale is considered to be an 'affordable home' if it is:

    • offered for sale to eligible buyers through the Affordable Homes program (see https://homeseeker.sa.gov.au/)
    • offered for home ownership and is for sale at or below the appropriate price point
    • priced at $367,000 or less (if key criteria are met, the price can be up to $422,050 - the criteria are published in the government gazette).

    What is the difference between Social and Affordable housing?

    Affordable housing is not the same as social housing or community housing.  Social housing and community housing is owned/managed by government or not-for-profit community groups.

    Affordable housing is open to a broader range of household incomes than social housing. Affordable housing is related to the percentage of gross income (currently 30%) a household has to contribute towards the rent/mortgage.

    Affordable housing is technically discounted to market housing, by offering subsidised rent or fixed price housing to eligible households (low to moderate income earners). In South Australia homes designated as affordable housing are available to pre-registered low to moderate income earners at https://homeseeker.sa.gov.au/

    What do we mean by 'Private Housing'?

    The private housing market (private rental or private ownership) offers no subsidy. 

    Government incentives such as the First Home Buyers Grant, the HomeBuilder Grant, stamp duty concessions and rate rebates apply to housing in the private housing market and can contribute to lowering the upfront and post purchase costs of buying a home, thus making it more affordable. 

    However 'affordable housing' as discussed in the policy is discounted to market housing, by offering subsidised rent or fixed price housing to eligible households (low to moderate income earners).

    What is the National Rental Affordability Scheme?

    The National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) was an initiative funded jointly by the Federal and State Governments. It was introduced in 2008 to provide rental subsidies for low income earners for a 10 year period. Approximately 35,000 allocations were granted across Australia with over 100 private allocations within the City of Adelaide (CoA). A further 200 allocations were made to city-based community housing providers.

    The allocation process has now ended and privately owned NRAS dwellings will gradually return to market rate rents over coming years as their 10 year subsidy expires. There is no proposed replacement for this program that offers subsidised rentals through the private market, despite rental stress increasing, and Covid-19 creating further stress on low income households.

    The CoA has previously participated in the NRAS scheme.  Council currently holds 20 NRAS apartments within the Ergo apartment complex with the properties leased at 75 per cent of the market rental rate in accordance with the NRAS requirements.  Council’s NRAS apartments at Whitmore Square transitioned to market rental following the expiration of the NRAS in 2020.   The Whitmore Square apartments will be progressively sold on a staged basis given that they now provide market rental accommodation.  This staged sale will consider the opportunity for affordable purchase housing via the State Government’s HomeSeekerSA website. www.homeseeker.sa.gov.au 

    In relation to NRAS housing the Homelessness, Social and Affordable Housing Policy identifies that the CoA will:

    • Advocate to the State and Federal Governments for increased funding to deliver more subsidised rental accommodation in light of the cessation of the NRAS program and/or request that further consideration be given to extend the program in light of Covid-19.

    What do we mean by mandatory inclusionary zoning?

    Mandatory inclusionary zoning is when the planning system is used to require a proportion of the total dwellings or Gross Floor Area (GFA) of a development for affordable housing as a condition of planning approval.

    How does this Policy relate to the Adelaide Economic Development Agency's Proposed Initiatives for Residential Growth?

    The Adelaide Economic Development Agency (AEDA) commenced  in January 2021.  Since then the AEDA Board has been working to address one of its objectives, namely: To accelerate economic growth in the City of Adelaide by attracting investment and supporting businesses, festivals and events, as well as visitor, student and residential growth. 

    In May 2021 the AEDA Board endorsed a ten point plan to identify opportunities to increase the number of people living in the City. The research and discussions arising from this have contributed to the identification of 20 actions for consideration by Council and the State Government. 

    The actions identified by the AEDA board support existing initiatives being led by Council, including the Homelessness, Social and Affordable Housing Policy, toward realising its Strategic Plan Vision of Adelaide becoming the most liveable city in the world.

    The initiatives endorsed by the AEDA Board can be divided into six general categories:

    1. Increase Demand for Housing in the City – ensuring that the City benefits from accelerating the rate of population growth in South Australia, that there are sufficient jobs and people recognise the benefits of living in the City. 
    2. Financial Considerations – equalising the financial differential that developers and purchasers of dwellings in the City face due to fees and charges designed for suburban contexts but applied to the City irrespective of its unique built environment and style of development. 
    3. New Housing Products and Models – unlocking new land opportunities and ensuring the right structures are in place to accelerate residential development. 
    4. Council Processes – ensuring that Council plays a proactive role in enhancing liveability around new developments, has a rating system that recognises the whole of life income generated by new developments and has a facilitatory role in aggregating land parcels.  
    5. Policy and Regulatory Matters – ensuring that planning regulations do not unreasonably restrict the development of new dwellings, the utilisation of vacant dwellings or the reuse of older buildings. 
    6. Strategic Positioning of the City – ensuring the City of Adelaide has a long-term spatial vision and the primacy of the City is recognised and informs State Government policy and program delivery.

    Link to the Proposed Initiatives to Accelerate Residential Growth either from TRIM or Council committee on 2 Nov.

    How does Puti on Kaurna Yerta fit with the Homelessness, Social and Affordable Housing Policy?

    Puti on Kaurna Yerta was a temporary multi-service outreach hub in the Adelaide Park Lands that was facilitated by the South Australian government (Department of Human Services) in partnership with Aboriginal leaders and organisations, the City of Adelaide and non-government service providers. The Hub supported Aboriginal people from remote communities to access medical, legal and housing services as well as facilitate return to Country. 

    Council’s involvement with this significant project demonstrates how Council can facilitate improved health and housing outcomes for vulnerable people and young people by providing in-kind staff support and/or funding to key stakeholders (subject to eligibility), to deliver programs and initiatives and to assist in the investigation of new approaches to current and emerging issues across the whole housing spectrum.

    What projects are Council currently partnering in that include the delivery of affordable housing?

    Council has recently committed to delivering a new supply of affordable housing in mixed use developments via a development agreement with the proponents of the Central Market Arcade redevelopment and the Eighty-Eight O'Connell Street development.

    The Central Market Arcade Redevelopment incorporates 212 apartments with 15% of these apartments, allocated as affordable purchase housing via the State Government’s HomeSeeker website and were offered for 90 days.  Apartments within this development are sold with a Home for Homes deed as part of residential contracts for sale.  As a result, when the apartments are sold again a small percentage of the sale price will be donated to Homes for Homes to assist in funding affordable housing.

    The sales campaign for the 164 apartments planned for the Eighty-Eight O’Connell development commenced in early October 2021. The obligation to progress apartment sales is the responsibility of the developer along with the requirement to deliver 15% affordable housing.

    Investigations are also underway with respect to mixed tenure housing outcomes including key worker/ affordable housing at the Dunn Street car park, North Adelaide

    What is the status of the Home Buyer's Rate Remission Scheme that Council endorsed in July 2021?

    In order to facilitate home ownership in the city, as identified in the Homelessness, Social and Affordable Housing Policy, Council endorsed a Home Buyer's Rate Remission Scheme in July 2021, subject to complementary financial incentives being offered by the State Government.

    The Lord Mayor wrote to the Premier in July seeking state government support for the Scheme. The Premier has advised that the matter will be considered by the Capital City Committee.