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How developers can address the social housing shortage

Residential  |  Residential in focus  |  Insights  |  06 December 2018
Frasers Property Australia
Media Release
Frasers Property Australia
Ivanhoe Macquarie Park

The five dealbreaker decisions that must be made


It is estimated 1.3 million Australians are in need of some form of housing assistance in Australia, a figure expected to rise to 1.7 million by 20251 .

This figure represents almost 14 per cent of Australian households.

Helping meet the increasing need for community housing (previously referred to as social housing) is a challenge that developers such as Frasers Property Australia are weighing in to tackle. 

Through a number of its diverse projects, Frasers Property is learning what it takes to integrate community housing into private housing developments and find a model that benefits everyone. 

Frasers Property is progressing or has completed five masterplanned projects across Sydney, Melbourne and Perth that include a proportion of community housing. Together, these projects will deliver approximately 1,500 community housing dwellings when all are complete. 

Anthony Boyd, Executive General Manager – Residential, Frasers Property Australia says blending private and community housing is a delicate balance but if it’s done well it can enhance cohesion.

“Frasers Property has been involved in numerous integrated social and community housing projects over the years, including at Carlton and Parkville in Victoria and East Perth in WA,” Mr Boyd says.

“There have been many lessons learned and through our work with Mission Australia Housing on the Ivanhoe Estate, the $2.2 billion mixed-use community integrating community, affordable and private housing in Sydney’s Macquarie Park, we’re learning many more.

“In our view, the greatest opportunity to create community housing in Australia is in partnership with Government. As at Ivanhoe Estate, when Government maintains the ownership of land and works in partnership with the private sector, the opportunities to create a public benefit while generating a positive economic outcome are aligned.”

To get it right key decisions need to be made. Here are the five dealbreaker decisions that must be considered at the outset, according to Frasers Property: 

  • Invest in placemaking: this investment must consider both the design and a program of curated experiences.
  • Ensure design does not discriminate: Community housing dwellings should be aesthetically indistinguishable from private dwellings, so how this balance is achieved is critical.
  • Choose your strata management solution: The solution must provide for a clear delineation of strata issues for public and private.
  • Embed social and community services: A solution that provides tailored services that support specific needs of residents is crucial.
  • Make amenity a tool for integration: Decisions must be made on how to provide common spaces for everyone to be immersed in when they walk out the door.

Mr Boyd says factors such as location, land ownership structures and the demographics of the surrounding neighbourhood can influence the design response when placing different tenure homes side by side.

“Keeping the community housing dwellings separate may be advantageous depending on the strata management solution adopted, as logistical and legislative considerations (such as points of entry and access to common areas) are factored in. It might also provide Government with a whole asset to be managed in its entirety,” he says. 

“But this strategy puts the pressure on the design team to devise an architectural response that fosters an integrated community.”

The Ivanhoe community in Sydney will integrate community, affordable and private housing in separate buildings, although the nature of the tenancies will be indistinguishable.

Sarah Bloom, General Manager – Residential Victoria, Frasers Property Australia says the emphasis on providing common spaces for all is important, as Frasers Property has learned at its Carlton project in Melbourne.

Everything should be designed with the end user in mind, be they a community housing tenant or private dwelling owner.

“Community infrastructure, indoor facilities and outdoor spaces that encourage connections, including connections to surrounding neighbourhoods, retail and employment hubs, should all be backed by social initiatives designed to foster community ties,” Ms Bloom says.

“At Local Carlton in Melbourne, a highly functional communal urban park was included to create community connections.”  

Ms Bloom says that community housing is an essential part of our infrastructure and while it is a long-term necessity for some members of the community, it is a stepping stone for others.

“Regardless of their tenure, a safe and secure home in a vibrant and well-connected community with access to the various services they might require is the ideal outcome for residents,” she says.

To help community housing tenants achieve safety, stability and independence through employment, and help them to progress to alternative housing options, a suite of tailored, person-centred supports and services is needed to connect them with local services, education, training and employment opportunities, she says.

“Management of these services must be costed into the project delivery agreement on an ongoing basis and provided by a tier one Community Housing Provider (CHP) ,” says Ms Bloom.

“Making this kind of commitment is very much for the long-term.”

At Ivanhoe, dedicated funding generated through the Ivanhoe Estate development will be reinvested in social outcomes in the community over 20 years. 

1Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, Modelling Housing Need in Australia to 2025, August 2017

Frasers Property Australia
Media Release
Frasers Property Australia