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INNOVATIVE POLICY DEVELOPMENT

Our Work

Pacific Link Housing is committed to the use of independent regional research to develop sector-leading policies and award-winning tenant support programs.

We work with government to develop housing solutions that are innovative, focused and financially responsible. We also develop and directly invest in government-initiated projects and new housing solutions in our region.

We offer tenants a range of award winning support programs to help those who are able regain their independence and return to private housing.

In our Region

Our Research

Research commissioned by Pacific Link shows that:

  • The Central Coast has 39% per cent fewer homes set aside for community and social housing than the average for NSW.
  • Average waiting times for all forms of community and social housing on the Central Coast now extend beyond 10 years, and are similar in the Hunter.
  • Rapid population growth now forecast for both the Central Coast and Hunter will place significant additional pressure on existing resources.
  • The region will need 6,000 additional homes set aside for community and social housing over the next 20 years to maintain the current supply ratio
  • This breaks down to 300 additional homes each year.
  • An even larger number will be needed to provide affordable rentals for people on low to moderate incomes who do not qualify for assisted housing.
  • The current community and social housing supply rate is well below that required to meet regional needs. 

Budgets Constraints

Constrained public budgets are a reality. Where government was once the sole provider of assisted housing, it is now up to organisations like Pacific Link to work with government and play an active role in developing new housing models and solutions for the future.

Housing Affordability

Our regional research and that of many others, indicates that increasing home prices and rising rents now make it difficult for millions of Australians on low or moderate incomes to own, or rent a place they can call 'home'.

People on benefits and minimum wage earners like health care workers, child care workers, retail and hospitality workers now find it near impossible to find affordable rental properties in our region. There are also a growing number of elderly people in danger of homelessness.

Housing Needs

Most housing applicants now request 1 or 2-bedroom homes. Household occupation has fallen to an average 2.2 people across our region. Housing models – private and public – are changing to reflect this, with more apartments, studio apartments, granny flats and multiple dwelling subdivisions that are smaller and more affordable now being offered. 

Current Projects

Pacific Link Housing has a four-part housing provision strategy based on:

Programmed Maintenance

The retention of existing housing stock is essential to maintain current assets and ensure they remain useful.  Pacific Link has programmed maintenance in place to ensure existing properties meet current building and environmental standards and are able to remain in use for years to come.

Release & Re-use

Many of those who find themselves in need of social housing are in temporary need through no fault of their own. Pacific Link believes that community and social housing should not be seen as a life-long entitlement. We provide a comprehensive range of tenant services and support programs to help those who are able to regain their independence and return to private housing. Those who do play an important part in assisting others by making their previous homes available to those newly in need – effectively adding to housing supply.

Large-scale Refurbishment

Pacific Link Housing is currently completing a major program to refurbish the 100-home Dunbar Way and Kendall estates in North Gosford, originally built in the 1960s. Pacific Link – which previously managed part of the combined sites – is funding the $400,000 refurbishment program to bring the estates up to date, and will afterwards manage the combined estates and delivery of tenant services. As part of the project to update the estates, we are also:

  • Offering young unemployed tenants work-skills through a JobQuest program leading on to certificate courses.
  • Working with the University of Western Sydney to measure quality of life outcomes for all tenants which, if successful, will allow this project to become a model for similar estate refurbishment projects in other regions.

New Build Projects

Pacific Link Housing re-invests funds in new housing projects through its in-house development department. This includes the purchase of land for the construction of new homes in our region.

Supply innovation

Pacific Link Housing is committed to planning and developing housing and housing models that are efficient, responsive and affordable for those in need. Using regional research to inform decision making, we work with government and others to:

  • Develop and invest in appropriate solutions
  • Collaborate with Government
  • Liaise with local authorities
  • Build, deliver and maintain properties
  • Provide long-term tenant management and tenant support programs as required.

Focusing on the need for smaller, more affordable homes, we aim to make best use of existing, underutilised sites in the same way private developers and homeowners do to increase housing density.

Redevelopment

With average occupancy rates for all homes across the Central Cast and Lower Hunter now at 2.2 people per home, many older community and social housing properties which feature a single home on a large suburban block are now underutilised.

In a benchmark Gosford project, Housing NSW has recently redeveloped two adjoining properties, each of which formerly provided a single home.  An outstanding project by Housing NSW, it now provides 18 homes in a brand new, townhouse style development for tenants seeking smaller units – a number of which are pre-constructed to function as disabled-living units if required.

Pacific Link has management of the new site, which provides high quality housing in keeping with other developments sharing the local streetscape.

2+1 Initiative

Pacific Link Housing has developed and presented an innovative plan to increase supply - at no additional cost to government - by adding secondary dwellings or ‘granny flats’ to half the properties in a group already owned by the NSW Government.

Detailed costings show that Pacific Link Housing will be able to add 100 secondary dwellings in return for the right to manage 200 properties for 30 years. The additional properties will be developed by Pacific Link in the first three years and be fully paid for by Pacific Link in 10 years.

Under the proposal, the State Government would retain ownership of the 200 original properties and the additional 100 secondary dwellings built by Pacific Link – adding to the value of the Government’s housing assets.

If accepted, the ‘2 + 1’ plan -  as it’s known – could be rolled out in other regions to increase housing supply and the value of the NSW Government's housing assets at no cost to the State’s public purse. 

Studio Apartments

In May 2014 Pacific Link entered into a partnership agreement with Sydney-based not-for-profit, Evolve Housing, to share skills and opportunities across our combined regions.

In June, the joint venture partnership successfully tendered for NSW Government grants to develop three small sets of studio apartments – with Pacific Link and Evolve Housing investing $5 million on top of similar Government grants to improve development outcomes.

The studio apartments will be developed and managed by Evolve Housing and Pacific Link to provide urgently needed affordable, community and social housing in Western Sydney, the Central Coast and Lake Macquarie regions.

The housing partners are now working with local authorities to establish areas of greatest need as part of a process that aims to examine possible regional sites.

On completion, Pacific Link and Evolve Housing will take joint responsibility for tenanting and managing the apartments  – providing the full range of tenant support services now available to tenants of the 3,700 properties they currently manage between them.

Cessnock Units

Pacific Link Housing is developing four units to meet the needs of disabled and elderly residents in the Cessnock area. The units are located in residential area of existing multiple dwellings. They are due for completion this year. 

Partnering Opportunities

Pacific Link welcomes enquiries from home-owners, developers and land holders with an interest in developing or leasing properties for affordable, community or social housing.  A third of the properties currently leased by Pacific Link are from private owners and developers. Please contact Pacific Link to register your interest.