innovators in community housing
Acknowledgement of Country In the spirit of Reconciliation Housing Choices acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and residents to create resilient and inclusive neighbourhoods.
David Fisher CEO, Housing Choices Australia
From its earliest beginnings in 2008, Housing Choices Australia has been on a journey of growth and innovation with the single focus to provide affordable homes across Australia for those who need it most, developing successful partnerships with those who share our vision and values. As the housing crisis has deepened and the demand on supply more intense, the need to diversify and expand has led us to pioneer a number of housing models in the Australian context. Within these pages you will find a range of social housing models, from carbon neutral mixed-use developments to high rise accommodation for seniors, to energy efficient, future proof single storey dwellings for suburban settings. Housing Choices Australia has demonstrated agility and business capabilities to deliver at scale and quality. Coupled with our resident-centred tenancy management and whole-of-life asset management approach, we are in a unique position to deliver homes that will serve the test of time for our customers who live in them, stakeholders and investors. We are thankful to our existing partners for their support and welcome new partners who share our passion to create safe, affordable and well-designed homes in communities that enable residents to achieve the best possible outcomes in their lives and tenancies.
How we work Housing Choices works in partnership with a wide range of government, support providers, corporate organisations and fee for service partners, to enhance and increase our impact in the social and affordable housing markets.
Our Vision All people affordably housed in neighbourhoods that create life opportunities. Our Mission To provide affordable homes across Australia, working with partners and residents to create resilient and inclusive neighbourhoods. Housing Choices Australia is an independent, national, not-for-profit housing provider that delivers high quality, affordable housing for people on low to moderate incomes and for people with disability. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to live in a safe, comfortable and affordable home, in a community they feel a part of.
Government Community housing has received significant support from all three levels of government as the issue of housing affordability continues across the country. Government support can take many forms, and through this funding we are able to increase the supply of affordable housing. Community Our partners cover a variety of sectors including disability, mental health, homelessness, family violence and community support and development. The breadth and diversity of our relationships enables us to meet the immediate and longer term needs of our residents, so that they can thrive and maintain long term tenancies. Commercial Housing Choices takes a strategic approach to business partnerships, engaging with companies and organisations that share our values and help us grow supply of good quality, affordable housing for Australians who are locked out of home ownership and the private rental market. Our partners include construction, development, planners, architects, designers, lending and investment. We continue to diversify our growth opportunities and innovate in the way we deliver on our mission.
11 offices across five states
Asset Management As a developer, owner and manager of quality homes, Housing Choices takes a whole-of-life asset management approach to its portfolio. An integrated national framework embeds environmental, social and financial sustainability into our buildings and the ways we design and maintain them. In addition to regular inspections throughout each year, we undertake individual property condition surveys on a three-year rolling basis and deliver a management plan covering maintenance, upgrades and reconfigurations. Tenancy & Property Management Housing Choices specialises in people-centred housing services that open the gateway for residents to experience long term housing stability. Our tenancy management model includes a dedicated Housing Officer and Property Officer to ensure our tenancies and properties are managed to the highest standards. The positive impact of affordable, good quality housing is amplified when accompanied by specialist support services and community engagement programs. We work with tenants to ensure they are supported and linked to achieve the best possible outcomes in their lives and tenancies.
7400+ properties across five states
8000+ Australians housed
$1.2bn total assets
20% Specialist Disability properties
We’re one of the largest housing providers in Australia.
Housing Choices adopts a flexible approach to financing and developing, working with like-minded partners to deliver the best housing and investment solutions.
Council Contributions Development levies. Rate rebates.
Government Grant or Subsidy Capital grants. Organisation’s own funds.
Tax Concessions Social Investment
Development profit. Development contribution. Planning concession.
Corporate or charitable donations.
Bank loan. NHFIC.
assemble + super housing
Creating affordable housing for all Australians.
This replicable mixed-income model reflects international best practice, adapted to the local context to achieve social outcomes for tenants and financial outcomes for capital without the need for direct government subsidy. Both parties will jointly participate in the procurement, delivery and management of the mixed-income build to rent housing. The first tranche will be delivered under long-term ground lease arrangements across five Melbourne development sites.
Australian build to rent developer, Assemble, has partnered with Housing Choices Australia to manage community housing across its future projects. A first of its kind for the emerging build to rent asset class, the initial tranche of projects will provide more than 3,300 dwellings for low- and moderate-income households, facilitating $1.5 billion in long-term institutional capital investment. Super Housing Partnerships (SHP) a specialist affordable fund manager, is contributing an initial $240m investment towards the Victorian pipeline. Housing Choices Australia will manage and allocate tenants within the low-income housing component of each community, comprising at least 20 per cent of the dwellings delivered. The balance will be delivered by Assemble as affordable rental housing targeted at low- to moderate-income households.
Carolyn Viney CEO, Super Housing Partnerships
“Super Housing Partnerships is really building on the great work that Assemble has done over many years, including with Housing Choices Australia in developing a scalable model for how we bring investment into social and affordable housing. “We looked at a number of different large housing providers in Australia and Housing Choices surfaced quickly. Among the things which make it an ideal partner for us are Housing Choices’ innovative spirit and the urgency with which it approaches the need to deliver more housing for those who need it.”
nightingale village Carbon-neutral community living.
Nightingale Village consists of 186 apartments, transport hubs, (500+ bike parking spaces) and sustainability solutions and benefits, including proximity to the CBD, multiple public transport options and access to local schools, community groups, and parks. Housing Choices purchased 21 dwellings across all buildings, with the remaining homes allocated to pre-existing Nightingale purchaser lists. Tenants comprise of people from the Victorian Housing Register who are singles, couples and families on low to very low incomes, and people with disability. Low energy and utility costs for tenants and a community atmosphere promoting social and economic inclusion are some of the many benefits.
Working with Award-winning carbon neutral developer, Nightingale has allowed Housing Choices to explore a number of different housing models – from acquisition/turnkey (at Nightingale Village in Brunswick) to fully funded projects such as Nightingale Bowden in Adelaide. Housing Choices General Manager of Property Development, James Henry, said values alignment and flexibility, was key to the partnership’s success. “With Nightingale it’s been really beneficial to have agility around delivery of projects as well as mutual trust around quality of homes and quality of communities. Our relationship has enabled us to deliver in a range of different ways with a variety of funding models and risk allocations.” Nightingale Village in Brunswick, completed in 2022, is Australia’s first carbon neutral residential precinct. The Village is a collection of six buildings, each designed by a different award-winning architect using the social, environmental and financial sustainability principles of the Nightingale model.
Dan McKenna CEO, Nightingale
“We work with Housing Choices because we believe everyone has the right to a good quality, safe and secure home. ‘Since partnering with Housing Choices we’ve dedicated up to 20% of each of our developments to social housing – some are designed for special disability applicants. Besides offering a vibrant and inclusive community life, Nightingale homes are energy efficient which is good for our tenants and good for the environment.”
nightingale Ballarat + anstey
Designed by Breathe Architecture, Nightingale Ballarat is a low density, carbon-neutral, mixed use building in the regional Victoria. It features one, two and three-bedroom apartments as well as a shared rooftop garden and commercial space on the ground floor. Housing Choices owns and manages social housing apartments across the development, including four fitted to specialist disability standards. Nightingale Ballarat offers a world first opportunity to understand the benefits of social and affordable tenancies within an owner occupier development featuring outstanding environmentally sustainable design, a development model delivering capped investor profit margins, low running costs for tenants and a community atmosphere promoting social and economic inclusion. Also designed by Breathe, Nightingale Anstey has a shared rooftop garden, commercial space on the ground floor and is adjacent to Anstey train station in Brunswick. The entire building achieves an 8+ Star NatHERS rating, with zero gas, and the project is powered by solar and 100% GreenPower.
Image credit: Kate Longley
Nightingale Ballarat interiors.
Nightingale Anstey, Brunswick.
Nightingale Housing, Housing Choices
Developers: Partners: Architects: Construction:
Nightingale, Renewal SA, SA Housing Authority Breathe Architecture
Hindmarsh $14 million
Completed in November 2022, the 34-apartment Nightingale Bowden carbon-neutral development is the result of a partnership with Renewal SA and SA Housing Authority, as well as commercial partners Nightingale Housing and Hindmarsh Constructions, located 2.5kms from Adelaide CBD. Nightingale Bowden has 20 HCA dwellings, including five for Special Disability residents. At least 75 per cent of the new $10 million Nightingale Bowden development is allocated to affordable housing, remaining apartments were priced at $419,750 or less and available for purchase via ballot. They sold within 24 hours. Nightingale’s triple bottom line, homes that are financially, ecologically and socially sustainable, dovetails with our own. Nightingale buildings are fossil free in operation, with rainwater harvesting and solar feeding back into the building. They have a 7.5star NatHERS rating, ensuring high thermal insulation and very low energy bills. High use shared facilities including productive gardens also contribute to lowering energy consumption and waste.
“Affordable housing is a real issue and organisations like Housing Choices and Nightingale are making a real difference in people’s lives. This model disrupts the system and it’s just the best thing for people like me. I have a great job, but the nature of my work, some previous financial setbacks, and the current market, simply means I’m priced out.” Lara is a filmmaker recently madea big move from the Adelaide Hills to live into Nightingale Bowden in Adelaide’s inner north-west. “It’sa big change, but the thing that made me feel so comfortable is all the natural light – the big balcony, the big screen doors – and room for my plants!” There's a rooftop terrace where Lara cansee the city lights and feel the buzz. However, for Lara, the best thing about living in Nightingale Bowden is that the connectionto community hasbeen immediate.
“I run into neighbours in the elevator or say hello to others on the rooftop terrace while collecting my washing – its already such a beautiful community.” For Lara and her work, the location couldn't be more convenient, with its easy access to the Adelaide CBD and her office on the city fringe. “But most importantlythere’sa sense of community that underpins both my work and now my personal life. I feelvery luckyto have that community in all aspects of my life.”
Image credit: Kate Longley
Spence on light High-rise mixed use.
Developer: Partners: Architects: Construction:
Renewal SA, SA Government, ACH Group
Hindmarsh $25 million
Completed in 2020, Housing Choices pioneered high rise living for seniors and residents living with a disability, at the $25 million Spence on Light project in Adelaide’s CBD, offering 75 apartments over 13 floors. The project incorporates a heritage site, City Mission Hall on Light Square – a location that has long provided support and care to the most vulnerable in the community. This is a partnership between Housing Choices Australia, South Australian Government and aged care provider ACH Group.
The South Australian Government committed $14.5 million to purchase 40 one-and-two bedroom apartments which are managed by Housing Choices. A further 16 apartments were purchased by ACH Group to support older people. Spence on Light sets a new standard of living for older residents who enjoy light and airy homes that are on the doorstep to transport, open space, educational, health facilities and support services.
With its heritage façade, public facing café and communal areas where CBD workers and residents mingle, Spence on Light certainly signals a fresh approach to social housing. Martin and his 75 year old Mum, Nalda, are loving life at Spence on Light. Previously Nalda lived alone in a suburban unit with stairs which was making it increasingly difficult for her to leave the house and get around. The Spence on Light apartment is built to accommodate ageing in place; with wide corridors and doorways and plenty of room to move; it’s made all the difference, said Martin, “Mum’s been able to use the walker and scooter; go up and down in the elevator and be more independent.”
“It’s been a big boost for her mental health and added to her quality of life.” The two bedroom apartment is spacious enough for both of them and the location offers a great range of conveniences and opportunities. “There’s a nice community in the building; people say Hi, we occasionally go down to the café; there’s a lot of community activities that we will delve into – last Christmas we joined the dinner downstairs in Light Square. It’s close to everything – we walk to Hutt Street, Parklands or down to the Torrens River…it’s been great for both of us.”
Hemmings St Project, photographed by Derek Salwell.
Earning a commendation at the 2020 Victorian Architecture Awards for Kennedy Nolan, Housing Choices Australia’s, Hemmings Street property reimagines social housing in the semi-industrial suburb of Dandenong. The building replaced seven run-down flats on Council owned land with 19 architect-designed apartments in a five-storey block close to shops, schools and public transport. The brief was to provide safe, quality, affordable housing for people who are struggling to find a home in Australia’s challenging private rental market. The design works hard to make the best possible building for social housing and make people feel proud of where they live. The building has good access to sunlight and fresh air, storage space and is accessible for people with disabilities and uses natural materials, textures and color to create something that feels domestic and welcoming. Hemmings Street sets a new benchmark in social housing that delivers both density, amenity and architectural flair. Developer: Housing Choices Partners: Victorian Property Fund Architects: Kennedy Nolan Construction: Manresa Budget: $7.2 million
qvm Mixed-use social housing
The QVM building is a social housing development in a prominent, high-profile location opposite the vibrant Queen Victoria Market. The greater building includes council offices, community spaces and retail/commercial space. QVM was funded through the State Government’s Building Financial Capacity of Housing Agencies (BFCHA) low-interest loan program with land provided by Melbourne City Council (who purchased the site in 2014). In 2019 Housing Choices negotiated a developer-led turn-key contract enabling full control of the project and the ability to offer accommodation to a wide range of tenants from the Victorian Housing Register. Designed by award-winning architects Six Degrees, the property comprises 49 dwellings across five levels, including NDIS-approved Specialist Disability Accommodation. Housing Choices delivers tenancy and property management services for the building and its residential community, as well as community-building initiatives, for 30 years.
“Six Degrees has worked with Housing Choices on the design and delivery of Queen Victoria Market. Housing Choices has a terrific group of professional staff who have balanced the commercial project requirements, complex council, planning and government stakeholders and the complexity of apartment construction with skill and persistence. “Their dedication to creating long term, quality housing for high need groups is outstanding.”
Peter Malatt Six Degrees Architects
Social Housing Growth Fund Build & Operate Program, City of Melbourne
Architects: Six Degrees Construction: PDG Corporation, Hamilton Marino Budget: $25 million Density: 49 apartments
Vince Giuliano Managing Director, PDG
“Working with Housing Choices has been a positive experience. As a developer for over 38 years, it gives us great pleasure to meet the needs of a variety of clients, specifically the affordable housing sector through innovative design, development, and delivery. Despite building in the midst of COVID and all the challenges faced with shortages and rising costs, PDG in collaboration with the City of Melbourne and Housing Choices, was able to navigate these obstacles to achieve an outcome that exceeded expectations, on time and on budget.”
Housing solutions for the suburbs.
Developed in collaboration with Monash Art Design & Architecture (MADA) and NMBW Architects and supported by the Victorian Property Fund and an Australian Research Council grant, our St Albans began in September 2019 and was completed in 2021. It won the 2022 Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Award in the Multiple Dwelling category and was shortlisted for the National AIA awards and nominated for the 2022 UDIA Award for Affordable Housing category. The seven-apartment project is unique for multiple reasons. It is an innovative research project and combines high design principles, with a new approach to accessibility and ageing in place by incorporating moveable walls and joinery to allow owners to configure their own homes. It also enables flexibility to reconfigure rooms for a succession of tenants over time.
This project also explores a new affordable housing model that meets current regulations applicable to a standard single allotment in Melbourne’s middle-ring suburbs. Importantly, the design is focused on meeting the needs of the elderly but is not officially ‘elderly housing’. A fluid floorplan allows any apartment to accommodate a range of tenants of different ages and abilities, aiming for a mixed community.
Victorian Property Fund, Monash University Art Design & Architecture
Architects: NMBW Construction: Chancett Builders Budget: $3.25 million Density: 7 apartments
Resident STORY Helena calls St Albans home.
Helena waited for more than 10 years for public or community housing to become available and moved into Housing Choices’ St Albans property with her teenage children, aged 17 and 18 in 2021. Previously the family lived in private rental housing and had no say about the configuration of rooms or how they could use the space. Helena decided to divide the warehouse type space into two larger bedrooms (for the kids) and a smaller bedroom for herself, leaving a spacious combined family living area that opens to a large timber deck with built in seating. Having always lived in houses on suburban blocks, Helena was a bit hesitant about the transition to apartment living but her fears were allayed after her first on-site visit: “When I saw the huge balcony and deck – I thought this is perfect.” Helena’s relieved at the prospect of being in community housing where her rent will be considerably less. “This place will help me get ahead – it will take so much stress off. I can go back to school and get another qualification so I can make a career change – I want to work in community services.”
Housing solutions for Tasmanians.
Housing Choices Federal Government Dept. Social Services Starbox Architecture
Oliver Kelly $6.5million 26 residences
With panoramic views across Tasmania’s Derwent River and Mt Direction, Marys Hope Road is a collaboration between Department of Social Services and Housing Choices Tasmania. 26 free-standing homes with private gardens are located close to education and employment opportunities, healthcare, schools, parks and support services. Built to six-star energy rating, the two-bedroom houses offer a high level of comfort, low utility bills and clever design features that factor in the future housing needs of residents. These spacious homes deliver much needed social housing for vulnerable Tasmanians, including people living with disability.
A SUSTAINABLE CO-OPERATIVE HOUSING MODEL
Landcorp, Curtin University, ARENA Power Donaldson & Warne Jaxon Constructions
12 apartments 2 community studios
Environmental design extends to the landscaping of both the communal garden areas and adjoining stormwater area where indigenous plantings and creek beds prevent water waste and enhance natural habitat. Materials and construction techniques were aligned with One Planet Community objectives while maintaining value for money, inclusive of passive solar design principles to capture summer breezes and winter sun. The project included an ARENA funded research project to investigate the feasibility of micro grid solar power generation and battery storage in strata titled developments. The installation reduces reliance on mains power and reduces costs for residents. Since the project won an AHI Award in 2017 for innovation, solar batteries and passive design have evolved even further, paving the way for even more effective iterations of this innovative housing model.
Housing Choices Western Australia (formerly Access Housing) embarked on a unique partnership for the purpose of creating affordable housing options for artists and creative workers in Fremantle, WA. The project, titled SHAC (Sustainable Housing for Artists and Creatives), includes a number of firsts and contributed learnings for the affordable housing sector more broadly. This housing model delivers outcomes that are similar to a housing cooperative but relieves SHAC residents from the responsibility of managing tenancies and property finances. The project was designed in close collaboration with successful SHAC applicants/residents who co-designed two dedicated studio spaces facilitating economic activity and community development for SHAC members. This project is situated within Development WA’s White Gum Valley estate being WA’s first One Planet Community which demonstrates the very best in modern, sustainable design and has created a community where it is easy and affordable for people to live in a way that makes smart use of the earth's resources.
We believe everyone should have the opportunity to live in a safe, comfortable and affordable home, in a community they feel a part of.
ABN 23 385 731 870 Housing Choices Australia L3, 350 Queen Street Melbourne VIC 3000 P 1300 312 447 housingchoices.org.auPage 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28
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