The Australian Catholic Housing Alliance (ACHA) promotes affordable housing as a viable option for Church land, by sharing collective expertise and extending it to other Catholic Dioceses keen to know more about housing developments.
ACHA members also work with government, community and the private sector in housing partnerships, as well as advocating for policies and funding that will increase the supply of affordable housing.
ACHA members are concerned about the current undersupply of affordable housing, made worse by reduced home ownership due to rising costs, increasing rents and decreasing stock of social housing. A home is essential to provide stability, privacy and security to allow an individual to fully participate in the community: getting a job, accessing training and building relationships.
Development of affordable housing on Church land can help to address the current undersupply of affordable housing. ACHA members have access to land and also deliver a broad range of social services, enabling pathways towards social inclusion and economic independence that will eventually result in reduced reliance on housing support;
Value of working with ACHA
Catholic social service agencies provide services to hundreds of thousands of people each year, in metropolitan, rural, regional and remote Australian communities. Services are provided on a not for profit basis and are powerfully informed by a Catholic commitment to social mission and working in partnerships to fulfil that mission.
Many of the Church’s landholdings are in prime locations with good transport access and close to services and employment. Housing services can include long term affordable rental housing, supported accommodation for vulnerable people, housing and homelessness related services, crisis and short-term accommodation and housing for the elderly.
Housing and associated social services delivered by ACHA members represent low financial risk due to the stability of Church and agency assets and financially networked support. Members are focused on delivering value for money for funded programs as well social outcomes given the Church’s mission of supporting poor and vulnerable individuals and families.
EXAMPLE: BALLARAT, VICTORIA
In Ballarat, Centacare bought and redeveloped a motel to create 29 affordable dwellings built around a central playground and shared community spaces. This project was financed through a loan, with repayments met from rent paid by low-income tenants and government supplements paid under the National Rental Affordability Scheme – a condition of which is that Centacare charge 25% below-market rent rates.
EXAMPLE: BLACKTOWN, NSW
In Blacktown, Marist Youth Care is redeveloping a residential house it owns where young people in Out of Home Care lived for many years. The house will be demolished and replaced by a purpose built house for young people in MYC’s Life, Education Assistance Program. The NSW Property Industry Foundation are contributing construction costs.
ACHA is auspiced by Catholic Social Services Australia and Catholic Health Australia. Its founding members are:
- CatholicCare Canberra Goulburn
- Centacare Ballarat
- Centacare Brisbane
- Jesuit Social Services
- Marist Youth Care (Secretariat)
- MercyCare Perth
- St Vincent de Paul Society
Want to know more?
ACHA is keen to engage with government, community or private sector organisations that are interested in:
- Potential development or collaborative partnerships;
- Seeking advice on housing policies from the perspective of a housing service provider; or
- Wanting to know more about ACHA.