The 2018 conference theme – Everybody’s Home – will highlight the current and growing shortfall of accessible and affordable housing in Australia. With housing affordability rising up the political agenda – Everybody’s Home – is expected to be our biggest conference to date.

Full program details for the 2018 Affordable Housing Conference are close to being confirmed.  Bookmark this page as a favourite, and subscribe to receive all the latest news on the 2018 Affordable Housing Conference – Everybody’s Home.

Our confirmed international speakers from the US and Europe will complement local speakers in bringing to life the diverse range of themes and topics of this two-day conference in Sydney. 

Key dates

Registration now open! Click here for registration details.
2018 Affordable Housing Conference: Wednesday 27 – Thursday 28 June

Wednesday 27 June 2018 – Day one

8.15 – 9.00 Registration

9.00 – 9.30

Welcome to Country and Welcome to the Affordable Housing Conference

Conference Chair: Ivan Simon
Keynote presentation: To be announced

9.30 – 11.00









A national housing strategy: why every country needs one

Australia needs a national housing strategy.  Scotland has ‘More Homes Scotland’ with £3 billion to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes, of which 35,000 will be for social rent, by March 2021. Canada’s ‘A place to call home’  its first ever National Housing Strategy is a 10-year, C$40-billion plan to address its affordability problems and we’re told the process has had an explicit focus on Indigenous housing issues too. And now we hear NZ plans to end homelessness.  In England the London Mayor has been agitating for higher targets, the Conservative government is consulting on mandating affordable housing targets and the opposition has just published big plans. So this session is about what has happened out there, how it happened and what Australia needs to do to make a national housing strategy happen.

Facilitator: Brett Wake (National Manager Operations, CHL)
Keynote: Craig Sanderson (Link Housing, Scotland)
Panel members:
Scott Figenshow (Community Housing Aotearoa, NZ)
Rosanna McGregor (Cariboo Friendship Society, British Columbia, Canada)
Hal Pawson (UNSW)

Session sponsored by

11.00 – 11.30 Morning tea sponsored by
11.30 – 12.45







































Preventing homelessness by sustaining tenancies

With social housing increasingly targeted at the most disadvantaged many new tenants have complex needs that challenge tenancy managers. With the incidence of negative exits into homelessness stubbornly high new approaches are needed. This session will first look at how to support tenants with complex needs and highlight initiatives and resources designed to help manage challenging tenancies. It will be followed by a panel discussion that will touch on more practical examples from regional NSW and the US.

Facilitator: Deborah Georgiou (Head Policy and Communications, NSW Federation of Housing Associations)
Sue Cripps (Consultant, SC Consulting Group)
Danika Tonna (Mid Lachlan Aboriginal Housing Management Cooperative)
David Condliffe (Executive Director, Center for Community Alternatives)

Session sponsored by

Affordable housing for essential services workers

Relentless increases in the cost of housing have pushed low and middle income households to outer ring suburbs, often disconnected from jobs and public transport. This means that key workers, including nurses, police, firefighters, cleaners, aged care workers and teachers, are struggling find affordable housing near where they work. with opening statements from two nurses, this session will explore the growing demand for affordable housing for key workers and delivery models.

Facilitator: Michael Fotheringham (AHURI)
Judith Kiejda (Assistant General Secretary, NSW Nurses and Midwives Association / Vice President, Unions NSW)
Professor Peter Phibbs (University of Sydney)
Neil Kenzler (Chief Financial Officer, Teachers Mutual Bank)

Not just a Sydney issue: Homelessness in regional areas

Delivering housing and homelessness services in regional areas presents unique challenges that vary from place to place. One size certainly does not fit all and what works in the city often doesn’t work in the bush. This session will explore how housing and homelessness services in regional areas can work collaboratively to develop responses that meet local needs.

Facilitator: Michele Adair (CEO, Illawarra Housing Trust)
Ken Marchingo (CEO, Haven)
Judy Stubbs (Consultant)
Sarah Walker (Specialist Homelessness Services Manager, OTCP)

Session sponsored by

Making offsite construction work

Offsite construction is a growing international trend that promises to cut both costs and build time. How can we develop Australia’s capacity for offsite construction and more importantly, should we? This session will explore the current evidence base supporting offsite construction and examine the challenges blocking widespread adoption among mainstream developers as well as the longer term asset management implications for the community housing sector.

Facilitator:  Sonya Campbell (PWC)

Professor Mathew Aitchison (University of Sydney)
Matt Daly (Business Development, HOW Social Construct)
Charles Northcote (CEO, BlueCHP)

Session sponsored by

Can Build to Rent fly in Australia?

UNSW’s City Futures Research Centre has been funded by Landcom to lead research on the possible scope for a Build to Rent sector in Australia. Central to the project is assessing the financial feasibility of a Build to Rent product in the Australian housing market context and its potential contribution to urban renewal and affordable housing supply. Since the research remains a work in progress, this session will provide a platform for some provisional findings drawn mainly from the extensive stakeholder interviews undertaken by the team.
Recent Australian interest in Build to Rent has drawn inspiration from the sector’s recently rapid growth in the UK, so the session will cover fieldwork in England, as well as the reflections of those working in the UK Build to Rent sector. This will be complemented by a panel discussion with representatives from organisations keen to see the Build to Rent model take hold in Australia.

*This is a long session and will run 11.30am-1.15pm

Facilitator: Vy Ngyuen (Landcom)
Alex Notay (Places for People – Program Director)
Professor Hal Pawson (UNSW)

Adam Hirst (General Manager Capital Allocation, Mirvac)
Other panellists to be announced

Session sponsored by

12.45 – 13.45 Lunch with an opportunity to network and view exhibitor stands
13.45 – 15.15





Community housing as part of a national plan

There is a shortage of affordable rental housing in Australia, but no national plan to address this. The community housing industry is eager to be a part of the solution, yet in comparison to other countries the industry is relatively small and low profile. How can we change this? In this plenary David Orr CEO at England’s National Housing Federation will be looking at the rise and rise of the equivalent sector there, the ingredients of its success. Australian respondents will discuss what needs to happen here.

Facilitator: Michael Fotheringham (AHURI)
Keynote: David Orr (Chief Executive, National Housing Federation)
Panel members:
Michael Lennon (Chair, Community Housing Industry Association)
Ivan Simon (Conference Chair)
John Murray (Community Housing Tenant Network)
Diana Kelly (Community Housing Tenant Network)

Session sponsored by

15.15 – 15.45 Afternoon tea
15.45 – 17.00


























Improving access and service delivery for Aboriginal people

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are over represented as clients of homelessness services and as social housing tenants.  Delivering culturally appropriate services requires a diverse and culturally competent workforce, which is why housing and homelessness services need to become employers of choice for Aboriginal people. This session will explore the cultural challenges for Aboriginal people working with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities and how the industry can be more supportive.

Facilitator: Paula Coghill (NSWFHA)
Seth Toomey (Mid Lachlan Aboriginal Housing Management Cooperative)
James Christian (CEO, NSWALC)
Jenny Samms (Former CEO, Aboriginal Housing Victoria)

Inclusionary Zoning: how could it work in NSW?

There are plenty of ways to implement inclusionary zoning, but not all were created equal. How does it work in NSW compared with other jurisdictions? Where does inclusionary zoning fit into the planning puzzle and what’s the viability of affordable housing developments? This session will unpick inclusionary zoning and look at the best way of doing it to optimise the benefits for communities.

Facilitator: Sarah Hill (CEO, Greater Sydney Commission)
Richard Drdla (Toronto, Canada)
Andrew Spencer (Associate, SGS Economics)
Brendan Coates (Grattan Institute)

Responding to the NDIS: making housing and homelessness services accessible and inclusive for people with disability

Discussions around the NDIS and housing tend to revolve around accessibility for people with a physical disability. But the latest figures show that intellectual disability is the largest primary disability of participants. This session will explore how housing and homelessness services can meet the needs of people with intellectual disability. What does an inclusive service model look like for someone with an intellectual disability and how can the sector ensure equal access particularly when it comes to tenant rights and responsibilities, complaints, feedback, and ongoing community engagement?

Facilitator: Dr Tony Gilmour (Housing Action Network)
Tracy White (CEO, NSW Council for Intellectual Disability)
Margaret Ward (Griffith University)
Anne Bryce (CEO, Achieve)

Why supportive housing?

It is clear that the longer people are homelessness, the more harm is caused. The most effective, and ultimately the cheapest way to end homelessness is to provide people with a quick pathway to permanent housing, and to provide wraparound support for the length of time they need it. In order to ensure this rapid rehousing is sustained, support services must be resourced to ensure appropriate levels of general and specific supports are provided. With a focus on older people, this session will explore the evidence for supportive housing and the types of supports required.

Facilitator: Tamara Sequeira Neami (National Way2Home)
Dr Cameron Parsell  (University of QLD)
Associate Professor Jan Breckenridge GVRN (UNSW)

Session sponsored by

Australian Homelessness Monitor: taking stock of the latest developments
With the latest census highlighting a worrying increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness in NSW, it’s time to consider how we got here and the policy options available to reverse the trend and ultimately put an end to homelessness all together.
Homelessness is a complex issue and this session will unpack these complexities by looking at the latest analysis from the Australian Homelessness Monitor – a longitudinal study exploring the impact of economic and policy changes on homelessness.Facilitator: Katherine McKernan (CEO, Homelessness NSW)Speakers:
Professor Hal Pawson (UNSW)
Tony Keenan (Launch Housing)
Paul Adabie (Newtown Neighbourhood Centre)
Creating affordable housing for local communities

The need for affordable rental housing is not just a Sydney thing, parts of regional NSW are also experiencing their own housing affordability crisis. This session will explore the work that Shoalhaven City Council has done to engage with its community to start to identify some local solutions, including creating partnerships with community housing providers.

Facilitator: Rachel Trigg (Director, Elton Consulting)
Gordon Clark (Strategic Planning Manager, Shoalhaven City Council)
Eric Coulter (Regional Manager, Southern Cross Community Housing )
Mark Jones (Chair of the Illawarra Chapter for Property Council of Australia)

18.30 – 19.30
Pre-dinner drinks sponsored by

19.30 – 23.00
Conference Dinner (optional extra) sponsored by

Thursday 28 June 2018 – Day two

8.00 – 8.45 Registration
8.45 – 8.50


Welcome to day two of the 2018 Affordable Housing Conference

Conference Chair: Ivan Simon

8.50 – 10.15






Housing as Economic Infrastructure

A generation of long term renters living in housing stress. First home buyers consigned to outer ring suburbs, disconnected from transport and jobs. Couch-surfing students unable to break into the housing market. Nurses, police officers and other key workers facing lengthy commutes. More and more people retiring without the security of owning their own home. It all adds up to rising inequality, less tax revenue and more demands on the government welfare bill. None of it good for Australia’s future economic prospects. This session will explore the role of housing in supporting economic growth and productivity gains, considering the broader impact of expensive housing on the economy. It will build the case for strategic government investment in affordable housing as essential infrastructure for the Australian economy.

Facilitator: Jessica Irvine (Journalist, Sydney Morning Herald)
Keynote Speaker: Saul Eslake (Economist)
Panel members:
Brendan Coates (Grattan Institute)
Marcus Spiller (CEO, SGS Economics)
Peter Abelson (CEO, Applied Economics)

Session sponsored by

10.15 – 11.15





Bridging the financing gap

The housing market can go up or down but two things never change, there is always going to be a need for affordable housing and the government will always be needed to help make this happen, both through investment and policy leadership. There is an estimated shortage of around 500,000 social and affordable homes and this session will explore the financial mechanisms required to deliver these homes.

Facilitator: Scott Langford (CEO, SGCH)
Keynote Speaker: Emily Cadik (Executive Director, The Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition)
Panel members:
Stephen Anthony (Chief Economist, Industry Super)
Professor Richard Eccleston (University of Tasmania)

Session sponsored by

11.15 – 11.45 Morning tea sponsored by
11.45 – 13.00



































Aboriginal housing: what does the future hold?

This session will explore the challenges faced by the Aboriginal community housing industry and discuss the frameworks in place to build the capacity of the sector to respond to the needs of Aboriginal people who need housing assistance.

Facilitator to be announced.
Suzanne Naden (CEO, Bungree Aborginal Association)
Sally Kubiak (Director, Aboriginal Housing Office)
Jenny Samms (Former CEO, Aboriginal Housing Victoria)

Intersection between community housing providers and specialist homelessness services

There are an increasing numbers of community housing providers involved in the delivery of services to people experiencing homelessness. This session will explore the role of CHPs within the specialist homelessness services system and their interactions with existing providers.

Facilitator: Katherine McKernan (CEO, Homelessness NSW)
Debbie Georgopolous (CEO, Women’s Housing Company)
Jenny Ranft (Divisional Manager Community Service, Wentworth Community Housing)
Penny Dordoy (Housing Plus)

Session sponsored by

Beautiful Density

Density uplift is a contentious issue, with development proposals often facing backlash from local communities. It’s too crowded. There’s not enough space. It’s badly designed. We haven’t been consulted. This session will consider the key reasons driving local community resistance to density uplift to understand how this can be mitigated with good planning that views the community as a key stakeholder in the development process.

Facilitator: Chris Bratchford (Executive Director, Mission Australia)
Leonie King (CEO, CityWest)
Maire Sheehan (Better Planning Network)
Monica Barone (CEO, City of Sydney)

Session sponsored by

Asset Management: a challenging business

As the community housing industry grows – through management transfer, new development and fee for service arrangements its portfolio strategy and approach to asset management also needs to evolve.  There is pressure on providers to ensure:

  • That they develop sustainable homes in sustainable communities
  • the safe condition of their properties
  • that public value is maintained
  • that tenant satisfaction benchmarks continue to be met and exceeded

This session will initially focus on an international approach before moving to a general discussion on the issues and measures to tackle the challenges in Australia.

Facilitator: Mychelle Curran (Executive Director Strategy, NSW Land and Housing Corporation)
Craig Sanderson (CEO, Link Scotland)
Donald Proctor (Executive Manager Strategic Assets, Compass)

Is tax reform possible?

Tax reform is a particularly trickly political sell – there will always be winners and losers following any change, yet the sheer complexity of the tax system means issues are often tossed in the ‘too hard’ basket without the public debate required. This session will explore the barriers to tax reform and practical solutions available to policymakers that could give way to a tax system that supports increased housing affordability.

Facilitator: to be announced
Professor Richard Eccleston (University of Tasmania)
Brendan Coates (Grattan Institute)
Professor Miranda Stewart (University of Melbourne)

Meanwhile Use: Innovation in delivering transitional housing

A shortage of transitional and crisis accommodation creates a barrier for women escaping domestic violence and increases the risk of homelessness for vulnerable people.
Developers often hold properties for some time before redevelopment and this session will explore the innovative models available to property developers to support an increase in the supply of transitional housing.

Facilitator: Simone Parsons (Women’s Community Shelters)
Dominic Sullivan(General Manager, Payce)
Rebecca Mullins (CEO, My Foundations Youth Housing)

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch with an opportunity to network and view exhibitor stands
14.00 – 15.15


































What works in housing people who have been in prison: lessons from New York and nearer home

People leaving prison face a tough transition back into the community, often having to rebuild their lives from scratch following significant trauma and with little support. What works when it comes to housing people who have been in prison? This session will explore how the housing needs of people who have been in prison are being supported in New York before taking a look closer to home at the supports available in NSW.

Facilitator: Dr Tony Gilmour (Housing Action Network)
David Condliffe (Executive Director, Center for Community Alternatives)
Alison Churchill (CEO, Community Restorative Centre)
Tricia Forbes (Manager, Rosa Coordinated Care Program)

Can we make housing more affordable through design?

There are plenty of ideas out there from compact apartments, tiny homes, car free blocks and zero emission homes that will reduce both the development cost and the resident’s bills. Which have legs, would they make a real dent in what it costs to build and run a home, what would the neighbours say? In this session we will hear from three speakers about their ideas and finish with a lively discussion with the audience.

Facilitator: Professor Peter Phibbs (University of Sydney)
Dr Anitra Nelson (Centre for Urban Research, RMIT)
Chris Johnson (CEO, Urban Taskforce)
Francesca Muskovic (Policy Manager – Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs, Property Council of Australia)
John Brogden (CEO, Landcom)

Strengthening the role of local government in affordable housing

Local councils are a key piece of the housing affordability puzzle with a solid understanding of local communities and their needs.  How can councils leverage their position and take the lead in delivering more affordable housing? This session will explore the role of local government in addressing the shortfall of affordable housing, highlighting the key partnerships, policies and people required to lead the way.

Facilitator:  Dick Persson (Director, Bridge Housing)
Darcy Byrne (Lord Mayor, Inner West Council)
Steve Staikos (Mayor, City of Kingston)
Other speakers to be announced.

Safeguarding the sector: why talent development is essential

Both the housing and homelessness sectors – like many community sectors – have an ageing workforce, which has sparked calls for greater attention to skilling up the next generation of workers. What can the sector do to attract and retain the right people? And who are the ‘right’ people anyway? This session will explore the skills the sector needs, how to create the development strategies to nurture them and why this is good for business. It will also look at how the sector can highlight our innovation and impact as a way of attracting talented young people to work in housing.

Facilitator: Dr. Evelyne Tadros (Mission Australia)
Katherine McKernan (CEO, Homelessness NSW)
Nicola Lemon (CEO, Hume Community Housing)
David Orr (CEO, National Housing Federation)

Do we listen to consumers: challenging community housing providers to engage

The client-centred approach is widely recognised as best practice in service delivery, but what does it mean in the housing context? It’s about meaningful engagement with tenants/consumers to understand their priorities and concerns and a commitment to doing something about them. This session will explore how community housing providers can better engage with their tenants, particularly Aboriginal tenants by looking at new initiatives both local and international.

Facilitator: Talie Star (Consumer Representative, Homelessness NSW)
Michelle Craig (Dtarawarra)
Ivan Simon (Dtarawarra)
Linda McLennan (Community Housing Tenant Network)
Dolores Close (Community Housing Tenant Network)

Deal making: the challenges of funding and delivering housing development

What does it take to put together a successful housing development scheme? With a focus on financing, this session will explore how to build effective partnerships, ensuring sufficient returns and securing subsidies to enable the delivery of affordable housing.

Facilitator: Stephanie Hall (PWC)
Donald Proctor (Executive Manager Strategic Assets, Compass)
Renee Wirth (SGCH)
Andrew Tyndale (Grace Mutual)

15.15 – 15.45 Afternoon tea
15.45 – 17.00



Everybody’s Home: how to get there

There is a growing shortfall of affordable homes across the housing spectrum and growing public awareness that we already have the tools to fix Australia’s broken housing system – it seems to come down to a matter of will. This panel debate will explore the options available to politicians to address the current shortfall of affordable housing, with politicians from across the political spectrum responding with their proposals.

Facilitator: Rebecca Huntley (Author and social researcher)
Susan Ryan AO (Outgoing Age Discrimination Commissioner)
Clover Moore (Lord Mayor, City of Sydney)
Tania Muhailik (NSW Labor)
Jenny Leong (NSW Greens)
Other panellists to be announced

17.00 Conference close


* The schedule above is subject to change.

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