Sharing with Friends
Newsletter No. 16
It has been four months since our last newsletter and what a few months it has been!
Despite battling COVID, floods, flu and the distraction of an election, our management committee and key advisors have been busy working toward our goal of implementing the first Sharing with Friends (SwF) co-housing project.
In this newsletter we bring you up to date with our many activities and are featuring some inspiring images from 'A Design Guide for Older Women's Housing' (Schored Projects) https://schoredprojects.com.au/A-DESIGN-GUIDE-FOR-OLDER-WOMENS-HOUSING
What's been happening at Sharing with Friends?
The number one priority is our continued search for land and we have been searching “up hill and down dale” thanks to the tireless efforts of Foundation member Ian Mackie. Ian has used his impressive connections across the property sector reaching out and following up every lead that comes our way. While we have not formally reached an outcome of donated land at this time, we remain confident we are not far from achieving this important goal.
Minter Ellison Lawyers have prepared and presented our final Residents Agreement and Community Lease Agreement. This is an important milestone in our journey to ensure that resident’s legal entitlements to a safe and affordable home are secured. A simplified version of the Resident’s Agreement has been prepared to ensure all participants understand their rights and responsibilities under the Agreement. We have consulted with our SwF focus group and a further workshop will be delivered by our lawyers to review and answer all questions from participants prior to entering any agreements.
Minter Ellison is also undertaking an important role in assisting SwF as a charitable organisation in applying for an exemption to Land Tax which may be applied to donated land in Queensland. This will be another significant step in supporting our access to donated land.
A range of other important documents have been completed including a prospectus for establishing strategic relationships with the Brisbane Housing Company and Expression of Interest to Qld Government Housing Fund Initiatives (QHIGI). These documents have been submitted and resulted in relevant meetings being held with these parties toward achieving our goal of affordable housing for older women. The success of our project relies heavily on the relationships and the support we receive from these parties from whom we continue to receive positive interest.
We welcome Andrew Daniels (Director, Aurelius Advisory) to our Management Committee joining as Treasurer on the resignation of Kevin Boyle. We thank Kevin for his help and guidance through the early stages of our project and will continue working with him as a key advisor as we navigate our way forward.
With the current shortage of building supplies and rising costs, partnered with a significant trade shortage and extended building times, members from our key advisors group are exploring appropriate and cost-effective alternatives to meet our building requirements. It is important to note that we remain committed to meeting our first objective of affordable housing for our participants.
Sharing with Friends, represented by Foundation President Susan Davies, has been invited to join the Housing Outcomes for Older Women Advice and Monitoring Group (AMG) (Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy). The purpose of the AMG is to bring together relevant organisations such as SwF, QShelter, Ethnic Women's Council, WIN Housing Projects, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing and Housing Older Women (HOW) Movement to inform and support the Department as it implements a work program for improving housing and support opportunities for older women. While the AMG does not have a decision-making role, it will ensure that the views of older women are heard throughout the development and implementation of innovative projects throughout Queensland.
On a broader level, Susan is also a member of the Housing Action Lab (HAL). The HAL brings together relevant Qld leaders to explore our most pressing housing issues. Facilitated by consultants Business Models Inc, HAL aims to find new and innovative ways to address our most pressing housing issues across a range of concerns including new funding models to support older women in housing.
SwF continues to work closely with the HOW Movement in lobbying and advocating to address the needs of older women and housing in Queensland.
UNDER COVER - The Film
A full-length feature film has been produced on older women and homelessness in Australia and will be premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival in August. We have been in touch with the producer and are working toward a fund-raising screening to be hosted by the Zonta Club of Brisbane later this year.
"Narrated by Margot Robbie and sharing the lives of an eclectic group of women throughout Australia, UNDER COVER shines a light on a devastating reality - women over 50 being the fastest growing cohort experiencing homelessness in Australia. These moving but optimistic portraits reveal the struggles these women face, and lay bare the flaws in our society, as well as our economic fragility in the modern world".
You can see a preview at: https://documentaryaustralia.com.au/project/undercover
Housing Older Women Support Service (HOWSS)
Footprints Community has been awarded the tender to establish the new older women's housing support hub. Identified as one of the 5 Pillars in supporting older women's housing by the Queensland Government in February 2022, HOWSS will be based in Brisbane working on a hub and spoke model into regional areas. It will work closely with local partners, including Housing Service Centres, aged care, and the health and disability sectors to support older women. The hub will be a single-entry point, where an older woman will be able to contact the Hub easily and without engaging through a website or online form filling. The Hub will connect women to specialist homelessness services, and renting, health and financial support. It will be a welcoming and warm space that women can access in person, by phone, online or through outreach. Trained staff and volunteers, who have shared experiences, will be available to provide advice and advocacy and guide women towards the specific services they need. Women can receive early intervention and assistance to avoid homelessness, navigate available services and access coordinated housing and support options. In addition, consideration will be given to how local and place-based services can be established through existing community infrastructure for women to receive early intervention and support in their own communities.
To find out more and when it will be available in your area please call 1800 366 877.
A dedicated website will soon be available www.HOWSS.org.au
To learn more about Footprints: https://footprintscommunity.org.au
SwF gets national recognition as a real alternative for housing older women at risk!
SwF co-housing model was identified as an alternative form of affordable housing in the Australian Housing Urban Research Institute (AHURI) Research “Alternative Housing Models for Precariously Housed Older Australians” Final report 378 (May 2022) p.25 https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/378
Key points from the report:
• Older Australians on lower incomes who do not own their own homes are at increasing risk of housing stress and instability, with private renters and single women facing particular risks.
• Precarious housing has negative impacts on the health, safety and wellbeing of older people, while also undermining their capacity to age well in place.
• There is an urgent need for innovation in the Australian housing market to drive an expanded and more diverse range of affordable housing options for lower income older people and reduce the need for older people to rely on the private rental sector.
• Fieldwork findings identified a range of alternative housing models with strong potential to be scaled up in the Australian context: cohousing, integrated mixed-use developments, modular-style manufactured housing utilising vacant land and low-rise medium density developments.
• Reforms to the private rental sector to provide greater protection for tenants and more flexible financing models can also contribute to improving affordable housing options for older Australians.
• Key enablers for expanding affordable housing for older Australians are government incentives and subsidies for developers; planning, regulatory and financing frameworks that accommodate alternative models; and enhanced market familiarity with alternative models.
• Increasing density and acquiring land at low cost are important drivers of affordability.
• Housing models that facilitate access to social supports, health and care services and transport (e.g. through amenity-rich locations or higher dwelling density) can enhance people’s capacity to age in place
“It has been recognised for some time that Australia faces significant housing affordability challenges, affecting both private renters and home buyers (see, for example, Burke, Nygaard et al. 2020; Commonwealth of Australia 2015; Kelly, Hunter et al. 2013). Older people are impacted in specific ways and in increasing numbers. Those with lower incomes who do not own their homes outright (including Age Pensioners) are at heightened risk of experiencing inappropriate housing, housing stress, housing instability and even homelessness. The housing options that are open to this growing cohort of precariously housed older Australians are limited and there is a need to identify alternative housing models that support important and interrelated life domains: shelter, wellbeing, participation, and inclusion.”
AHURI Conference Presentation
SwF Architect, Eloise Atkinson (Deicke Richards), delivered a paper on the Sharing with Friends model at the National Housing Conference held in Melbourne in March. Held every two years by AHURI, NHC is a 3-day forum that examines the latest evidence, significant policy reforms and the shining examples of best practice in delivering social and affordable housing options to Australians. Eloise's paper was very well received and resulted in much interest from attendees.
Susan and Linda (HOW Movement) visit New Ground in the UK.
President Susan visited the Older Women’s Co-Housing UK project in Barnet, about an hour outside inner London. It has been up and running for 5 years, after an 18 year(!) journey to bring UK older women a new choice for seniors living.
Susan met Company Secretary Josie and current President Anna who showed her around.
They are warm, witty, and wise women who are happy to share their stories and help those of use who aspire to develop such a place in Australia.
At the scale of OWCH UK (22 units around a central courtyard) their design is not a current Sharing with Friends model, but the ups and downs and experiences of living together harmoniously and resolving differences are invaluable to us.
They have offered to Zoom with us whenever we need advice and encouragement.
Warm thanks to Josie and Anna and to Linda Hahn of SwF and the HOW Movement who helped Susan make the appointment and get there and back safely.
(A new collaborator for the Sharing with Friends network!)
SwF is featured in the latest Women's Financial Outcomes Magazine (WFO). The July issue focusses on retirement and the housing crisis in Australia.
This free online magazine is devoted to supporting the financial literacy of women of all ages.
It is both an informative and easy read full of excellent ideas as well as a great reference for the younger women in our lives too.
If you would like to take a look here is the link: https://wfomag.co/wfo-2022-jul-issue-7/
SwF website has been updated and we are pleased to have 700 people registered to receive our newsletter updates. We continue to receive many requests for information and support from like-minded groups working toward a similar outcome in communities across Australia. We are frequently approached to contribute articles to a wide range of media outlets. Check out our article in Women's Financial Outcomes July edition.
We would love you to stay in touch and share our Sharing with Friends journey as we work toward finding solutions together to bring about change in the affordable housing sector.
Like our Facebook page for regular updates and other related news on co-housing in Australia
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Association (Qld) Inc, All rights reserved.
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Adrienne is a health professional with over 45 years' experience in team leadership and project management. She has initiated and successfully managed several start-up state-wide health programs of international recognition. With high level negotiation and facilitation skills she has significant experience in dealing with multi government departments and bringing together teams of professionals to deliver strategic goals.