CSIA and Social Scaffolding recently hosted a meeting of key stakeholders to discuss social and affordable housing supply. A diverse group of organisations got involved in this discussion – some have land, some have cash, some have development expertise – but the one thing they ALL have in common is the unmatched and increasing demand for social, affordable and disability housing across their clients.

Consumer-directed care in the aged care and NDIS markets has created a huge demand for social and affordable housing, as have community trends such as ageing in place and increasing rent costs in what were once affordable communities. Brisbane’s increase in people experiencing homelessness only makes these challenges more visible.


In getting together, this group of highly experienced stakeholders were focused on developing new ways of delivering significant projects.

At the centre of this discussion was the idea of achieving great solutions by thinking and doing things a little bit differently.

We started out asking everyone in the room to present on their experiences in leveraging assets, combining skills of partners, and how they generated opportunities to work together.

To get the absolute best out of this rare opportunity to tap into great Industry minds, we facilitated the discussions to enable participants to find ways to combine knowledge, experience and assets to make projects happen whilst taking questions from the floor around learnings, and benefits for future developments.

Some of the projects we talked about had already been completed by redeveloping underutilised land, injecting new life into lazy assets, tapping into different capital sources and utilising debt or equity to deliver appropriate accommodation.

Existing ideas were leveraged into exiting new ideas. Throughout the conversation, new seeds for success were rapidly sown.

What was clear from this session, were the following observations and analysis:

Organisations working together in partnership have created measurable dents in these issues, and the opportunity to increase these impacts is clear.

  1. Partnerships that will be successful in developing more Housing will need the following contributing factors:
    • land
    • government connections
    • clients
    • cash
    • relationships outside of the core not-for-profit (NFP) network 
  2. Government land is an opportunity and an issue (namely the title of the land). Government needs to be engaged in problem-solving. GLASS (Government Land for Accommodation and Support Services) was one example discussed
  3. Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) ‘shared payments’ was identified as an opportunity
  4. Shared experiences have provided the platform for more consortia and partnerships to develop, and perhaps to evolve at a faster rate
  5. The variety of examples across a range of providers, illustrated that consortium models and partnerships are creating the environment needed for increased social and affordable housing and partnerships. This was a really strong underlying theme identified for successful projects
  6. The usual barriers of funding, return on investment and land were able to be overcome, but required creativity and innovation
  7. There were plenty of experiences that others had not considered or would not have had the opportunity to learn from without participating in this discussion
  8. Organisations will act differently as a result of these learnings
  9. Partnering with private sector developers for construction, design and project management expertise as well as access to land was an enabler for several projects.

The projects presented worked ­– both with government and without government.

The exciting thing to come from this was a clear illustration that NFP’s can create the necessary impact in these demanding markets on their own. They don’t need to wait for government or policy decisions to enable developments and growth.

Government and NFP’s have the opportunity to learn from organisations who have successfully completed these sorts of projects.

Our intention is to engage government with future sessions like this one to increase their knowledge and understanding of the challenges facing providers, developers and non-government organisations as they approach these market demands.

Social Scaffolding and the CSIA themselves worked in partnership to convene this discussion of 20 organisations who helpfully shared their stories and ideas. And we’re incredibly pleased that it has laid the foundations for more partnerships and projects to evolve in both the immediate and short term.

About the author

Andrew Hamilton, Social Scaffolding

Andrew Hamilton and the team at Social Scaffolding have been challenging the status quo when it comes to housing and homelessness. Having chaired the 500 Lives 500 Homes Steering Committee, and seeing firsthand the benefits of cross-sector collaboration, the opportunity to amplify these partnerships between organisations to increase the portfolio of social, affordable and disability housing is clear.

Talk to the Social Scaffolding team about your ideas to provide more accommodation for your clients. You never know what might be possible.




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