The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) has provided $65 million in long-term, low-interest funds to Victorian community housing provider Haven Home Safe.
According to the body, the loan will enable Haven Home Safe to potentially save around $10 million in costs relating to its existing debt, allowing it to construct new social and affordable homes and directly support the delivery of around 99 new social and affordable dwellings.
The cost savings from NHFIC’s finance will also enable Haven Home Safe to increase the number of new homes it can provide, as well as provide other critical support services to tenants such as employment readiness, financial and living skills, domestic violence support and transitional housing programs, as well as support for older Australians.
NHFIC CEO Nathan Dal Bon said the loan to Haven Home Safe was one of three new investments the corporation was making in Victoria.
“Community housing providers (CHPs) are absolutely critical to ensuring Australians in need have a long-term, safe and secure place to call home,” Mr Dal Bon said.
“Haven Home Safe already provides housing for more than 1,800 Victorians, and with this loan, they will be able to extend that support to even more people in need.”
Mr Dal Bon added that, in less than 18 months of operation, the NHFIC was supporting CHPs to provide more than 800 new affordable homes, and said the corporation will soon announce loans to two more CHPs in Victoria soon.
“We will continue to work with CHPs and state and territory governments as we expand our reach,” Mr Dal Bon said.
Haven Home Safe chair Sue Clarke said the long-term certainty and cost savings that NHFIC’s finance provides are vital to building the organisation’s capacity to accelerate and increase the supply of affordable housing.
“The NHFIC interest rate is significantly below the rates we can typically borrow, and means we can put more money into building new homes,” Ms Clarke said.
The Australian government tabled legislation in February 2018 to establish the NHFIC as part of its housing affordability plan announced in the 2017-18 federal budget.
The federal housing minister and assistant Treasurer, Michael Sukkar, welcomed the announcement, saying: “NHFIC is a key part of the Australian Government’s Reducing Pressure on Housing Affordability plan, announced in the 2017-18 Federal Budget.
“In less than 18 months since commencing operations, NHFIC has now provided more than $600 million in loans to community housing providers potentially saving them more than $80 million in interest and other costs.”
The NHFIC appointed Mr Dal Bon as its inaugural CEO in December 2018.
[Related: New grant scheme opens for community housing]