Corrs Chambers Westgarth has advised St George Community Housing Ltd. (SGCH) on its successful bid under the Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF) program to deliver new energy efficient social and affordable housing in New South Wales. This included putting in place a $130 million finance facility with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
SGCH’s successful proposal to the NSW Government’s A$1.1 billion SAHF will see SGCH deliver 300 new homes for families on low incomes in south and south-western Sydney. The SAHF is a key component of the NSW Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW strategy that will result in more social and affordable housing dwellings linked to tailored support, to help households gain independence.
Corrs advised on all aspects of the SGCH transaction including the financing arrangements with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
The financing arrangement is in addition to an existing A$40 million commitment by CEFC to SGCH, which Corrs also advised on and which is already financing the construction of 200 new energy efficient homes. The combined investment of up to A$170 million is the largest single debt finance facility committed to a community housing provider in Australia.
SGCH’s partnership with CEFC ensures the new homes will be constructed beyond standard building requirements to achieve an average 7-Star National Housing Energy Rating System (NatHERS) rating. This includes reduced power bills, long term savings for SGCH as the landlord, and environmental benefits for the community through a reduced carbon footprint.
SGCH Group CEO Scott Langford said: “This A$130 million facility demonstrates that community housing providers can attract significant capital when government creates the right environment for institutional investment. We applaud the innovative thinking of the NSW Government in establishing the SAHF which will deliver real benefits for the people of NSW, offering sustainable social, economic and environmental outcomes.”
The Corrs Chambers Westgarth team was led by Partners Andrew Chew and Rommel Harding-Farrenberg, and supported by Special Counsel Megan Russell, Senior Associate Han Yong, and Lawyers Jowa Chan, Jennifer Gamble and Nicole Morris.
Corrs Partner Andrew Chew said: “We are delighted to have been able to assist SGCH access these funds so that they can provide better outcomes for low income families. SGCH’s successful proposal is a reflection of their tremendous organisation and all the hard work that went into this process.”
The arrangement between SGCH and CEFC will deliver improved energy efficiency with the new homes featuring sustainability measures such as improved insulation, window glazing, LED lighting, energy efficient appliances, smart meters and solar installations. This will lead to significant energy savings for low-income households.
Under the SAHF, SGCH will also deliver integrated services for tenants, including access to support services for education and employment.
SGCH is a leading not-for-profit community housing provider with over 30 years’ experience in developing and managing sustainable, safe and affordable homes and connecting people to opportunity.
Recognised as one of the largest Community Housing Providers in Australia, SGCH houses over 8,500 people in 4,400 homes across the Sydney Metropolitan Region.
Our pioneering partnerships with government agencies, community groups and support services allow us to increase the number of good quality homes and connect people to training, education, employment and community engagement opportunities.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation invests, applying commercial rigour, to increase the flow of finance into the clean energy sector. Our mission is to accelerate Australia's transformation towards a more competitive economy in a carbon constrained world, by acting as a catalyst to increase investment in emissions reduction. We do this through an investment strategy focused on cleaner power solutions, including large and small-scale solar, wind and bioenergy; and a better built environment, with investments to drive more energy efficient property, vehicles, infrastructure, and industry. The CEFC also invests with co-financiers to develop new sources of capital for the clean energy sector, including climate bonds, equity funds, aggregation facilities and other financial solutions. The CEFC operates under the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012. For more information, visit cleanenergyfinancecorp.com.au