Firms act on first stage of $1.1b social housing project

The five transactions that comprise the initial stage will build 2,200 homes

Firms act on first stage of $1.1b social housing project
Various firms have acted on the first stage of the NSW Government’s $1.1bn Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF).

Herbert Smith Freehills advised the NSW Treasury and the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) on the five transactions that complete the initial stage. Corrs Chambers Westgarth acted for St George Community Housing (SGCH), one of the parties that received one of the five contracts. Meanwhile, MinterEllison advised the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which provided funding for the successful SGCH bid.

All in all, the five parties involved will deliver 2,200 dwellings for people who are in housing stress and at risk of homelessness. The various projects cater to general tenants, seniors, and single-parent families, particularly women who are domestic violence victims.

The SAHF supports partnerships between the private and community sectors by providing long-term operational subsidies to bridge the funding gap between existing revenue streams and commercially viable projects, HSF said.

The five successful parties are:
  • BaptistCare NSW & ACT – 375 homes for older people, 125 homes for single parent families, particularly for women victims of domestic violence
  • Compass Housing Services Co Ltd – 600 homes close to support services and infrastructure
  • SGCH Sustainability Limited – 300 homes with tailored support coordination services and quality dwellings close to services and infrastructure
  • St Vincent de Paul Housing – 500 homes to general and aged tenants
  • Uniting – 300 homes for people over 55 without children at home
The NSW Government appointed HSF in December 2015, and the firm advised on the structure and establishment of the fund and all aspects of the procurement process. It advised on the bids process and the negotiations with shortlisted parties.

The cross-practice team was led by partner Peter Paradise and senior associate Nicholas Carney. They were assisted by partners Jane Hodder, Peter Butler, Robert Nicholson, David Templeman and Erin Wakelin. The team included special counsel Ian Reid, senior associates Kimberley Lean and Amelia Fleming, and solicitors Alanna Lofthouse and Nick Middleton.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth advised SGCH on its successful bid, which included putting in place a $130m finance facility with the CEFC. The SGCH contract is for energy efficient social and affordable housing.

The new finance facility adds to the existing $40m commitment of the CEFC to SGCH. Corrs also advised on the initial commitment, which is already funding 200 new energy efficient homes. The combined investment of up to $170 million is the largest single debt finance facility committed to a community housing provider in Australia, Corrs said.

The Corrs team was led by partners Andrew Chew and Rommel Harding-Farrenberg. They were supported by special counsel Megan Russell, senior associate Han Yong, and lawyers Jowa Chan, Jennifer Gamble and Nicole Morris.

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