Guidelines for Housing Assistance Grants

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This page provides additional information for applicants seeking grant funding from the Victorian Property Fund (VPF) for housing assistance projects.

It supplements the information contained in the Victorian Property Fund grant application guide.

Background

Section 76(3)(g) of the Estate Agents Act 1980 (the Act) enables the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming & Liquor Regulation (the Minister) to make grants from the VPF for projects providing or facilitating housing assistance for low income or disadvantaged Victorians.

We are responsible for administering the VPF grants program, which includes evaluating applications, making recommendations regarding proposals to the Minister, and managing the grants awarded.

Consultation

VPF grants are awarded by the Minister after consultations with us, the Estate Agents Council and any other industry associations, Government departments and other bodies that the Minister thinks appropriate. View our Estate Agents Council page.

For housing assistance grant applications, input is sought from the Director of Housing (DoH) through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); and where the value of the grant sought exceeds $250,000, from the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF). The purpose of the consultation is to ensure that the proposal aligns with Government objectives and priorities regarding housing for low-income or disadvantaged Victorians, and is not an unwarranted duplication of services.

If the application is made by a Registered Housing Agency (RHA), we may also seek input from the Registrar of Housing Agencies regarding the agency's compliance with performance standards and other legislative requirements set out in Part VIII of the Housing Act 1983. For more information, visit the Housing Registrar website.

Housing funding rounds

The Government's current priority for VPF housing assistance funding is to support community housing organisations to carry out housing development projects that will increase the supply of long-term social housing.

We run a two-stage annual housing funding round for social housing development projects. The process involves:

  • an invitation for expression of interest, where eligible community housing organisations are invited to put forward project funding opportunities for initial assessment, and
  • a formal grant application process, where those respondents with shortlisted proposals are invited to formally apply for a VPF grant.

Information about the funding rounds, including assessment criteria and response requirements, is published on our website during the course of each funding round. View our Funded services and grants section.

We are unlikely to accept a formal grant application for a housing proposal outside of the funding round process, but we may do so at our sole discretion if the proposal is from a Government department, or if the DoH strongly endorses the proposal.

Housing application evaluation criteria

Specific evaluation criteria for housing funding rounds may vary. These will be published on our website when the round is launched.

General evaluation criteria for other housing assistance grant applications include:

  • eligibility for funding under section 76(3)(g) of the Act - the housing assistance must be for low income or disadvantaged Victorians
  • priority is given to applications for 'bricks and mortar' projects that will directly increase the supply of housing. Research, staffing or administration costs, and other expenditure not directly adding to the housing supply will not usually be funded
  • the extent to which the proposed use of funding provides value for money. This will involve an assessment of whether the proposal provides an enduring long-term public benefit. Funding will not be provided where it is likely to result in personal benefit to individuals
  • Priority is given to applications made by the DoH, other Government departments and not-for-profit community housing organisations registered as Housing Agencies. Applications made by other organisations will not usually be funded
  • the extent to which the grant applicant is able to demonstrate that it has the capacity and capability to carry out the project for which funding is requested.

For housing development proposals, other evaluation considerations include the extent to which:

  • VPF funding is leveraged by capital or in-kind funding contributions from other public or private project partners. The VPF will not usually fund more than 80% of total project costs
  • environmentally sustainable design features are incorporated to minimise the housing's environmental impact and to reduce utility costs for low-income or disadvantaged residents. To be viewed favourably in this regard, proposals should aim for at least a 7-star energy rating.

More information

Where VPF funding is used to assist a RHA acquired property, the interest of the State of Victoria must be protected through an endorsement over the title in favour of the DoH. All or part of the grant funding will be provided by DHHS to facilitate this endorsement process.

If an application is made by a RHA, the applicant must authorise us to seek, and the DHHS or the Registrar of Housing Agencies to supply, information regarding the applicant's compliance with Part VIII of the Housing Act 1983.

We process all VPF grant applications, including those for housing assistance grants, according to standard application procedures set out in the Victorian Property Fund grant application guide.

The VPF grants program has a limited budget for housing assistance projects. Before preparing an application, contact us on 03 8684 6408 or email vpf.grant.enquiries@justice.vic.gov.au to discuss the nature of your proposal and current VPF priorities and funding capacity.

For more information about the VPF grants program, including details on how to prepare and lodge a VPF grant application, view our Victorian Property Fund grants page.