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1. Summary

These guidelines relate to the Back Home Grants (AGRN 1012).

2. Recovery Needs

2.1 Purpose/Objective

(a) Made by agreement between the Commonwealth and NSW Governments under the DRFA, the objective of this assistance measure is to provide support for Eligible Applicants Directly Impacted by the NSW severe weather and flooding events commencing 22 February 2022 onwards (AGRN 1012), who are located in a suburb within a High Impacted Area agreed between the Commonwealth and NSW Governments.

(b) The Back Home Grants are intended as one-off payments for Eligible Applicants to help pay for costs of restoring housing to a habitable condition and/or replacing essential household contents where the Residential Property is considered damaged as a direct result of the Eligible Disaster.

3. Funding

3.1 Funding Source
 
(a) The Back Home Grants are jointly funded by the Australian and NSW Government and administered by Service NSW under Category D of the DRFA and will contribute to the recovery of communities affected by disaster events.

3.2 Available Payments 

(a) Subject to clause 3.2 (e), payment will be made to Eligible Applicants as a one-off amount, as follows:
   (i) Owner-Occupiers will receive a one-off $20,000 payment to help pay for costs towards repairing or replacing essential household items and/or restoring housing to a habitable condition.
   (ii) Owner-Investors will receive a one-off $15,000 payment to help pay for costs towards restoring housing to a habitable condition only.
   (iii) Tenants will receive a one-off $5,000 payment to help pay for costs towards repairing or replacing essential household items or costs associated with relocating these items to a new place of abode, only.

(b) Where the Eligible Address contains a single Residential Property, the following number of applications will be accepted: 
   (i) one Owner-Occupier application, or
   (ii) for Residential Property that is leased, 
       (A) one Owner-Investor application and 
       (B) one Tenant application.  

(c) Where the Eligible Address contains a Main Premise and one or more Separate Dwellings, the following number of applications will be accepted:
   (i) for the Main Premise, either: 
       (A) one Owner-Occupier application, or
       (B) where leased, 
          (I) one Owner-Investor application, and 
         (II) one Tenant application.  
   (ii) for each Separate Dwelling, one Tenant application per Separate Dwelling where leased      prior to 22 February 2022. 

Note: for the avoidance of doubt, owners of Separate Dwellings are not entitled to separate additional payments per Separate Dwelling.    

(d) Residential Properties with multiple dwellings, shared living arrangements and/or multiple owners will need to designate one responsible person, as follows:
   (i) in the case of Owner-Occupiers, one responsible person per Residential Property to submit an application on behalf of all Owner-Occupiers and distribute funds; 
   (ii) in the case of Owner-Investors, one responsible Owner-Investor to submit an application on behalf of all Owner-Investors and distribute funds; and 
   (iii) in the case of Tenants: 
       (A) for single dwelling Residential Property, one responsible Tenant to submit the application on behalf of all tenants and distribute funds; 
       (B) for multiple-dwelling Residential Property, :
          (I) for the Main Premise one responsible person to submit the application on behalf of all Tenants and distribute funds. 
          (II) for Separate Dwellings, one responsible person per Separate Dwelling to submit the application on behalf of all Tenants within their dwelling.

Note: For the avoidance of doubt, Main Premise tenants and tenants in each Separate Dwelling can apply separately. 

(e) Persons that own and occupy a dwelling in a Residential Land Lease Community and are considered homeowners under the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Act 2013 (Leasing Dwelling) may apply as an Owner-Occupier under this program if the Leasing Dwelling arrangement was entered into prior to 22 February  2022 and remains current.

3.3 How funding may be used

(a) The Back Home Grants may be used towards the cost of restoring housing to a Habitable Condition or replacing Essential Household Items which have been damaged as a direct result of the Eligible Disaster, such as:
   (i) for Owner-Occupiers and Owner-Investors, the inspection and safe reconnection of damaged utilities, including necessary replacement or repairs to electrical, gas, water, hot water, and sewerage equipment not otherwise the responsibility of utility companies;
   (ii) for Owner-Occupiers, Owner-Investors and Owner-Occupier of Leasing Dwellings necessary reconstruction of a damaged Residential Property, including restoration or replacement of damaged roofing, flooring, structural, walls, fittings and fixtures;
   (iii) for Owner-Occupiers, Tenants, and Owner-Occupier of Leasing Dwellings necessary replacement or repairs to damaged Essential Household Items including whitegoods, kitchen and household appliances, household laundry and cleaning equipment, cooking utensils, essential personal communications devices (non-business related), furniture and bedding; 
   (iv) for Tenants only, transportation and/or relocation costs related to moving Essential Household Items to a place of abode. 

Refer to Appendix A, below, for a list of items that the funding is intended for, noting this list is not exhaustive.

(b) The Back Home Grants cannot be used for: 
   (i) the building of any new infrastructure which did not exist prior to the Eligible Disaster
   (ii) tailoring of temporary accommodation pods / modules (Government Pods), funded by the NSW Government. 
   (iii) replacement or repair of Essential Household Items not stored or located at the eligible Residential Property (e.g. items kept in a commercial storage facility or at an alternate property address). 
   (iv) replacement or repair of damaged items that are used for business or commercial purposes
   (v) booking or rental costs for temporary or short-term accommodation or leasing of a new property.

4. Eligibility Criteria

4.1 Eligible Applicants

To be eligible, the applicant must:

(a) be the owner of a Residential Property or Leasing Dwelling, or tenant of a Residential Property or Separate Dwelling that:
   (i) is located in a suburb within a High Impacted Area;
   (ii) is considered damaged as a direct result of the Eligible Disaster; and

(b) be unable to claim the costs of restoring the home to a habitable condition or replacing essential household contents under an insurance policy. For the avoidance of doubt, this includes applicants that:
   (i) are uninsured for severe weather and/or flood damage;
   (ii) have insurance for severe weather and/or flood damage but do not have sufficient funding from their insurance claim; or
   (iii) are otherwise unable to claim for severe weather and/or flood damage; and,

(c) be ineligible for other, more comprehensive, support measures which are available for those on low incomes and with limited realisable assets.

5. Administrative Arrangements

5.1 Timeframes and Key Dates

(a) Applications will be accepted from 20 April 2022.

(b) Unless otherwise extended, applications will close 12 months from the date in clause 5.1(a). 

5.2 Application Process and Requirements 

(a) Applications must be submitted via: 
   (i) the Service NSW website, or 
   (ii) the Service NSW mobile application. 

(b) Applicants must fully complete the online application and submit all requisite documentation as stated on the application before the application close date set out in clause 5.1(b). 

5.3 All applicants must:

(a) provide personal contact details (name, email and phone number)

(b) provide proof of identity

(c) provide Australian bank account details for payment

(d) state their relationship to the Residential Property, Leasing Dwelling or Separate Dwelling i.e. Owner-Occupier, Owner-Investor or Tenant.

And if practicable, supply photographic evidence of the direct severe weather and flood-related damage. In accordance with clause 6.5, photographic evidence will be required if the property is not listed on the State Emergency Service Damage Assessment Dashboard. 

5.4 Applicants must provide the following documents as evidence of occupation: 

(a) if they are an Owner-Occupier: 
   (i) the Council Rates Notice for 2020-21 or 2021-22; and,
   (ii) a utility bill for the residential property that is no more than 4 months old.

(b) if they are an Owner-Occupier of a Leasing Dwelling:
   (i) a copy of the relevant site agreement showing the applicant’s name. If there is no site agreement, evidence of payment of the relevant site fees; 
   (ii) evidence of ownership of the Leasing Dwelling, such as, the Contract for Sale to purchase the Leasing Dwelling. 
   (iii) a government-issued document in your name that displays the address of the leasing dwelling.

Note: Service NSW will verify registration of the Residential Land Lease Community with NSW Fair Trading.

(c) if they are an Owner-Investor: 
   (i) the Council Rates Notice for 2020-21 or 2021-22.

(d) if they are a Tenant in a single Residential Property:
   (i) a copy of the current lease agreement or a screenshot from the Rental Bond Database showing the details of the relevant lease, and 
   (ii) a utility bill in their name that is no more than 4 months old, for the Residential Property
 (together, Primary Documents)
   (iii) and cannot produce the Primary Document, they may substitute one of the Primary Documents for a government-issued document in their name that displays the address of the Residential Property, such as
       (A) vehicle registration notice, or 
       (B) a letter from Centrelink, the Australian Tax Office, Service NSW or Transport for NSW

(e) if they are a Tenant in a multiple dwelling Residential Property:
   (i) for the Main Residence, Tenants must comply with clause 5.4(d) 
   (ii) for each Separate Dwelling, Tenants must provide:
       (A) a copy of the current lease agreement, commencing prior to 22 February 2022 or a screenshot from the Rental Bond Database showing the details of the relevant lease. If there is no written lease agreement, evidence of rental payments, including bank statements, a rental ledger and/or rental receipts, and
       (B) a utility bill in their name that is no more than 4 months old, for the Residential Property. If this is not available, a government-issued document in their name that displays the address of the Residential Property, and
       (C) photos of the Separate Dwelling in which the Tenant resides, showing its proximity to the Main Premise, and its kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living area, and toilet and laundry facilities.

(f) Service NSW may request additional evidence where it cannot verify the Eligible Address or any other fact, matter or statement.

5.5 For auditing and eligibility purposes, Eligible Applicants may be required to demonstrate they: 

(a) are uninsured for severe weather and/or flooding

(b) have insufficient insurance to cover the costs of restoring the home to a habitable condition and/or replacing essential household contents; and 

(c) are otherwise unable to claim under insurance for severe weather and /or flood damage.  

5.6 Eligible Applicants must retain records and receipts in relation to the items and services purchased using the grant funds for auditing and eligibility purposes. 

5.7 Applicants must declare the information provided in their application is true and correct. Penalties may apply for false or misleading information. Where false or misleading information is provided, applications may be referred to law enforcement. 

5.8 Applicants consent to Service NSW conducting an audit of tax invoices, official receipts, bank statements or other similar records to verify the amounts paid under the program have been used in accordance with clause 3.3. 

5.9 Applicants must retain and provide on request, for a minimum of 24 months following the closing of the program, all documentation and evidence related to their eligibility and the application requirements outlined in these guidelines (including Evidence of Monies Paid). 

5.10 Before applying for financial assistance under this program, applicants should seek advice from their legal, business or financial advisers about the tax implications of this financial assistance.

6. Assessment and Approval Process

6.1 Complete applications will be assessed in the order in which they are lodged. Incomplete applications will not enter the assessment queue until all required information is provided.

6.2 Applications will be assessed against the eligibility criteria in these guidelines. 

6.3 Service NSW may request further information as necessary to assess an application. Failure to comply with such request may lead to rejection of an application.  

6.4 Resilience NSW may conduct site visits to assess the applicant’s eligibility and conduct compliance activities. For example, to assess that the Residential Property is damaged. 

6.5 In circumstances where an applicant does not provide photographic evidence that the Residential Property is damaged and the NSW Government does not already have a record of the property being assessed as damaged, Service NSW may request the applicant provide further information to establish eligibility. Failure to comply with such request will be dealt within in accordance with clause 6.3. 

6.6 Service NSW reserves the right to refuse an application where eligibility criteria are not met, or where the applicant does not or cannot provide sufficient information to determine if eligibility criteria have been met. 

6.7 Applications submitted may be subject to audit activities by Service NSW or its agents, the purpose of which will be to determine compliance with program guidelines and terms and conditions.

7. Complaints Handling

7.1 Administering agency to develop and manage this process.

8. Important Information

8.1 These guidelines are correct at the time of publishing. 

8.2 Resilience NSW / Service NSW reserves the right to amend, alter or change these guidelines at any time, and it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that they check the relevant website prior to application. 

8.3 The guidelines that apply to your application will be the guidelines that are current at the time your application is assessed by Service NSW.

8.4 Service NSW may share applicant information with other NSW Government agencies, including:

(i) Revenue NSW, for the purpose of verifying NSW Government home and/or content support received by Disaster Relief Grant applicants (available to those on low incomes and with limited realisable assets)

(ii) Resilience NSW, for the purpose of verifying NSW Government home and/or content support received by Disaster Relief Grant applicants (available to those on low incomes and with limited realisable assets) and for program monitoring and evaluation

(iii) Public Works Advisory (PWA), for the purposes of verifying property damage assessments

(iv) De-identified disclosure of program statistics on Tableau and DOMO Dashboards. This is disclosed to NSW Treasury, Resilience NSW, PWA, DCJ, the Department of Customer Service (DCS) and the Department of National Recovery and Resilience Agency (Cth) for the purpose of analysis and research.

(v) Identified disclosure of suspected cases of fraud to the NSW Police as a part of Service NSW’s obligations under the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). 

(vi) Disclosure of personal information to Revenue NSW if SNSW suspects a contravention of payment conditions, or so that payments may be recovered.

8.5 Funding used other than in accordance with this Guideline and the Terms and Conditions will be repayable on demand.

9. Definitions

Administering Agency means the responsible agency/department/body for assessing and administering the Back Home Grant applications. 

Damaged as a direct result / Directly Impacted means a direct and material impact to the Eligible Applicant’s Residential Property or Essential Household Items that is caused by the Eligible Disaster.

Damage means that due to the Eligible Disaster a Residential Property has:
(a) been destroyed or must be demolished
(b) been declared structurally unsound
(c) incurred disrepair to the interior
(d) its interior exposed the elements
(e) sewage which has got inside

Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) means the funding arrangements as agreed between the Commonwealth and the State for providing financial assistance to communities affected by an Eligible Disaster.

Eligible Address means the address of a Residential Property. 

Eligible Applicant means a person who meets the eligibility criteria outlined in clause 4.1.

Eligible Disaster means NSW Severe Weather and Flooding from 22 February 2022 onwards.

Essential Household Items means items which contribute towards the provision of day-to-day shelter, comfort and sustenance and are considered necessary for maintaining a basic standard of living. This does not include items which are used for business or commercial purposes.

Evidence of Monies Paid may include: 
(a) a receipt, including the name, address and ABN (if applicable) of the entity that issued the receipt and a description of each item to which the receipt relates, and/or
(b) a copy of the Eligible Applicant’s transaction and/or bank statement.

Habitable Condition means a Residential Property that is fit for human habitation, possesses basic amenities in working order and not being in substantial disrepair. 

High Impacted Area means nominated Local Government Areas: Armidale, Ballina, Bellingen, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Byron, Central Coast, Cessnock, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Glen Innes Severn, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Kyogle, Lismore, Lithgow, Penrith, Richmond Valley, Singleton, Tenterfield, The Hills and Tweed Note: High impacted Areas are subject to change.

Leasing Dwelling has the meaning given in clause 3.2(e). 

Main Premise means a self-contained dwelling including at least one kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living area and that also includes toilet and laundry facilities, being a dwelling: 

(a) that comprises one or more major sections,
(b) in the case of units/flats/duplexes on unsubdivided Residential Property, one designated unit/flat/duplex, and
(c) that is not a motor vehicle, trailer or other registrable vehicle within the meaning of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW), and includes any associated structures that form part of the dwelling.

Owner-Investor means an Eligible Applicant who is the registered proprietor of the Residential Property, in which they do not reside.

Owner-Occupier means an Eligible Applicant who is the registered proprietor of and resides in the Residential Property, maintaining essential items of clothing, bedding, furniture and other goods necessary for the provision of day to day shelter, comfort and sustenance at the relevant Residential Property. 

Owner-Occupier of Leasing Dwelling means an Eligible Applicant that satisfies clause 3.2(e).

Rental Bond Database means NSW Fair Trading’s service for lodging rental bonds. For more information, please visit the NSW Fair Trading website.

Residential Property means a dwelling designated for residential purposes valued as one assessment under the Land Tax Management Act 1956 and its dominant use is for residential accommodation, but not hotels, motels, guest-houses, backpacker hostels, nursing homes, boarding or lodging houses. 

Primary Documents has the meaning given to it in clause 5.4. 

Separate Dwelling means a dwelling, not being the Main Premise, but linked to an Eligible Address, such as a granny flat, unit/flat/duplex on an unsubdivided Residential Property, caravan, motorhome, relocatable home, cabin or shipping container where it: 

(a) includes at least one kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living area and includes toilet and laundry facilities and;
(b) comprises one or more major sections; and includes any associated structures that form part of the dwelling.

Tenant means an Eligible Applicant, not being the owner, who has a current lease agreement for and resides at the Residential Property, maintaining essential items of clothing, bedding, furniture and other goods necessary for the provision of day to day shelter, comfort and sustenance at the relevant Residential Property. 

10. Evaluation

The NSW Government is committed to providing excellent service that responds to your needs through well targeted programs. For this reason, the NSW Government evaluates its programs. This sometimes includes contact with customers to ask about your experience of the assistance you received, for example via surveys. The NSW Government will always treat the responses you provide as confidential and use the information only for the purposes it was collected.  

Appendix A

Indicative items that the funding is intended for (not exhaustive)

(a) The Back Home Grants may be used to assist in the repair and replacement of the following essential household contents:

(i) Air conditioner
(ii) Bed bases
(iii) Bed mattresses
(iv) Bedding
(v) Car seat – baby or child
(vi) Cot – baby
(vii) Clothesline
(viii) Clothing
(ix) Computer, communications, and internet accessories
(x) Dining wall unit
(xi) Dining/kitchen suite
(xii) Dressing table/drawers
(xiii) Fan and/or heater
(xiv) Floor coverings
(xv) Fry pan/Wok (Electric) 
(xvi) High chair
(xvii) Hot water service
(xviii) Iron and ironing board
(xix) Kettle 
(xx) Kitchen cutlery/crockery
(xxi) Lawn mower
(xxii) Linen/laundry cupboard
(xxiii) Lounge suite
(xxiv) Microwave
(xxv) Refrigerator
(xxvi) Rice Cooker / slow cooker / grill
(xxvii) School requisites
(xxviii) Stove / oven
(xxix) TV
(xxx) Toaster
(xxxi) Tools – basic
(xxxii) Tools – required for employment (tools of trade)
(xxxiii) Towels
(xxxiv) Toys/games
(xxxv) Vacuum cleaner
(xxxvi) Wardrobe 
(xxxvii) Washing machine
(xxxviii) Window coverings

(b) The Back Home Grants may be used to assist in the repair and replacement of the following structural components:

(i) Foundations
(ii) External wall materials
(iii) Roof materials
(iv) Walls and skirting boards
(v) Lights and power points
(vi) Flooring
(vii) Doors and door frames
(viii) Windows and window frames
(ix) Ceiling and cornice

(c) The Back Home Grants may be used to assist in arranging the following services:

(i) the inspection and safe reconnection of utilities
(ii) the cleaning of a residential dwelling to remove flood debris and/or mould
(iii) moving to a new property (owner-occupiers and tenants).