• Print

Housing assistance in Australia

Are you looking for assistance with housing?

The AIHW is a statistical agency that manages a number of housing assistance data collections, and annually reports on the performance of housing assistance programs. For more information on eligibility for housing assistance and housing assistance policies or on how to apply for housing assistance, please contact your state or territory housing department.

graphic for dash_1_34million

1.34 million

The majority of housing assistance in Australia was provided to assist private rental households, with 1.34 million income units receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) in 2015 up from 1.32 million in 2014.

dash-community-housing-growth PNG


households in Australia were in social housing during 2014–15. The majority (80%) were in public housing. This has declined from 87% in 2007–08.

bar chart shows 74% and 56%

Waiting lists priority is based on greatest need

About 74% of new allocations for public housing and 56% of SOMIH were based on greatest need for social housing in 2014–15.

graphic for dash_assistance_young_old

Assistance to young and old

Almost a quarter (23%) of public rental housing and 39% of SOMIH tenants were aged 0–14 years old. Another 32% of public rental housing and 13% of SOMIH were for tenants aged 55 years and over.


For more information see Specialist homelessness services 2015–16 (AIHW) and other homelessness publications.

icon for a crowd

105,200 Australians

were homeless on Census night 2011—this is about 1 in 204 people. Over half of these people were male (56%) and 6 in 10 (60%) were aged under 35.

map of Australia shaded to show clients per 1,000 population

279, 000 people

sought help from specialist homelessness services in 2015–16. The majority were female (59%) and over a quarter were children under 18 (28%).

icon for 1 in 4 people

1 in 4

Clients of specialist homelessness services (24%) were Indigenous Australians in 2015–16, despite making up only 3% of the Australian population. Over half (53%) of these clients had received homelessness assistance sometime in the previous 4 years.

Stacked column charts show 38% of SHS clients had experienced domestic violence, and of these 63% were females aged over 15, 14% were females aged under 15, 8% were males aged over 15, and 15% were males aged under 15.


of clients who received specialist homelessness services in 2015–16 reported experiencing domestic and family violence, a 33% increase since 2011–12. The majority of these clients were female (77%).

icon for a person sleeping rough

On any given day in 2015–16, over 9,800 clients

of specialist homelessness services had slept rough in the month before seeking assistance.