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Most social housing tenants record a range of benefits from social housing, with around half of tenants reporting it had enhanced their social inclusion and job prospects, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Housing assistance remains important for many Australians experiencing difficulty in securing or sustaining appropriate housing in the private market. A significant component of housing assistance is social housing, which includes all rental housing owned and managed by government, or not-for profit community organisations, which can be let to eligible households.

The report, National social housing survey 2012: a summary of national results, presents statistical and other information on social housing tenants and their views and experiences.

'Social housing tenants recorded a range of benefits from living in social housing,' said AIHW spokesperson Alison Verhoeven.

'Around 70% recorded that they, or their household, had benefited by feeling more settled in general and were better able to manage rent or money.

'Around half of tenants recorded that they, or their household, benefitted by feeling more able to cope with life events and had an improved sense of social inclusion, including feeling part of the local community, feeling more able to improve their job situation and feeling more able to start or continue education.'

Around a third of tenants recorded that they, or their household, had benefitted by having better access to services, while around 1 in 5 tenants reported they received 'other benefits' from living in social housing. These benefits included a greater feeling of security and stability and a greater sense of independence.

One of the outcomes committed to under the COAG National Affordable Housing Agreement is that people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness achieve sustainable housing. About 3 in 10 social housing tenants were homeless prior to moving into their current home.

The most common community and health services used by social housing tenants were health/medical services and mental health services.

More single people were living in social housing than couples, although among Indigenous Australians living in state owned and managed Indigenous housing almost half had one or more dependent children.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 28 May 2013

Further information: Alison Verhoeven, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1089, mob. 0403 282 501

Full publication: National social housing survey 2012: a summary of national results