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Social housing tenants are mostly satisfied that their housing meets their needs. However, their level of satisfaction is affected by a range of factors.

The 2012 National Social Housing Survey sampled tenants of public housing, state owned and managed Indigenous Housing (SOMIH) and community housing programs. This report, National Social Housing Survey: detailed results 2012, presents national level analysis as well as state and territory comparisons and comparisons across programs. An overview of the national findings was published by the AIHW in May 2013.

'The report shows that social housing tenants satisfaction with their housing provider varied across social housing program type with the highest satisfaction nationally for community housing tenants (74%) followed by public housing (65%) and SOMIH (59%),' said AIHW spokesperson Geoff Neideck.  

Two key factors affecting satisfaction were the extent of structural problems and whether or not the household was overcrowded. While the majority of social housing tenants reported their housing was of an acceptable standard and adequate for household numbers, only a third of tenants with 3 or more structural problems, and a half living in overcrowded households, were satisfied with their housing.

The survey showed that satisfaction with housing generally increased with the age of the main tenant and decreased with their level of educational attainment. Indigenous households recorded lower levels of satisfaction across all sectors.

The majority of tenants reported that most of their housing needs were met. Tenants were least likely to be satisfied when their needs for thermal comfort, energy efficiency and safety and security outside of the home and within the neighbourhood were not met. In terms of location, again the majority of tenants were satisfied, particularly in relation to their proximity to essential services.

Social housing tenants reported a range of benefits of living in social housing including being better able to manage rent and money, feeling more settled and having higher levels of social inclusion (which covers feeling part of the local community, improving job situation or able to start or continue education).

An estimated 1 in 10 public housing tenants and SOMIH tenants and around 1 in 5 community housing tenants indicated they had been homeless in the past 5 years.

Of these, more than 1 in 4 respondents reported that they have slept rough or in unconventional accommodation. Social housing tenants who had been homeless at some point in the 5 years prior to the survey were more likely to record a range of benefits from living in social housing. Just under 80% reported that they feel more settled and 58% reported an improved sense of social inclusion.

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, 4 December 2013

Further information: Mr Geoff Neideck, tel. (02) 6244 1163, mob. 0439 878 933

Full publication: National Social Housing Survey: detailed results 2012