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The latest data from the National Social Housing Survey, released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), show that when asked about the benefits of social housing over 90% of social housing tenants reported that it made them more settled and allowed them to continue to live in their current area.

The report, National Social Housing Survey: detailed results 2016, looks at the experiences of tenants of public housing, community housing and state owned and managed Indigenous Housing (SOMIH) across a range of indicators.

The majority (74%) of social housing tenants were satisfied with the services from their housing provider, however this varied by housing program. Satisfaction was highest amongst community housing tenants (80%), with SOMIH tenants reporting the largest increase in satisfaction, up 10 percentage points to 68% since the previous survey in 2014. For public housing 73% of tenants were satisfied with the services from their housing provider.

Public housing tenants in Queensland (86%), South Australia (83%), and Tasmania (79%), along with community housing tenants in Western Australia (85%), reported the highest levels of satisfaction with services received from their housing provider.

'Tenants who were 65 and older were most likely to report 'feeling settled' and 'able to continue living in the same area', while younger tenants (15-24) were more likely to report the ability to 'improve their job situation' and 'to start or continue education or training', as a benefit from living in social housing,' said AIHW spokesperson Mr Matthew James.

The majority (81%) of respondents rated their dwelling at an acceptable standard. Across Australia the highest rating in both public housing and SOMIH was by tenants in Queensland at 90% and 86% respectively, while South Australia had the highest rating for community housing at 92%,' Mr James said.

Public and community housing plays a role in assisting people who are homeless. The latest data from the AIHW Specialist Homelessness Services collection, show that around 14% of clients who were homeless, were assisted into public and community housing in 2015-16.

'According to the survey, 16% of community housing tenants reported that they had experienced homelessness sometime in the previous five years,' said Mr James.

In 2016, the most frequent service accessed by tenants in the previous 12 months-across all jurisdictions and housing programs-was health and medical services (7 in 10), while the use of mental health services ranged between 1 in 4 and 1 in 6.

Other services accessed included, for example by public housing tenants, advice and referral services (12%),
day-to-day living support services (11%), aged care (8%), training and employment services (8%), drug and alcohol counselling (4%), and supported accommodation services (4%).

New data showed that 3% of public housing tenants, 4% of community housing tenants and 5% of SOMIH tenants used domestic and family violence services in the 12 months prior to the survey.

Canberra, 10 August 2017 

Further information: Elizabeth Ingram, AIHW: Tel. 02 6249 5048, mob. 0431 871 337

Full report: National Social Housing Survey: detailed results 2016