National housing assistance for Australians under focus in new reports

An estimated 383,800 Australian households lived in public rental, Indigenous rental or community housing provided under the Commonwealth-State national housing program during 2001-02, according to three new reports released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The reports show that at least 354,400 households received assistance through mainstream public housing and the Aboriginal Rental Housing Program during 2001-02, representing 6% of all households.

In addition, the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement (CSHA) community housing assists about 29,000 households with rental housing. The number of community houses in Australia is small-representing less than half of 1% of all housing tenures.

Almost 37,000 households were newly allocated public housing during 2001-02.

Programs funded under the CSHA are designed to help people whose needs for appropriate housing cannot be met by the private market.

Head of the AIHW's Housing Assistance Unit, David Wilson, said that almost half (44%) of all public rental housing newly allocated under the CSHA during 2001-02 were made to households who had 'special needs'.

'These are often people who have difficulty accessing appropriate accommodation in the private rental market because of discrimination or in the case of people with disabilities, lack of appropriate housing to suit their needs,' Mr Wilson said.

'Of the new households allocated public rental housing in Australia from 1 July 2001 to 30 June 2002, 3,500 allocations were made to Indigenous households, representing 9.5% of all new allocations.

'Similarly, 3,000 of the 20,600 new households provided with community housing under the CSHA during 2001-02 were to Indigenous households, representing 15% of all new households assisted.

There were almost 12,000 Indigenous households under the Aboriginal rental housing program in dwellings owned and managed by the States and Territories. Of these, 42% of housing were located in rural centres, 30% in capital cities, 20% in remote centres and 7% in other metropolitan areas.

More than 1700 Indigenous households were newly allocated housing under the Aboriginal rental housing program in 2001-02.

'These three reports show us that public and community housing are being increasingly targeted to low income households that have additional needs that cannot be met by the private rental market.'


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