Community housing fills an important need

A report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on community housing shows that community housing is playing an important role in providing appropriate and affordable housing to tenants whose needs cannot be met by the private rental market , and that most tenants are happy with their accommodation.

The report Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement national data reports 2004-05: CSHA community housing, shows that there were approximately 28,300 households living in community housing at 30 June 2005.

About 85% of tenants living in community housing said they were either 'very satisfied' or 'satisfied' with the services provided by their community housing organisation.

Community housing is a relatively small component of the social housing sector in Australia, representing approximately 8% of all public and community housing dwellings provided under the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement. However, it meets an important need in terms of the wide range of support community housing organisations offer to their tenants explained David Wilson of the Institute's Housing Assistance Unit.

In 2004-05, 31% of community housing organisations offered information, advice and referral to tenants, with around one in five offering daily living support, personal support and/or community living support. Training and employment support were offered by 18% of community housing organisations, while 12% offered support for children, families and carers, and 10% offered financial and material assistance.

'The low income population groups in community housing that may experience difficulty in accessing the private rental market include: households containing a member with a disability (27%); households from a non-English speaking background (15%); households with a principal tenant aged 75 years or more (9%); with a principal tenant aged 24 years or less (7%) and Indigenous households (7%).

Of the 8,793 new households allocated to community housing from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005, 2,720 were made to Indigenous households representing 31% of all new allocations.

The majority (66%) of CSHA community housing was located in major cities with 20% in inner regional areas and 11% were in outer regional areas. The remaining 3% were in remote and very remote areas.

'In addition to CSHA community housing programs there are other programs that provide assistance to community housing tenants. These often provide assistance to specific groups such as Indigenous and homeless people.

'Community housing is only part of the range of housing assistance provided by the CSHA and other areas of assistance such as home purchase assistance, public housing and crisis accommodation provide other coverage,' Mr Wilson said.

25 January 2006

Further information: David Wilson, AIHW tel. 02 6244 1202

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel 61 2 6244 1032.