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A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that in 2006-07, priority housing allocations made up 42% of all public rental housing and state owned and managed Indigenous housing allocations, including 4,600 households that were given priority due to homelessness.
Public rental housing and state owned and managed Indigenous housing (SOMIH) are among the social housing programs that provide affordable accommodation to eligible households whose needs cannot be met by the private rental market.
'In a climate where homelessness, domestic violence, mental illness and other complex needs have been identified as issues of national importance, 42% of allocations equates to getting 12,000 needy families into suitable accommodation,' said David Wilson, Head of the Institute's Housing Data Analysis Unit .
'For comparison, about 100,000 people identified themselves as homeless at the 2001 Census,' Mr Wilson said.
The report, Who receives priority housing and how long do they stay?, showed that younger households and single parent families were more likely than other household types to be given priority because of being homeless.
'The available evidence suggests that these priority tenants entered into stable arrangements - households given priority due to homelessness were just as likely as non priority households to be in the same dwelling after two years,' Mr Wilson said.
New public rental housing and SOMIH households were predominantly single people and single parent families who were generally younger than households in the Australian population as a whole.
Their income was about one-third the national median household income.
Indigenous households were over-represented among new public rental housing households.
The proportion of households given priority access to public rental housing and SOMIH and the reasons for priority allocation differed substantially across states and territories. This reflected the differences in allocation policies and criteria across jurisdictions.
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