Social housing helps 378,000 households - but waitlists still long

Even though there were almost 380,000 households living in Commonwealth State Housing Agreement (CSHA) funded housing in 2007-08, there were still many waiting for assistance, according to three reports released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The three reports, Public rental housing 2007-08, Community housing 2007-08 and State owned and managed Indigenous housing 2007-08, show that social housing helps and gives priority to those most in need, for example people who are homeless or whose life and safety are at risk in their accommodation.

'About 51% of new public rental housing, 71% of community housing and 31% of state owned and managed Indigenous housing (SOMIH) allocations, were made to those in greatest need,' said Kate Mallen of the AIHW's Housing Assistance Unit.

'With occupancy rates at more than 97%, housing continues to be in high demand', Ms Mallen said. 'In 2007-08 there were over 331,000 households in public rental housing, 35,000 in community housing and 12,000 in SOMIH'.

The reduced rent paid in social housing, improves affordability for low income households who cannot otherwise afford appropriate private rental accommodation.

On average, households in mainstream and Indigenous-specific public housing paid about $110 per week less than the market rent for their dwelling.

In community housing, households on average retained 74% of their income after rental costs.

Targeted assistance was provided to those who find it difficult for their needs to be met in the private rental market, including Indigenous and disability households.

Of the 35,000 households newly allocated to CSHA-funded social housing during the year, almost one-fifth were Indigenous households.

Public rental housing and SOMIH are owned and managed by State Housing Authorities while CSHA-funded community housing is managed by non-profit community-based organisations such as local government, religious or charity groups.

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Further information: Ms Kate Mallen, tel. (02) 6244 1107 or mob. 0437 679 732.

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1032.