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A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reveals a range of positive impacts of living in social housing with over 90% of surveyed tenants reporting 'feeling more settled' and 'able to manage rent/money better'.
The report, National Social Housing Survey 2014: detailed report, looks at the experiences of the tenants of public housing, community housing and state owned and managed Indigenous Housing (SOMIH).
Over 90% of tenants also reported that 'being able to continue living in the area' they were in was an important benefit of social housing.
"Social housing is targeted at members of our society most vulnerable to housing instability and facing difficulties accessing appropriate and affordable housing." said AIHW spokesperson Geoff Neideck, 'New data adds to our understanding of this vulnerability finding that a third of households surveyed containing at least one member with a disability'.
It also found that many social housing tenants were not engaged in the labour force despite a large proportion of respondents being of working age. 'More than half of social housing respondents between the ages of 15 and 64 were not in the labour force' Mr Neideck said. Among those who were unemployed three out of five (58%) identified a need for more training, education or work experience as a barrier to entering employment.
Tenants were also asked about their satisfaction with a range of social housing services. The report shows that 73% of survey respondents were satisfied with the services provided by their housing organisation, and for public housing and community housing tenants this has increased in recent years.
'We found that 73% of public housing tenants were satisfied with their services in 2014, compared to 65% in 2012. For community housing tenants, we saw an increase from 74% to 80% between 2012 and 2014,' said AIHW spokesperson Geoff Neideck.
'Our report found that Indigenous tenants were less likely to be satisfied with their housing provider compared to non-Indigenous tenants,' Mr Neideck said. 'But the good news is that Indigenous tenants' satisfaction increased between 2012 and 2014, from 56% to 64% for public housing and from 67% to 74% for community housing.'
More than three-quarters of all tenants (82%) lived in a dwelling of an acceptable standard. Among tenants of these dwellings, 79% were satisfied with their services.
'The condition of a dwelling was an important factor for tenants, and played a greater role in tenant satisfaction than the facilities of the dwelling,' Mr Neideck said.
New data on social housing households with a household member with a disability showed that these residents had lower overall levels of satisfaction with their housing.
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