Housing plays a major role in the health and wellbeing of people with disability, by providing shelter, safety and security. The availability of affordable, sustainable and appropriate housing helps people with disability to participate in the social, economic and community aspects of everyday life.

A person who does not have access to affordable, secure and appropriate housing may experience several negative consequences, including homelessness, poor health, and lower rates of employment and education (see ‘Homelessness services’, ‘Health’, ‘Employment’ and ‘Education and skills’ for more information).

This domain looks at the type of housing people with disability live in, their tenure and their housing needs (such as modifications and moving house because of disability). It also includes information on housing assistance and homelessness services.

Living in the community

In 2018, 96% of people with disability (including 87% of people with severe or profound disability) lived in the community (in private dwellings).

Home ownership

In 2018, almost two-thirds (64%) of people with disability were living in owner-occupied housing, either with (22%) or without (41%) a mortgage.

Home modifications

In 2018, 12% of people with disability were living in a dwelling that was modified to their needs, most often to install handrails or grab rails.

Rental stress

At June 2022, 1 in 3 (33%) individuals and families receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) and with Disability Support Pension (DSP) as the primary income support payment were in rental stress.

People with disability in social housing

1 in 3 (36%) social housing households at June 2022 had at least one person with disability.


About 1 in 10 (9.5% or 25,900) Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) clients in 2022–23 had disability.

Security of tenure

Security of tenure refers to the extent to which a household can stay in a home for reasonable periods if they wish to, provided they meet their legal obligations (such as paying the rent and looking after the property).

Some types of tenure are considered more secure than others. For example, owning your own home, especially without a mortgage, is usually more secure than renting in the private rental market.

Housing affordability

The term ‘housing affordability’ usually refers to the relationship between money spent on housing (house prices, mortgage payments or rent) and household income. Depending on the housing situation (for example, home ownership versus renting), the concept of ‘housing affordability’ can mean different things to different people and households. For home owners, it primarily means buying and repaying expenses. For renters, it primarily relates to paying rent and other related expenses.

Housing affordability, especially in the private rental market, is a concern for people with disability. While there are limited data on this, the data available suggest that some people with disability struggle to find affordable housing and are vulnerable to housing or rental stress. On top of other general housing expenses, people with disability may also face additional costs, such as for modifying housing.

Many people with disability rely on the Disability Support Pension (DSP) as their main source of income (see ‘Income’ and ‘Income support’ for more information), which may put some housing options out of their reach.

Households and income units

Data on housing are often collected and reported for households and income units rather than persons.

A household is defined as one or more persons, at least one of whom is at least 15 years of age, usually resident in the same private dwelling.

An income unit is one person, or group of related people in a household who share decisions about income. Married and de facto couples, and parents with dependent children, are considered part of the same income unit.

Reporting on housing of people with disability for Australia's Disability Strategy

Australia's Disability Strategy 2021–2031 (the Strategy) is Australia's national disability policy framework. It sets out a plan for continuing to improve the lives of people with disability in Australia over the 10 years to 2031.

The Strategy is supported by an Outcomes Framework. The Outcomes Framework is a key initiative under the Strategy to measure, track and report on the outcomes for people with disability across 7 outcome areas.

One of these outcome areas is Inclusive homes and communities. This outcome area is about making sure people with disability can participate in their communities and live in homes that meet their needs. It includes 6 priorities with a total of 12 measures that are used to track what changes over time (9 of which currently have reportable data and 3 require future data development).

Of the 12 measures, there are 4 that relate to housing under 2 of the 6 priorities. These are:

  • Housing affordability/stress priority:
    • Average time waited for social housing: Average time waited for newly allocated households with a member with disability in public housing or state owned and managed Indigenous housing (SOMIH) (637 days for public housing, and 406 days for SOMIH in 2022–23)
    • Lower income housing stress: Proportion of households with at least one person with disability in lowest 40% income whose housing costs exceed 30% of household income (18% in 2019–20)
  • Housing accessibility priority:
    • NDIS participants housing satisfaction: Proportion of NDIS participants who are happy with current home (72.8% in 2023–24 Q2)
    • Social housing accessibility: Proportion of social housing dwellings that meet Livable Housing Design silver accessibility standards (future data development).