Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2016) Housing assistance in Australia 2016, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 01 July 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2016). Housing assistance in Australia 2016. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/housing-assistance/housing-assistance-in-australia-2016
Housing assistance in Australia 2016. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 02 June 2016, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/housing-assistance/housing-assistance-in-australia-2016
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Housing assistance in Australia 2016 [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016 [cited 2022 Jul. 1]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/housing-assistance/housing-assistance-in-australia-2016
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2016, Housing assistance in Australia 2016, viewed 1 July 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/housing-assistance/housing-assistance-in-australia-2016
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Social housing is rental housing that government or non-government organisations (including not-for-profit organisations) provide to assist people who are unable to access affordable and sustainable housing. Social housing aims to deliver appropriate, flexible and diverse housing, targeted to assist low income and disadvantaged households, usually with rents based on income at below market rates. There are four social housing programs in Australia:
For more information about social housing programs, see Glossary.
In 2014–15, there were 427,800 social housing dwellings across Australia—very similar number to the previous 12 months (427,600), and an increase of 3% from the 415,100 dwellings in 2008–2009.
There has been a gradual but steady policy focus towards growing the community housing sector and transferring ownership or management of public rental housing stock to community housing organisations. This is a result of the rising cost of social housing programs that are managed and run by state housing authorities, and the ability of community organisations to be flexible in their delivery of social housing.
Between 2008–09 and 2014–15, public rental housing stock reduced by approximately 5% (336,500 to 321,600 dwellings) (Figure SHD.1), and mainstream community housing increased by 76%, from 41,700 to 73,600 dwellings (Figure SHD.2).
Note: ‘Other social housing’ includes mainstream community housing, SOMIH, Indigenous community housing and NT remote community housing.
Source: AIHW National Housing Assistance Data Repository 2014–15. Source data.
SOMIH stock reduced between 2008–09 and 2014–15 by 17%—from 12,100 to 10,000 dwellings. Indigenous community housing dwelling numbers also decreased by 13% over the same period—from 20,200 to 17,500 dwellings (Figure SHD.2).
The overall occupancy rate for social housing are very high across Australia. As at 30 June 2015, occupancy rates for public housing dwellings was 98%, ranging from 95% in the Northern Territory to 99% in New South Wales. Overall, SOMIH dwelling occupancy rates were 97%, and for community housing dwellings, 94%. The overall occupancy rate for Indigenous community housing dwellings was 93%.
As at 30 June 2015, New South Wales had the largest number of social housing dwellings across each program type, except for Indigenous community housing, which had more dwellings reported in Queensland. Victoria had the next highest number of dwellings for public housing and community housing.
Source: AIHW National Housing Assistance Data Repository 2014–15.
Proportions of social housing dwellings varied across remoteness areas. Public rental housing and mainstream community housing represented the highest proportion of social housing in Major cities, SOMIH in Outer regional areas, and Indigenous community housing in Remote and Very Remote areas (Figure SHD.3).
As at 30 June 2015, almost 3 in 4 public rental housing dwellings were located in Major cities (74%) and a further 15% in Inner regional areas. Less than 1% of public rental housing was located in Very remote areas. Just over one-third of SOMIH dwellings were located in Major cities (36%), 25% in Outer regional locations and 24% in Inner regional areas.
Mainstream community housing followed a similar trend, with almost two-thirds (64%) of dwellings located in Major cities, with an additional 24% located in Inner regional areas. Less than 1% of mainstream community housing dwellings were located in Very Remote areas.
As expected, a large proportion (59%) of Indigenous community housing was located in Remote or Very Remote areas.
As at 30 June 2015, public rental housing dwellings were more likely to be in the form of a separate house (39%), followed by a flat, unit or apartment (34%).
The vast majority of SOMIH dwellings were in the form of a separate house (82%), with a further 15% being a semi-detached house or townhouse.
Mainstream community housing dwellings were more likely to be a flat, unit or apartment (48%), followed by a separate house (32%) (Figure SHD.4).
The size of social housing dwellings in 2015 differed across program type. Public rental housing dwellings were most likely to be three bedroom dwellings (38%), followed by two bedroom dwellings (31%).
SOMIH dwellings were also most likely to be three bedroom dwellings (61%), followed by four bedroom dwellings (19%).
In contrast, mainstream community housing dwellings were more likely to be one and two bedroom dwellings (32% and 35%, respectively), with a further 27% being three bedroom dwellings.
Half of Indigenous community housing dwellings were three bedroom (50%) with a further 25% four bedroom dwellings (Figure SHD.5).
In 2014, the National Social Housing Survey found that tenants reported most social housing dwellings were of an acceptable standard, defined as having at least four working facilities and not more than two major structural problems.
Of social housing dwellings:
Data on dwelling standard on Indigenous Community Housing dwellings are not available.
Indigenous households within public rental housing were less likely to report living in a dwelling of an acceptable standard (66%), compared with SOMIH dwellings (70%) and mainstream community housing dwellings (83%). Households with at least one member with a disability were also less likely to live in a dwelling of an acceptable standard within public rental housing (75%), SOMIH (64%) and community housing dwellings (85%).
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