Social housing tenants feel more settled and can better manage their rent and money

UNDER EMBARGO—until 1:00am, Wednesday, 27 February 2019

According to the latest report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), most social housing tenants feel positively about their experience in social housing. More than 9 in 10 reported benefits such as feeling more settled, and being able to manage rent and money better and continue living in their local area.

The report, National Social Housing Survey 2018: key results, looks at the experiences of tenants in public housing, community housing, and state owned and managed Indigenous housing (SOMIH) across a range of indicators. These include tenant satisfaction with services and the amenity and location of their home.

‘Social housing programs aim to provide rental housing at below market rates to low-to-moderate income Australians who may otherwise struggle to find affordable housing,’ said AIHW spokesperson Matthew James.

Today’s report looks at the three main social housing programs. Public housing is managed by state and territory governments, community housing is run by not-for-profit housing organisations, and SOMIH is a specialist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander program.

The report shows that social housing tenants’ satisfaction with their housing provider varied across the 3 program types, with community housing tenants recording the highest satisfaction nationally (80%) followed by public housing (74%) and SOMIH (66%).

Tenants in Queensland reported higher rates of satisfaction than those in the rest of Australia at 85%, which was underpinned by a strong result for Queensland public housing at 87%. In the Northern Territory, public housing satisfaction rose significantly between 2014 and 2018 from 72% to 79%.

The report shows rates of satisfaction vary among population groups. For example, satisfaction for Indigenous households is lower (70%) than for non-Indigenous households (76%). The differences are best explained by variation in dwelling condition between groups, as well as time in social housing and household living arrangements.

‘Tenant satisfaction is closely associated with the condition of their home, with lower satisfaction recorded among tenants living in homes with structural problems or problems with amenities. This is true across all population groups,’ Mr James said.

In recent years, social housing has been targeted more to those in greatest need, including people who are homeless, live with disability, or are experiencing family or domestic violence.

‘It is important to note the role social housing plays in assisting people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless,’ Mr James said.

‘For example, a recent AIHW report shows that over 10,000 clients of specialist homelessness services who were homeless were assisted into public and community housing in 2017–18.’

Further information: Elise Guy, AIHW: Tel. 02 6244 1156, mob. 0468 525 418

For embargoed media copies of the report: media@aihw.gov.au