What is their housing situation?

The availability of affordable, sustainable and appropriate housing helps people with disability to participate in the social, economic and community aspects of life. The absence of such housing can have a number of negative consequences, including homelessness, poor health and lower rates of employment and education. Most (95%) Australians with disability live at home or in the community (in private dwellings). The more severe a person’s disability is, the more likely they are to be living in cared accommodation and the less likely they are to live at home or in the community—86% with severe or profound disability live at home or in the community, compared with close to 100% with other disability.

What is cared accommodation?

Cared accommodation is usually long term and may be institutional in style. It includes hospitals, residential aged care, cared components of retirement villages, hostels and other homes (such as group homes for people with disability), where a resident has been, or is expected to be, living for 3 months or more. The accommodation must include all meals for its occupants and provide 24-hour access to assistance for personal and/or medical needs.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of people with disability own their home—either with (23%) or without (41%) a mortgage. Close to one-third (29%) are renting, and 5% live rent-free.

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 generally 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.

People with disability are more likely than people without disability to rent from a state or territory housing authority.

Table HOUSING.1: Type of landlord, by disability status

Type of landlord

With disability(a)

Without disability(a)

Real estate agent



State or territory housing authority



Parent or other relative living in the same dwelling



Other person not in same dwelling



(a) Living in households (2015). 

How affordable are rental properties?

Housing affordability, especially in the private rental market, can be an issue for people with disability. For example:

  • 31% of income units receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) (at 30 June 2018) who had at least 1 member receiving the Disability Support Pension (DSP) are in rental stress after receipt of CRA (that is, paid more than 30% of their gross household income on rent); without CRA, 71% of these income units would be in rental stress. This compares with 40% in rental stress after receipt of CRA and 68% in rental stress without CRA for all income units receiving CRA.
  • An Anglicare report on affordable housing found that only 0.5% of rental properties advertised in Australia on a selected weekend in 2019 were affordable and appropriate to single people aged 21 and over receiving the DSP, compared with 2.2% for a single person on minimum wage.

Housing affordability

The term ‘housing affordability’ usually refers to the relationship between money spent on housing (prices, mortgage payments or rents) 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. Affordability for home owners primarily relates to purchase and repayment expenses; for renters, it primarily relates to rental expenses.