The 2016 National Social Housing Survey (NSHS) is the most recent in a series of surveys of social housing tenants. The 2016 NSHS sampled tenants in public housing, state owned and managed Indigenous housing, and community housing between May and August 2016.

The majority (74%) of social housing tenants were satisfied with the services received from their housing provider.

  • Public housing tenants in Queensland (86%), South Australia (83%) and Tasmania (79%), along with community housing tenants in Western Australia (85%), reported the highest levels of satisfaction with services received from their housing provider.
  • SOMIH tenant satisfaction with housing provider services ranged from a low of 58% in New South Wales to a high of 79% in Queensland.
  • Consistent with previous surveys, community housing tenants (80%) were more satisfied than public housing (73%) or SOMIH (68%) tenants with the services received from their housing providers.

The majority (81%) of respondents lived in a dwelling of an ‘acceptable’ standard – that is, with 4 or more working facilities and no more than 2 major structural problems.

  • A small proportion (7%) of social housing dwellings were overcrowded (where at least 1 additional bedroom is required), more common in SOMIH households (23%).
  • Underutilisation was more common than overcrowding in public housing and community housing dwellings. One in 6 public housing households were underutilised (with at least 1 surplus bedroom) as were 1 in 8 community housing households.

Overall, 60% of respondents of working age (15–64 years) described their current employment situation as ‘not intending or unable to work’ or ‘not in the labour force’.

  • Around 1 in 5 (21%) of both public housing and SOMIH tenants, and 1 in 4 (25%) of community housing tenants of working age, were employed either full or part-time – while more than 3 in 5 (61%) of public housing, more than half (56%) of community housing, and 53% of SOMIH tenants of working age were not in the labour force.
  • Of those working part-time, unemployed or not in the labour force, the 3 strongest influences on employment status were the need for more training, education or work experience; the desire/need to stay home and look after children; and financial concerns.

Around 1 in 3 social housing households included at least 1 member with disability – that is, someone who ‘always’ or ‘sometimes’ requires assistance with self-care, body-movement or communication activities.

  • Across all social housing programs, two-thirds or more of households with a person with disability indicated both that ‘modifications for special needs’ were important to them and that this need had been met by their housing provider.

Social housing tenants access a range of services – including drug and alcohol counselling; aged care; advice and referral services; and residential care and supported accommodation services.

  • Social housing tenants reported many benefits of social housing, with the majority (more than 90%) feeling more settled than they were prior to moving into social housing; able to continue living in the same area; and better able to manage rent or money.