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, community housing and state owned and managed Indigenous housing (SOMIH) between April and June 2016.

The majority of NSHS respondents (74%) reported that, overall, they were satisfied with the services provided by their housing organisation.

  • Public and community housing tenants’ satisfaction has remained stable since 2014, while the satisfaction of SOMIH tenants has increased.
  • Tenant satisfaction with the services provided by their housing provider was lower among tenants who lived in dwellings with structural problems or who lived in dwellings that were considered overcrowded.
  • Consistent with previous surveys, community housing tenants (80%) were more satisfied than public housing tenants (73%) or SOMIH tenants (68%) with the services offered by their housing providers.

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

  • A small proportion (7%) of social housing dwellings were considered overcrowded, with overcrowding considerably more common in SOMIH households (23%).
  • Underutilisation of dwellings was more common than overcrowding in public housing and community housing, but less common than overcrowding in SOMIH.

Overall, 60% of respondents of working age (15–64 years) in social housing were not in the labour force: 61% of those in public housing, 53% of those in SOMIH and 56% of those in community housing. More than 2 in 5 public housing (45%) and community housing (40%) tenants were unable or not intending to work, compared with 27% of SOMIH tenants.

  • Of those who were unemployed, working part-time, or not in the labour force, the 3 strongest influences on employment status were financial concerns; the need for more training, education or work experience; and lack of jobs in their area.

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.

  • Around 6 in 10 public housing (59%) and community housing (61%) households reported disability as the main reason for needing assistance, compared with one-third (34%) of SOMIH households.

A range of services were accessed by social housing tenants – including drug and alcohol counselling, aged care, information, advice and referral services as well as residential care and supported accommodation, and financial and material assistance.

  • Tenants across all social housing programs used health and medical services most frequently, followed by mental health services.
  • While most tenants did not require housing provider assistance to access services, assistance was most commonly provided when accessing residential care and supported accommodation services and domestic and family violence services.