Social-housing demand set to rise

By Emma Ryan 23 July 2020 | 1 minute read

A new report has shed light on the growing importance of social housing.

Social-housing demand set to rise

The report, A pathway to where? Inquiry into understanding and reimagining social housing pathways’, undertaken for AHURI by researchers from UNSW Sydney, University of Tasmania, Swinburne University of Technology, University of South Australia and University of Adelaide examines the social housing pathways of tenants across Australia.

It comes as the academics look to better understand vulnerable tenants, and growing numbers of homelessness in the Australian marketplace.

According to the research, long-term social housing offers best chance for tenants who experience adversity, including but not limited to, a disability, poor health or complex needs and are reliant on income support.

“The data shows that the vast majority of people moving into social housing are eligible because they are in ‘greatest need’, that is they are homeless or at risk of homelessness, or at risk due to health conditions, disability, caring responsibilities, or being Indigenous, under 25 years or over 75 years old,” said lead researcher Professor Kristy Muir of UNSW Sydney.


“For these tenants social housing is not a stepping stone to being able to afford private rental housing, but is a legitimate destination, one that offers the best chance of stable, secure and affordable housing. In fact, we found that even where tenants wanted to move on from social housing, they did not see it as a genuine option because there were no affordable, stable alternatives in the private rental market.”

The research also looked into greater policy reform that would help combat the issue.

While governments across Australia have introduced policies to encourage tenants to see social housing as a time limited housing option, providing policies to support low income tenants in private rental housing are also very important. Such policies can include:

  • increasing the supply of affordable housing in the private rental market through private rental subsidies; rental brokerage/access supports; social impact investment
  • ensuring appropriate, resourced supports are available for people who need them, to enable them to remain in private housing, including affordability and rental assistance schemes
  • creating conditions for increased housing stability in the public and private markets
  • providing and adequately resourcing supports when needed to assist people who require it to maintain tenancies and for the duration of need,” the report said.

“While government policy levers to help people move out of social housing include the sale of dwellings to tenants, provision of private rental subsidies, rental transition programs, financial planning and client-based needs planning, the biggest factor by far that affect moves out of social housing is the availability, or lack thereof, of affordable housing alternatives,” Professor Muir concluded. 

About the author

Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan is the deputy head of content at Momentum Media.

Emma has worked for Momentum Media since 2015, and has since been responsible for breaking some of the biggest stories in corporate Australia, including across the legal, mortgages, real estate and wealth industries. In addition, Emma has launched several additional sub-brands and events, driven by a passion to deliver quality and timely content to audiences through multiple platforms.

Email Emma on: [email protected]Read more

Social-housing demand set to rise
Social-housing demand set to rise
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