200,000 on Social Housing Waitlist
2 June 2016 at 11:48 am
Almost 200,000 Australians are on the waiting list to access social housing and the number of available homes has barely increased from the previous year, according to a new report.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released its Housing Assistance in Australia 2016 report on Thursday, showing little change from last year.
As of 30 June 2015 there were 427,800 social houses across Australia, only up 200 on the previous year – less than 1 per cent. The waiting list for this year, 200,000, was a 3 per cent decrease on last year’s list of 206,000.
The report provided data on social housing programs provided by government and non-government agencies. These include public rental housing, community housing, state owned and managed Indigenous housing (SOMIH), and Indigenous community housing.
The AIHW, national agency set up by the Australian Government, said there was a shift in the priority focus for social housing away from low-income families and towards a diverse range of vulnerable groups.
“Almost 75 per cent of new public rental housing and community housing were provided to people with the greatest need, with 59 per cent of households indicating they were homeless prior to commencing their public rental housing tenancy,” AIHW spokesperson Tim Beard said.
The report found there were around 817,300 tenants in social housing, more than three in five main tenants were women, 44 per cent reported they had a disability and 53 per cent were single adults who lived alone.
Over and under-utilisation of houses was identified as an issue. About 4 per cent of both public rental housing and community housing was considered overcrowded, with the highest rates, 13 per cent, experienced in Queensland SOMIH.
Conversely, around 16 per cent of public rental housing and 12 per cent of community housing was considered underutilised.