Main aims of services within the sector

The main aim of housing and homelessness sector services is to ensure that all Australians have access to affordable, safe and sustainable housing — a vital determinant of wellbeing that is associated with better outcomes in health, education and employment, as well as economic and social participation.

Services included in the sector

There are three main areas of government involvement in the housing and homelessness sector:

  • Social housing services Subsidised rental housing provided by not-for-profit, non‑government or government organisations to assist people who are unable to access suitable accommodation through the private market.
  • Specialist homelessness services Direct assistance for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including accommodation and other services.
  • Financial assistance (private housing) — private rental and home purchase assistance (not covered in the housing and homelessness chapters) as targeted payments to assist access to private housing and reduce demand on social housing and homelessness services.

Detailed information on the equity, effectiveness and efficiency of service provision and the achievement of outcomes for social housing and specialist homelessness service areas is contained in service-specific chapters.

Government expenditure in the sector

Total Australian, State and Territory government recurrent expenditure for social housing and specialist homelessness services was $4.7 billion in 2016-17 (tables 18A.1 and 19A.1), around 2.1 per cent of total government expenditure on services covered in this Report. The Australian Government share of this expenditure was $1.7 billion in 2016-17 (table GA.1). Social housing services accounted for $3.9 billion (table 18A.1) and specialist homelessness services for $0.8 billion (table 19A.1).

Australian Government expenditure on Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA)2 — the largest government private rental assistance program — was $4.4 billion in 2016‑17 (table GA.5).

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