What influences pathways into and out of social housing and how can mobility support positive housing outcomes?

Social isolation Social security Poverty Housing Community housing Social housing Australia
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This bulletin argues that a more responsive social housing system requires improved access to and greater choice of housing allocations, with improved mobility within the system.

Key findings:

  • Difficulty in entering and sustaining private rental are key drivers of housing crisis. However, for a range of reasons, not all those who experience crisis immediately apply for social housing. Referral or advice from external welfare and advocacy agencies plays a key role in encouraging and assisting struggling households to apply for social housing at times of crisis.
  • An integrated allocation system benefits applicants by allowing them to apply for both community and public housing with a single application. This system can also benefit providers. Current examples of integrated allocation systems are One Social Housing System (Qld) and Housing Pathways (NSW).
  • Allocation of suitable dwellings for new tenants can be hindered by a limited supply of appropriate housing and very limited choices in placement. Choice-based approaches to lettings could contribute to more positive tenant outcomes. This would allow applicants to bid for properties and ensure they are not penalised for rejecting offers.
  • Transfer options for social housing tenants whose housing needs have changed over time are currently extremely limited. Expanding eligibility criteria and priortising transfer applications over waiting list applicants (as already occurs in some community housing organisations) would increase flexibility and appropriate matching of dwellings to tenants.

Authored by Ilan Wiesel, Hazel Easthope, Edgar Liu, Bruce Judd and Emily Hunter.

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