Social Housing Audit

Access to Social Housing Cover, June 2010

Access to Social Housing Report [Source: Victorian Auditor-General’s Office]

The Victorian Auditor-General’s report Access to Social Housing highlights a number of key problems, particularly the failure to adequately house people of the highest need. The background summary provides a bleak opening:

“Victoria has an undersupply of affordable housing for those on low incomes … many low-income Victorians find it difficult to access public housing as it is increasingly targeted to those on the waiting list classified as having special needs. Waiting times for other tenants are up to seven years”

The report makes a number of recommendations targeting the three key entities involved in the provision of affordable housing; the Director of Housing, the Department of Human Services and the Registrar of Housing Agencies.

While housing associations are on track to meet the original target of 1,550 properties, perhaps one of the more disturbing elements of the report is the lack of clear guidelines to deliver equity of access for applicants on the public housing waiting list. Originally there was a requirement for 50 per cent of new vacancies in housing association properties to be filled from the waiting list. This has been modified to ‘up to’ 50 per cent. During 2008-09 only 17 per cent of new vacancies were filled by DHS referrals from the top of the waiting list. This implies that the current social housing model places pressure on associations to select tenants with an adequate income, thereby achieving favourable rent revenue and ensuring financial viability.

Full report and Summary (PDF)

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