Making social housing work

    What’s the problem?

    Social housing is an umbrella term used to refer to public housing and community housing. Both types of housing have a role in providing affordable accommodation for people on lower incomes.

    In public housing the government is the landlord, whereas community housing providers are not‑for‑profit organisations who act in accordance with certain regulatory requirements set by the government.

    Unfortunately there have been numerous issues with public housing[1] and community housing hasn’t grown enough to maximize the potential outcomes that could be achieved.

    What’s the solution?

    The TUV in conjunction with a number of other housing organizations have developed a number of recommendations to address issues in the social housing sector. Making Social Housing Work (report) [pdf 1.3mb]

    These recommendations include:

    1. Develop an Affordable Housing Strategy to expand the supply, security and quality of low-cost housing in Victoria.

    2. A 20 year strategy for growth and redevelopment of social housing to expand the available low-cost housing, including reforming public housing to improve its financial sustainability, with a target for social housing to comprise at least 5% of total housing stock,

    3. Plan to achieve the COAG commitment for community housing to manage 35% of social housing, by a combination of capital investment and stock transfers.  As this level is approached, a further plan must be developed to guide future growth.

    4. Develop a common incentive-based funding system for social housing so tenants on the lowest incomes can be sustainably housed.

    5. Improved transparency and accountability of social housing sector by consistently regulating both public and community housing providers to the same standard under the National Regulatory System and Code.  The Victorian Government should immediately sign up to the National Regulatory System.

    6. Better results for social housing tenants by:

    (a) Establishing a central access point for all social housing

    (b) Starting to introduce choice-based letting, including allowing tenants to make choices about where they live without penalty

    (c) Security of occupancy, where tenants have options to stay in social housing, but with flexibility in the particular property and manager

    (d) Work better with tenants to minimize the risk of eviction

    (e) Work better with support providers so that tenants have the right support at the right time to stay in their home

    (f) Make it easier for tenants to move to more appropriate properties within and between social housing providers

    (g) Keep income-based rents for public housing tenants (and some social housing tenants )

    (h) Stronger standards and enforcement to ensure that properties are repaired and maintained at an acceptable level

    (i) An enforceable independent complaints resolution for social housing for non-tenancy law disputes unresolved between provider and tenant at first instance, including a review of decisions relating to allocations, re-locations or transfers, rent setting and other tenancy management policies.

    How can you help?

    Tell the Minister for Housing

    The Minister responsible for Social Housing is:

    The Hon. Martin Foley MLA
    Minister for Housing

    You can tell the Minister that he should invest in more and better social housing.

    Send an email via the form below. You can add to our message or write your own.

    Making social housing work

    Dear Minister,
     
    Home purchase isn’t accessible for everybody and the private rental market is also costly and insecure. We need better housing options for low income and disadvantaged Victorians.
     
    I am calling on you to adopt the joint recommendations of the community sector for a sustainable and effective social housing system: Making Social Housing Work.
     
    The Victorian Government must invest and play a stronger role in ensuring that all Victorians have access to decent and affordable housing.
     
    Yours sincerely,

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    [1] Victorian Auditor General, 2012 – Access to Public Housing

     

    The Tenants Union of Victoria acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.