The number of community housing dwellings in Australia has more than tripled from 32,300 dwellings in 2006 to 103,900 in 2020 according to a report released from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Housing Assistance in Australia 2021 found this increase was is in part due to the transfer of ownership or management of public housing dwellings to community housing organisations.

At 30 June 2020, there were around 436,300 social housing dwellings, home to 802,000 occupants, the majority of whom are female (56%) and the vast majority (69%) of all dwellings were located in major cities.

The housing mix was 69% or 300,400 dwellings that were public housing, 24% or 103,900 dwellings were community housing, 3% or 14,600 dwellings were state owned and managed Indigenous housing (SOMIH) and 4% or 17,400 dwellings were Indigenous community housing.

There are 116,500 Indigenous Australians living in public housing and SOMIH that was provided by 137 organisations.

‘Entry into social housing during 2019-20 across Australia is based on eligibility and pathways for over 34,000 new public housing occupants,’ Dr. Gabrielle Phillips said. This can be dependent upon a number of reasons including greatest need, wait times and priority group allocations.

Housing market factors are influenced by critical life events that can lead to a period of homelessness as some households confront issues of affordability, insecure tenure and poor housing quality,’ Dr. Gabrielle Phillips said.

Wait times and waiting lists (166,000) can fluctuate as underlying demand for social housing allocations changes due to policies, priority and eligibility criteria from state and territory housing authorities.

The National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA) came into effect on 1 July 2018 and the Australian Government funded $1.6 billion. Governments provide various forms of financial support to assist people on lower incomes to meet housing costs, whether it is rental costs, mortgage repayments, saving a deposit for a home purchase or accessing finance.

In 2019–20, the report found that 1.7 million individuals or families were receiving $4.7 billion of Commonwealth Rent Assistance in 2018-19.

Net recurrent expenditure by state and territory government on social housing was $4.3 billion in 2019–20, a decrease in real terms from $4.1 billion in 2018–19.  State and territory government capital (non-recurrent) expenditure on social housing was $1.4 billion in 2019–­20.