This page gives context to the changes in community housing over recent years and how our aims for equity and access to housing are linked to community housing.
There’s not enough affordable rental housing
In 2021, Victoria has 82,000 social housing units representing 3% of all housing in the state.
In 2012, the Victorian Auditor-General found that there were at least 10,000 public housing properties requiring total replacement. It is unclear how many of these have been replaced and how many remain outstanding.
In March 2021 the Anglicare rental affordability snapshot found that only 2% of rental properties advertised (746 properties) were affordable for households living on income support payments, and only 18% (6091 properties) were suitable for households living on minimum wage.
More people need help with housing
There were 50,839 households waiting for social housing, either public or community housing, in March 2021. AHURI modeling in 2018 estimated that by 2036 the need for social housing would climb to 166,000 households, more than tripling the current waitlist for social housing in Victoria.
Aboriginal people in Victoria are experiencing the highest rate and fastest growth of homelessness in the nation. Last year, 17 percent of Aboriginal Victorians sought assistance from a homelessness service and over half (55 percent) were already homeless.
Lack of housing and the threat of homelessness is one of the most common reasons women and children experiencing family violence do not leave or return to, a violent relationship. Over 44 percent of prisoners released in Victoria return to jail within two years, often due to lack of housing on release.
More social housing is part of the solution
Victoria needs to build 6,000 new units of social housing, including 300 units of housing especially for Aboriginal Victorians every year for the next ten years to meet the need for affordable housing in our state.
The Big Housing Build is a great start, but a sustained investment is needed over the next decade and CHIA Vic will continue to advocate for clear growth targets for social housing to be set. These targets need to be based on housing need, with better data being essential to ensure they are appropriate, reflect regional needs, and can be monitored to ensure they are delivered.
The 10-year social and affordable housing strategy being developed by Homes Victoria offers an opportunity to embed growth targets into the policy framework of Victoria.
Making Social Housing Work
In 2020, the Housing Peaks Alliance worked together to develop the Make Social Housing Work report— a blueprint for Victoria to increase its proportion of social housing to the national average and create a strong and sustainable social housing sector.
The report calls for the Victorian Government to develop a ten-year social housing plan which commits to the following:
- Additional public and community housing stock, with a clear target of 6,000 additional social housing homes per year for the next ten years.
- Improving housing outcomes for all Aboriginal Victorians, with a clear target of 300 additional homes per year for Aboriginal Victorians for the next ten years. The Government can also support the implementation of the Victorian Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Framework.
- Additional investment in support services to assist those in greatest need, such as women and children experiencing family violence.
- Incorporating wellbeing into the State budget framework by including measures such as improving mental health.
- Establishing a high-level housing forum to enable the relevant parties to work together to create more homes for Victorians in need
Government oversight of community housing
All Victorian community housing organisations are businesses whose purpose is to create affordable homes for low-income renters. Many, if not all, are registered charities who report annually to the Australian Tax Office and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.
However, in recognition of the significant investment made by the state government into the community housing sector, Victoria also established a state-based regulatory system for community housing in 2005.
This regulatory system “provides strong prudential oversight over the government’s investment in community housing and equips the Registrar with substantial intervention powers to ensure community housing assets stay in the sector” and “holds registered agencies to account against gazetted Performance Standards to ensure high-quality rental housing services and the best outcomes for tenants and prospective tenants”.
Registered community housing organisations report annually to the Housing Registrar on key performance measures, and update the Registrar regularly on any significant issues that arise during their day to day operations.