Understanding the experience of social housing pathways

This report explores the ways households experience pathways into, within and out of the Australian social housing system. Managing social housing waiting lists and encouraging people to exit social housing is a key concern for policy-makers, however housing market failure in Australia is such that the private rental market is largely inaccessible, unaffordable and insecure for households on low incomes.

All Paths Lead to a Home

All Paths Lead to a Home: Western Australia’s 10-Year Strategy on Homelessness 2020–2030 (the Strategy) is a whole-of-community plan, setting the direction for all levels of government, business and the community sector in responding to and preventing homelessness in Western Australia.

The research informing this Strategy has not only included input from academics, but has also included consultation with service providers around the State, input from Government agencies, engagement with the community, and insights from people with lived experience. This collective knowledge, incorporated into the Strategy, provides an important pathway forward to increase the effectiveness of our efforts, and build on what is working.

This strategy is a truly whole-of-community plan that reflects the complex nature of homelessness – there is no one cause or solution for everyone and it cannot be solved by government or the community services sector alone. We are committed to working together to achieve our bold vision for everyone in Western Australia to have a safe place to call home with the supports needed to sustain it.


Youth Homelessness Action Plan

The Western Australian Alliance to End Homelessness (Alliance) is comprised of a group of sector organisations that have come together to galvanise a community response to homelessness in Western Australia. The Strategy, which the Alliance developed is intended to provide a broad framework for the process of ending homelessness and create signposts for action. A critical component of these signposts was the development of further plans for specific communities, groups and regions.

The Youth Homelessness Action Plan (The Plan) is specifically tailored to addressing the needs of young people experiencing homelessness, not only those in crisis but as a holistic attempt to prevent and end youth homelessness in Western Australia. If we invest early enough, we can break the cycle for young people before it manifests into chronic homelessness that becomes entrenched well into adulthood. 

The Youth Affairs Council of WA (YACWA) is the peak body that represents young people and the sector that supports them. Over the last few years, youth homelessness has increasingly become a priority issue for YACWA as the number of young people experiencing homelessness in Western Australia has increased and the main drivers of youth homelessness have worsened. As an organisation supporting the goals of The Alliance, YACWA is committed to ensuring that this Plan provides a clear blueprint for any community organisation looking to contribute to ending youth homelessness.

YACWA have developed this Plan in close consultation with a Homelessness Youth Advisory Council that comprises 10 young people with lived experience of homelessness, and a Co-Design Team that consists of key youth sector organisations and government agencies that work with young people experiencing homelessness.



WA Tomorrow

WA Tomorrow

The WA Tomorrow report provides the State Government with an estimate of the future population structure by age, sex and region in Western Australia. The forecasts are used across government agencies to plan for future service and infrastructure requirements where a change in the age and/or sex distribution needs to be considered. They are particularly important to health and education providers in planning future infrastructure and service requirements such as primary schools and hospitals. 

A section on the Ageing Population examines how the increased number of elderly will impact health services and aged care planning, welfare spending and housing and infrastructure.

Getting our house in order?

This report by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre focuses on housing affordability, one of the most important economic and social issues facing Western Australia, and indeed the country.

This twelfth report in BCEC’s Focus on WA series builds on the Centre’s earlier reports into Housing Affordability, and includes new analysis of the latest trends in housing affordability since the release of the first housing affordability report in 2014. The latest BCEC survey draws on responses collected during April 2019 from 3,600 households in WA, New South Wales and Queensland. This gives us a unique opportunity to benchmark WA’s housing affordability position relative to the situation faced by other states.

People in short-term or emergency accommodation: a profile of Specialist Homelessness Services clients

On Census night in 2016, around 21,200 Australians were in supported accommodation for the homeless (ABS 2018)—living in hostels for the homeless, night shelters, or refuges.

This report presents, for the first time, a comprehensive analysis of people experiencing homelessness in Australia living in short-term or emergency accommodation, over a 4 year period, using the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection (SHSC).

Specialist homelessness services annual report 2017–18

The specialist homelessness services 2017–18 web report is the seventh annual report from the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection (SHSC).

It describes the characteristics of clients of specialist homelessness services, the services requested, outcomes achieved, and unmet requests for services during 2017–18.



Housing, homelessness and mental health: towards systems change

This research progresses the priority areas identified by the National Mental Health Commission (Commission) and provides evidence about the systemic issues and policy levers that need to be addressed to provide more and better housing and more and better services for people with lived experience with mental ill health. 

A lack of appropriate, affordable and sustainable housing is an impediment to scaling up successful programs nationally. However, coordination with the private rental sector can facilitate access to an immediate and greater supply of established homes, potentially enabling program providers to readily scale up in response to increased program demand.

Disrupted: The consumer experience of renting in Australia 

We all need a home we can count on. It’s very difficult to raise a family, go to work, be part of our local communities or maintain our health and wellbeing without a good place to call home. 

Across the nation, more and more people are renting their homes. There are now over 2.6 million households in Australia who rent. These Australians are raising families. They are sending their children to local schools. They are growing old and retiring. 

Disrupted – the second report commissioned by CHOICE, National Shelter, and The National Association of Tenant Organisations (NATO) – delves into the issues facing Australians who rent.

Dwelling Commencements (WA)

This report forecasts dwelling commencements in Western Australia (WA) for the period 2018 to 2021. It shows dwelling commencements are at the lowest level since 1984 and it is expected that it will remain static over the coming year.




Rental Affordability Index

National Shelter, Community Sector Banking, Brotherhood St Laurence and SGS have released the Rental Affordability Index (RAI) on a biannual basis since 2015. A price index for rental housing markets, the RAI is an easy to understand indicator of rental affordability relative to household incomes. It is applied to geographic areas across Australia. 

With a RAI of 144, rental affordability in Greater Perth has remained stable. The median rental household in Greater Perth faces rents costing about 21 per cent of their total income. This is considered acceptable. Despite this, rental property remains much less affordable for lower-income households.

In response to the findings, Shelter WA Chief Executive Officer Michelle Mackenzie said: “While rental affordability has improved for median-income households, when we look at low-income tenants renting in Perth they continue to face a general lack of affordability – especially single pensioners, women in private rental and other low-income households. There is a critical need to look at rental subsidy options, such as Commonwealth Rental Assistance, as a response along with increasing more diverse, affordable rental housing options."

Social housing as infrastructure: an investment pathway

This research modelled five alternative pathways to funding social housing and found the ‘capital grant’ model, supplemented by efficient financing, provides the most cost effective model for Australia. The research also established the current and future unmet need for social housing in different parts of Australia.

This research builds a customised method for establishing both current unmet need (the backlog) for social housing and future projected need, based on a proportionate share of expected future household growth. It also provides evidence for the diverse geography of land and construction costs based on industry and project level data.

Amplify Insights: Housing Affordability and Homelessness

Delves into the key drivers of homelessness and looks at the critical issue of housing affordability in Australia, while offering insights into the way forward. 

Homelessness in Australia is an urgent and growing problem. On any given night, 1 in 200 people are homeless. The total number of people experiencing homelessness grew by 14 per cent between the last two censuses (2011-2016), to over 116,000 people.

Homelessness is not just rooflessness. We have seen the greatest increases in homelessness among people living in severely overcrowded dwellings; thus making homelessness increasingly hidden. Certain groups are particularly at risk of homelessness, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (3 in 100), young people (1 in 100), and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (1 in 100). The key drivers of homelessness include domestic violence, the high costs of housing, the inadequacy and inappropriateness of existing housing stock, and the discharge of people from institutions who do not have safe, stable, affordable homes to go to.

We do not have a housing supply crisis in Australia; we have an affordable housing supply crisis.



Energy Stressed in Australia

New report finds energy spending has hit a new high for low-income households, who spend 6.4% of their income on energy on average, with a quarter spending more than 8.8%. 

High-income households spend just 1.5% on average. 

ACOSS and the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) commissioned Associate Professor Ben Phillips, from the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, to analyse the cost of energy (electricity and gas) for a range of household types in Australia. Households living with low incomes or experiencing disadvantage, who are paying disproportionately more of their income on energy than the national average, are more likely to experience energy stress. Combined with the current housing affordability crisis, low wage inflation, long-term unemployment and only one job for every eight people looking for paid work, higher energy costs have had serious consequences for some households.

Some have been tipped over the edge, and are going without heating and cooling, meals, and other basic essentials in order to afford their energy bills.

To inform the development of appropriate policy solutions, policymakers need to better understand who is most impacted by high electricity prices.

Homelessness in Western Australia: A review of the research and statistical evidence

The release of the Australian Bureau of Statistics' 2016 Census estimates of homelessness revealed that homelessness in Australia had risen 4.6% relative to the 2011 Census.

Despite national reforms and significant policy and practice efforts, homelessness continue to persist and, indeed, grow. This calls for a reflection and further research to develop a stronger understanding of the drivers of homelessness and, from a policy perspective, a way forward that engages all groups of societal stakeholders to end homelessness rather than manage it.