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Housing and homelessness

There are a variety of public and private housing in Australia. These include:

Private ownership

The holy grail of housing, home ownership frees people from the instability of renting. Things to consider include mortgage repayments, interest rates, council rates, home repairs.

Private rental homes

Private rental gives people who can afford it more choice in the types of houses that they live in as well as the location. Monthly rents are generally less expensive than mortgage repayments so are seen as a good option for people who don’t want the expense and commitment of home ownership. Things to consider include rental hikes, instability of tenure, regular inspections.

Public housing

Also known as Office of Housing properties, these homes are available to people on low incomes in need and are affordable with long-term tenures managed through state governments. Everyone living in public housing pays rent that will not be more than 25% of the total household income. Things to consider include the application list in Victoria currently standing around 35,000 including 10,000 for emergency housing with waiting times around two to 10 years and up to three years for early (emergency) housing, fluctuations in income could affect eligibility, no choice of house type or location.

Community housing

Community housing is similar to public housing but for the fact that they are managed by community organisations. They receive assistance from governments in the form of grants, loans, dwellings or funding. Some properties may be group share options where tenants have their own bedroom but other facilities (such as the bathroom, kitchen and laundry) are shared. Community housing organisations also offer Affordable Housing where rent is calculated at a percentage of market rent instead of household income.

Supported housing

Supported housing allows people with higher needs of support and care live in the community including people with disabilities and who are ageing. You have to apply through the Disability Intake and Response Service (1800 783 783).

Temporary housing

Temporary housing includes rooming and boarding houses, which can be expensive, unstable and poorly looked after, and Transitional Housing Management properties managed by either the government or their appointed agencies that temporarily house people while they are working with a support worker.

Emergency accommodation

This category includes supported accommodation where the resident receives help during their stay, refuges for both men and women, and hotels or motels for people needing respite. These options are temporary and designed to immediately assist people in crisis to stabilise and move on to something more permanent.

Need help or more information?

If you are experiencing or at risk of homelessness you can find help and support on our resources page at 


1800 support line

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