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The purpose of this glossary is to define terms commonly used in our research as well as in housing, homelessness, urban and cities policy. It is a useful reference to help you familiarise you with housing-specific terms used across our publications and on our website.

This glossary is limited to terms and acronyms most used by Australian academics and governments.

If there is a term you would like to see included in the AHURI Glossary, please contact us at



Emergency Accomodation

Short-term accommodation for people experiencing homelessness or leaving insecure housing, such as a person fleeing DFV.

See homelessness

Equivalised household income

Equivalised household income is an income measure that is adjusted to account for the household’s number of people and composition. Equivalised household income can indicate the economic resources available to members of the household.

Estimated Resident Population (ERP)

The official measure of Australia's population based on the concept of usual residence. It refers to all people, regardless of nationality or citizenship, who usually live in Australia, including usual residents who are overseas for less than 12 months. It excludes foreign diplomatic personnel and their families, and overseas visitors who are in Australia for less than 12 months.


Family Tax Benefit

Flat, unit, apartment

Foyer model

An integrated service model that provides transitional housing for young people (primarily under the age of 24) with support, emphasising education, employment and training.

Funding gap

The difference between what it costs to supply, build, maintain and manage social housing and the amount low-income tenants can afford to pay for that housing. The provision of social housing is dependent on some form of subsidy (usually from government) to cover the funding gap.



A social and economic process resulting in the demographic composition of an established urban place changing. Often associated with urban renewal in formerly disadvantaged urban areas, gentrification involves the displacement of lower income residents by higher income groups.

Greater Capital City Statistical Areas

A statistical geospatial concept designed by the ABS to provide a consistent boundary for each of Australia’s eight state and territory capital cities.


Undeveloped land typically located on the urban fringe of metropolitan areas that is considered for residential and to a lesser degree commercial development.


As distinct from greenfield and brownfield sites, which require rezoning from other uses to supply land for residential development, greyfield sites are tracts of exisitng residential zoned land occupied by ageing low density housing stock that is physically, technologically and environmentally failing, and which represents significant under-capitalisation of the real estate assets. The term describes a more strategic approach to urban consolidation in such locations, achieving significantly higher housing densities and better urban policy outcomes.

Group household

A group household is two or more unrelated people living in the same dwelling, with no family relationships between any members. For example, a group of friends living in a share house, or a pair of adults who are not a couple sharing the same residence.

Growth Area

Designated area for residential, commercial or industrial development, mostly located on greenfield land at the urban fringe of metropolitan areas.


Head leasing

Head leasing is primarily used to increase the supply of housing for social housing providers, provide affordable rental housing in high cost or under supplied areas, and to provide transitional housing for vulnerable households and those exiting homelessness. A common head leasing arrangement in Australia is the head-leasing of private sector and state and territory government housing stock by community housing providers, who sublease directly to the tenants. Head leasing involves at least two leases. One lease exists between the dwelling owner and the lessee, and another between the provider and the tenant. The Residential Tenancies Act applies to both leases.

Heritage conservation

Heritage conservation deals with actions or processes that are aimed at safeguarding the character-defining elements of a cultural resource (such as the built environment) so as to retain its heritage value and extend its physical life. Natural, Indigenous or historic places can all be considered for heritage conservation. There are different levels of heritage listing in Australia - world, national, state/territory and local. At the highest level are places on the World Heritage List like Kakadu National Park and the Sydney Opera House, while on a local heritage list there might be a local nature reserve or the local Post Office.


The Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey is a household-based panel study which began in 2001. It collects information about economic and subjective wellbeing, labour market dynamics and family dynamics.

Home Care Packages Program

A program subsidised by the Australian Government Aged Care system that provides a range of personal care, support services, clinical services and other services to older Australians who are living independently in their own home (either rented or owned) and who require higher care needs as they age.

Home loan

Home ownership

Home ownership is the process of owning the residential property that the householder is living in. It includes homeowners who are still paying for their home through a mortgage (‘home buyers’) and those homeowners who own their home outright (‘outright owners’).

Home purchase assistance

Financial assistance provided to eligible households to improve their access to, and maintain, home ownership. This assistance can come in many forms, including direct lending such as government loans, shared equity loans and bridging loans; deposit assistance; interest rate assistance; mortgage relief; and other assistance grants.