Individualised forms of welfare provision and reform of Australia’s housing assistance system

How can direct housing assistance be most effectively allocated across the housing system to meet housing needs to 2025?

This AHURI Inquiry developed a clear policy framework and direction for reforming the housing assistance system. This research will enable customised packages of different types of housing assistance and related support.

The final report and the three supporting research projects for this Inquiry are now complete.

You can download the completed final report.

You can view details of the supporting research projects and download the completed reports below.

  • Steve Bevington, Managing Director, Community Housing Limited
  • Bruce Bonyhady AM, Chair of the Board of the National Disability Insurance Agency
  • Philip Fagan-Schmidt PSM, Executive Director, Housing SA
  • Patrick McClure AO, Director of Governance & Strategy, Institute of Strategic Management
  • Peter White, CEO, Housing and Disability Reform, Department of Health & Human Services (Tasmania)

Individualised and market-based housing assistance: evidence and policy options

This project provides a conceptual and policy framework for individualised approaches to housing assistance in Australia.

Based on overseas and local evidence, the researchers found that:

  • housing programs which offer both demand and supply-side approaches to addressing social policy problems are most effective
  • private sector providers can generate cost savings, but without monitoring and regulation can risk lower quality service
  • people with limited capacity to exercise choice may have an increased need for advocacy
  • capacity of housing assistance clients to participate in service design and delivery varies and requires resourcing and support
  • commitment by service providers is required to work with clients over extended periods of time.

Led by: Keith Jacobs
Project status: Complete, download the report

Housing assistance need and provision in Australia: a household-based policy analysis

This research recommends that housing assistance be provided under a tenure-neutral model. Currently households with similar needs receive fundamentally different levels and types of housing assistance depending on their housing tenure (i.e. owner, private renter, in social housing etc.) rather than needs.

The research found that:

  • Large proportions of households with diverse demographic characteristics, living in both ownership and rental tenures, appear to be in housing need
  • Large numbers of lower income households who receive income support don't get enough financial assistance to alleviate financial strain
  • High proportions of low to moderate income households who need assistance don't receive income support
  • Housing assistance appears to most effectively offset financial strain for households with moderate to higher incomes who receive housing assistance.

Led by: Wendy Stone 
Project status: Complete, download the report

NDIS, housing assistance and choice and control for people with disability

A fundamental goal of the NDIS is to maximise participants’ choice and control over which support services they receive through a shift to individualised welfare funding. As a result, a large number of NDIS participants could move to independent living in the community. However, a lack of suitable and affordable independent accommodation means an estimated 83,000–122,000 NDIS participants will not have their needs met by 2019.

The research found supply-side housing subsidies have advantages as they address cost and other features of housing such as size, type, quality, location and management of housing.

Other suggestions include a separate allocations system for disabled participants; a choice based letting system to make processes more accessible and transparent; and independent advocacy and support to assist applicants apply for housing.

Led by: Ilan Wiesel
Project status: Complete, download the report