This research considers the efficacy of introducing individualised and/or choice-based models of housing assistance into Australian housing assistance settings.
It takes a novel approach to tenure-neutral needs-based analysis combined with practice and policy insights of key representative groups to provide an evidence base on the shorter and longer term implications of moving towards individualised-based or choice-based models of assistance. The focus is primarily upon determining the degree to which a 'one size fits all' versus a more tailored, nuanced form of housing assistance provision is of potential benefit, given the increased diversity of Australian households in potential need of housing assistance. To do so, the consideration shifts from an account of need and unmet need, such as via analysis of take-up rates of various forms of housing assistance or unmet need such as via public housing wait lists, to an analysis of the potential need for housing assistance.
The research finds anomalies exist such that households with objectively similar needs receive fundamentally different levels and types of support depending on housing tenure rather than need. A shift toward an increasingly diverse model of provision would need to support households with high and complex needs in different, more intensive ways than the ways households with less complex/intense needs can be supported. Expert stakeholders caution that sufficient resourcing is required for choice to be genuine and effective and that conditional assistance is likely to be counterproductive.