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Report Social and affordable housing Non shelter outcomes

Housing key workers: scoping challenges, aspirations, and policy responses for Australian cities

Final Report No. 355

Date Published: 27 May 2021

Authors: Catherine Gilbert Zahra Nasreen Nicole Gurran

This scoping study examines whether governments in Sydney and Melbourne and select international jurisdictions (the USA and UK) consider key worker housing needs and how they support key workers to access appropriate housing. 

There is no consistent or universal definition of what constitutes a key worker, with occupations varying across programs. In Australia, key public service workers including teachers, nurses, police and fire and emergency personnel are a consistent focus, although there have been no federal or state housing programs or policies specifically designed to support key workers.

In England, support for key workers has generally been encapsulated within policies and programs for low and moderate-income households generally, including through the supply of intermediate affordable housing. Intermediate affordable housing tenures include those situated between social housing and market rate housing and include discounted market-rate rental housing and discounted market-rate and shared ownership housing for purchase. 

In the United States, initiatives have been introduced at the national, state and city level to support access to housing for specific occupation groups, such as police officers and teachers. These initiatives have predominantly focussed on the demand side and on supporting home purchase.

The research suggests governments work to increase the overall supply of housing affordable to low and moderate-income workers over the long term, as well as also consider ways to support home ownership opportunities for low and moderate-income households, including through shared ownership schemes, inclusionary zoning and encouraging employers to develop homes for key workers.

DOI: 10.18408/ahuri7323901

Published by: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited

ISSN: 1834-7223

ISBN: 978-1-922498-22-9


Citation: Gilbert, C., Nasreen, Z., and Gurran, N. (2021) Housing key workers: scoping challenges, aspirations, and policy responses for Australian cities, AHURI Final Report No. 355, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited, Melbourne, https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/355, doi:10.18408/ahuri7323901.