Social Housing organisations such as SGCH exist to reduce social and economic disadvantage by providing secure, affordable and sensitively managed housing for people on low to moderate incomes.
Understanding Social Housing
Social Housing is an umbrella term referring to rental housing that is designed to cater for the needs of people on very low to moderate incomes who may be experiencing ‘rental stress’ in the private market. It includes housing which is owned or managed by the state ie public housing (Housing NSW), or housing that is owned or managed by community housing organisations or the Aboriginal Housing Office.
What is the Community Housing sector?
Community Housing is an alternative to public housing. Community Housing Providers (CHPs) are not-for-profit organisations that are managed by boards and particularly focus on encouraging tenant and community participation.
SGCH is a Tier 1 CHP under the National Regulatory System Community Housing. This means we are a growth provider, managing a large portfolio of properties and undertaking community housing development projects that use private sector funds and investment.
Why does Social Housing exist?
In Australia in 2017-18, over 1 million low-income households were in financial ‘housing stress’, spending more than 30% of their income on housing and facing difficulties meeting basic living costs. Housing stress is particularly evident in the Sydney area where housing is a scarce resource.
In comparison to similar countries, Australia has quite a small percentage of social housing properties available which is continuing to decline from 5.1% of all housing stock in 2001 to 4.2% in 2016. In contrast, countries such as the United Kingdom have about 20% of all housing stock devoted to social housing.
There are currently almost 60,000 eligible applicants waiting for a home in Social Housing in NSW. The size of this list reflects the inadequate supply of affordable housing for people on lower income households living in NSW and specifically, Sydney.
Who is eligible for Social Housing?
To be eligible for Social Housing, applicants must:
- be a citizen or have permanent residency in Australia
- be resident in New South Wales (NSW)
- establish their identity
- have a household income within the income eligibility limits
- not own any assets or property which could reasonably be expected to resolve their housing need
- be able to sustain a successful tenancy, with or without support
- if applicable, make repayments of any former debts to a Social Housing provider
- in general, be at least 18 years of age.
Find out more about eligibility.
How do people apply for Social Housing?
Social Housing applicants fill out a single application form to apply for properties managed by Department of Communities and Justice – Housing (DCJ Housing) and Community Housing Providers (CHPs). This application process is managed centrally through the ‘Housing Pathways’ system – which ensures that the criteria for assessing eligibility for Social Housing applies once across the board.
Housing Pathways incorporates a single waiting list that operates across the state. This means that applicants can choose whether they would like to be housed with DCJ Housing or a CHP. If they elect both, this may increase their chances of being housed. Additionally, the application process is made easier through Housing Pathways because applicants can choose to go to any participating CHP or local DCJ Housing office to discuss housing options, update their details or make enquiries about the progress of their application.
For more information about Housing Pathways, please see the Housing Pathways website.
To apply for Social Housing, please go to the Housing Pathways website where you can apply online for housing or phone DCJ’s Housing Contact Centre on 1800 422 322 Please read the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet (DH3001A) to find out what evidence you will need to provide to support your application.
You may also need to fill out the optional Medical Assessment (DH3008) for each family member with a medical condition affecting what type of property is required. You will need to complete this with your health care professional.
How long are the waiting lists associated with Social Housing?
Waiting times vary greatly depending upon the allocation zone that an applicant identifies that they would like to live in, when completing their application form. Additionally, waiting times can vary depending on the number of people that are approved for priority housing, who are placed on the list ahead of people who do not have priority needs.
To increase the chance of being allocated a home as soon as possible, it is recommended that applicants elect to be housed by either Housing NSW or a Community Housing Provider.
What types of Social Housing accommodation does SGCH offer?
We strive to ensure that our properties will meet the needs of our customers now and into the future. Our properties range from bedsits to larger family homes with multiple bedrooms. We generally allocate properties according to priority, date of application and the suitability of available properties to the applicant’s household size and composition.
How does SGCH calculate rent for Social Housing customers?
In most cases, Social Housing customers are eligible for a rent subsidy which results in them paying rent based on 25% of their gross household income, plus 100% of the Commonwealth Rent Assistance. For more information, go to our Rent Fact Sheet.
What additional support is available to Social Housing customers?
Our partnerships with support and specialist services mean that we are able to assist individuals with special or complex needs to maintain their tenancy by linking them with appropriate, professional support.
Some of the people we support include:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
- women and families escaping domestic violence
- people with physical disabilities or health conditions
- individuals with a mental illness
- young people at risk of homelessness
- refugees and asylum seekers
- people leaving the criminal justice system.
We identify customers with support needs when they lodge an application for Social Housing, or when a support agency lodges an application on their behalf.
We have a number of staff employed to assess and help customers with special or complex needs. Their work involves linking customers with appropriate support services, intervention, advocacy and case coordination to facilitate improved quality of life and sustained tenancies.
At times we all face circumstances that we can’t manage on our own. If you or someone you know is struggling at home (whether it be physically, mentally or financially), please let us know. Support services are available to all SGCH tenants if required. Our aim is to help you to sustain your tenancy.
 National Shelter –  Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute –  NSW Housing Pathways –  Community Housing Industry Association of NSW