Housing Choices Australia is responsible for the provision of housing services across a variety of housing products including social housing, affordable housing, supported housing and transitional housing.
The Allocations and Community Lettings Initiative Policy:
- sets the eligibility criteria for a range of housing products and allocates vacant properties based on a fair and consistent application of the policy.
- states the policies and procedures to be followed in order to manage/prioritise applications for housing in jurisdictions that there is not an externally managed common waiting list.
- ensures allocation of homes is provided in an equitable and efficient manner.
- ensures effective utilisation of housing by assessing households based on their particular circumstances and housing availability.
- ensures the allocation process reflects compliance with funding obligations, legislative and regulatory requirements.
- ensures that the allocation process contributes to the delivery of sustainable communities.
This Policy is applicable for allocations of all housing products.
It is the responsibility of all staff involved in the tasks associated with this policy to ensure that Housing Choices Australia complies with this policy.
The General Managers – Housing are responsible for the maintenance of this policy.
Where there is non-conformance or breach of this policy, the General Manager is to be informed and remedial action is to be taken as part of the continuous improvement process.
The Housing Choices Australia vision is for all people to be affordably housed in neighbourhoods that support life opportunities. We offer a range of housing products and the Allocations and Community Lettings Initiative Policy reflects the requirements for applicants to access these products.
Social housing products will be allocated in accordance with the relevant State government legislation and program guidelines as required under Housing Choices Australia contract arrangements.
Supported and transitional housing
Housing Choices Australia takes an active role in housing vulnerable people who require support to sustain their tenancy. Housing Choices Australia has partnership arrangements under a formal agreement with relevant government and non government organisations who provide support services. In most cases, the support agency is responsible for nominating eligible clients for vacancies within our supported and transitional housing programs. All residents are required to have a formal support plan in place and must be actively engaged in support.
Transitional housing programs require residents to be actively engaged in the search for long term accommodation. An exit plan is mutually agreed between Housing Choices Australia, the resident and the support provider.
Affordable housing products are targeted to applicants on low to moderate income where rents are capped at 75% of market rent. The Affordable Housing products delivered via the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) is a partnership arrangement with the Department of Social Services (DSS) to invest in affordable rental housing. For further information on NRAS visit the DSS website.
Eligibility criteria for access to housing products is set by the relevant State government:
To be eligible for a tenancy with Housing Choices Australia, applicants are required to meet the eligibility criteria as determined by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). DHHS guidelines require that applicants must live in Victoria and;
- Be an Australian Citizen or a permanent resident
- Not own or earn more than the current general public housing income and asset limits
- Not be subject to Centrelinks two year waiting period for newly arrived migrants
- Not own or part own a house, unit or flat
- Repay any money that you owe from a previous tenancy
- Provide proof of identity, residency status and income
- Provide other documents needed for each person applying
Applicants can apply directly to Housing Choices Australia by completing an Application for Housing Form and demonstrating they meet the eligibility requirements.
To provide better access and choice for those on the waiting list for public housing, DHHS has established a centralised process for public housing applicants who choose to also be referred to a Registered Housing Agency.
There are two types of allocations which fall within the scope of this arrangement:
1. Allocations to new or newly acquired properties funded by DHHS.
2. Allocations to vacancies that subsequently arise in these properties.
Up to 50% of all new residents allocated to these properties must be from the public housing waiting list unless explicitly agreed otherwise.
To be eligible for a tenancy with Housing Choices Australia applicants are required to meet the eligibility criteria as determined by Housing Tasmania. Housing Tasmania guidelines require that applicants must live in Tasmania and;
- be an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident
- be 16 years or older
- be a low income earner who is eligible for a Commonwealth Health Care Card
- not own a home of your own
- not have financial assets worth more than $35,000. This includes shares, property and money in the bank. This amount includes assets and the assets of any other people who live in the household. It does not include things like a car or household items.
Housing Assessments are completed via a front door service known as Housing Connect. Housing Connect is the integrated social housing and support access point for clients experiencing problems with housing, or for those who are homeless. Housing Connect provides information, assistance, intake and assessment functions for a range of funded, housing and support services.
Housing Connect assess an applicants needs against a number of housing related factors. Applicants are then categorised 1 – 4 with category 1 being the highest priority. Post assessment, applicants are placed on a central waiting list. For consideration of housing with Housing Choices Australia, applicants must state that they wish to receive offers of housing from community housing providers.
Allocations made by Housing Choices Australia are completed via a central social housing waiting list which is administered by Housing Tasmania.
Applicants for Affordable housing program products delivered from the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) are required to meet the income eligibility criteria set by the Department of Social Services.
Housing Choices Australia provides continuous tenure for products from the Social, Supported and Affordable housing programs. A Notice to Vacate will not be issued on a resident whose income or assets have subsequently exceeded the limits set by State Government. For residents within our Transitional Housing program, applicants are offered a fixed term tenancy for a period of 12 months. During this period if long term housing has not been secured, Housing Choices Australia will consider the renewal of the lease for a further period following confirmation that a current exit plan is in place and the tenant is actively engaged in supports.
Housing Choices Australia provides an initial lease for a period of 12 months with the tenancy term reviewed prior to the end of the lease.
Within the Affordable Housing program (NRAS), on the anniversary of the tenancy, residents are required to provide proof of income to demonstrate that they meet the income eligibility criteria set by DHSS. Housing Choices Australia will work with any resident to secure alternative accommodation should they fail to meet the income eligibility as set by DSS for two consecutive years.
Order of allocations
Demand for our social housing program continues to outstrip the scarce housing resources available. Housing Choices Australia is committed to ensuring a fair and equitable procedure for allocating housing.
In jurisdictions where there is not an externally managed Common Waiting List, Housing Choices Australia prioritises applications according to housing needs which is reflected in the following band structure;
Urgent medium low
- Homeless with support Overcrowding Intentionally homeless
Urgent medical or welfare need High medical or welfare need Low medical or welfare need
Life threatening circumstances Insecure tenancy
Households living apart Under occupancy (current social housing tenancy)
Relocation – property management transfer (redevelopment/disposal of stock)
Community lettings initiative
Housing Choices Australia is committed to ensuring our allocations contribute to creating or maintaining sustainable communities. The Community Lettings Initiative is a departure from the standard priority allocations practice, where it is deemed than an applicant has a greater need in certain circumstances. A Community Lettings Initiative takes into consideration local community needs when assessing applications and allocating housing may vary the standard priority, or give greater priority to certain applicants than would otherwise be the case. The decision to implement a Local Lettings Initiative will be made collaboratively and is underpinned by community building principles ensuring long term sustainability. The Community Lettings Initiative applies in the following situations;
- There is a high concentration of community and/or public housing stock
- There is a high concentration of tenants with multiple health, social or economic problems
- There are existing tenancy management issues which may be exacerbated if allocations are not sensitively handled
- There is a mismatch of demand and supply making the property hard to let.
Community Lettings Initiatives will be established in consultation with partners and other stakeholders, and will be reviewed annually to ensure that they remain relevant to the needs of the area for which they are in place and do not unnecessarily restrict access to housing.