State and federal governments across Australia provide some housing that is commonly known a government housing or public housing. These houses are usually 1, 2 or 3 bedroom and are provided in order of need or what is called priority. So if you are a single parent with three young children you are more likely to get housing faster than a single person.
The conditions are different for each state, but generally you may apply for government or ‘public housing’ if you:
• do not exceed the income and asset eligibility limits;
• do not own or part own a house, unit or flat;
• do have Australian citizenship or permanent residency status; and
• do not owe money from a previous public housing tenancy or Bond Loan.
How do I apply?
If you meet the general conditions, you will need to fill out the General Public Housing Application form. You will then have to give information about the people living with you, their income, savings and other assets.
If you need help completing the application form visit a Regional housing office in your local area.
There is a long waiting list for public housing. Some people have had to wait years for a house to come up. It’s not a bad idea to ask your worker to help you apply and get on the waiting list before you leave care. The best idea though is to try and develop a back-up plan and try some of the other ways to find a house.
A REALITY CHECK from someone with experience
“I was on the waiting list for about 2 years with the Department of Housing. I was living in a leased property with my friend and the lease had expired. With no place to live, I rocked up to (***** CARE organisation) and told them I was sleeping on their doorstep. They wrote a letter stating that I was homeless. Then I stayed in a hotel for 2 nights (funded by Dept. of Housing).
After 2 days they gave me a property to look at. I don’t want to say anything about the place. It was disgusting! Cockroaches. Hot water system didn’t work. There were heroin addicts living there and I didn’t feel comfortable being in that place. I couldn’t eat out of my own kitchen, so I ended up living on fast food.
I ended up being able to move in with friends, so I just paid my share of rent, and didn’t have to worry about saving up for bond and cleaning deposits and stuff.
The best thing to do is apply for government housing now, as it might come up in a year or two and you’ll want it then. You can cancel it when it comes through if you don’t need it. But you’ll probably need to find another option in the meantime. “