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Do you live in the Blacktown, Campbelltown, Hurstville or Newcastle/Lake Macquarie area and need help maintaining or finding a safe and affordable place to rent?

The NSW Government is trialling a rental assistance program called Rent Choice Assist.

Rent Choice Assist provides rent support to low income households that have experienced a financial shock, such as loss of employment or illness, and need some assistance to either maintain their current tenancy or access affordable accommodation in the private rental market.

Rent Choice Assist will help up to 200 households in the four trial locations.

Rent Choice Assist can support people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness by:

  • assisting them to sustain their tenancy while they recover from the financially destabilising event
  • helping to find a safe and affordable place to rent
  • paying a proportion of the rent for up to three years, and
  • assisting with support to access education and employment options to regain financial independence.

Who can get Rent Choice Assist?

Rent Choice Assist is available in the following trial locations;

  • Hurstville – assisting eligible clients who live in South Eastern Sydney and the Inner West
  • Campbelltown – assisting eligible clients who live in South West Sydney District
  • Blacktown –  assisting eligible clients who live in the Blacktown City Council area; and
  • Newcastle/Lake Macquarie – assisting eligible in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Maitland locations

To be eligible, you must also

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be an Australian citizen/permanent resident
  • Be homeless or at risk of homelessness as a result of a financially destabilising event
  • Have a household income within the low income limit at the time of application
  • Have a history of employment and have sustained housing independently in the private rental market or as a home purchaser or owner
  • Agree not to be included on the NSW Housing Register, or be willing to opt out
  • Not own any assets that can be used to resolve your housing need.
  • Be able to demonstrate capacity and/or willingness to get financially back on track to be able to afford private rental at the end of the subsidy period.

How does Rent Choice Assist work?

For the first 12 months, you pay 25% of your weekly household income plus 100% of any Commonwealth Rent Assistance you may be entitled to get. Once you have paid your part of the rent, we pay the rest directly to the landlord or real estate agent. The amount you pay will go up gradually after 12 months, but we’ll chat to you about that closer to the time.

Affordability

Rent Choice can only be paid if the rent is affordable. When considering what’s affordable for you, take into account 50% of your weekly household income plus 100% of any Commonwealth Rent Assistance you may be eligible for. Please follow this link to the Centrelink website to see what you may be eligible for: Rent Assistance – Eligibility & payment rates.

In higher cost locations, you may be eligible to receive a deeper subsidy. A deeper subsidy allows you to find a property with a higher market rent than the standard affordable rent set by the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ). For more information, go to Maximum affordability limits for deeper subsidy by bedroom category table.

What other housing support can I receive?

DCJ provides a range of private rental supports that can help you find and secure a new home. You may also be able to get help with costs to help with  education, training or work related needs while receiving help from Rent Choice Assist.

What is Commonwealth Rent Assistance?

Commonwealth Rent Assistance is a weekly payment given to eligible people who rent in the private or community housing market through Centrelink.

How do I find out more?

If you would like to apply for Rent Choice Assist or just want to know more, head to the Rent Choice Assist Trial page, contact your local Rent Choice Assist worker at your local DCJ Housing office or call the Housing Contact Centre.

Blacktown Office

Ph: 02 9831 0866

Campbelltown Office

Ph: 02 4629 3222

Hurstville Office

Ph: 02 9585 7211

Newcastle/Lake Macquarie

Ph: 1300 305 667

Housing Contact Centre

Ph: 1800 422 322

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Last updated: 16 Sep 2019
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