About Housing Pathways factsheet
Last published 25 Jan 2018
What is Housing Pathways?
Housing Pathways is the way applications for housing assistance are managed in NSW. It is a partnership between Communities and Justice (DCJ), including the Aboriginal Housing Office and the Housing Contact Centre, and participating community housing providers.
Housing Pathways provides:
- coordinated information for clients
- a single application process
- common eligibility criteria for housing assistance
- a standard assessment process, and
- a single waiting list known as the NSW Housing Register
No wrong door principle
Housing Pathways is based on a no wrong door principle. This means that applicants can talk to any Housing Pathways provider to get information about housing assistance, apply or change their application.
Housing Pathways providers include the DCJ Housing Contact Centre, DCJ offices and participating community housing providers.
Types of housing assistance available
Housing assistance available through Housing Pathways includes social housing managed by DCJ, including Aboriginal Housing Office properties, and by participating community housing providers.
It may also include help to set up a tenancy in the private rental market or temporary accommodation if someone is homeless.
Is all social housing the same?
All social housing is secure and affordable rental housing for people on low incomes with housing needs. It includes public, community and Aboriginal housing.
Public housing is managed by DCJ while community housing is managed by non-government organisations.
Aboriginal housing is specifically for Aboriginal people and these properties are managed by DCJ or community housing providers, including Aboriginal community housing providers.
Different Housing Pathways social housing providers may have different policies about a range of things, for example whether a bond is payable, the length of lease and if pets are allowed.
The benefits of Housing Pathways
Housing Pathways has many benefits, including:
- it is simple and easy for clients – one application lodged in one location, once only
- it is fair and transparent – all applications are assessed using the same eligibility criteria no matter where they are lodged
- it increases a client’s opportunity to be housed
- it generates efficiencies for providers and reduces duplication in the system
- it promotes accountability of government assets and services.
Applying for housing assistance under Housing Pathways
People can apply for housing assistance online, over the phone or through any Housing Pathways provider. Their application will be assessed the same way, no matter where they submit their application.
Applicants do not need to go to a Housing Pathways office to apply for housing assistance.
Applicants must provide documents to support their application. The type of documents they must provide is explained throughout the application process.
Can applicants choose the type of social housing provider they want to be housed by?
Generally, yes. When a client applies for social housing assistance, they will be asked if they want to live in public housing or community housing or both.
If they are Aboriginal, they will also be asked if they would like to be listed for an Aboriginal Housing Office property.
Clients increase their opportunities to be housed if they select all available housing options on their application, and if they tick yes to an Aboriginal Housing Office property if they are Aboriginal.
In some locations, there may only be public or community housing. If clients select these locations, they will not be able to choose the type of provider.
Eligibility for housing assistance
To be eligible for social housing assistance, applicants must:
- Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
- Be a resident of NSW
- Be able to establish their identity
- Have a household income within the income eligibility limits
- Not own any property in which they could live
- Be able to sustain a successful tenancy
- If applicable, make repayments of any former debts to a social housing provider
- Be 18 years of age or older (in general)
To be eligible for priority housing assistance, an applicant must:
- Meet the general eligibility for social housing assistance
- Be in urgent need of housing
- Be unable to resolve their need in the private market
Assessing applications for housing assistance
Applications for housing assistance are assessed according to a common set of Housing Pathways policies and procedures, including eligibility criteria.
Applications are assessed against the same eligibility criteria no matter where an application is lodged.
Applicants with a complex or urgent housing need, for example if they are at risk of homelessness or escaping domestic or family violence, may be assessed for priority assistance.
Applicants are assessed for the housing options which they may be eligible for and which best match their housing need.
Applicants approved for social housing are listed on the NSW Housing Register.
An applicant may be assessed for more than one product. For example, a client may be placed on the social housing waiting list; but may also try to find private rental accommodation while they wait, and may be offered a Rentstart Bond Loan or Tenancy Guarantee.
The NSW Housing Register
The NSW Housing Register is the only state-wide waiting list for social housing. All applicants approved for social housing under Housing Pathways are listed on the NSW Housing Register.
The NSW Housing Register is used by DCJ and participating community housing providers to allocate social housing.
Can clients apply for private rental assistance only?
Yes. If a client has found a private rental property and only wishes to be assessed for Rentstart Bond Loan or Advance Rent; they can complete an application for Rentstart Bond Loan online or fill out a Rentstart Bond Loan application form.
The Rentstart Bond Loan form can be faxed or emailed by a real estate agent or by a client, or submitted at any DCJ office or participating community housing provider office.
Can clients view or change their application details?
An applicant is responsible for keeping their information up-to-date.
Applicants can view a summary of their application details online. If their contact details have changed, they can also update this information quickly and easily online.
If any of their circumstances change, for example if the make up of the household or the household income changes, they must let us know. They can do this by completing the change of circumstances form online or requesting a change of circumstances form from any Housing Pathways provider office.
Applicants must answer all correspondence they receive from a Housing Pathways provider. This may be by letter, an email or an SMS text message. This is one of the ways housing providers can tell if the applicant still needs housing assistance. If they don’t answer correspondence, their application may be closed.
Allocating social housing
Housing Pathways providers allocate a vacant property on a priority and wait-turn basis.
Community housing providers can apply additional allocation criteria in its allocation policy. For example, Women’s Housing only allocates to single women without children waiting on the NSW Housing Register.
An offer of housing is generally made to the next applicant waiting whose housing need matches a vacant property.
Appealing decisions made under Housing Pathways
Under Housing Pathways, an applicant can appeal any decision made regarding their application. There is a two-tier appeal process:
- First tier appeal – an internal review by another staff member at the location where the original decision was made.
- Second tier appeal – an external review by the Housing Appeals Committee.