Skip to Content

About community housing

Community housing is one of the three ways social housing is provided in NSW, along with public housing and Aboriginal housing.

As with public and Aboriginal housing, community housing offers secure, affordable rental housing for people on very low to moderate incomes, who have a housing need.

Registered community housing providers are generally not-for-profit organisations managed by a Board of Directors. They manage the properties that they own and also manage other properties that are owned by the government, or that are rented from private landlords with government funding. They may also manage properties for various entities on a fee for service basis.

As at 30 June 2020 there are 159 registered not-for-profit community housing organisations, including housing associations, housing co-operatives, churches and other community organisations. Community housing providers manage around 45,580 properties (including general, transitional and crisis properties), which accounts for approximately 30% of the social housing in New South Wales

Community housing tenants are tenants of the housing provider, not of DCJ. Surveys show that community housing tenants are very satisfied with their homes and services. DCJ also monitors the performance of community housing providers to ensure they continue to provide quality services to tenants.

Types of community housing

There are a number of different types of community housing providers, including:

  • General Social Housing Providers – these providers offer secure, long term housing services and also link clients to specialist support from other community organisations in response to the needs of their tenants and the local community
  • Specialist Homelessness Services – these providers provide short term crisis accommodation and/or short to medium term transitional housing to support people who are in crisis, homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Some community housing providers also provide affordable housing for households on low-to-moderate incomes.

Community housing providers are registered

Under Community Housing Providers (Adoption of National Law) Act 2012 a community housing provider must be registered with the Registrar of Community Housing to receive assistance from a Housing Agency. The Registrar is responsible for registering and regulating community housing providers. The Registrar reports directly to the Minister for Family and Community Services.

The National Regulatory Code sets out the performance requirements that providers must comply with under the National Law. It focuses on the achievement of outcomes in the following areas:

  • Tenant and housing services
  • Housing assets
  • Community engagement
  • Governance
  • Probity
  • Management
  • Financial viability.

Eligibility for community housing

People who are eligible for public housing are also eligible for community housing. There are different criteria for eligibility for affordable housing, crisis accommodation and transitional housing. For more information see the Community Housing Eligibility Policy.

Who uses community housing?

Approximately 28,000 households live in community housing in NSW. Eligibility for community housing is the same as for public housing. Community housing tenants have the same rights and responsibilities as public and private tenants.

People living in community housing have very low to low incomes and are unable to meet their housing needs in the private rental market. As with public housing, community housing offers secure, affordable rental housing.

Community housing providers work in partnership with other services to support tenants when needed.

DCJ and community housing organisations have been working together to develop a range of affordable housing services. This partnership ensures that a greater proportion of households can access affordable housing.

Specialist homelessness services

Some community housing organisations also provide short-term crisis accommodation and/or short to medium term transitional housing to support people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

These services are usually provided in partnership with specialist support providers, who assist people into stable accommodation. The crisis services provided by community housing organisations are an essential part of the NSW Government’s strategy to reduce homelessness.

Types of community housing assistance

Community housing has a proven track record in providing good quality housing for households across NSW. The housing services available tend to fall into three categories:

  • general housing
  • crisis and emergency accommodation
  • services for renting privately

General housing services

Community housing is good quality, secure, affordable housing for households who are eligible for public housing. This means that anyone applying for community housing should meet the income criteria and have a housing need. Quite often, households applying for community housing also have other needs that gives them a housing priority.

Crisis and other emergency accommodation

In addition to general housing, Communities and Justice (DCJ) also funds housing for people who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless and who are in crisis. These can be short-term crisis housing for people who are in immediate crisis or are at great risk of becoming homeless. This may be because of domestic violence, abuse, mental health illnesses or other reasons.

DCJ also funds other, medium term transitional housing. This housing is for people who have been in crisis and are ready to move on to more stable accommodation.

Crisis and transitional accommodation is supported by Specialist Homelessness Services.

If you are in crisis, or know someone who is in crisis and would like some help, please contact your nearest DCJ Housing Office. Alternatively, you can contact:

Services for renting privately

Community Housing Providers (CHP) participating in Housing Pathways can facilitate access to Private Rental Assistance (PRA) products and services by undertaking client assessments and referring eligible households for assistance from DCJ to rent privately.

For many people who are eligible for social housing, renting privately can be a suitable housing option. Setting up a tenancy particularly for the first time can be difficult. For those households who wish to rent privately, Private Rental Assistance (PRA) products and services provide assistance to eligible households to access and maintain private rental accommodation.

Was this content useful?
Your rating will help us improve the website.
Last updated: 18 Oct 2021