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Eligibility for social housing – entitlements

  1. Required number of bedrooms
  2. Age
  3. Aboriginality
  4. Preferred location
  5. Requested accommodation type
  6. Clients with special needs
  7. Information required to substantiate housing needs

Clients for community housing properties may receive different entitlements to clients for public housing. This will occur due to the differing policies of social housing providers. Some examples where entitlements may differ include:

  • Public housing’s fixed term lease arrangements will not apply to clients housed in community housing, and community housing’s lease arrangements will not apply to clients housed in public housing.
  • A client’s bedroom entitlement may vary between providers.

1. Required number of bedrooms

The tables below outline the standard bedroom entitlements for public housing and any changes to those bedroom types due to the need to accommodate children.

Table 1: Standard bedroom entitlements for public housing

Household type Standard bedroom entitlement

Single people

Studio, one or two bedrooms

Couples

One or two bedrooms

Single people or couples with one other household member

Two or three bedrooms

Single people or couples with two other household members

Two or three bedrooms

Single people or couples with three other household members

Three or four bedrooms

Single people or couples with four other household members

Three or four bedrooms

Single people or couples with five or more other household members

Four bedroom or, if available, five or more bedrooms. Clients who have a five bedroom household complement will generally be offered a four bedroom property unless a five bedroom property is vacant when the client’s turn is reached. This is because of the limited availability of five bedroom accommodation.

Table 2: Criteria for accommodating children in public housing

Situation DCJ Housing Response

Child is over 18 years of age

The person is considered to be an adult when calculating the minimum bedroom entitlement

Shared bedrooms

  • Same sex children up to 18 years of age are expected to share a bedroom
  • Male and female children are expected to share a bedroom until one of the children reaches 10 years of age.

Children can’t share a bedroom

DCJ Housing will allocate an additional bedroom where the client has demonstrated a need for same sex children, or children under 10 years of age, to have separate bedrooms.

Examples of situations where an extra bedroom could be appropriate include where there is a large age gap between the children or behavioural factors.

Shared custody

The child/children are considered to be part of the household if the client has shared custody of children for 3 days per week or more. Normal bedroom entitlements apply.

Access visits from children

  • The children are not considered to be part of the household if they visit for less than 3 days per week.
  • The children are not considered to be part of the household if they are receiving out-of-home care.  An extra bedroom will be considered when evidence of proposed restoration of children is provided.
  • The client must demonstrate a need for an extra bedroom to accommodate access visits.

Future needs of children who may need separate bedrooms in 2 or 3 years time

DCJ Housing will take this into account when matching the client to a property if it can. DCJ Housing will make this decision on a case by case basis according to the size and type of housing that is available in the area.

2. Age

The social housing sector acknowledges the special needs of elderly clients and their households, and the need to deliver services that are culturally appropriate.

It is widely recognised that the Aboriginal community suffers greater levels of ill health and has considerably shorter life expectancies than the general population. The average life span of an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander is approximately 20 years less than a non-Aboriginal person.

Clients who have met the normal eligibility criteria for social housing may be approved for housing assistance as an elderly client if they are:

  • Aged 80 years and over, or
  • Confirmed to be an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander and aged 55 years and over.

In order to reduce waiting times for eligible elderly clients and settle them into appropriate housing as soon as possible, providers will generally offer suitable accommodation as it becomes available to elderly clients on the NSW housing register ahead of wait turn clients.

Where there are other household members included on an elderly client’s application (other than the elderly person’s partner), or an elderly person is included in an application with other family members, they will be eligible for this assistance provided that:

  • The elderly person is totally dependent on the other members of the household for 24 hour care, and
  • They provide documentation from a doctor or other healthcare professional to support the application.

Clients seeking housing as elderly clients must provide the following proof of age:

  • Birth certificate, or
  • Passport, or
  • If the client is an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander, and none of the above are available, a written estimate of age as recognised by an incorporated Aboriginal organisation or Land Council.

Elderly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients must also provide documents that confirm their Aboriginality.

3. Aboriginality

Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders are entitled to the range of services available to all eligible clients. In addition, they may choose to:

  • Be identified on the NSW Housing Register as being eligible for Aboriginal Housing Office properties as well as public or community housing.
  • Take up their entitlement in public housing to one extra bedroom to help them meet their family responsibilities (this is subject to availability).
  • Seek accelerated progression on the NSW Housing Register if they or members of their household are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander are over 55 years of age.
  • Nominate their interest in living in a Senior Communities property in public housing if 45 years of age or over.

To take up the extra entitlements as mentioned above, at least one member of the household must be an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander, and this person must provide confirmation of their Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.

Confirmation of Aboriginality can be provided in the form of a letter from a Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) or an Aboriginal community organisation, for more information see item 3 on the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet.

Where a client is unable to obtain confirmation from a LALC or Aboriginal Community organisation they can complete a Statutory Declaration as evidence of their Aboriginality. The Statutory Declaration must include all of following:

  • Details of the client’s Aboriginal family i.e. names and where they are from (land) and/or what they are doing about finding their family details/history, and
  • A statement that the client identifies as an Aboriginal person (the term ‘Aboriginal’ includes Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders), and
  • An explanation as to why confirmation from a LALC or Aboriginal community organisation could not be provided, and
  • Letters of support from Aboriginal community members, Aboriginal organisations (on the organisation’s letterhead) or government agencies that the client is known to. All documentation must be signed by Aboriginal people.

The social housing provider may request additional information or seek further clarification regarding information provided in the Statutory Declaration.

4. Preferred location

Certain conditions affect the client’s entitlement to location preferences if housed in social housing:

  • The client must nominate the location, or allocation area, where they would prefer to live. The client can only list one allocation area at any time for social housing.
  • General clients can apply for any area in the state regardless of where they currently live. If a client for priority housing assistance or transfer applies for social housing in a designated high demand zone, they must undergo a locational needs assessment.
  • Social housing in NSW is divided into a number of allocation areas. Areas may be an individual town or a group of towns, or a group of suburbs in larger cities or towns.

5. Requested accommodation type

Social housing consists of various types of accommodation, for example, cottages (houses), townhouses, villas, cluster housing, units or flats.

Client has a preferred type of housing

A new client for social housing cannot specify the type of housing that they would prefer, unless they have documentation to support their need.

Clients who were listed on the NSW Housing Register prior to 1999 were able to select between general accommodation (cottages, townhouses, villas and cluster housing) or apartment accommodation (units or flats). These clients will retain their preferred selection of general or apartment accommodation. However, if they wish to change their preference, they will not be able to. For example, if someone chose to be housed in apartment accommodation and they decide that they would prefer to be housed in general accommodation, they will not be able to. They will be given the option to either retain their preference or, if they no longer wish to be housed in this type of dwelling, they will be placed on the list without preference and will be offered the first suitable accommodation that becomes available.

When allocating public housing, DCJ Housing will consider the needs of families with young children and, subject to availability, will allocate them dwellings with yards where possible.

Clients may specify a preference to be housed in a Senior Communities property in public housing where they are:

  • 55 years of age or over, or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients who are 45 years of age or over.
  • Two person adult households where at least one person is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander who is over 45 years of age, or one person who is 55 years or over who is not Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander

6. Clients with special needs

A client may have special requirements for their accommodation based on medical, social or other factors. If a client wishes to be housed in public housing and can substantiate these needs, a provider may approve them for the following specific types of accommodation:

  • Ground floor.
  • Modified property.
  • Property with wheelchair access.
  • Property with a certain number of steps.
  • Property with a yard.

If a client has other needs that require a specific type of accommodation or accommodation in a specific location, or a requirement for an extra bedroom for medical or family reasons, they must substantiate this need. For example, they may need to be close to medical practitioners, or they may need to be housed in an area because of cultural needs and support, or they may have a child that needs to attend a special school.

7. Information required substantiating housing needs

The information required to substantiate specific housing needs is outlined in the table below. For more information about the type of documents that can be provided see item 22 on the Evidence Requirements Information Sheet.

Table 1: Information required to substantiate housing needs

Situation Description / further rules if applicable

Need for a ground floor property, or property with level access

  • Property with no internal or external steps

Modified property.

For example, a property with wheelchair access.

  • For major modifications, an Occupational Therapist report stating the type of modifications or property specifications required.

Specific property features are unsuitable.

  • For example, the number of stairs in the property, need for fencing, no carpet for health reasons etc.

Yards.

For example, to house a client’s guide dog, to accommodate physical therapy equipment, to address the health needs of a household member

  • Stronger substantiation will be required in allocation areas where there are few properties with yards.

Location within allocation area – need for a property located within a specific part of an allocation area (public housing only).

  • For example, for access to cultural supports, a specific medical practitioner or a special school.

Shared custody – need for a larger property to accommodate children (public housing only).

  • Documentation to demonstrate the need for a larger property to accommodate children

Extra bedroom due to medical condition or disability (public housing only).

  • For example, extra space for storage of medical equipment, room for family member or carer to stay when providing short term support, separate room for a partner if a disability (or routines associated with a disability) require the couple to sleep separately.

Extra bedroom due to family reasons (public housing only).

For example, to:

  • Accommodate regular access visits from children.
  • Accommodate weekend access visits from children.
  • Accommodate regular visits from grandchildren for care or custody reasons.
  • Have a child returned from out-of-home care into safe and stable accommodation.
  • Enable regular care of aged parents.
  • Meet extended family responsibilities.
  • Evidence that access visits occur at least fortnightly or during school holidays.
  • In the case of care related visits from grandchildren, reasonable substantiation of the reason for the visits.
  • Evidence that an additional bedroom is required to meet the needs of a child to return from out-of-home care, or to help prevent children from entering out-of-home care.
Evidence that care is required regularly (i.e. of several weeks duration, several times a year) and supports the need for an extra bedroom.
Evidence of the need to meet extended family responsibilities. Housing providers will consider these requests on a case by case basis according to the specific circumstances of the situation.

A studio unit is unsuitable (public housing only), due to:

  • Medical condition or disability
  • Requires a carer
Family Complement including households with more than one person, pregnancy, shared custody, access visits or child restoration.
  • Evidence that demonstrates that this type of property will adversely affect the client’s health (e.g. due to claustrophobia).
  • Only single person households will be offered a studio unit. A client with family reasons or carer requirements needs to provide documentation to demonstrate their need for additional bedrooms as outlined above.

A high rise unit is unsuitable (public housing only), due to:

  • Medical condition or disability
  • A child or young person at risk

Evidence that demonstrates that this type of property will adversely affect the client’s health (e.g. due to claustrophobia), or that the client has special housing requirements due to risk to a child or young person.

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Last updated: 13 Sep 2019