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Eligibility for priority housing assistance – urgent housing needs

  1. Unstable housing circumstances
  2. At risk factors
  3. Existing accommodation is inappropriate for basic housing requirements
  4. Stolen Generations Survivors and Clients who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse

1. Unstable housing circumstances

A client has an urgent housing need if they are experiencing unstable housing circumstances. This includes:

  • Homelessness.
  • Imminent homelessness.
  • Living in crisis or emergency accommodation.
  • Living with family or friends who are unable to provide longer-term accommodation.
  • Living apart from immediate family members because of a lack of appropriate housing alternatives.
  • Needs safe and stable accommodation to have a child returned from out-of-home care, or to help prevent children from entering out-of-home care

2. At risk factors

A client has an urgent housing need if they, or a member of their household, is at risk of harm. There are many situations in which the personal safety or the mental health of a client or another member of their household may be at risk, including:

  • Domestic or family violence.
  • Sexual assault.
  • Child abuse or neglect.
  • Threatening behaviour by one or more household members against another occupant.
  • Torture or trauma.

An additional at risk category relates to refugee ‘Women at Risk’ visa subclass 204. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees gives priority to the protection of refugee women identified as being at risk of serious abuse including:

  • Physical and emotional abuse.
  • Sexual assault.
  • Victimisation.
  • Harassment.

3. Existing accommodation is inappropriate for basic housing requirements

A client has an urgent housing need if their current accommodation is inappropriate for their basic housing requirements. Housing providers will consider this factor where a client’s current living conditions are extremely unsatisfactory due to:

  • Severe overcrowding.
  • Substandard property conditions (extreme damp, dangerous or unhealthy conditions).
  • Lack of essential facilities (water, electricity, bathroom, kitchen).
  • Needs safe and stable accommodation to have a child returned from out-of-home care, or to help prevent children from entering out-of-home care.
  • Severe and ongoing medical condition.
  • Disability.

For assessment purposes housing providers consider severe overcrowding to occur when:

  • An adult or couple share a bedroom with a person aged over three years.
  • More than three children share a bedroom.
  • More than two unrelated adults share a bedroom.

If the client is renting privately and living in substandard accommodation, the landlord may be liable for repairs. The housing provider will explain the client’s rights under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and refer them to the appropriate Tenants Advocacy and Advice Service.

Shared facilities are not considered to be a lack of essential facilities in cases where a client is living in a caravan park, boarding house, hostel, or a room in a shared house.

4. Stolen Generations Survivors and Clients who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse

DCJ Housing acknowledges the increased housing needs of clients who are Stolen Generations Survivors and clients who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse.

Clients who are Stolen Generations Survivors or have experienced institutional child sex abuse can be assessed for priority housing assistance, without the need to demonstrate they are in urgent need of housing. However, if these clients also demonstrate an urgent housing need, they will be considered for a higher priority category.

To be eligible for priority housing assistance as a Stolen Generations Survivor, applicants are required to:

  1. Be eligible for social housing, and
  2. Be a Stolen Generations Survivor, and
  3. Be unable to resolve their housing need themselves in the private rental market.

To be eligible for priority housing assistance on the basis of institutional child sexual abuse, applicants are required to:

  1. Be eligible for social housing, and
  2. Have a successful application to the National Redress Scheme, or have received a civil compensation payment in relation to institutional child sexual abuse, and
  3. Be unable to resolve their housing need themselves in the private rental market.
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Last updated: 13 Sep 2019