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The NSW Government is transforming the current social housing system to break the cycle of disadvantage. The system was developed in the 1940s for working families with low incomes. Today the system supports a different demographic – the most vulnerable people in our community who need a safety net.

Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW sets out the Government’s 10-year vision for social housing, announced on 24 January 2016. This vision which will reduce homelessness, provide more housing and support for those needing social housing and provide more support to help people divert from or successfully transition out of the social housing system.

Future Directions is underpinned by three strategic priorities:

  • more social housing
  • more opportunities, support and incentives to avoid and/or leave social housing
  • a better social housing experience.

Future Directions is backed by the whole of Government – including Health, Education, Justice, Planning and Environment, Industry and Department Communities and Justice – and will change the way social housing works in NSW.

This is an exciting time for social housing in NSW, with opportunities for partnerships between government, community organisations and the private sector. Together we can create an innovative system that will respond to the needs of the community and continuously improve.

More social housing

The demand for social and affordable housing is increasing, with around 48,000 households now on the NSW social housing waiting list at 30 June 2018. The private market is increasingly unaffordable for people on low incomes, and people in social housing tenancies are staying longer.

We are increasing the number of homes and make the best use of existing ones. This involves a large scale program to build a mix of social, affordable and private homes. Our focus is to build integrated communities that are close to transport, education and support services.

More opportunities, support and incentives to build housing independence

Under Future Directions, we are moving towards a system where housing assistance is seen as a pathway to independence and an enabler of improved social and economic participation for tenants living in vibrant and economically diverse communities.

To do this we are providing more opportunities and support, such as increasing the use of private rental assistance products by 60% (to 37,000 in 2025).

A better experience

We want more people in social housing feeling safer and participating in their local community. We are focusing on access for priority clients, high quality customer service, and suitable and stable housing.

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Last updated: 23 Jan 2024