Affordable Housing is one solution for alleviating financial hardship for workers who are experiencing rental stress.
The NSW Affordable Housing Ministerial Guidelines 2023/24 set out the legislative and policy framework for delivering affordable housing that has been developed with financial assistance from the NSW Government or under state planning and is owned or managed by registered community providers. The Guidelines are published by the Department of Communities and Justice and approved by the Minister for Families and Communities, and Minister for Disability Services under section 80 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Housing) Regulation 2021 (NSW).
UNDERSTANDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING
What is Affordable Housing?
Affordable Housing is available to low to moderate income earners, who are working but may find it difficult to afford housing in the private rental market. It aims to relieve rental stress and support households that have the potential for income growth or home ownership in the medium-term.
Why does Affordable Housing exist?
Affordable Housing is designed to address the gap in the market between Social Housing and the private housing market. It is there to relieve the rental stress of workers who do not earn enough to pay market rent in the area in which they work, but earn too much to qualify for Social Housing.
There are many reasons why people may need Affordable Housing – a household member may have lost their job or no longer be able to work full time, or a family may experience a change of circumstances which leads to it becoming a single income household.
Affordable Housing is not offered as a long term housing solution but is designed to meet short or medium-term needs. The eligibility of Affordable Housing tenants is continually assessed.
Who is eligible for Affordable Housing?
Affordable Housing programs have different eligibility criteria. The majority of Affordable Housing dwellings have incentives applied to them under the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS). This scheme is administered by the Federal Government and aims to increase the supply of Affordable Housing properties available to low or moderate income households.
Other housing programs may have eligibility criteria determined by state or local governments. In general, Affordable Housing applicants must be employed and meet certain income eligibility limits.
Find out if you are eligible
To check whether you may be eligible, please contact your local Homes North office and speak to our housing staff.
How do people apply for Affordable Housing?
Affordable Housing applicants should contact their local Homes North office to check their eligibility and how to apply for affordable housing.
Are there waiting lists associated with Affordable Housing?
Yes, Homes North maintains a waiting list of eligible applicants for each area of Affordable Housing supply. Speak to our housing staff in your local Homes North office to be placed on the waiting list if you are eligible. Waiting lists are managed in accordance with individual program agreements, their respective polices and guidelines.
What types of accommodation are available to Affordable Housing tenants?
Affordable Housing stock mainly comprises new one, two or three bedroom units. Homes North has acquired a number of newly built homes in Gunnedah and Tamworth, and these are available for rent. These properties are maintained to a very high standard, using local contractors to carry out repairs and maintenance work, and are let to eligible applicants for an initial period of 12 months.
How is rent calculated for Affordable Housing tenants?
Rent is charged and reviewed in accordance with the respective program agreements, policies and guidelines. However, in general terms Affordable Housing tenants pay rent set at 80% of the market rent of the property. The rent charged is 20% less than the assessed market rent for the property. For example, a house rented privately for $300 per week, would be rented for only $240 per week to an Affordable Housing tenant.
For more information about Affordable Housing, please please contact your local Homes North office.
Homes North aims to identify tenants with support needs where appropriate. We have a number of Tenancy Specialists employed to assess and assist tenants with special or complex needs. Their work involves linking tenants with appropriate support services, intervention, and advocacy and case coordination to facilitate improved quality of life and sustained tenancies.