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The Strategy’s approach is based firmly on evidence and rigorous, in-depth research.

2018 South Australian Housing Trust Triennial Review

The 2018 South Australian Housing Trust Triennial Review highlighted the shortcomings of a broken system, and identified the need to support a modern multi-provider system that is transparent, integrated, sustainable and responsive to need.

Amongst other things, it found that:

  • The profile of the social housing customer is changing with implications for support needs, revenue and ability to move into the private rental market
  • Housing affordability for low income South Australians is decreasing
  • Asset condition and suitability will require capital expenditure to meet tenants’ needs
  • Clear performance/accountability of frameworks have not been set
  • Transparency of information is critical to ensure monitoring of performance.

South Australia's Social Housing Snapshot

Public Housing Tenants

  • 9% Wages as primary income
  • 78% Single or single parent households
  • 59% Over 55 years old
  • 33% Disability Support recipients

Community Housing Head Tenants

  • 11% Wages as primary income
  • 71% Single or single parent households
  • 52% Over 55 years old
  • 31% Disability Support recipients

Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Audit of current housing assets and mapping of future demand, 2019

The government-commissioned Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Audit of Current Housing Assets and Mapping of Future Demand provided an insight into the state’s current housing assets, and likely future demand together with trends and challenges facing South Australia’s housing system.

It found that while there were around 44,000 households in social housing in 2018, there were also 46,500 low income households in private rental stress (paying more than 30% of income on housing), including 19,000 households paying greater than 50% of household income on housing.

Trends in the wider market based on the 2006, 2011 and 2016 censuses saw more people renting privately, less social housing and cost of renting growing faster than the cost of owning a home.

The Australian Centre for Social Innovation SA Housing and Homelessness Strategy Report

In-depth interviews were conducted with key stakeholders from across the housing and homelessness system by The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) to explore opportunities for systemic change throughout the broader housing system in South Australia and the willingness and conditions for a cross-sector, collaborative approach to the Strategy.

Views were drawn from a diverse range of sectors including community housing, real estate and property management, advocacy, homelessness, local government, urban and property development, youth services, ageing, community services, and Aboriginal services and advocacy.

The report highlighted the following system challenges:

  • Stagnation to fluidity
  • Creating a market for outcomes
  • Housing is treated as a commodity, not a right
  • Increasing density, investing in amenity
  • Renting is more complex than just the ‘private’ rental market
  • Stopping the flow in, and enabling the flow out of crisis
  • Diversity is what’s missing in the SA housing and homelessness system.

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Who did we talk to?

Getting to know people and their housing needs and aspirations is key to getting both services and housing stock right.

The Strategy was informed by engagement with lived experience across housing tenures, homelessness and support sectors. Workshop participants included those who are homeless or face homelessness, seniors, young people, survivors of domestic and family violence,people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and people living in private rental and social housing.

In addition, significant engagement occurred including across the state’s regions, online platforms, industry, housing sector and community forums were held to identify and explore housing challenges and solutions.

Engagement Summary

▷  Stage 1 — November 2018

▷  Stage 2 — July to August 2019

4 Discussion Papers 4 Sector Forums (Adelaide Metro)
2 Online Engagement Platforms 12 Lived Experience Workshops (Seven Cohorts)
1008 Individuals and Organisations Engaged 7 Sector Round-tables (Regional)
9000+ Postcards Distributed 7 Community Drop-In Sessions (Regional)
11 Industry Leader Interviews   

What did we find?

The findings highlighted a number of key issues:

  • The housing system can be difficult to navigate, frequently fails to understand the people it services, and often makes it difficult for them to make their own decisions.
  • Social housing assistance is currently being targeted to a growing number of South Australians who are at risk and vulnerable.
  • Costs of retaining and maintaining housing, and providing services to assist access to housing and sustain tenancy are climbing.
  • Asset sales to alleviate these costs make the future unsustainable and financially impracticable.
  • People experiencing homelessness and/or sleeping rough are not adequately engaged with homelessness services.
  • A third of South Australians experiencing homelessness are displaced as a result of domestic or family violence.
  • The system is fragmented and not outcomes-focused, even though there is genuine commitment from the homelessness and support sectors to work differently and collectively, to generate change, new thinking and produce better solutions for all.
  • Incomes have not kept up with house price growth, leading to a greater reliance and competition for private rental; which is not always secure, is subject to price fluctuation and discriminates against lower income earners and particular demographics.
  • Competition for affordable private rental is driving up costs and reducing overall affordability.
  • Demand for crisis and short-term accommodation is often higher than supply. Use of emergency accommodation has escalated dramatically in recent years and is not an appropriate long-term solution.
  • South Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, face additional barriers to accessing emergency accommodation, long-term housing and support.
  • Refugees and asylum seekers face further complications related to legal and language barriers that make it difficult to work and to use social services. Adelaide’s median house price is more than six times the average annual income.
  • The housing market is not always affordable for low-income households and those experiencing generational inequities.
  • In some regional areas, very high home deposits of up to 50% are required, while accommodation for workers being brought into regions to work in local industry and older people seeking to downsize is often limited.

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