Welcome to the website of Shelter NSW, the state’s peak advocate for housing justice. Shelter unites the voices of low-income tenants and non-profit organisations working on their behalf.

We conduct research and education on housing issues, and advocate to government to make the housing system work better for those on low incomes.

We are a not-for-profit, non-government organisation and are not aligned to any political party or commercial organisation.

Become a member to support our work towards a fair and just housing system: to apply to be a member or subscriber, download our membership/subscription form.

We do not provide emergency accommodation or other housing: if you need housing assistance, please see our 'Need help?' list of agencies.

What's new

Mike Allen announces retirment

Shelter is very sorry to hear of the retirement of the head of Housing NSW, Mike Allen. Mike is one of those rare public sector leaders who has worked his way through the organisation, bringing real understanding of delivering services to tenants. But unlike many who spend a career in in one department, Mike could be persuaded about better way to do things. He embraced and championed change to try to build a social housing system that would really deliver for low income households into the future. This is a rare and valuable combination. We wish Mike the very best for the new stage of his life.

Shelter conference -Possibilities and Realities: private rental housing as a solution
Early-bird registration discounts extended to 16 April!

Time is running out to register for this important conference! It will be held on Wednesday, 30 April 2014.

The conference will look at the new demands on the private rental market. Public housing is being more tightly rationed & home ownership is further out of reach.  Today many more households - particularly low income households - are looking to the private rental market for long-term housing. Is it up to the job?  What needs to change? How do advocacy and welfare organisations help?  The results of three important surveys will be announced at the conference.

 See the latest program and registration form or book on-line

 Supplement to March Around the House, on Millers Point available

 This supplement was produced to provide an initial assessment of the announcement; and asks 'Is the sell-off of Millers Point the future of public housing?'

March issue of Around the House available

The latest issue of our newsletter, Around the House No. 96, is now available.  It includes articles on the NDIS and housing, 18 years at the Housing Appeals Committee, the private rental market, urban activation precincts, redeveloping public housing, and social investment.  Also see the supplement for an assessment of the Millers Point sell-off.

Report on rent assistance and housing stress in NSW released

A new report on Commonwealth Rent Assistance recipients in NSW has just been jointly released by the Welfare Rights Centre and Shelter NSW. It complements the national report released by the National Welfare Rights Centre.  The majority CRA recipients are in NSW and a very high proportion of these households are still in housing stress, even after receiving Rent Assistance (almost 43%) and almost 35% is in accute housing stress, paying over 50% of their income in rent. Apart from the ACT (which has no 'non-capital city' renters to pull down the average), this is the highest rate of CRA recipients in housing stress in Australia.  Se also, the media release.

Govt announces sell-off of public housing in Millers Point & The rocks

Minister for Family & Community Services, Pru Goward, yesterday announced the sale of all public housing in Millers Point & the Rocks.  These homes include the heritage listed terraces and the iconic 1980s high rise Sirius building which was built to rehouse Rocks residents displaced by the development ultimately stopped by the Green Bans.

Housing policy groups in Sydney, including Shelter and the TU, have expressed dismay at the decision, which thay say will not make the under-resourced social housing system sustainable, but will demolish the community and relationships of tenants and will further divide our city into places for the rich and places for the poor.

Shelter update on Urban activation precincts

The state government announced a program of ‘urban activation precincts’ in the middle of 2012, which is a mechanism to create new planning controls that foster greater density of development in identified locations. Eight sites, all in Sydney, were nominated for investigation as UAPs in 2013. This 'Shelter NSW Update' outlines how the mechanism works, and gives a progress report on how it is being rolled out across those eight sites.

Housing economics for non-economists - first presentation on web-site

Our popular lecture series ‘Housing economics for non-economists’, presented by four leading academics, is over for 2014. For those who missed it - or who want to refresh their memory, the presentations for each lecture and information on the series are now available.  

Shelter information sheets about the Legislative Council amendments to the Planning Bill 2013 that deal with affordable housing

The Planning Bill 2013, which would replace the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, was amended in the Legislative Council in November and is being reconsidered by the Government.

Meanwhile, we have produced a number of information sheets about the Legislative Council amendments that deal with affordable housing. There are four information sheets. The first is a description of the content of those amendments; the second a longer description of the amendment that allows for inclusionary housing; the third is an outline of the role of local affordable-housing schemes; and lastly an outline of parliamentary processes when the two houses of Parliament disagree on a Bill.

Latest Shelter Update: Issues for public-housing tenants whose homes are transferred to nongovernment housing-providers: recent research findings

Transfer of tenanted public-housing dwellings to community-housing providers has a certain political currency.  This Update, reports on some recent and not so recent research on the issues for public tenants whose homes are transferred to community housing – in particular the AHURI study, released last October,  ‘Public housing transfers: past, present and prospective’, by Pawson, Milligan, Wiesel and Hulse.

NSW federal electorates listed by housing stress

Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH), with the help of the Council to Homeless Persons, has produced a list of Federal electorates ranked by the proportion of households in housing stress. Together with the AAH release of their election statements, here are 2011 housing stress by electorate.

NSW Auditor General says public housing should be better used, but doesn’t tackle lack of funding

The Auditor General called on the NSW government to set a new, sustainable direction for public housing in New South Wales “that can function within the available funding”. The performance audit of both Housing NSW (HNSW) and the Land and Housing Corporation (LHC) released 30 July 2013, found that with some people waiting for more than ten years to get a house, the waiting list could be more than 86,000 by 2016 unless things change.   It says public housing is ageing and increasingly not fit for purpose. While the problems are clear, Shelter said in its press release today that the report “has avoided a fundamental problem and that is that the available funding for the system is not adequate




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