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

Submission to Inquiry into social housing tenancy management available

The Legislative Assembly Public Accounts Committee is conducting an inquiry into tenancy management in social housing.  The terms of reference include cost effectiveness compared to the private sector or community housing, as well as support services accessed through social housing.  Submissions closed earlier this month and have now been posted on the Parliamentary web-site.  Here is the link to Shelter's submission.

New Shelter Brief on issues for tenants in public housing renewal projects

This Shelter Brief No 56, Issues for tenants in public housing renewal projects: literature search findings, examines the Australian literature on issues faced by tenants in public housing estate renewal programs. It uses publicly available information from approximately the past 10 years to identify the key issues for tenants and how renewal projects respond to these issues.

It examines two sorts of projects, “community renewal” which focuses on social interventions and “urban renewal” which focuses on physical redevelopment of a community. The main focus of the project is on urban renewal, but there is often considerable overlap between the two approaches.  The second part of the report examines the context and background to urban renewal in New South Wales and Australia.

Announcing our new Urban Issues lecture series - this October

Shelter NSW is excited to announce a new community education product - a lecture series on Urban Issues.  Urban issues and planning have become increasingly important in shaping our housing system – for better or worse.

The series is aimed at both policy makers and non-profit housing advocates – and anyone wanting to understand planning and urban issues and how to influence them. It will explore how urnab geography affects equity, how the planning system works, how urban planning affects affordable housing, and how citizens can influence planning decisions.

The lecture series will build on the model of our successful,  ‘Housing economics for non-economists’ lectures which we have run in March over the past five years. This Urban Issues series will involve 4 separate lectures on 4 consecutive Monday afternoons in October and early November. Each session will consist of a one-hour lecture by a prominent expert on the topic, followed by questions and discussion.

See more information on the lecturers and topics and fees.  Registrations are now open and can be made on-line or by downloading the registration form.

Shelter Update on the 2014-15 State Budget

This Shelter Update give a detailed account of the key housing-related aspects of the 2014-15 State Budget.  It covers both revenue and expenditure.  It notes that the budget placed a strong emphasis on housing supply, especially on measures that promote the construction industry, and an upbeat assessment of the resilience of the housing market, but little emphasis on nonmarket housing and social housing in particular.

New Shelter Brief on social impact investment & housing released - and briefing

This latest Shelter brief No. 55 by Carrie Hamilton, explores the potential role of forms of social impact investment, new philanthropy and social enterprises in supporting housing supply or housing & homelessness services.

Carrie gave a briefing on the the main findings from the paper on  Monday July 28,. The presentation is available here.

June issue of Around the House available

The latest issue of our newsletter Around the House No. 97 is now available.  It includes a word from our new Minister, Gabrielle Upton, coverage of the State and the Federal budgets and what they mean for housing, articles from presenters at our recent conference on the private rental market, and an overview of the surveys of tenants in the rental market released at the conference - and more

Shelter releases new urban policy fact sheets

Shelter has released three new fact sheets to provide information on some of the main concepts and terms in urban policy today:

Shelter says State Budget should have provided a 'Social Housing Boost'

In its media release on June's State Budget, Shelter says that NSW governments cannot continue to ignore the challenges in supply of affordable rental housing. "Social housing needs a Boost so that we don’t go backwards and so we do go forward". It also says that the Budget failed to address the recommendations of the Auditor's report on public housing.

Shelter conference -Possibilities and Realities: private rental housing as a solution

Conference presentations now available

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.

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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