Inadequate support services for social-housing tenants can have drastic consequences for tenants with high needs, and for their neighbours. This is one of the findings in a report on the connection between support services for NSW social housing tenants and sustaining tenancies. The report — ‘We look after our neighbours here’: support services for NSW social housing tenants by Jon Eastgate and Shelter NSW staff member, Paula Rix (Shelter Brief no. 52) — was based on four focus groups with tenants in different locations. The tenants identified a range of issues in their communities, including acute mental health conditions, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, ageing and physical disability. Often these issues show up for residents in the form of neighbourhood disturbances, and this means that they affect the entire neighbourhood. The consequences of inadequate support services for individuals include the worsening of health conditions (physical and mental), loss of housing and the risk of homelessness, and in extreme cases, an increased risk of suicide. The consequences for neighbours include increased tension and stress in neighbourhoods, increased anti-social behaviour leading to loss of feelings of safety, and burn-out for informal carers.
In partnership with Yfoundations, we have released a report by Paul van Reyk on the impact of high housing costs on the access of young students from regional New South Wales to universities in Sydney. Under the radar: the impact of housing on the access of regional students to higher education in Sydney (Shelter Brief 51) found that rural students in Sydney were a population for whom the housing affordability and tenancy issues commonly experienced by all tertiary-level students are exacerbated. Particular aspects of their situation include: working to offset low income levels has a negative impact on study and engagement in university life; the many unregulated online accommodation provider sites are often the only portal for rural students to search for accommodation; and low incomes and high housing costs contribute to a disruption of family ties and support during a critical period of transition for young people from family life to independent living — limited funds must be spent on rent and living expenses (rather than enabling regular physical contact with rurally-based family). Read the media release.
In April 2011 tenants from five NSW public housing estates talked to Jon Eastgate and Shelter NSW staff members, Paula Rix and Craig Johnston, about their experiences of living in public housing, and the effect of changes in eligibility rules and allocation decisions on life in their communities. The full title of Shelter Brief 47 is 'View from the estates: tenants’ views of the impact of changes in eligibility and allocation policies on public housing estates'.
In Shelter Brief 44, Shelter NSW staff member Katie Florance has examined four housing issues that contribute to high levels of homelessness in NSW and Australia: an insufficient supply of affordable housing; the inadequate legislative protection of low-income tenants in private rental accommodation; discrimination (which can prevent access to private rental accommodation); and inadequate assistance programs (which can prolong the period spent being homeless or at risk of homelessness).
This flyer is entitled, ‘Redevelopment of public housing estates: how can public housing tenants be informed and consulted?’.
Between October and December 2008, Shelter NSW held workshops with tenants and housing workers in eight regions of New South Wales. These workshops explored a range of housing issues, priorities and potential solutions to inform the direction of Shelter’s work. Shelter Brief 38, ‘Regional housing needs: report on Shelter NSW regional workshops from October to December 2008’, was written by Shelter NSW staff member Paula Rix.
Shared equity schemes are increasingly discussed as a way of helping lower-income households to get into home ownership. In 2007 Shelter NSW commissioned Robert Mowbray and Nicholas Warren to provide an overview of these schemes in Australia, the UK and USA, and to examine ways to provide good consumer protection. This report is Shelter Brief 33.
Shelter Brief 30 was written by Chris Elenor.
Shelter Brief 25 was written by Hazel Blunden.