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New data shows almost one in three Victorians feel rental pinch as availability of social housing drops


The latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data has revealed that only 2.9% of Victoria’s housing stock is social housing, underscoring the needs for the state’s Big Housing Build project to continue beyond 2024, says Council to Homeless Persons.

The AIHW data for 2021 shows a decline in the proportion of social housing households in Victoria since 2014, from 3.5% of all households to 2.9% in 2021. Of the 80,611 social housing dwellings, 3,818 were considered to be overcrowded.

Meanwhile, amid the current rental crisis, almost one in three Victorian renters pay more than 30% of their income on rent.

Council to Homeless Persons CEO Jenny Smith said the latest data highlights the urgent need for the state and federal governments to lift social housing numbers.

“Victoria needs 6,000 new homes a year for the next decade to address the shortage in social housing.

“The state made a big social housing commitment though the Big Housing Build, but that runs out in 2024. It is clear that as the rental crisis worsens in Victoria that this program must continue.

“The new Federal Government has also made a commitment to fund social housing, but must urgently lift the number of homes they’re building.”

The latest data comes amid surging rental prices, which has seen only one in 10 homes affordable to people on low incomes.

Ms Smith said census data revealed there were nearly a million unoccupied homes across Australia on 2021 census night – showing that a shortage in affordable housing in part reflects a failure of the private rental market, which can only be addressed through government building more social housing.

“Victoria’s rental crisis is fuelled by a lack of affordable rentals and chronic under investment in social housing.

“The private rental market can’t and won’t fix that, so we need government to step in and provide homes.

“Victorian renters need a safe home at an affordable price, regardless of who is the landlord. Social housing is like any other house on the street, it’s just more affordable.”

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