Social and affordable housing

Access to safe, secure affordable housing is a right that should be afforded to our whole community and it is a pressing issue that all three levels of government need to work together to address.

Yarra Council wants to maintain the diversity of our municipality and is committed to pursuing strategies that increase social and affordable housing in our municipality.

In Yarra:

  • 6,000 (15%) of households are experiencing housing stress
  • More than 3,000 of those in housing stress are rental households on very low incomes
  • Almost 1 in 4 single households (23 percent) in Yarra are in housing stress
  • 1 in 4 rental households (25 percent) are in housing stress
  • 3,570 (9%) of households have an unmet need for affordable housing
  • 9.5% of households currently live in social housing
  • 697 people are waiting for social housing
  • 85% of the workforce live elsewhere

What is Affordable Housing?

A common measure of affordable housing is when a property is rented at no more than 30% of household income, to very low, low and moderate-income households.

Affordable housing comprises various types of housing solutions. These include social housing and other housing initiatives and support services that provide for the housing needs of very low-income households, low-income households and moderate-income households.

Very low-to-moderate income households have been defined by the Victorian Government, based on household income distribution derived from the most recent Census of Population and Housing undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Each definition is a value relational to the median household income of Greater Melbourne.

It is important to distinguish between ‘Affordable Housing’ (as explained above) and ‘housing affordability’, which is a general term to express that the cost of housing (prices, mortgage payments and rent) is unaffordable when compared to people’s incomes.

Yarra’s Social and Affordable Housing Strategy

We’re committed to making Yarra a diverse and welcoming city for all.

The Victorian Government is the main supplier and manager of public housing in the state and registered housing agencies are the main community housing providers.

Although Yarra Council is not the main policy player, we can support and contribute to social and affordable housing in a number of ways. Council’s overall strategy is to ensure that Yarra maintains a diverse population by increasing the supply of affordable housing for households with various income levels and requirements.

We will achieve this:

  • through our role as a planning authority
  • by contributing land, buildings and assets
  • by partnering with and facilitating the work of other stakeholders
  • by advocating to other levels of government

Yarra’s Social and Affordable Housing Strategy was adopted at a Council Meeting on Tuesday 12 November 2019.

The full strategy is available to read or download.

Where can I find Affordable Housing?

The State Government’s housing website has a list of affordable housing options and is a good place to start looking.

If you are on a low income, you may be eligible for social housing, which is for people on low incomes with rents regulated by government. Social housing includes:

  • Public housing: housing owned and managed by the Victorian Office of Housing. Public housing rents are around 25% of income depending on circumstances.
  • Community housing: housing owned and managed by not for profit organisations (housing providers) and rented to low income households for around 30% of income. There are community housing properties across Victoria.

The waiting list for public housing in Victoria is around 40,000 people. However if you are homeless, escaping domestic violence, have a disability or special housing needs, you may be eligible for priority access.

You can apply for social housing online or use a paper application. For more information visit, or a Department of Health and Human Services office, or you can apply through a support agency.

If you are currently experiencing or at risk of homelessness, call the Victorian Statewide Homelessness Line on 1800 825 955 (free call, open 24/7) to be connected with an Access Point in your area.

If you are experiencing family violence you can call Safe Steps on 1800 015 188 (free call, open 24/7) and speak confidentially to another woman for information on family violence support services, legal rights and accommodation options.

If you have been threatened or you are fearful for yourself, a child or a family member – call 000.

Information for developers

As part of the development of the Social and Affordable Housing Strategy, we have updated Yarra’s Policy Guidance Note: Affordable Housing Outcomes at Significant Developments, which sets out our expectations for affordable housing at major development sites.

Council will continue to seek provisions for at least 10% affordable housing transferred to a registered housing agency, or an alternative of equal or better benefit, to the satisfaction of Council, at the rezoning of land for residential use that allows more than 50 dwellings.

Click on these links to read Yarra's: