Social Housing

Social housing is rental housing provided by not-for-profit, nongovernment or government organisations to assist people who are unable to access suitable accommodation in the private rental market. Social housing includes public, Aboriginal and community housing, as well as other housing assistance products such as bond loans.

The system was developed in the 1940s for working families with low incomes. Today the system supports a different demographic – the most vulnerable people in our community who need a safety net.

Family and Community Services partners with the community, industry and individuals to provide social housing for those most in need so that they can live with dignity, find support and achieve sustainable futures.

Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW

The NSW Government is transforming the current social housing system to break the cycle of disadvantage.

Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW sets out the Government’s vision for social housing over the next 10 years. A vision which will reduce homelessness, provide more housing and support for those needing social housing and provide more support to help people divert from or successfully transition out of the social housing system.

Read more about Future Directions.

Management transfer program

Over the next few years, the Department of Family and Community Services will transfer its tenancy management duties, and the management of applications for social housing in some areas to community housing providers.

There are about 144,000 social housing properties across NSW and 19 per cent are already managed by community housing providers. The changes will bring this up to 32 per cent, and see around 18,000 more properties managed locally by community housing providers.

The government will be introducing a proposal later this year to make this transfer automatic.

Benefits of the management transfer program

The NSW Government wants to make sure social housing has a more positive impact on people’s lives. Increasing the management of social housing properties by our community housing partners will:

  • make the most of community networks to deliver better long term outcomes for our tenants and applicants
  • make the social housing system stronger and more diverse
  • access more sources of funding that are available to community housing providers to better support you
  • build up the skills and size of the community housing sector.

Timeframe of management transfer program

The change will not occur for some time. In the first half of 2017, we will select the community housing providers that will manage tenancies in each area. Transfers will then start from mid 2017 and continue for three years.


We will transfer management of tenancies and the management of applications for social housing to community housing providers in the following NSW locations:

  • Shoalhaven
  • Mid North Coast
  • Hunter New England, excluding the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie local government areas
  • Northern Sydney, excluding the Ivanhoe Estate.

The Family and Community Services transfer program will not include Aboriginal Housing Office owned properties. The Aboriginal Housing Office is planning to transfer the management of its properties from Family and Community Services to Aboriginal community housing providers, under a separate program over the next four years, to provide access to more culturally appropriate tenancy management services.

More information

If you have any questions about the transfers or want to talk to someone, you can:

IPART review of social and affordable housing rent models

In June 2016, the NSW Government asked the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to review our housing policies to ensure they are fair. The review will focus on how we calculate rent and improve incentives for social housing tenants to work if they can. 

The NSW Government will only consider changes that are fair, efficient and result in a better social housing system for tenants.

IPART has released a paper that sets out some issues for feedback. This will help IPART draft a report in March which will include draft recommendations to improve the system and invite comments from stakeholders. IPART will publish their final report in mid 2017.

You have the opportunity to contact IPART and have your say if you want to. As the review is independent, you will need to contact IPART directly.

For more information, please visit the IPART website.