University of Tasmania
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Individualised housing assistance: findings and policy options

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 21:36 authored by Keith JacobsKeith Jacobs, Hulse, K, Stone, W, Wiesel, I
  • Recent years have seen a trend towards the individualisation of social programs and away from ‘one-size-fits-all’ models, in Australia and other similar countries.
  • In Australia, individualisation is the centrepiece of one of the country’s most transformative social reforms, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which aims to provide people living with disabilities greater control over their lives through individualised funding to purchase the support that they require.
  • Parts of the Australian housing assistance system are already individualised to an extent, through payment of government transfers to people in receipt of income support to find accommodation in the private market to rent. However, such demand-side assistance is typically standardised rather than tailored to individual preferences and needs.
  • In practical terms, it is difficult to exercise choice in the private rental market due to shortages of affordable accommodation. Only government investment in addressing supply shortages will increase the choice for very-low-income and vulnerable households.
  • Other parts of the housing assistance system operated traditionally in a supplydriven, ‘top-down’ model. States and territories have been experimenting, often over a long period, with new models that provide greater choice of providers, different forms of housing management, and new types of connections with other types of support services.
  • There is widespread support for more customised products and services, although some elements are controversial (e.g. allocations protocols, different lease lengths and diversity in rent setting).
  • A move to individualisation of housing products and services requires careful attention to regulation and monitoring of standards as well as evaluation of the outcomes for very-low-income and vulnerable households. Tailored forms of housing assistance should have a prevention/early intervention focus, as well as provide for intermittent and ongoing needs.
  • Individualisation could involve clients having a greater say in developing more customised support packages, even without a system of support funding/personal budgets. Some vulnerable people would need support and advocacy in this process.
  • It is important to experiment with, and then evaluate the effectiveness of, new means of improving individualisation in housing assistance; obtaining the views of providers and consumers/clients is important in this process.


Publication title

AHURI Final Report








School of Social Sciences


Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited

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Copyright 2016 AHURI. Licensed under Creative Commmons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

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Socio-economic Objectives

Public services policy advice and analysis

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