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Applying for Social Housing in NSW

From the 27th April, 2010 a new application process and common housing register  is in place for community and public  housing across NSW called Housing Pathways.

This means you can apply for any type housing assistance  within NSW, both public housing and community housing, using the same application form. This form of housing assistance is called social housing.

You can apply for social housing  at your local community housing provider office as well as any Housing NSW office within NSW.

For a directory of community housing associations, please see the directory section of our website, which lists all community housing providers by region. 

For information on Housing NSW Offices, application forms and further information please see:
List of Housing NSW Offices
Housing Pathways website


Social Housing Overview

To ensure that social housing assists clients who are most in need, the eligibility criteria for social housing concentrates on assisting:

  • Clients on low income that need support to help them live independently, and
  • Clients on low income that have problems finding affordable housing in the private market that is suited to their needs.
Participating social housing providers will assess eligibility and priority for clients seeking social housing. All participating providers will accept the outcome of this assessment. When an assessment is complete, the provider will notify the client in writing of the outcome of the assessment.

To be eligible for social housing, clients must:
  • Be a citizen or have permanent residency in Australia, and
  • Be resident in New South Wales (NSW), and
  • Establish their identity, and
  • Have a household income within the income eligibility limits, and
  • Not own any assets or property which could reasonably be expected to resolve their housing need, and
  • Be able to sustain a successful tenancy, with or without support, and
  • If applicable, make repayments of any former debts to a social housing provider, and
  • In general, be at least 18 years of age.

Social Housing Register Overview

Under Housing Pathways, Housing NSW has overarching responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the NSW housing register.

The NSW housing register is a single list of approved clients waiting for social housing. The NSW housing register lists clients in order according to their required housing location, their approval category and approval date.

When a social housing provider approves a client for social housing, the provider will place the client on the NSW housing register. Housing NSW and community housing organisations will then use this register to offer housing when a suitable property becomes available.

The time that a client will wait on the NSW housing register depends on:

  • The number of vacancies
  • The supply of social housing in the area, including the number of social housing providers
  • The number of people waiting for the same type of housing in the same area who have been waiting longer
  • Willingness to accept offers of both public and community housing
  • The number of people who have demonstrated a high need to be housed
  • The number of applicants leaving the NSW housing register.

Clients may change their preference to an area with a shorter waiting time, or change their provider preference, at any time prior to a housing provider making an offer of housing.

If you are unhappy about a decision:
You might want to complain or appeal against a decision made by your housing provider. See section “Not Satisfied?

Check the website
Community housing and other parts of social housing are always changing and under review. Please check the website:www.housingpathways.nsw.gov.au, and the website of your local community housing provider (see directory) regularly to see if there have been changes and improved ways to make social housing available to you.


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