Income and asset limits for South Australians on the social housing wait list are being drastically reduced in a bid to ensure housing is available for the most vulnerable.
From this month, social housing eligibility criteria will be dramatically cut following consultation with the community housing sector and tenant bodies.
Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink said the reforms would not result in anyone currently in social housing losing their tenancy.
“South Australia has the most generous social housing criteria in the nation – and will now be brought into line with the other states and territories in order to better target social housing customers with the greatest need,” she said.
“The new asset limits allow people to own a car and have some savings in the bank and/or modest assets and still be eligible for social housing.”
Minister Lensink said social housing reform was long overdue.
“Social housing should be a safety net for our most vulnerable and that’s exactly why we are drastically reducing income and asset social housing eligibility criteria,” she said.
“The old, overly generous social housing eligibility criteria means we were not targeting our services to those most in need.
“Previously, social housing customers could have up to $616,000 in assets and most South Australians would agree this is far too much and something needed to change.
“These reforms bring South Australia into line with the rest of the nation and any change to eligibility criteria will only affect new customers.
“Tenants already in social housing will not be affected.”
From August 25, 2021 only applicants who meet the new eligibility criteria or have a high or urgent housing need are able to go on the housing register.
People already on the housing register will be assessed against the new income and asset limits only if they are offered a house.
South Australians who do not meet the new income or asset limits may still be able to register for social housing if they have an urgent or high housing need.
For example, people experiencing domestic and family violence, people living with disability and older people on fixed incomes.
The State Government is modernising the social housing system to make it fairer, more efficient and transparent services to South Australians.
Social housing reforms include:
• Established a new single housing register to make it quicker and easier for South Australians to apply for social housing.
• From July 2021 implemented moderate income rent reforms, as highlighted in the 2018-19 State Budget.
• Households earning moderate-to-high incomes are now required to pay 30% of their income as rent – and these increases will be gradual.
• Rolled out the new HomeSeeker SA website – the new one-stop-shop designed to reduce housing stress by helping more South Australians buy their own home or access private rental.
• Launched Housing Connect, a new online service making it easier for customers to access their information and connected with the SA Housing Authority.
Single household income limits will change from $1023.36 to $715.05 per week with couple household income limits altered from $1338.24 to $1112.30 per week.
Single household asset limits will change from $482,500 to $48,250, while couple household asset limits change from $616,000 to $61,600.
Households with children will have a higher income limit of up to $1747.90.