Community housing

The Department of Human Services - Housing works directly in partnership with not-for-profit registered housing agencies.

Housing agencies are not-for-profit organisations that develop, own and manage rental housing for people on low incomes.

These include:

  • housing associations, which manage and expand new housing and manage rental housing portfolios
  • housing providers, which primarily manage rental housing portfolios.

Based on the focus of its activities and its obligations to its partners, some housing agencies specialise in housing specific groups, such as people with a disability, singles or older people.

Housing Associations

Housing Associations manage and expand new housing opportunities and manage rental housing portfolios. They have the capacity to borrow against the properties they own and are well-placed to attract support from other partners. Currently, for every dollar spent by the government, housing agencies attract an extra 25 to 30 percent from private, philanthropic and local government sources.

Almost 5,000 properties are currently owned or leased by registered housing associations in a range of locations throughout Victoria.

Housing Associations own and manage stand-alone properties, rooming houses, accommodation with onsite support, medium density housing and flats.

Some examples of recent housing projects that have been developed in partnership with housing associations include:

  • Park Place in North Fitzroy
  • Commonwealth Games Village in Parkville
  • Woodstock in Balaclava
  • Stand-alone properties in regional Victoria.

In addition, approximately 1,600 properties are leased by the Director of Housing, under the Housing Provider Framework, to the remainder of the not-for-profit housing sector.

Housing Providers

Housing Providers primarily manage long term and short term rental housing portfolios whilst providing other valuable services including:

  • short-term housing-focused crisis support
  • housing information and referral services for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness
  • outreach programs to provide long-term support to people with complex needs and long histories of homelessness
  • support to and advocates on behalf of people living in public and social housing to help them successfully establish and sustain their tenancies.
    Housing cooperatives.

There are two types of housing cooperatives, Common Equity Rental Cooperatives and Rental Housing Cooperatives (RHCS). Both housing cooperatives are made up of members who are interested in being accommodated in secure, affordable and good quality rental housing.

Common Equity Rental Cooperatives members are housed in properties leased from the registered housing association Common Equity Housing Ltd. Contractual arrangements exist between Common Equity Housing Ltd and each Common Equity Rental Cooperatives in the form of a head lease on the properties owned by Common Equity Housing Ltd. Each Common Equity Rental Cooperatives then leases the properties to individual Common Equity Rental Cooperatives members.

RHCS are registered Housing Providers with tenant managed, long term housing for low income members. The properties are owned by the Director of Housing and leased to tenant groups under the Housing Provider Framework Lease and Property Management Agreement.

Allocation of housing

Housing provided to tenants on low to moderate incomes must be affordable. Tenant rents are charged at between 25 and 30 percent of combined household income (depending on eligibility and income type). Community Housing tenants are usually eligible for a rent subsidy (through Commonwealth Rent Assistance).

Housing Associations are expected to take approximately half of any new tenants for new Government-funded properties from the public housing waiting list. Applicants who are housed by a Housing Association will then be taken off the public housing waiting list.

People who need housing can contact the Department of Human Services - Housings central referral office or housing agencies directly and check whether they meet eligibility criteria.

For more information about housing agencies and for a list of registered agencies visit the Housing Registrar.


Note: Community housing refers to rental housing provided for people on low to moderate incomes or people with special needs. It is generally fully or partly funded by governments, and managed by not-for-profit organisations, and in some cases local governments.

Social housing is a type of rental housing that is provided and/or managed by the Government or non-government organisations. Social housing is an overarching term that covers both public housing and community housing.

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