Jesuit Social Services contributed a submission to the Victorian Government’s Social Housing Regulation Review. The aim of the review was to identify future regulatory arrangements in order to strengthen protection for residents, and position social housing for growth and transformation over the coming decades.
Drawing on our experience working with many people experiencing vulnerability who rely on social housing to meet their accommodation needs, Jesuit Social Services made the following recommendations to strengthen the social housing regulatory framework:
- Embed a human rights framework – grounding Victoria’s social housing regulatory system in a human rights framework is fundamental to ensuring Victorians can fairly access social housing, sustain their tenancies, and move between different housing options as their needs change.
- Ensure public housing is a key feature of the social housing supply mix – public housing is a vital component of Victoria’s social housing system for those not accommodated by the community housing industry, including, for example, people experiencing homelessness and young people.
- Improve housing allocations – regulation of the social housing system must ensure fair, transparent and timely application processes in order to facilitate individual access to and sustainability of social housing tenure.
- Strengthen protections for people in social housing – people in social housing, whether it be community or public housing, must be entitled to the same rights and conditions. Protections for people with multiple and complex needs must be strengthened across both community and public housing.
- Increase integration with long-term, wrap-around and tailored supports – to achieve a housing system that meets the needs of people with specific needs, a range of initiatives should be tailored to each priority cohort, with relevant targets, implementation plans and timelines, which are monitored, regularly reviewed and publicly reported on.
- Ensure the system is trauma informed and culturally safe – regulations must be trauma-informed and developed in close consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.
- Enhance access to safe, energy-efficient and sustainable housing – Effective implementation of climate safe and energy efficient design in the planning and construction of all new social housing is essential, and this must be enshrined in legislation.
- Increase fairness, transparency and accountability – efforts are needed to simplify the complaints process and to ensure the social housing system promotes transparency and accountability.