Guide to applying for housing assistance
Check your eligibility
To ensure public housing and community housing is used by those in highest need, we apply an eligibility test. Being eligible does not guarantee that you will be offered a home. People with more urgent and complex needs are offered housing assistance ahead of people with less complex needs
If you are not eligible for public and community housing, we will help you understand how you can access other housing products and services that may meet your needs.
To be eligible for public and community housing, you must:
- be a resident of Queensland
- be an Australian citizen or have permanent residency in Australia
- not own or part-own any type of property in Australia or overseas
- meet the assets limit for your household type
- be experiencing these wellbeing factors because of your current housing situation:
- you have a reason to need to move as your current home is affecting your wellbeing and is not meeting your housing needs
- you have at least 2 non-financial wellbeing needs that make it hard for you to have your housing needs met through other housing options, including things that affect your health and safety
- you have 1 financial need which shows you are experiencing significant financial difficulties, making it hard for you to have your housing needs met through other housing options, and your household income is within the eligibility limits.
- be earning within the social housing income eligibility limits for your household
- have an independent income so you can pay rent and financially manage a tenancy.
You must also prove your identity.
If you want to live in a remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, you must also:
- identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander or both, and/or
- have permission from the Council or Trustee to live on the community.
Read on for more detail on each eligibility criteria that you, and the people listed on your application, must meet.
1. Queensland residency
You (the person signing the application and who would become the legal tenant) must live in Queensland. We may make an exception if you live in a border area or are applying from another Australian state or territory and can provide acceptable evidence that you are moving to Queensland. Other exceptions may apply—talk to your Housing Service Centre .
2. Australian citizenship and residency status
You (the person signing the application and who would become the legal tenant) need to either be:
- an Australian citizen
- a permanent resident of Australia
- have a Permanent Protection Visa or a Resolution of Status Visa
- qualify for permanent residency status through agreements between Australia and another country
- have a Safe Haven Enterprise visa
- have a Bridging Visa and have applied for a Protection Visa or a Resolution of Status Visa
- on a Temporary Protection Visa; or
- on a Bridging Visa if you previously held a Temporary Protection Visa which has expired.
If you have applied for permanent residency, a Permanent Protection Visa or a Resolution of Status Visa, you can apply for housing assistance. However, you will not be offered public and community housing until your residency is resolved.
3. Property ownership
You and all the people listed on your application must not own or part-own property (in Australia or overseas). This means you must not own property which could meet your housing need, including:
- a residential home (house, flat, unit or townhouse)
- vacant land including rural property
- manufactured or transportable home
- improved or unimproved commercial or industrial property
- property held in a Trust.
Some exceptions may apply, for example:
- in the case of domestic and family and/or sexual violence, marriage breakdown, or extreme hardship
- if the vacant land is in a natural disaster area
- if you own or part-own a property and need housing assistance on a temporary basis.
Talk to your nearest Housing Service Centre about your housing needs as you may still be eligible.
When added together, the liquid assets owned by you, and all the people listed on your application, must not equal more than these limits:
- Single-person household: $116,375
- Household with 2 or more people: $148,625
Liquid assets include but are not limited to:
- shares, fixed investments, managed funds
- property trusts
- superannuation payouts (if the person has reached the preservation age)
- the value of caravans, mobile homes and live-aboard boats.
Some assets are not included, such as vehicles, home contents and collectibles.
5. Your wellbeing
By understanding how your current housing situation is affecting your wellbeing, we can make sure people with more urgent and complex needs are offered housing assistance.
We consider why you need to move from your current housing, the number and type of wellbeing needs you and your household members have and how complex and serious these are.
To be eligible, you must have:
- 1 reason to need to move
- 2 complex wellbeing needs (non-financial)
- 1 financial need.
Your need to move
You must have at least 1 acceptable reason to need to move from your current home.
Examples of a reason to need to move include:
- You are homeless or likely to become homeless (e.g. you’re living on the streets or in a car, couch-surfing, or your rental tenancy is ending and you have no housing to go to).
- You are experiencing domestic and family and/or sexual violence.
- you are currently living in an unsuitable location.
- The features of your current home do not meet yours or your household’s needs.
- You can’t afford the rent in your current housing.
Complex wellbeing needs (non-financial)
You must have at least 2 complex wellbeing needs. Complex wellbeing needs are things that make it hard for you to have your housing needs met through other housing options.
Examples of complex wellbeing needs include:
- You, or a household member who lives with you, have a long term serious medical issue or disability.
- You’re currently homeless or have been homeless on at least 1 other occasion within the last 3 years.
- You’ve been evicted 2 or more times in the last 3 years.
- You’ve had multiple unsuccessful private rental applications.
- there is no appropriate housing that meets your needs in the private rental market.
- You have a child who is at risk of harm or who is returning from foster or kinship care to their family.
- You’re a young person leaving the child protection system or custody.
- You or a household member is experiencing domestic and family and/or sexual violence.
- You or household member is experiencing safety concerns other than domestic and family and/or sexual violence.
You must have 1 financial need. We assess whether your financial situation is making it hard for you to have your housing needs met through other housing options.
Examples of financial wellbeing needs include:
- You’ve been unemployed for a continuous period of 12 months or more.
- You’re currently unemployed and have experienced multiple periods of unemployment over the past 12 months.
- You’re unable to work and have high living expenses due to a serious long-term medical condition or significant and permanent disability and are experiencing financial hardship due to continuing medical expenses.
- You’re employed (full-time, part-time or casual) and earning within the social housing income eligibility limits for your household.
To check if a payment you receive is included when we assess your household income, contact your local Housing Service Centre.
6. Household income
You will need to show evidence of the total income for all people in your household before any deductions such as tax and superannuation are taken out (gross income).
We don’t include some income, such as certain payments from Centrelink, when assessing a household's income. To check if a payment you receive is included when we assess your household income, contact your local Housing Service Centre.
To be eligible for public or community housing, your household's total gross weekly assessable income must be less than the income limits based on the number of people in your household as per the table below:
Household weekly gross Income limit (must be this amount or less)
Single person, no children
Single person with 1 child
Single person with 2 children
Single person with 3 or more children
2 single people
2 single people and 1 child
2 single people with 2 children
3 single people
3 single people and 1 child
4 single people
5 single people
Couple with no children
Couple with 1 child
Couple and 1 single person
Couple with 2 children
Couple with 3 or more children
Couple with 1 single person and 2 or more children
Couple with 2 children and 1 single person
2 couples with 1 or more children
Other households with 5 or more people including at least 2 adults
7. Independent income
We assess if the income you receive is enough to be able to pay rent and financially manage a tenancy. At least 1 applicant who will sign the tenancy agreement must receive an independent income.
To be eligible:
- the independent income must be more than $226.81 every week
- the applicant must have received this income for (at least) the 4 weeks before applying for public and community housing
- the income must be considered an assessable income (some incomes are not assessed).
Any household member who has no income, a very low income or who can’t identify or verify their income will be assessed as having the income of their equivalent Centrelink payment. The equivalent Centrelink payment is the payment that would match their circumstances even if they do not qualify for that payment. The equivalent Centrelink payment is based on:
- marital status
- whether they live at, or away from home
- whether they have children.
If you hold a Temporary Protection Visa or are in a correctional facility, and do not yet have an independent income, you may apply for social housing. If you’re eligible, you’ll be added to the housing register, but you won’t be offered social housing until you receive income.
In this guide:
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