Social and Affordable Housing

1. What is affordable housing?

Generally speaking, affordable housing refers to housing costs that are no more than 30% of a households income.

The State government have a more detailed definition of Affordable Housing.

You can read more about the State Government definition on Affordable housing.

2. What is social housing?

Social housing is secure and affordable rental housing for those on the lowest incomes. 

Social housing rent is capped at 30% of household income and is provided by:

  • Government

  • not-for-profit agencies (such as community housing providers.) 

3. Why do we need Social and Affordable Housing?

There is not enough affordable housing in Yarra Ranges to meet the need. We know that existing homes are becoming more unaffordable to a wider range of households. 

Households that are vulnerable to housing stress and insecurity are those with limited capacity to earn income, such as: 

  • people with a disability

  • single parents

  • youth

  • over 55 (particularly women)


Impact on Community and Economy

A lack of affordable housing can have an ongoing impact to our communities such as:

  • Families may have to leave their communities for more affordable areas.

  • Households have less disposable income to support their local economy.

  • Local businesses and industries struggle to get workers

  • Increase in relationship breakdowns and family violence

  • Increase in people on the streets.

For every $1 the Australian community invests into social and affordable housing; it will deliver $2 in benefits.

The rate of this return is comparable to those achieved in many other major Australian infrastructure investments.

You can read more about the economic impact of a lack of social and affordable housing.

4. How much social and affordable housing does Yarra Ranges need?

We estimate that 2800 households are in need of affordable housing in Yarra Ranges. These households are either in rental stress in marginal housing  currently homeless.

Of these, approximately 2600 are on the lowest incomes and need urgent social housing.

A further 2500 households are in mortgage stress, most of which are on low incomes who would benefit other, more affordable options.

The majority of these households are needing 1-2 bedroom properties.

5. Why has housing become so unaffordable?

The gap in housing affordability and social housing impacts people within the lowest income brackets.

Home prices and rents have become unaffordable in recent years. This is due to a combination of issues including:

  • interest rates

  • taxation

  • legislation

  • the lack of housing supply.

Many of these issues are outside the control of local councils, but there are ways we can work towards improving the situation.

You can read about some of the issues that impact housing affordability:


6. What is Council’s role in Social and Affordable Housing?

The responsibility for planning and providing social housing lies with the State Government. Council, however, have a crucial role in improving housing affordability through our four pillars:

Strategy and Advocacy

Developing effective policies and advocating for commitments that increase Social & Affordable Housing. 

Planning Controls

Using existing planning frameworks to increase availability of social and affordable housing. Advocate for improvements to the planning system to support affordable housing models.


Assets & Opportunities

Reviewing council and government assets and seek opportunities to increase the supply of social and affordable housing. 

Service Enhancement

Enhancing the local response to homelessness by supporting external services and building capacity of councils community-facing teams.






Guiding Principles

We also use our Guiding Principles that were endorsed in August 2020 to recognise a range of factors that contribute to housing challenges in our community.

Some of these challenges include:

  • The rising cost of rents

  • Increased competition for affordable rentals

  •  Prevalence of unemployment


Council's Housing Strategy 2023

A Housing Strategy contains actions to support social and affordable housing. Using this strategy we will develop a Social and Affordable Housing Action Plan and Social and Affordable Housing Policy.

Consultation for the new Housing Strategy will open toward the end of 2023.