Housing poverty in Australia

  • 440 families served in FY18 440 families served in FY18
  • 2,138 volunteers hosted in FY18 2,138 volunteers hosted in FY18
  • Projects: Construction, disaster response, supporting vulnerable people Projects: Construction, disaster response, supporting vulnerable people

Habitat for Humanity’s (HFH) Australian programmes are delivered through State Partners in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia.

Habitat helps low-income families achieve the dream of building and owning their own safe, secure home.

Brush with Kindness

In Australia, Habitat also assists disadvantaged families through its repair and maintenance programme, Brush with Kindness. Internationally, HFH Australia works…

In Australia, Habitat also assists disadvantaged families through its repair and maintenance programme, Brush with Kindness.

Internationally, HFH Australia works in partnership with communities across the Asia-Pacific region to address housing poverty and to support integrated community development.

HFH Australia is currently working in Cambodia, Vietnam, Nepal, Indonesia, Myanmar, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

volunteer australia

The housing need

In Australia, it is estimated there is a shortage of more than 500,000 affordable houses.

About 60 percent of low-income families experience ‘housing stress’, that is, they spend more than 40 percent of their household disposable income on rent.

Rising inequalities

According to the “2015 Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey”, Australia is among the world’s top three most severely unaffordable housing markets.

Despite being a rich country, Australia has a housing affordability crisis and it is hitting poorest families the hardest. The supply of affordable housing can be affected by planning, regulatory and financial barriers.

Lack of funds

The cost of land, materials and construction has continued to rise, especially in the capital cities and major regional centres.

National statistical data show that on any given night, over 100,000 people in Australia are homeless. Lack of affordable housing is a key contributor to this figure.

How we alleviate housing poverty in Australia

Habitat for Humanity partners with low-income Australian families to build simple, decent and affordable homes. In 25 years, Habitat has…

Habitat for Humanity partners with low-income Australian families to build simple, decent and affordable homes. In 25 years, Habitat has built over 140 homes in Australia and has a current construction rate of around 10 homes a year. This is achieved through:

  • Financial donations from individuals and organisations;
  • Donations of construction materials and land;
  • The utilisation of volunteer labour (skilled and unskilled) in partnership with the local community and through its Affiliate Chapter network.

Volunteers from the community work alongside partner families who contribute their “sweat equity”, or their own labour, in the construction of their homes. This also marks the start of a social support network for the partner families.

In addition to building new homes, the domestic programme renovates existing homes and completes repair and maintenance under Brush with Kindness.

The programme assists the financially disadvantaged, elderly, frail and/or disabled people and serves as a vehicle for engaging corporate sponsor volunteers, in locations close to metropolitan areas.

international volunteer trip laying bricks

Key facts & figures

  • Capital: Canberra
  • Main country facts: Australia is a country, and continent, surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans.
  • Population: circa 26.1 million
  • Urbanisation: nearly 96.5 %
  • Life expectancy: 83.09 years
  • Unemployment rate: 5.16%
  • Population living below poverty line: circa 12%

New home constructions and developing holistic communities

bricks construction icon
Habitat for Humanity Australia enables low-income families to achieve their dream of home ownership by building decent and affordable homes. Families partner with Habitat in the construction of their home. Each partner family receives an interest-free, 20-year loan based on 95 percent of the market value of the completed home.

HFH Australia’s international program is designed to address multi-dimensional aspects of poverty, recognizing that adequate housing provides the foundation for lifting families out of poverty. Projects are designed to achieve Habitat’s development objectives including shelter security, community health, economic security, education and community empowerment.

Disaster response

hammer construction icon
In Australia, Habitat for Humanity has run Brush with Kindness programs to help survivors in the aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, the Blue Mountains bushfires in New South Wales and the Queensland floods in 2012. In Victoria, Habitat’s development of the Yea Heights Estate has focused on building homes for families affected by the 2009 bushfires, the worst natural disaster in Victoria’s.

Brush with Kindness

heart icon construction
Brush with Kindness is a volunteering program that helps to preserve homeownership. HFH Australia works in partnership with members of the community who are disadvantaged, disabled or elderly and do not have the physical ability, equipment or resources to maintain their own home. Activities range from repairing fences, painting, gardening to mowing lawns.