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Band-aid or Panacea? The Role of Private Rental Support Programs in addressing Access Problems in the Australian Housing Market


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Jacobs, K, Natalier, KA, Berry, M, Seelig, T and Slater, M 2007 , 'Band-aid or Panacea? The Role of Private Rental Support Programs in addressing Access Problems in the Australian Housing Market' , Housing Studies, vol. 22, no. 6 , pp. 901-919 , doi: 10.1080/02673030701608100.

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Australia has a significant private rental market with over a quarter of households
renting their home from a private landlord. Many of these households are on low incomes and
receive assistance from private rental support programs provided by each Australian state and
territory. In spite of these large numbers, little is known about the effectiveness of policy initiatives to
assist low-income private renters. Limited knowledge of the private rental support programs stands
in stark contrast to the detailed research on programs established to address homelessness and
problems within the public housing sector. This paper addresses this lacuna by reporting on the suite
of initiatives currently funded by state governments to assist low-income households (for example,
bond loans and rental deposits, advice and help with removal expenses). Based on a comprehensive
study of Private Rental Support Programs (PRSPs) commissioned by the Australian Housing and
Urban Research Institute, it is argued that though policies to assist vulnerable tenants are
acknowledged as a success by practitioners and clients, their effectiveness as a policy instrument is
undermined by wider structural changes in the housing market. The paper concludes that the stress
faced by many vulnerable households is likely to intensify over the coming years thereby
compounding the pressure on state Housing Authorities to provide more comprehensive packages of
support that extend beyond just a ‘one-off’ form of assistance.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Jacobs, K and Natalier, KA and Berry, M and Seelig, T and Slater, M
Keywords: Australia, private rental housing, support programs
Journal or Publication Title: Housing Studies
ISSN: 0267-3037
DOI / ID Number: 10.1080/02673030701608100
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