SA Housing Authority — Working together to provide better housing opportunities for all South Australians

Everyone wants to belong. To feel secure in a safe and stable home, and be part of a community. Without a secure home it can be very difficult to connect to others, and to have opportunities to achieve full potential in life.

Without stable housing, it can be difficult to succeed in education and employment. There can be extra challenges in maintaining healthy relationships with family and friends. It can be even more difficult to recover from trauma, domestic violence or substance abuse.

A safe and stable home can be the difference between a person reaching their full potential, or living a life dependent on welfare where each day is a struggle.

Helping people to achieve and sustain secure housing is an essential role of government. In South Australia, this essential role is led by the SA Housing Authority.

The SA Housing Authority has a clear aim to deliver better housing opportunities for all South Australians. Working in partnership with its customers and the housing sector to address the immediate challenges of today, while also planning ahead to anticipate the housing challenges we will face in the future.

Better housing outcomes allows citizens to participate more fully in their community. This improves the state economy, liveability and competitive advantage. Driving affordable housing supply provides opportunities for the construction industry and employment outcomes.

Building on a rich and proud history

The SA Housing Authority is led by the South Australian Housing Trust Board. The Trust has a rich and proud history of helping South Australians to access secure housing.

The Trust was established in 1936 to deliver new housing supply to meet the post-war population and migration boom. As well as building many thousands of houses for low-income working families, the Trust also created economic investment, developed entire new suburbs and the supporting infrastructure.

However, the role of the Trust has changed. Over time there has been a shift in focus from just building new properties and infrastructure to providing new services and supports for customers who are increasingly vulnerable. It has been recognised that it is not possible to build new homes for every low income or at risk South Australian, and so functions like private rental assistance, community housing and affordable housing have been developed.

The challenge now for the SA Housing Authority is to continue to adapt to the changing needs of our communities. To find ways to increase the supply of affordable and better housing options, while making sure that support services continue to be available to those who need them.

Challenges to overcome

The housing challenges we face are considerable, and many South Australians are finding it harder than ever before to find and sustain stable, appropriate and affordable housing.

Across the nation housing affordability has decreased, and housing stress is increasing amongst low income earners. There is an insufficient supply of affordable housing options. The general cost of living has also increased. Social housing supply is limited, and prioritised for the most at-risk applicants. This means many other low income people are unable to access the benefits of subsidised and secure social housing.

Challenging financial conditions overall mean that the Authority must find new and innovative solutions to these challenges, while operating as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Strong partnerships to find shared solutions

The housing challenges we face cannot be fixed overnight. Nor can they be overcome by a single organisation. They can only be overcome if we maintain close, successful and long-term partnerships with other participants in South Australia’s passionate and professional housing sector. To find shared solutions to shared problems.

We have re-set our relationship with the housing sector. We are working to foster collaboration and a multi-provider system, where a wide range of different services are provided by a variety of organisations.

Together, we can improve outcomes for vulnerable and low income South Australians across the entire housing continuum: crisis and homelessness services; social housing; affordable private rental and home ownership; and the general housing market. The goal is to help people find easier and multiple pathways to progress along this continuum, and improve their housing situation.

Putting our customers at the centre of everything we do

We are working to engage more closely with our customers, to better understand their needs and put them at the centre of everything we do. We want to empower our customers and communities, and involve them in designing the best possible housing system and services for South Australia.

We want to help our customers to improve their situation, to be more involved and engaged in their communities, and less reliant on government assistance.

The SA Housing Authority is helping people aim for - and achieve - better housing outcomes, so that social housing is not seen as a destination, but rather just one step on a path to secure and affordable housing in the private market.

Our organisation — “social heart with a commercial mind”

The Authority will evolve a business mindset while remembering that people are at the centre of what we do, so that we can operate with “a social heart and a commercial mind”.

We are committed to taking an evidence-based approach and operating as efficiently and effectively as possible, to optimise the use of our limited resources and assets. We are addressing our immediate housing challenges, but also planning for the future to address the growing demand in the system.

We need to be business focused and report to clear KPIs, so that we are transparent and accountable for our performance. We need to be clear about our role, what we do and what we don’t do - and excel at what we do.

The challenges of recent years have had a negative impact on the public image of government’s role in social housing. The SA Housing Authority needs to address this image, and reposition itself as a modern, professional, effective and high-performing organisation.

To achieve our goals, we must have the right people and suitably support them. We are fortunate to have dedicated staff who are proud of the difference our organisation makes and passionate about improving housing opportunities and outcomes for South Australians. Our vision for better housing cannot be realised unless we have well-trained, well-supported staff who are clear about their role, and how they contribute to the bigger picture. We are committed to cementing our reputation as an employer of choice by employing and retaining the best staff, and continuing to support them to achieve the best possible outcomes.

The SA Housing Authority is dedicated to delivering housing opportunity for South Australians. To make sure that everyone can sustain a secure and affordable home as a base to help them reach their full potential.