Social Housing

Public Housing

What is it?

Public housing in Victoria or “Commission housing” is affordable long-term rental housing managed by State government and Department of Health and Human Services.

Public housing properties are grouped into waiting list areas and you can choose up to three waiting list areas.

Who can apply?

Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident

Have low-income. I.e. Must have Centrelink Income or not earn more than limit set out by DHHS. For income restrictions, refer to

How do I apply?

Complete application which you can get from general DHHS website or nearest DHHS housing office.

There are several applications

General application;
To apply for office of housing, everyone needs to put in a general application. The waiting list is very long!

Early housing supplement application;
If a person is in inappropriate housing or at risk of losing their housing, they can apply for their application to be prioritized and considered ‘early housing’ priority. If the housing is inappropriate because of their physical health or mental health they need to complete a Early housing supplement application AND a Special requirements application. Refer to

Special Requirements Form;
If the person has a health issue (physical or mental) they need to complete a 'Special Accommodation Requirements Application'.

You may be able to prioritize application and reduce your wait-time if their housing or health is currently at risk. Please refer to the DHS Special accommodation webpage for more information.

This can be confusing to consumers, so here is a diagram to assist you to explain how this works: Public housing toolkit.


  • Rent is affordable because it is subsidized. A person pays approx. 25% of their income on rent.
  • It is long-term housing; a tenant is able to stay there permanently unless they breach their lease agreement.


  • Waiting times! There is a lot of people on the waiting list for office of housing. As a result, it can take a long time from when you apply to get an offer.
  • Limited choice about area; you cannot choose a specific suburb or area, but you can choose a waiting list area. For example, if I would like to have a house in Mornington and list that as a preference area, I can be offered a house in any of the other suburbs that fall within that waiting list area. I might get a house in Tootgarook.
  • The property a person is eligible for and will be offered will depend on needs not wants. For example, a person is unlike to get a 2 bedroom property if they are a single person, even if they would like an extra room for visitors.