Recommendations relating to Housing and Homelessness Services

Access to safe and affordable housing is a fundamental ingredient to mental health and wellbeing. This relationship is bi-directional in that experiencing an exacerbation in mental health issues can create housing insecurity if people are not adequately supported, and tenuous housing arrangements can in turn create psychological distress.

Trajectories, led by Mind Australia in partnership with the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), found that housing is the foundation for mental health recovery.

The survey data showed that participants living in private rental housing reported greater perceived experiences of unfair treatment and denial of accommodation than participants living in public or community housing, or those accessing homelessness services. Regardless of the type of housing or services participants had accessed, there was strong agreement that unfair treatment by housing officials, landlords and household members was influenced by stigma about mental health issues. Participants reported that housing officials’ perceived limited understanding about complex mental health issues had acted as a barrier to them finding and maintaining safe, comfortable, and appropriate accommodation that would meet their diverse needs. 


"I now will avoid telling housemates about my mental health issues unless they have gained my absolute trust after many months.      

– Our Turn to Speak participant, Victoria    


Improving access to housing for people affected by complex mental health issues requires a multifaceted approach targeting the whole housing continuum. There are existing efforts to advocate for increased funding to establish more affordable housing and support programs targeted to maintain housing as articulated by the work of Trajectories and the Everybody’s home campaigns. Adoption of the recommendations outlined in these campaigns is vital to improving the access to long-term sustainable supported housing.

In addition to improving the availability of affordable housing, improved support to maintain housing is required. This can range from enhanced integration between housing and mental health services, to programs that support those who wish to upskill in maintaining their homes and finances. 


Recommendations for action 

  1. Increase funding to provide long-term, ongoing support for people affected by complex mental health issues to access and maintain safe and affordable housing. 
  2. Establish education programs coupled with incentives designed to help real estate agents and landlords better understand complex mental health issues and their role in supporting tenants, to reduce experiences of stigma and discrimination.
  3. Facilitate greater integration between homelessness, public/social housing and mental health services for people accessing both systems who require ongoing support to access and maintain safe and affordable housing.