Changes for people in emergency housing from 19 October

14 September 2020.

From 19 October 2020, there's an important change to the costs you need to pay when you're living in emergency housing. We know this will be a big change and we want to support you all we can.

About emergency housing

Emergency housing provides a place to stay when you’re in urgent need and have no other options. It’s a last resort to keep you housed while you find longer-term housing.

We help people pay for emergency housing, such as motels, with an Emergency Housing Special Needs Grant. Currently, most people do not pay for their emergency housing.

What’s changing on 19 October 2020

From 19 October, everyone who’s been living in emergency housing longer than 7 nights needs to pay 25% of their income towards their accommodation costs. This is called an Emergency Housing Contribution.

We’ll continue to pay the rest of the cost in most cases.

If you’re new to emergency housing or you haven’t needed it for some time, most people don’t need to pay for their first 7 nights.

Your Emergency Housing Contribution is similar to what people pay in transitional housing or public housing. It prepares you for longer-term housing where you’ll need to pay rent, power and other bills.

How much you’ll pay

If you apply for an Emergency Housing Special Needs Grant on or after 19 October, your case manager will tell you how much your Emergency Housing Contribution will be.

You’ll pay 25% of your weekly income after tax (and your partner’s income if you have one) each week you’re in emergency housing. Your income may include payments from us, wages, salary or other income, or Family Tax Credits. If your income is less than what you’d get on Jobseeker Support, you’ll pay 25% of the Jobseeker Support rate.

For example:

  • A single person getting a Jobseeker Support benefit of $213.10 a week will pay $53.27 a week, or $7.61 a night.
  • A couple who are both getting the Jobseeker Support benefit of $401.20 (combined) a week will pay $100.30 a week, or $14.33 a night.
  • A sole-parent with one child getting a Sole Parent Support benefit of $375.17 and Family Tax Credit of $113.04 will pay $122.05 a week, or $17.44 a night.
  • A single person earning $427.50 a week will pay $106.87 a week, or $15.27 a night.

How you'll pay

If you're on a benefit:
Your Emergency Housing Contribution will come directly from your payments.

If you don't get regular payments from us, or you're getting a Student Allowance:
We'll help you set up automatic payments to us from your bank account or your wages. Your case manager will talk with you about this.

Support with the change in your costs

We know this will be a big change, especially if you’ve been living in emergency housing for a while. If you’re worried or have questions, you can talk to your case manager at your next appointment. We want you to understand what this means for you and support you all we can.

If you’re in serious hardship or you have urgent and essential costs to pay, we’ll see if you can get other financial assistance to help you.

If you want help with budgeting or managing your costs, you can: