keys with model house

Homelessness, Social and Affordable Housing

Social and Affordable Housing

Having a home is essential to a person’s health and wellbeing. However, not all Australians have the same access to safe and affordable housing.

Nearly 2500 Greater Dandenong residents are at risk of homelessness, but homelessness does not only mean sleeping rough, it also means having no stable place to live.

One of the main reasons for high levels of homelessness is that there is not enough social and affordable housing in our city. Greater Dandenong ranks 23rd amongst Victorian councils for the amount of social and affordable housing available, yet we have the highest level of homelessness in the State.

Understanding Housing Types

Social housing is an umbrella term that includes both public housing and community housing.

Public housing is owned by the State Government and is provided to eligible disadvantaged Victorians, including those that are unemployed, on low incomes, with a disability, with a mental illness and/or at risk of homelessness.

Community housing is housing owned or managed by community housing agencies that support low income people, including those eligible for public housing. They are regulated by the State Government.

Affordable housing is housing that is appropriate for the needs of a range of very low to moderate income households. They are priced (whether by mortgage repayments or rent) so that these households are able to meet their essential basic living costs. Households that are paying more than 30 per cent of their income on rent are considered to be living under housing stress.

What does homelessness look like in the City of Greater Dandenong?

Contrary to popular belief, the majority of people who experience homelessness are not rough sleepers (living on the streets). Rough sleeping only makes up around 7 per cent of homelessness while the remainder is ‘hidden homelessness’, such as people sleeping in cars, living in rooming houses, couch surfing, or staying in other temporary types of accommodation. (Reference from Council to Homeless Persons at

Greater Dandenong has over 5700 people living in overcrowded conditions.

In 2016, a total of 1942 persons in Greater Dandenong were homeless.(Reference: In 2018, the Australian Bureau of Statistics published estimates of the number of homeless people in each municipality and suburb, calculated from the results of the 2016 Census. Homelessness persons were defined as those sleeping outdoors, residing in homeless accommodation or boarding houses, living with friends temporarily, or enduring severely overcrowded conditions) 

This represents 1.2 per cent of the city’s population and nearly three times the overall Victorian level of 0.42 per cent, making the number and percentage of homeless persons in Greater Dandenong the highest in Victoria.

Read more information about the Dandenong Zero project which is helping homelessness people in Greater Dandenong.

Housing affordability in Greater Dandenong

Greater Dandenong had the second highest rate of rent-related poverty in Victoria. This has led to a 28.2 per cent increase of homeless people between 2011 and 2016. The 2016 Census revealed that 38 per cent of renting households face poverty after paying their rent.

The proportion of rental properties that those on Centrelink payments could afford in Greater Dandenong fell from 83 per cent in 2001, to 4.9 per cent by 2019. Just over half (55 per cent) of single-person households and 59 per cent of renting one-parent families are living in rent-related poverty.The Greater Dandenong Housing Strategy 2014-2024 provides direction to plan for the sustainable supply of housing in the city.



What can you do to help?

Residents can help reduce housing stress in the City of Greater Dandenong by considering:

  • Offering your property for rent to a registered housing provider. Email Greater Dandenong Council at if you are interested and if you require more information. 
  • By volunteering your services.
  • Making a donation to a material aid service helping people experiencing, or at risk of homelessness; a housing support service or a non-profit housing provider.

Visit these websites to see how these groups working to address homelessness: