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Social housing reform

Everyone needs a home. Stable, secure housing is the basis for good mental health and wellbeing.

Every person has the human right to an adequate standard of living. Social housing plays an important role for people who cannot afford to rent or buy their own home.

Access to a home is essential to recovery for many who live with mental illness, mental health difficulties and problems with alcohol and drug use.

Social housing ordinary report

The Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services tabled the Commission’s first Ordinary Report in the Queensland Parliament on 30 June 2015.

The report Social housing: Systemic issues for tenants with complex needs, examined the impact of the anti-social behaviour management policy on social housing tenants who experience mental illness, mental health difficulties and substance use problems.

The Anti-social behaviour management policy (the ASB policy), also known as the ‘three strikes’ policy, was introduced by the Department of Housing in 2013. The policy raised concerns it might lead to people with complex needs losing their social housing.

The report made 12 recommendations for reform that addressed systemic issues and improved the sustainability of social housing tenancies for people with complex needs.

Everyone needs a home is a summary of the report’s findings and recommendations. Also read the Three strikes policy must consider tenants with complex needs media release.


The research report that informed the development of the Ordinary Report, Review of systemic issues for social housing tenants with complex needs, was prepared by the University of Queensland’s Institute of Social Science Research on behalf of the Commission.

Government response

The recommendations of the social housing Ordinary Report were either accepted or supported by the Department of Housing and Public Works, Queensland Health and the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

The agencies’ responses were published in the Commission’s 2014-15 Annual report.

The government response to the report was announced in Parliament by the Minister for Housing and Public Works August 2015.

Implementation progress

In 2015-16 the Commission supported the Department of Housing and Public Works to implement the report’s recommendations, including through the Mental Health Demonstration Project and supporting workforce development.

The Commission will continue to work with the Department of Housing and Public Works on the implementation and evaluation of the Mental Health Demonstration Project. The Project is one of their key responses to the Ordinary Report’s recommendations.

In partnership with the Department of Housing and Public Works and Queensland Health, the Commission published Social housing progress, March 2017, outlining the implementation of the Ordinary Report recommendations. 


The Commission’s work to drive system reform in social housing was recognised in June 2016 as a Nominee for the University of Queensland Partners in Research Excellence Awards, which recognise research partnerships that result in changes to policy and/or practice.


In 2017, we engaged KPMG to evaluate the key drivers of successful reform in policy and practice arising from the Ordinary Report.

In the final report Key Drivers for Policy and Practice Change in Social Housing, August 2017, KPMG identified three key drivers of reform:

  • robust, quality evidence
  • genuine collaboration
  • the independent role of the Commission.

The findings set a positive foundation for our future work to influence policy and practice across a variety of issues and drive real, meaningful change that makes a difference to people.