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AASW’s Policy Position on Housing and Homelessness

Cardboard cutout of house The principles and aspirations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international

covenants focus on the right to adequate, appropriate and affordable housing. The right of

individuals and families to have social connections and a sense of place is recognised by the World

Health Organisation as a social determinant of health (Lonne, 2008). The AASW states a commitment to Social Justice and Human Rights in our Code of Ethics, the most basic of these being the right to stable, safe and appropriate shelter and housing. The AASW works to maintain awareness of the wider systemic links between homelessness, mental health, family violence, and other public health issues.

The AASW has advocated for

  • the formulation and implementation of an integrated homelessness policy, based upon effectively integrated planning and community development;
  • the development of an integrated national affordable housing strategy to reduce the number of homeless Australians;
  • an urgent increase in the supply of affordable rental housing and the reform of rental assistance;
  • the promotion of private sector investment in low cost housing; and,
  • a focus on housing issues within a framework of urban and regional design that addresses issues facing people on low incomes in areas of economic disadvantage (AASW, 2008).

Submissions in progress: Inquiry into Homelessness in Australia

Position Statements



August 2015

Position Statement on Housing Affordability

October 2008


Policy Submissions



July 2020 Covid 19 Inquiry Submission
June 2020 Submission to Inquiry into Homelessness in Australia

November 2017

Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs: Social Services Legislation Amendment (Housing Affordability) Bill 2017

24 October, 2008

Comment on the provisions of the National Rental Affordability

Scheme Bill 2008 and the National Rental Affordability Scheme (Consequential Amendments) 2008

Media Releases



15 October, 2020 Call for action to ensure basic human rights
4 August, 2020

Social workers urge government to lead economic recovery by investing in social housing

7 July, 2020

Inquiry into Homelessness in Australia: AASW calls for an increase in social housing

9 August, 2019

Invest in affordable, says AASW during National Homelessness Week

10 October, 2018

Immediate action needed to address increasing homelessness, says AASW on World Homeless Day

6 August, 2018

Australian social workers recognise National Homelessness Week 2018

4 August, 2017

Homelessness Week 2017: It’s time to address the poverty traps that lead to homelessness, including family violence

16 June, 2016

Reducing homelessness and its links to family violence a national priority

13 February, 2015

Thousands face homelessness with closure of Home at Last

Other relevant documents



August 2019

Scope of Social Work Practice: Homelessness

December 24, 2014

Brief Statement: Funding Cuts to Peak Housing & Homelessness Bodies

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers