This report presents the findings from my performance audit of the Department of Communities’ (Department) management of disruptive behaviour and illegal activities in public housing.
Access to affordable and secure public housing reduces homelessness, and can lead to improved employment and health outcomes for people who would otherwise not be able to afford a home. The Department manages over 36,500 homes for more than 64,000 people on low incomes. While the majority of public housing tenants engage positively with their community and local neighbourhood, some do not.
Each year the Department receives complaints of anti-social behaviour relating to almost 20% of the public housing estate. Addressing these complaints requires the Department to balance the negative consequences of potential eviction and homelessness with the community expectation of peaceful and safe neighbourhoods.
I am pleased to report that the Department generally manages these disruptive tenancies well. They respond to most complaints in a timely manner and take a consistent approach. They give due consideration to the circumstances and evidence from tenants and complainants using a transparent process.
However, the Department still has work to do to better support tenants to avoid disruptive behaviours from occurring in the first place. Better information sharing and engagement both within the Department and with external agencies will help the Department as it works to address this finding.
I am encouraged by the Department’s active engagement with the audit process and its acceptance of the findings and recommendations of my report.