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Rent Choice Start Safely

Responsible government

  • New South Wales

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Improve support and service system responses
    • 20 Improve access to suitable and safe accommodation within their communities for women who have experienced domestic, family and sexual violence.

What are we doing?

Rent Choice Start Safely is a private rental assistance product that provides a subsidy and links to supports, to help people rent privately across NSW who do not have a stable and secure place to live due to domestic or family violence. A proportion of the rent is paid for up to three years to enable survivors to re-establish stability for themselves and their family following domestic and family violence.

The program also provides emotional and practical support including brokerage to assist with household establishment items, education, or training and employment related costs to enable their transition to financial independence.

What have we achieved so far?

Rent Choice Start Safely has consistently increased the number of households assisted each year. Recent changes have also provided more flexibility and improved affordability for potential clients.

The achievements of the Rent Choice Start Safely Program include:

  • Increasing the maximum time period for receipt of Start Safely from 24 months to 36 months
  • Deeper subsidies for clients living in higher cost locations. This enables clients to rent a more expensive property (within defined limits) where there are no rental properties otherwise available
  • Providing brokerage of up to $2,000 to support a client’s independence. These funds are available for approved household establishment items, education or training and employment related costs.

Private Rental Specialists can directly assess and recommend moderate income clients for Rent Choice Start Safely.

Rent Choice Start Safely has also introduced tapering, which helps clients prepare for successful transition out of the program, so the transition to paying market rent occurs gradually over 18-24 months.

In 2018–19 Rent Choice Start Safely assisted 4,007 households, including 7,238 children, across NSW with stable housing. In 2018–19 the budget for Rent Choice Start Safely was $26.5 million.

What is next?

Rent Choice Start Safely staff are located within Community Housing Providers and Specialist Homelessness Organisations. These positions partner with existing services who support and refer people escaping domestic and family violence to the program. In 2019–20 Rent Choice Start Safely will be delivered by 56 Senior Private Rental Specialists state-wide.

What difference will we make?

Rent Choice Start Safely helps to ensure people experiencing domestic and family violence are supported to find safe, affordable housing and financial independence through a subsidy and links to supports.

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