Home Stretch WA - Housing Allowance

Home Stretch WA provides young people leaving Out of Home Care in Western Australia with the option to continue to receive support up until the age of 21.
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About the Housing Allowance

What is the Housing Allowance payment?

A young person who is not living with a carer under a Staying On Agreement can be supported by their Home Stretch WA provider to access a Housing Allowance payment that will assist them to afford a broader range of living arrangements. To create equity with those under a Staying On Agreement, the maximum rate of Housing Allowance payment per fortnight is the same as for the Staying On Subsidy.

The Housing Allowance can be used to support a young person to live in shared housing, or to setup boarding or lodging living arrangements with a relative, friend or in a host home. The fortnightly Housing Allowance amount is individually negotiated with each young person and paid directly to their landlord.

How is the Housing Allowance different to a Staying On Subsidy?

A living arrangement funded under a Housing Allowance may offer a young person the same level of support as under a Staying On Agreement, for example, where a young person is living with a relative or extended family member. Therefore, the maximum rate of payment is the same as a Staying On subsidy. Other living arrangements supported under the Housing Allowance may not provide any level of support and the allowance will only provide a rental subsidy.

Staying On Subsidy payments are not treated as taxable income, and do not typically impact income support payments paid to the carer by Centrelink or to a young person.

Housing Allowance payments are treated as taxable income and must be reported by the individual or organisation receiving the payments as part of their income. Housing Allowance payments do not impact a young person’s income support payments through Centrelink but are deemed reportable income for the recipient.

Can a biological parent be paid a Housing Allowance?

Many young people leaving care will choose to return to their biological families to explore those relationships and reconnect. Some will even choose to live with families they were removed from.

The Home Stretch WA program provides structured support to young people to explore and make safe connections with their biological family but cannot provide any direct financial payment or support to living arrangements with the family members from whom they were removed.

What kind of living arrangements are ineligible for the Housing Allowance?

There are a few living arrangements that have been deemed ineligible for a Housing Allowance because of existing policy or the perceived risks posed to a young person. Living arrangements that are ineligible include:

  • Housing options identified as unsafe during the application process based on the discretion of the Home Stretch WA provider. Where possible attempts should be made to support a young person to make the living arrangement safe and stable through providing support and structure.
  • Emergency or short-term options that are less than three months in duration.
  • Housing that is already subsidised, including funded National Housing and Homelessness Agreement housing and homelessness services, Public Housing and Community Housing, or other specialist youth housing and homelessness programs.
  • Arrangements that require payment to a family member who has been an open case with the Department of Communities.