Innovative trial to boost opportunities for people in social housing

The Albanese Labor Government will partner with the NSW Minns Government on a targeted approach to connect people receiving social housing assistance with education, training, and work opportunities.

The $4.5 million contribution and partnership with the NSW Government will trial a new model to help achieve housing independence for social housing tenants and their household members.

The Opportunity Pathways Social Impact Investment Program, running until 30 June 2026, is a trial voluntary program that assists people living in social housing to gain, retain or increase education and employment and encourage and support the move to independent housing options, where appropriate.

Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth said this joint Commonwealth-NSW trial is important for the support it is providing to the community and for the innovative way it will be run.

“The Opportunity Pathways Program is encouraging people to explore employment and education avenues that they may otherwise think would be out of reach,” Minister Rishworth said.

“This project is part of a suite of innovative trials demonstrating a new way of governments working together and with service providers, replacing the traditional grant funding approach with a social impact investing funding model.

“It is projects like these that will inform and support the design of the recently announced Outcomes Fund. Following the co-design process with state governments, the $100 million Fund will provide an opportunity that may move projects like these to scale to target entrenched disadvantage.”

Minister for Housing Julie Collins said this support could be life changing for participants.

“The Albanese Government has an ambitious agenda to make a difference to Australians dealing with housing challenges – but even with a stable home, it can be hard to engage in training or education, or find and keep a job,” Minister Collins said.

“This innovative trial is another example of how we’re helping tackle disadvantage at its roots, and helping people build more stable and secure lives.”

The Opportunity Pathways program is operating in a number of sites throughout NSW, including the Hunter Central Coast, New England, South Western Sydney, and Western NSW.

NSW Minister for Housing and Homelessness Rose Jackson MLC said the Opportunities Pathway program is another initiative aimed to provide additional support to social housing tenants across the state.

“To create enduring solutions to our housing crisis, we need to tackle the issue from every direction. We want to help set people up for success by providing access to safe and secure shelter and the tools they need to take control of their education and employment pathways,” Minister Jackson said.

“We know that many people who face housing insecurity don’t have the privilege of prioritising other core needs such as education and work opportunities. We want to change this and this program is a strong first step.”

More information on Social Impact Investing is available on the Department of Social Services website.

More information on the program is available on the NSW Government Department of Communities and Justice website.