public housing

The Victorian government provides limited public housing for people on low incomes.

The department that manages public housing in Victoria is Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS).
The landlord for public housing tenants is the Director of Housing.
The law is the same for public housing tenants and private residential tenants, but some of the steps are different.

latest news

Sunday 30 August – A New Lease On Public Housing [Premier of Victoria]
High rise public housing tenants at greatest risk from coronavirus will be offered private rental properties to keep them safe and supported throughout the pandemic.


public housing lockdowns

4 August 2020 Media release: Coronavirus update for Victoria – 4 August 2020

Cases currently linked to public housing in North Melbourne, Flemington and Carlton:

  • 310 cases are residents of various public housing towers in North Melbourne and Flemington. Investigations are continuing into how these cases are linked.
  • 68 cases are residents of various public housing towers in Carlton. Investigations are continuing into if and/or how these cases are linked.


18 July 2020 Media release: Coronavirus update for Victoria – 18 July 2020

At least 100 of the Alfred St residents will be required to continue a period of isolation or quarantine, following completion of the site’s lockdown tonight, due to either being an active case or a current close contact of a known case. The conclusion of quarantine will vary for individuals and we will continue to advise residents what this means for them.

Cases currently linked to public housing in North Melbourne, Flemington and Carlton:

  • 286 cases are residents of various public housing towers in North Melbourne and Flemington. Investigations are continuing into how these cases are linked.
  • 48 cases are residents of various public housing towers in Carlton. Investigations are continuing into if and/or how these cases are linked.


18 July 2020: Changes to restrictions for 33 Alfred Street North Melbourne

The isolation restrictions for some – but not all – residents at 33 Alfred Street North Melbourne ends at 11.59 Saturday 18 July.

Due to the high number of cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) at 33 Alfred Street North Melbourne in early July, all residents were considered “close contacts” and were required to isolate within their apartments for 14 days from 4 July 2020.

Now as the 14 days comes to an end, many residents must continue to isolate or quarantine.

More information on current Directions:

Also see: New COVID-19 rules for public housing in Flemington and North Melbourne [IMCL website]


17 July 2020: Ombudsman announces investigation into treatment of public housing tenants in lockdown

Ombudsman Deborah Glass has begun investigating the treatment of public housing residents at 33 Alfred Street, North Melbourne, who have been in lockdown for nearly a fortnight.

Ms Glass said her investigation was responding to residents’ and their advocates’ immediate concerns, emphasising the need for access to medical supplies, fresh air, exercise, or other everyday needs. She said it was also exploring the broader issue of how to protect people’s human rights when they are detained in lockdown.


10 July 2020: Detention Directions which ordered the hard lockdowns at nine public housing estates were revoked for all addresses at 11.59pm Thursday 9 July 2020.

The new Directions residents must follow are:

Also see: New COVID-19 rules for public housing in Flemington and North Melbourne [IMCL website]


9 July 2020: Stage 3 restrictions for Flemington and North Melbourne estates

Residents at one address must isolate for 14 days in total:

  • 33 Alfred Street North Melbourne

The highest number of cases have been found at 33 Alfred Street, North Melbourne, with at least 53 confirmed cases. This represents around 11 per cent of residents. Given such a high number of positive cases and the unknown source of much of the transmission, our health experts have advised that, just as with an aged care facility, all residents of 33 Alfred Street will be classed as close contacts who must isolate for 14 days in total.

Residents at two addresses move to Stage 3 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions at 5.00pm Thursday 9 July 2020:

  • 159 Melrose Street North Melbourne
  • 9 Pampas Street North Melbourne

Happily, testing has shown no cases.

Residents at six addresses move to Stage 3 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions at 11.59pm Thursday 9 July 2020:

  • 12 Sutton Street North Melbourne
  • 76 Canning Street North Melbourne
  • 12 Holland Court Flemington
  • 120 Racecourse Road Flemington
  • 126 Racecourse Road Flemington
  • 130 Racecourse Road Flemington


5 July 2020: Extra Support For Housing Estates And Hotspot Postcodes

  • two weeks of rent relief for all tenants in locked down towers.
  • $750 hardship payment will be provided to affected households. Those who get tested will have their payments fast tracked.
  • $1500 payments to support workers who are required to self-isolate because they are diagnosed with coronavirus or they are a close contact of a confirmed case but can’t rely on sick leave when missing work.


4 July 2020: Statement From The Minister For Housing Richard Wynne

  • Now, we move to making sure we provide wraparound support for people who live at these estates. That includes medical care, mental health supports as well as the basics like food and essentials. Already, we have support staff and social workers onsite to make sure no one is lacking those basic necessities.


4 July 2020: Statement From The Premier Daniel Andrews

  • nine public housing estates will be closed and contained effective immediately for at least the next five days. Residents will be required to stay inside their homes. The only people coming in and out will be those providing essential services. Residents will be supported with onsite clinical care, as well as food delivery and care packages.


4 July 2020: Directions issued by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer (see: Detention Directions)

There is a separate Direction in place for each address. As each Direction may be updated at different times, please read the Directions for your address.

  • The purpose of these directions is to address the serious public health risk posed to Victoria by Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). These directions require everyone who ordinarily resides in a Detention Location to limit their interactions with others by restricting the circumstances in which they may leave the premises where they ordinarily reside.
  • You will be detained for 14 days from 3:30pm 4 July 2020 to 3:30pm 18 July 2020
  • You will be detained for a further period of 10 days if you refuse to be tested for COVID-19
  • Your detention will be reviewed at least once every 24 hours to determine whether it continues to be reasonably necessary to eliminate or reduce a serious risk to public health.

payments for lockdown tenants

To provide immediate financial relief to households, the Victorian Government is making three Public Housing Restrictions Relief Payments.

These payments are:

  1. rent relief for two weeks. This payment will be applied as a rental credit so that no rent payment is required for the next two weeks for all households;
  2. a one-off $750 hardship payment per household in your estate in recognition of the disruption and inconvenience that these restrictions have caused.
  3. a one-off additional $750 employment supplement per household where a resident in your household earns income from employment. Households that have previously advised DHHS that a member is employed are eligible. This will be determined through the Department’s existing records.

Payments will be deposited directly into the tenants’ bank account. This will be the same bank account used by Services Australia to make Centrelink payments. The $750 hardship payment and $750 employment supplement is expected to be distributed to households on Friday 10 July 2020.

To identify the payment, check your bank account and look for a deposit from “Vic_Housing” called “Housing Hardship”.

Where households have multiple tenants on the tenancy agreement payments will be split equally between multiple tenants of a single household.

For more information about these payments please see the Public Housing Restrictions Relief Payments Pamphlet (Word).

If you miss work because you are required to self-isolate or quarantine due to coronavirus (COVID-19), a one-off $1,500 Worker support payment may be available to you.

If you miss work waiting for COVID-19 test results a one-off $300 Test isolation payment may be available to you.

information and support for tenants

housing call centre: 1800 961 054 24 hours

translator service: 131 450 24 hours

Help with food and supplies, access to health care, family and mental health support, as well as alcohol and other drugs support will also be made available.

Support will be provided on site by a dedicated community engagement and support team, which will work with health professionals, translators, community organisations and leaders, cultural support groups and police to provide support.


Public housing restrictions: information and support [DHHS website]

Coronavirus information in your language [SBS website]: News and information in 63 languages.

Auslan update – 10 July 2020

Auslan update – 10 July 2020National news: • From midday today Queensland will open it’s borders to all states except Victoria. • You will be allowed to cross the border into Queensland if you haven’t been in Victoria for at least 14 days. • You will not be allowed to cross the border into Queensland if you have been in Victoria in the last 14 days, even if you live in another state. • The exception is for Queenslanders who have been in Victoria in the last 14 days. They can enter Queensland but must hotel quarantine for 14 days, which they will have to pay for themselves. • Every single person crossing the border must complete a Queensland border declaration form, including children.• Today Scott Morrison reminded Australians that while COVID-19 cases are low in many states, we still need to continue to social distance. • He stated that hugging and shaking hands is still not safe. • Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth today urged Melbournians, if you are in an environment where you cannot socially distance 1.5m, wear a face mask • He did stress that the safest thing is to remain at least 1.5m apart from others, but when this is not possible, then a mask could help stop the spread of the virus.Victorian news: • At midnight last night residents of 8 of the 9 public housing buildings in North Melbourne and Flemington were allowed to leave their homes for the first time since Saturday • These buildings are now under the same Stage 3 lock down rules as the rest of metropolitan Melbourne, meaning they can go out for the same 4 reasons. • As of yesterday 2,515 tests had been done through all 9 towers, and 159 people had been diagnosed with COVID-19.• At least 53 of the confirmed cases were found in one building, which is still under strict lock down. • Residents of this building will remain under strict lockdown for another 9 days, so that they have all been isolated for 14 days altogether.• Today Victoria’s Treasurer Tim Pallas said Victoria’s unemployment rate could peak at 11%. • The Victorian Government has announced their $534 million support package for businesses to help during this second lock down • 800,000 businesses will be eligible for a $5,000 grant • $30 million fund for hospitality businesses • $20 million for small businesses in Melbourne's CBD · Pallas also said the Victorian Government is waiting to hear if the federal government will be extending JobKeeper, saying more information was likely to come out on July 23rd.Sources:

Posted by Expression Australia on Friday, 10 July 2020


legal help for public housing tenants

tenancy advice: contact us


legal help: 1800 113 432  8pm-6pm Monday to Friday


Do you need legal help about your rights and obligation under the COVID-19 restrictions? Independent free legal phone help for public housing residents in lockdown.

Inner Melbourne Community Legal – legal helpline: 9328 1885 (9:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday). Interpreter service available. For urgent matters call or text: 0436 108 871.

Legal helpline details – audio and text translations [IMCL website]
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legal advice

Factsheet: Your rights in full lockdown [Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission website] Text translations: Amharic | Arabic | Traditional Chinese | Simplified Chinese | Somali | Tigrinya | Vietnamese  Audio translations: Dinka | Nuer | Oromo

10 July 2020: New COVID-19 rules for public housing in Flemington and North Melbourne [IMCL website]

5 July 2020: COVID-19 Government lockdowns of public housing in Flemington and North Melbourne


advice for public housing tenants


applying for public housing – see: Victorian housing register [DHHS website]

appealing a public housing decision 

avoiding public housing maintenance charges

public housing rents 

public housing repairs  

public housing tenants’ handbook [pdf 998KB] 


need help?

Contact us

Tenants Victoria acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.