In October 2012, the Parliament of New South Wales (NSW) passed the Boarding Houses Act 2012 (NSW), as a central part of its bid to strengthen and regulate boarding houses in NSW. The Act divides boarding houses into two categories: general and assisted.
‘General boarding houses’ are defined as premises that offer beds for a fee or reward providing there are five or more residents.
‘Assisted boarding houses’ are boarding premises that provide beds in exchange for a fee or reward for persons with additional needs. Newtown Neighbourhood Centre is a partner in a five year evaluation study with two Universities- initially, the University of Western Sydney and subsequently the Australian Catholic University. The Evaluation study project focussed on the objectives to:
assess the effect of the Act on the wellbeing of residents of boarding houses;
assess whether the rights of residents are better protected;
determine the effect of the Act on the sustainability of the boarding house sector; and
determine levels of collaboration between departments, agencies and community organisations that work with the boarding house sector.
The research focused on two Local Government Areas (LGAs): Inner West; and Newcastle.
The report’s findings are based on data collected from the following:
Boarding house residents: Annually, approximately 200 surveys are collected. In addition, 54 individual interviews are conducted.
Boarding house proprietors: Annually, over 600 surveys are sent out NSW-wide to all known proprietors. In addition, 20 individual interviews are conducted.
Government and non-government agencies: A series of focus groups are held with agency workers who are implementing or monitoring operations associated with the Act, or are otherwise in contact with the boarding house sector. In addition, agency data is being collected annually.
The final phase of the evaluation was undertaken and was published in early 2018.
Final Report on the Boarding Houses Evaluation Project