Priority Ballot Policy

Last updated:
November 15, 2022

To assist in creating environmental, social and financial sustainability, and importantly equity, within our communities, Nightingale Housing is committed to providing quality housing for individuals who provide key services or contributions to our communities. We are also committed in assisting minority members of society to gain access to social participation and secure housing.

Each Nightingale project allocates, through a Priority Ballot system, up to 20% of homes to Key Community Contributors, carers of, or individuals with, a disability and Indigenous Australians or Torres Strait Islanders.

Entry in the priority ballot is open to all persons over the age of 18 who meet the respective priority criteria as defined within this document. Those unsuccessful in the priority ballot will be included in the project’s standard ballot.

This policy has been created for and by Nightingale Housing with the intention of creating a broad and transparent practice of inclusion in the housing sector.

Individuals wishing to be included in the priority ballot will be required to provide documentation substantiating their eligibility for priority balloting along with their ballot form. Please see details below for the required documents for each group.

The Balloting Process

For each Nightingale project, the ballot will be drawn in 2 (two) separate draws:

  1. The first draw (this being the priority ballot) will be drawn from the pool of priority ballot entrants to allocate up to 20% of available apartments.
  2. The second draw will be an open draw and drawn once the priority ballot allocation has been exhausted (or alternatively, once all priority ballot entrants have been allocated an apartment). Once exhausted, all eligible entrants (including any remaining priority ballot entrants) will go into a draw for an offer on the remaining available apartments. All entries have a random and equal chance of being drawn for an offer.

1. Key community contributor

Key community contributors are people whose occupations are considered essential to the functioning of cities, but who are typically on fixed, low to moderate or casualised wages. Nightingale housing recognises that a broad range of low-paid occupations are important for a city’s function, its humanity and economic sustainability.

1.1 Nightingale Housing key community contributors criteria

  1. The individual (or at least one individual in a household) must currently fulfil a Key Contributor occupation; and
  2. The individual (or in a household of more than one individual, the household) must not earn more than the maximum income as set out below.

1.2 Key Community Contributor Occupations
We understand key community contributors to be individuals who perform a function that is vital in the delivery of an important skill or service to our society. We’ve identified Key Community Contributors as individuals fulfilling the following occupations, or working in the following industries:

  • police officers
  • teachers and early childhood carers
  • nurses
  • firefighters
  • ambulance officers
  • social workers and case workers supporting vulnerable minority groups*
  • counsellors and psychologists supporting vulnerable minority groups*
  • doctors (and other medical professions)
  • individuals supporting vulnerable minority groups*
  • individuals who work in the not-for-profit sector.

* including asylum seekers and domestic violence victims, vulnerable youths, people experiencing homelessness, people living with disabilities, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander individuals

Please note, individuals must be employed as a Key Community Contributor at the time of balloting.

1.3 Key community contributor income assessment

Additionally, we understand that some individuals fulfilling the above occupations (or working in the above industries) will not require our assistance with housing as their role affords them a sufficient salary. As such, the Nightingale Key Community Contributor definition also includes a means-tested requirement. To be eligible under the Nightingale Key Community Contributor definition, your earnings must not exceed the following maximum income limits:

  1. for individuals, your gross “assessable income” and “exempt income”, as defined in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth), must not exceed $120,000 per annum; or
  2. for households with two or more individuals (one of which must fulfil a key service occupation), your combined household gross “assessable income” and ‘exempt income’, as defined in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth), must not exceed $170,000 per annum.

We have considered the following in determining these income limits:

We believe that an individual's ability to service a loan for an average apartment in the local area of the Nightingale project is the most appropriate indicator to determine whether an individual can purchase a home in said locale; and therefore, whether they require assistance via the priority ballot.

The median price for an apartment in Brunswick is $480,000. Base on the figures below*, Individuals or households that earn over the income thresholds defined above, will contribute 30% or less of their income towards mortgage repayments and, as such, will experience both reduced mortgage stress and need for assistance.

*4.00% interest rate on a 30-year home loan, for a $480,000 apartment and includes other purchaser fees such as legal costs, etc.

Please note, individuals and households that do not meet the means-testing criteria are not eligible for priority balloting but are encouraged to participate in the standard balloting process.

1.4 Verification process

Your eligibility to partake in the priority ballot as a Key Community Contributor will be assessed via the following process:

  1. Individuals or Households must read and understand the Nightingale Key Community Contributor definition and assessment criteria. If you believe that you are eligible, please select the corresponding box in Part 3 Priority Ballot on your ballot form.
  2. As part of submitting your ballot form you agree to provide documentation proving your eligibility as a Key Community Contributor (see point 3).
  3. You will need to provide the following documentation with your ballot form when balloting:
  4. A letter from your employer confirming your employment;
  5. Where relevant, registration, qualification or identification as evidence of your occupation (i.e. teacher registration documentation);
  6. Previous year’s tax return statement as evidence that you satisfy the means-test; (or your last 3 pay slips as evidence that you satisfy the means test)
  7. A statutory declaration declaring that you fall within the Nightingale Key Community Contributor definition (you should understand the legal implications of providing a false statutory declaration prior to signing this statutory declaration)

2. Carers

Nightingale Housing recognises that Carers form an integral part of our community and health support systems. We want to assist those wishing to care for loved ones endeavouring to live together or independently in any given Nightingale building. To this end we will, wherever possible, accommodate proximity between carers and the persons they are caring for.

Carers are people who provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends who have a permanent and significant disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, or who are frail aged. Caring provides help and support in any of the daily activities of the person being cared for, and may include physical and personal care, assistance such as dressing, lifting, showering, feeding or providing transport. Carers provide emotional, social and/or financial support.

2.1 Nightingale Housing carers assessment criteria

  1. Individuals must be the primary carer for a dependant or semi dependent individual with a permeant and significant disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, or who are frail aged.
  2. The individual under the carer’s care for must not live outside the building. That is, Carers must provide primary care for and live with the person under their care either:
  3. In the same apartment within the same building
  4. Separate apartments within the same building

If a person with a disability requires a carer in a separate apartment and is successfully drawn in the priority ballot, we will then, to the best of our ability, allocate an apartment to their Carer also and vice versa. Carers must be caring for individuals with a disability at the time of balloting and intend to do so on an on-going basis.

2.2 Verification Process

Your eligibility to partake in the priority ballot as a Carer will be assessed via the process:

  1. Individuals or Households must read and understand the Nightingale Carer definition and assessment criterion. If you believe that you are eligible, please select the corresponding box in Part 3 Priority Ballot on your ballot form.
  2. As part of submitting your ballot form you agree to also provide documentation proving your eligibility as a Carer (see point 3). You agree that if you are unable to verify your eligibility and provide documentation you will forfeit your right to purchase your Nightingale home if you were to be successful under the priority ballot.
  3. You will need to provide the following documentation with your ballot form when balloting:
  4. A letter or report from your dependant or semi-dependant’s doctor or specialist documenting their disability or diagnosis and the permanent nature of their disability;
  5. A Carers Statement detailing how the caring role affects you:
  6. Whether you are able and willing to keep caring for the person with disability in the same way into the future
  7. What the impact of your caring role has on your own personal needs and goals, (for example - work; study; travel; social, cultural or religious engagement activities) and;
  8. A statutory declaration declaring that you are eligible for the Nightingale Priority Ballot as a Carer (you should understand the legal implications of providing a false statutory declaration prior to signing this statutory declaration)

If you are a carer applying for the Priority Ballot, please include the full name and details of the individual you care for, or will be, caring for, on their ballot form.

3. Individuals with a disability

Nightingale Housing aspires to facilitate the creation of inclusive communities through the provision of housing that caters to all levels of accessibility. We recognise the importance of caring for those in need and providing an environment of connection and belonging.

3.1 Nightingale Housing Disability Assessment Criteria

Individuals eligible for the priority ballot will experience a permanent disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, or frail age which:

  • affects their ability to participate effectively in activities, or perform tasks or actions, unless you have support; and
  • affects their capacity for social and economic participation; and
  • means they are likely to require ongoing support; and d. reduces their ability to achieve secure housing or home ownership.

3.2 Verification Process

  1. Individuals or households must read and understand the Nightingale Disability definition and assessment criteria. If you believe that you are eligible, please select the corresponding box in Part 3 Priority Ballot on your ballot form.
  2. As part of submitting your ballot form you agree to also provide documentation proving your eligibility as an Individual with a disability (see point 3). You agree that if you are unable to verify your eligibility and provide documentation you will forfeit your right to purchase your balloted Nightingale home.
  3. You will need to provide the following documentation with your ballot form when balloting:
  4. A letter or report from your doctor or specialist documenting your disability or diagnosis and the permanent nature of this.
    This may be supported by:
  5. assessments by doctors or therapists
  6. a diagnostic test or tests
  7. previous plans such as a Client Support Plan (CSP), Health Support Plan (HSP) or Behaviour Support Plan (BSP), and/or
  8. service agreements with disability support agencies.
  9. A statutory declaration declaring that you are eligible for the Nightingale Priority Ballot as an Individual with a disability (you should understand the legal implications of providing a false statutory declaration prior to signing this statutory declaration)

If you are an individual with a disability applying for the Priority Ballot with a Carer, please include the full name and details of your Carer on your ballot form.

4. Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders

At Nightingale Housing it is important for us to demonstrate in practical and tangible ways our acknowledgement of the traditional custodians and owners of the land on which we build and meet.

One way we try do to this is by providing priority balloting to Indigenous Australian and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

4.1 Verification Process

The following process outlines Nightingale Housing’s assessment of your eligibility to part take in the priority ballot as a Carer. The verification process is as follows:

  1. Individuals or households must read and understand the Nightingale Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders definition and assessment criterion. If you believe that you are eligible, please select the corresponding box in Part 3 Priority Ballot on your ballot form.
  2. As part of submitting your ballot form you agree to also provide documentation proving your identification as an Indigenous Australian or Torres Strait Islander (see point 3).
  3. You will need to provide the following documentation with your ballot form when balloting:
  4. A statutory declaration declaring that you are eligible for the Nightingale Priority Ballot as an Indigenous Australian or Torres Strait Islander (you should understand the legal implications of providing a false statutory declaration prior to signing this statutory declaration)

5. Existing Nightingale Housing residents

Nightingale Housing acknowledges the contribution to community and culture provided by existing community members. With previous experience in a Nightingale building, existing residents have the ability to bring a level of knowledge and understanding of the Nightingale Model to new Nightingale communities. We expect existing residents wishing to move to new Nightingale buildings to share in their wealth of Nightingale experience, to act as advocates or instigators in creating meaningful community, and to assist in ensuring the ongoing integrity of Nightingale communities.

It is acknowledged that existing Nightingale residents wishing to transfer to other Nightingale Buildings are freeing up their initial apartment for others in the Nightingale purchaser community. We'd like to incentivise existing Nightingale residents to work with us to secure affordability and as such, these residents will be offered the opportunity to participate in the priority ballot

5.1 Assessment

Individuals or households eligible for the priority ballot as existing Nightingale residents will satisfy the following criteria:

  • residents must currently reside in a Nightingale Housing building
  • residents must agree to all resale obligations, as outlined in the restrictive caveat, for both existing and new apartments.


5.2 Verification Process

The following process outlines Nightingale Housing’s assessment of your eligibility to part take in the priority ballot as an existing resident. The verification process is as follows:

  1. Individuals or households must read and understand the Nightingale Housing existing resident definition and assessment criterion. If you believe that you are eligible, please select the corresponding box in Part 3 Priority Ballot on your ballot form.
  2. As part of submitting your ballot form you agree to also provide documentation proving your identification as an existing resident (see point 3). You agree that if you are unable to verify your eligibility and provide documentation you will forfeit your right to purchase your balloted Nightingale home.
  3. You will need to provide the following documentation with your ballot form when balloting:
  4. A statutory declaration declaring that you are eligible for the Nightingale Priority Ballot as an existing resident (you should understand the legal implications of providing a false statutory declaration prior to signing this statutory declaration.

6. Women Aged 55 and Over

Nightingale Housing acknowledges that older women—those aged 55 and over— was the fastest growing cohort of homeless Australians between 2011 and 2016. The combination of high housing costs, an ageing population and a significant gap in wealth accumulation between men and women has contributed to this problem. One way that we can aim to address this is by offering women over 55 who fulfil the following factors an entry in the priority ballot.

By women we mean all women (trans, intersex and cis), all those who experience oppression as women (including non-binary and gender non-conforming people) and all those who identify as a woman.

6.1 Assessment Criteria

The following process outlines Nightingale Housing’s assessment of your eligibility to part take in the priority ballot as a women aged 55 and over and at risk of experiencing homelessness.

  • Are a lone-person household or a lone parent of dependants
  • Don’t currently own your own home

Additionally, we understand that some individuals fulfilling the above risks categories will not require our assistance with housing.  As such, the Nightingale Women Aged 55 and Over definition also includes a means-tested requirement. To be eligible your earnings must not exceed the following maximum income limits:

  1. For individuals, your gross “assessable income” and “exempt income”, as defined in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth), must not exceed $120,000 per annum

6.2 Verification Process

The following process outlines Nightingale Housing’s assessment of your eligibility to part take in the priority ballot as a Women Aged 55 and Over. The verification process is as follows:

  • Individuals must read and understand the Nightingale Housing’s Women Aged 55 and Over definition and assessment criteria. If you believe that you are eligible, please select the corresponding box in Part 3 Priority Ballot on your ballot form.
  • As part of submitting your ballot form you agree to also provide documentation proving your identification as a Women Aged 55 and Over. You agree that if you are unable to verify your eligibility and provide documentation you will forfeit your right to purchase your balloted Nightingale home.
  • You will need to provide the following documentation with your ballot form when balloting:
  • A statutory declaration declaring that you are eligible for the Nightingale Priority Ballot as a Women Aged 55 and Over (you should understand the legal implications of providing a false statutory declaration prior to signing this statutory declaration.)
  • Previous year’s tax return statement as evidence that you satisfy the means-test; (or your last 3 pay slips as evidence that you satisfy the means test)