Unaffordable Housing Worsens - Report
29 April 2013 at 1:56 pm
A new report from Anglicare Australia has shown that less than 1% of available rental properties around the country are affordable for anyone on a Newstart allowance, parenting payment, aged pension or a disability support pension.
A national snapshot from the Anglicare network around the country reported that on Saturday 13 April when 56,414 rental properties across Australia were surveyed. In capital cities, suitable rentals were scarce with nothing available for Newstart or Youth Allowance recipients in Perth, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Darwin or Melbourne.
“We are creating a lose/lose situation for these hard working families,” Anglicare Victoria CEO, Mr Paul McDonald said.
“Families must choose between living in extreme financial stress, often foregoing essential items, to live close to jobs and services or move to areas of disadvantage.”
Regionally, of around 15,000 properties surveyed, the proportion of suitable rentals did not rise above 3% for any Government benefit and only just above 6% for single people a minimum wage with children.
In Melbourne, a family will find less than 6% of advertised housing both appropriate and affordable in Melbourne’s East or South-east, just 2% affordable in the West and less than 1% in the North, according to the report.
Only when the search extends to ‘disadvantaged’ regions such as Latrobe in Gippsland that things improve with 20% of housing appropriate and affordable for a couple with two children and earning minimum wage.
“Housing is just about the most basic of life’s essentials and we are failing as a community to provide safe and affordable housing to all our citizens including disadvantaged and vulnerable children and families.
“We’ve finally see progress on a National Disability Insurance Scheme and a comprehensive review of education in the Gonski review but it is high time we put the same focus on housing.”
“If you are single and on an allowance in Australia, you can’t afford to put a roof over your head if you rely on the private rental market,” Anglicare Australia Executive Director, Kasy Chambers said.
“Every year we release these distressing figures in the hope to unearth the broad based social and political will to ensure a supply of secure and adequate housing. But it seems Australia is instead building more inequity, social division and economic inefficiency into the way we live together,” Chambers said.
“This is a shameful reflection on a country that performs exceptionally well in measures of well-being compared to other OECD countries.”
In Sydney, the snapshot revealed that of the 1,215 properties available for private rental in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven on 13 – 14 April, only 36 properties were affordable and appropriate for households on income support payments without placing them in rental stress.
Only small numbers of suitable properties were found for:
- single people on the Aged Pension (six homes)
- Disability Pension (three homes)
- Single person on Parenting Payment with one child (one home)
Couples with two children where both adults were on the Newstart Allowance had only two suitable properties available to them.
“The results were better for people on the minimum wage,” ANGLICARE Wollongong manager Andrew Stratford said.
“For families with both adults earning the minimum wage, there were 207 affordable and appropriate properties available. Single parents with two children and single people on the Minimum Wage could not afford the same level of suitable properties – only 27 and 24 properties respectively.
“Anglicare Sydney is concerned that it is becoming increasingly difficult for low income households to break the cycle of poverty and secure a better future. The lack of affordable housing and rental stress directly impacts the number of people accessing our Emergency Relief services.
Chambers said while housing affordability is affected by all levels of government, Anglicare Australia calls on the Federal Government to:
- immediately increase allowances by $50 a week, indexing them in line with average weekly earnings
- investigate the effectiveness of the Commonwealth Rent Assistance
- target the latest round of the National Rental Affordability Scheme to ease the pressure at the lower end of the private rental market
- investigate the legislation and regulations constraining investment and growth in the housing market