Housing Crisis Affects Jobseekers
22 July 2013 at 11:42 am
Housing affordability is affecting jobseekers in gaining work, according to a report on affordable housing.
The Australians for Affordable Housing report is called: Opening Doors to Employment: Is housing affordability hindering jobseekers.
The Australian Council of Social Service CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie said the report shed a new light on the challenges facing unemployment people looking for work.
“This report shows that jobseekers cannot live in areas where jobs are available without being in housing stress,’ she said.
“These jobseekers face a catch 22 – they either live in poverty on low income support payments, or they move to areas with jobs available and live in housing related poverty.”
Jobseekers that are prepared to move in order to secure employment are often unable to find affordable housing, Goldie said.
“Having to pay over 50% of income in some areas means that these jobseekers are working but their circumstances are not improving,” she said.
“It’s time housing cost was recognised as a key barrier for unemployed people finding work, particularly when there are calls for unemployed people to move to areas of available work.
“The findings of this report echo those of ACOSS' recent Community Sector Survey, which identified housing as they highest unmet need for clients of community services.
“It is essential that governments commit to policies to increase the supply of affordable housing to ensure that unemployed people can find a pathway into paid work.”
Australians for Affordable Housing Campaign Manager Joel Pringle said housing was the number one cost-of-living pressure for most households.
He said the report showed that efforts to improve the participation rate and lower unemployment are likely impeded by the geographical mismatch of appropriate jobs and housing affordability.
“This is a nation-wide problem and a responsibility of the Commonwealth Government,” he said.
“High rents are putting pressure on many people who are already working, but this research indicates that the housing crisis is also stopping others from being able to access jobs.”
“The report identifies the areas of opportunity, where there are a lot of jobs suitable for people leaving unemployment. By looking at whether rents are affordable to people in these jobs in these locations, we can find out if high rents are stopping people from being able to get a job.
“The report indicates that housing isn’t affordable in the places where the jobs are. There’s a shortage of affordable properties across the board, but also the few affordable properties that are available are not where these jobs are.’
Pringle said businesses in the worst ranked areas in South Australia, Salisbury and Onkaparinga need workers, but housing costs were making it difficult to match the two.
“If the Government wants to boost participation and lower unemployment, they’re going to have to do something about the rental crisis,” he said.
“That means building new low-rent homes, through an Affordable Housing Growth Fund and by continuing the National Rental Affordability Scheme, and addressing the system that has let Commonwealth Rent Assistance fall so far behind rent increases.
The Government has announced some relief for jobseekers who need to relocate for work through its new Move to Work program.
The report can be accessed here.