Unaffordable Housing Drives Homelessness: Senate Enquiry
9 September 2014 at 11:12 am
Homelessness is on the rise due to a severe shortage of affordable housing, according to a Melbourne housing and homelessness agency.
HomeGround Services Chief Executive Officer Dr Heather Holst gave evidence at the Senate Enquiry into Affordable Housing Melbourne hearing, urging policy makers to take action to increase the supply of affordable housing stock.
“Low income earners are being priced out of the private rental market at an alarming rate and social housing options are shrinking,” Dr Holst said.
“Barriers to safe and secure tenancies in both private rental and social housing need to be addressed so that we can offer people on low incomes decent housing.”
Secure, affordable rental accommodation offers families and individuals opportunities to save money and engage in local communities, according to Dr Holst.
“Tenants in housing stress have no chance of saving a deposit towards home ownership. When a person is in a constant state of housing crisis it also makes it difficult to participate actively in social and community activities.”
“The social and economic costs of not acting on the affordable housing crisis are high and will be prolonged if action is not urgently taken to make sure every Australian household has access to a safe and affordable home.
“If we act now to increase the supply of affordable housing options and prevent more people falling into homelessness we can make significant economic and social gains in health, justice, education and welfare sectors. This will provide benefits to those currently affected but also to the next generation and beyond,” Dr Holst said.
HomeGround Services made three key recommendations to the Senate Inquiry;
1. Establish a strong safety net to ensure that every Australian household is able to maintain a home
2. Ensure that the structure and cost of the housing stock available in each region matches demand
3. Ensure that the quality of housing stock and the condition under which it is offered to tenants is safe and sustainable.
The Senate Inquiry into affordable housing is expected to report back to Parliament by 27 November this year.