Low Income Families Crushed by Rent in Outer Suburbs
9 October 2014 at 9:23 am
Outer suburban and regional electorates are home to some of the most rent stressed households in Victoria and $200 million investment in social housing and new housing is needed every year to fix the problem, according to a new analysis of ABS figures.
The Melbourne suburbs of Broadmeadows, Thomastown, Dandenong, St Albans, Frankston and Melton were amongst the top 10 worst electorates for rental stress in Victoria according to the Council for Homeless Persons (CHP).
The data shows that one in three renters in outer suburban electorates are in housing stress; on a low income ($640 per week or less) and paying more than 30 per cent of their wage on rent.
At an affordable housing forum in Melbourne this week housing experts, academics, and former public housing tenants discussed how Victoria’s lack of affordable housing has created a crisis situation for low-income families.
Chief Executive of CHP Jenny Smith said some Victorians were struggling to keep their heads above water.
“If you’re earning $640 or less a week, and paying a third of that on rent, you’re in dire straits, and yet this is the case for 120,000 households across Victoria,” Smith said.
“People on low incomes move further out to find cheap rent, but find that they’re still paying more than they can afford and are left with only a few dollars spare for groceries and bills. It’s a diabolical situation, causing stress, anxiety and contributing to family breakdown.”
Seven peak bodies; CHP, Victorian Council of Social Services, Community Housing Federation of Victoria, Domestic Violence Victoria, Tenants Union of Victoria, Victorian Public Tenants Association and Justice Connect have released a plan – Making Social Housing Work – calling on the State Government to increase Victoria’s social housing stock to the national average of five per cent by 2020 (it currently sits at 3.4 per cent) to ease the stress for low-income families.
Smith said the Making Social Housing Work Coalition was calling for $200 million per annum for social housing and for all new housing developments to include a minimum number of social housing properties.
“Low income households are being slowly crushed by the weight of rent, but they have few alternatives with an 11-month wait time for public housing, and tens of thousands of people in line for social housing,” she said.