Anglicare’s 2016 Rental Affordability Snapshot has shed light on the shocking lack of affordable rental housing options in NSW and across Australia, and drawn attention to the urgent need for all political parties to prioritise housing affordability in their election platforms.
The key findings of the Rental Affordability Snapshot
revealed the state of housing affordability nation-wide for many Australians requiring government income support, including that:
- Only 0.1% of the nation’s rental properties are affordable for a single person living on Newstart Allowance
- Only 0.5% of rental properties are affordable for those on Disability Support Payment
- Only 2.1% of rental properties are affordable for a single age pensioner
“We know housing stress is a huge problem for many older people and we see that reflected in the growing numbers of homeless people over 50,” says Mr Ian Yates, CE of COTA Australia.
“People are being forced to make choices between paying their rent, buying groceries and getting important medical supplies.”
The findings also reveal that in NSW the enormous housing affordability issues already affecting Sydney are now moving into the Illawarra region
Only 1% of rental housing options in the Illawarra are currently appropriate and affordable for those on government income support payments, compared to 3% of listings the previous year. Meanwhile, in Sydney the figure remains at 0.5% or less.
In light of this urgent problem Mr Yates has repeated COTA’s consistent calls for a whole-of-government response to housing affordability.
“This problem needs a holistic, coordinated approach which uses other levers in the planning and development space at state and local levels.”
This includes increases in social and community housing, the introduction of an Affordable Housing Growth Fund to deliver ongoing revenue for affordable housing stock, and an increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance and in the Newstart Allowance to make them a feasible income in light of current housing costs.
“I encourage all political parties to work with housing experts and advocates to make sure the solutions to housing stress are a key part of their election platforms.”