No affordable rentals for single unemployed people in regional NSW

Photograph of houses

Anglicare Australia’s 2016 Rental Affordability Snapshot paints a stark picture of housing affordability for people on low incomes across regional NSW, with most areas recording very few, if any affordable private rentals for households living on income support payments.

“This year’s Anglicare report shows that we’re not addressing the affordable housing crisis, with the private rental market in regional NSW excluding households on the lowest incomes”, said Ms Jan Barham, Greens Spokesperson for Housing.

“It is alarming that none of the regional areas surveyed in NSW had affordable properties for single households on Newstart or Youth Allowance where rent does not exceed 30% of their income.”

“Unless these households can access social housing, they would be living in housing stress and be at great risk of homelessness. They would also likely have to access emergency relief, financial counselling and other support services.”

“Average waiting times for social housing across all areas of NSW are between two and ten years, revealing a chronic shortage of social and affordable housing supply.”

South-East NSW had no properties available for single people on Newstart or Youth Allowance and only 22 affordable and available properties for single pensioners. The large number of holiday homes was identified as a key reason for a lack of affordable housing as it reduces supply and pushes up rents.

In the Riverina, affordability was better with 351 properties of the 1,177 surveyed affordable for low-income households. However, there were still no affordable rental properties for single people on Newstart or Youth Allowance.

The Central West, Far West and Orana had very few options for households in receipt of income support as their sole source of income, with less than 1% of properties affordable for single parent families living on Newstart and the Family Tax Benefit. As with elsewhere, nothing was affordable for single unemployed households.

Only 8.3% of rentals advertised in the Central Coast, Hunter, Great Lakes and Taree region were affordable for income support households. There are few affordable rentals for young families and single pensioners, and none available for singles on Newstart.

In Tamworth, Armidale, Inverell and Moree there were 79 properties recorded as affordable for an income support household, but, as with the other regions, none was available for single people on Newstart or Youth Allowance. Only two properties were found to be affordable for a sole parent on the Parenting Payment with two children.

“No longer can our regions be viewed as a more affordable option for people on very-low incomes. The Government must increase social and affordable housing supply across all NSW regions with a focus on single households to reduce the widespread housing stress experienced by people on low incomes.”

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

Anglicare’s Rental Affordability Snapshot: http://www.anglicare.asn.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/rental-affordability-snapshot-2016.pdf?sfvrsn=7

Affordable housing down 6% on North Coast: Anglicare report – Media release: http://www.janbarham.org.au/2016/04/affordable-housing-6-north-coast-anglicare-report/