For many people keeping a roof over their head means spending 30 per cent or more of their income on rent, and that puts them into rental stress, Anglicare Sydney CEO Grant Millard said.
“For too many people, paying the rent means they can’t afford to eat decent food, fill a prescription, pay for transport, or buy clothes,” Mr Millard said.
Anglicare’s analysis of rental ads placed in March 2019 found zero rental properties in Sydney and the Illawarra were affordable and appropriate for single people on the Parenting Payment, Disability Pension, Newstart or Youth Allowance and very few for other households on support payments.
«When we started (the annual rental snapshot in 2011) people said Newstart needs to go up by $50,» Mr Millard said. «Now they say $70 but there’s no commitment from either side to raise it. Everyone believes Newstart is way too low but no one is doing a thing about it.
«The longer someone is on Newstart the higher the level of stress. They have to struggle to survive. They have to spend above 50 per cent of their income on what is generally short term, low standard housing.»
There has been no dedicated federal minister for housing since 2013, he said, but it is one of the keys to unlocking people from the trap of insecure housing.
«This is a dire need, the situation is not getting better,» Mr Millard said. «We need a concerted effort because investment in affordable housing helps with so many other issues.
«For most of our clients who have been out of work for years, they really want to get a job but without long-term accommodation, it’s much harder for them.»