Anglicare SA

Rental affordability remains at concerning levels

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South Australians living on low incomes are continuing to struggle to find affordable rental properties, results from the latest Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot shows.

The snapshot showed that of the 3942 private rentals advertised across Adelaide on 1 April, only 157 or 4 per cent of the houses were appropriate and affordable for households on income support.

AnglicareSA CEO The Rev’d Peter Sandeman said the disappointing results highlight continual inaction to address affordable housing options for low income households.

“The annual snapshot has been conducted for seven years now and we’re seeing an ongoing pattern of housing unaffordability being at crisis levels for people living on low incomes across the Adelaide area. This includes workers on low incomes, retirees and people on benefits,” Rev’d Sandeman said.

“It is an issue that both sides of politics should be addressing and the results of our latest survey show that the situation isn’t improving. With the current level of job losses and uncertainty, I fear the lack of affordable housing situation will only get worse.

“We don’t want to continually see people seeking our help because they’re having to make the tough choice between paying their rent or putting food on the table and we don’t want to see more homeless families because they can’t find a house they can afford to rent.”

“Action must be taken with a coordinated, systemic and broad approach to addressing housing affordability.”

AnglicareSA is calling for a national plan for affordable housing, which includes the following key priority areas:

  • Reform the tax system to support cheaper rental housing and reward investments in social and affordable housing.
  • Supply a mix of housing that meets the different needs of people across the housing continuum.
  • Grow the supply of social housing through support for tier 1 community housing providers.

The snapshot, conducted by the Australian Centre for Community Services Research for AnglicareSA, also revealed appropriate and affordable rental accommodation was in extremely short supply for households on income support as a whole category.

It showed that of the 14 household types considered, there was no accommodation available for seven groups, including a single person aged over 18 on a youth or Newstart allowance, a single person on the aged pension, and a single person with a young child on either a Parenting Payment Single or Newstart allowance.

Only 2 per cent of properties were affordable for couples on Newstart allowance with two children and 3 per cent of properties were available to couples on the Age Pension with no children.

Just 1 per cent of properties were available to a single parent on Parenting Payment with two children.

It also revealed that 1678 or 43 per cent of houses were affordable to rent for households on a minimum wage.

Rev’d Sandeman said AnglicareSA currently provides accommodation to nearly 1200 low income households.

“It’s important that all levels of government and the community services sector work together to identify ways to increase the opportunity for people on lower incomes to have a suitable and stable roof over their heads,” Rev’d Sandeman said.

“This gives people safety, security and a stable base from which to study, gain employment and have the very best opportunity to achieve their goals.”

The Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot can be found at www.anglicare.asn.au