Low-income earners locked out of private rentals

AnglicareSA’s annual Rental Affordability Snapshot (RAS) reveals that private rentals remain out of reach for most people on low-incomes and government-support payments.

Researchers from the Australian Centre for Community Services Research, a joint project between AnglicareSA and Flinders University, analysed available rentals on www.realestate.com.au on Friday, April 4 and found that of the 4020 properties available, there were no affordable properties for rent for single people on the Newstart allowance or the youth allowance – not even one.

Properties are considered affordable when they cost less than 30 per cent of income. Appropriate properties allow for enough bedrooms for adults and children living in the property.

The 2014 RAS also found that, for a couple on Newstart who had two children, only eight per cent of properties were both affordable and appropriate. For a single parent with two children, that figure drops to five per cent.

A couple on the aged pension with no children could access 465 affordable and appropriate properties, or 12 per cent of the private rentals on offer. For a single pensioner, that figure dropped to just two per cent.

AnglicareSA CEO The Reverend Peter Sandeman says living in a secure and stable home is a fundamental human right.

“Without a home, how can you get work and stay in work? How can you raise your family, study and be a part of your community? It’s almost impossible and it shouldn’t be happening today, in South Australia. Everyone deserves a roof over their head and a place to call their own,” Rev’d Sandeman says.

“AnglicareSA and everyone in the Anglicare Australia network is calling on all levels of government to work together and make affordable housing a reality.

“AnglicareSA has more than 800 homes across metropolitan Adelaide where people on low-incomes are able to live within affordable rental levels. Their rent is indexed so no more than 30 per cent of their income is spent on rent.

“Of those 800 homes, nearly 270 are dedicated for people aged 55 and older who are on low incomes – we know that this age group is at particular risk of homelessness.”

One resident of these homes is Barb Bateman, 58, who has been living at Canterbury Close affordable homes for the past two years.

Mrs Bateman always rented privately and she says it’s been a constant struggle.

“Sometimes you were borrowing on next week’s pay to get petrol or groceries. After my husband died I had to move in with my son and his wife, then I rented with my daughter for three years before she got married,” Mrs Bateman says.

“If it wasn’t for family help I wouldn’t have been able to live independently before I came to AnglicareSA. I know other people aren’t as lucky.”

Mrs Bateman says now she feels “very lucky” to live in her little community.

“Housing affects your self-worth, it affects your freedom, because you don’t like being dependent on other people, even family.

“I love it here where I am, I’m in a group of 14 units and I’m the baby, I’ve got one nanna and lots of mums and dads. We all look after each other – sometimes I’ll come home and there’s one of my neighbours coming through the door with soup and dessert. I keep an eye on all of them and make sure they are all okay.”

Along with Anglicare Australia and other Anglicare network members across the nation, AnglicareSA is calling on members of all levels of government to work together to ease housing stress.

We are calling for:

  1. Housing stock that matches our changing population needs.
  2. A tax system that makes affordable housing more available.
  3. Government working in partnership with the sector.
  4. Recognise income inadequacy as a barrier to secure housing and meaningful social participation.
  5. Stability for investors in housing supply for those living on the margins of society.

Media inquiries: Amy Noonan 8305 9296 / 0427 07 55 66