South Australia’s rental market is continuing to fail people living on income support, but the recently doubled JobSeeker payment (formerly Newstart) dramatically increases their ability to find a place to live, a key report has found.

This year’s Anglicare Australia Rental Affordability Snapshot undertaken on 21 March has found that of the 2,369 private rentals advertised in South Australia, only 3.5 per cent of appropriate houses (82 properties) were affordable for households across all categories of income support. 

But if the Federal Government’s temporary increase to income support payments is applied (an extra $550 per fortnight), 25 per cent (602 properties) become affordable for South Australians doing it tough. 

AnglicareSA CEO Peter Sandeman, said this increase must be made permanent. 

“For South Australians doing it tough, this additional payment is more than a supplement, it gives them the opportunity to put a roof over their heads,” he said. 

“It’s particularly crucial for families. This additional payment gives them a vital leg-up to create a stable environment for their children — to give them a home.”

Rental Affordability Snapshot 2020
Rental Affordability Snapshot 2020: An extra 16 rentals are now affordable for those relying on JobSeeker payments, while the reality is still very grim for those living on the Age Pension.

This payment increase is a solid step in the right direction, but there is a cruel twist: the only household type that significantly benefits is those where two parents are both receiving the JobSeeker payment.

While the Federal Government increased JobSeeker, those relying on youth allowance and parenting payments, the disability support payment and the aged pension, missed out.

“As welcome as this payment is, we must acknowledge that increases to income support will never be enough,” Mr Sandeman said.

“They are part of a solution, but so is increasing the supply of social and affordable housing.”

Mr Sandeman urged the Federal and State Governments to continue to prioritise those in need, particularly as we face an uncertain economic future. 

“The State Government has done a great job in accommodating over 300 South Australians experiencing homelessness in hotels and motels during the COVID-19 crisis. But as the Premier has said, we don’t want these people to fall back into homelessness,” he said.

“Another challenge is expanding our social and affordable housing, so that families have a decent place to live and raise their children.”

AnglicareSA has started the development of 16 new affordable units for people over 55 on this Mansfield Park block in Adelaide’s northwest. Photo: Normus Urban Projects

Mr Sandeman said the social housing market is in “dire straits”.

“The shortage is nothing new — but by placing priority on helping South Australians into housing now, we can boost our economy into the future. 

“An increase to income support, combined with an increase to social and affordable housing supply, will address social issues – whilst boosting the economy for all South Australians.”

“The COVID-19 crisis has been devastating, but now more than ever, we must do all that we can to assist South Australians who are finding themselves in vulnerable situations.” 

AnglicareSA manages more than 2,100 social housing properties across Adelaide, supporting those in need to continue their journey across the housing continuum. 


What is ‘affordable’ and ‘appropriate’? 

The Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot 2020 surveyed rental properties available in the Adelaide area on 21 March 2020 using listings on realestate.com.au. 

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