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  • ac.care helps keep people in their homes
  • Vulnerable people priced out of homes
  • Housing crisis highlighted during national homelessness week
  • REGIONAL agency ac.care is calling on South Australians to consider commitments by candidates to addressing the growing housing crisis in regional areas when they vote in the state election this weekend.

    The homelessness services provider is seeing an increasing number of people seeking support after rental affordability has diminished and an increasing number of people are being pushed to the brink of homelessness in the wake of COVID-19.

    “Various impacts from COVID-19 on the housing market, which has pushed up prices in regional areas and reduced availability of affordable properties for people on low incomes, along with decades of underinvestment in social and affordable housing, which has not kept up with demand, is making it challenging for country people on low incomes to maintain or secure tenancies,” ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks said.

    “We are seeing an increasing number of people, including families with young children, approaching our services for support in the Limestone Coast, Riverland and Murraylands, but finding a shortage of affordable, emergency and transitional properties making it increasingly difficult to ensure people have safe homes for stability now and to build their lives for the future.”

    He said the situation had become so serious with emergency accommodation at capacity in many regions that sometimes offering a tent was the only option available for some clients while ac.care worked with people to help them overcome crises and secure a more sustainable situation.

    HOUSING FOCUS: ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks.
    HOUSING FOCUS: ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks.

    Mr Maddocks said it was concerning to see an increasing number of people who were not among the agency’s traditional client base seeking support to access housing, such as teachers, nurses and other skilled and professional workers hoping to move to the regions, but unable to secure affordable homes for rent.

    “We have to focus our services on the most vulnerable people in our community to protect their welfare, but the challenges people relocating for employment are facing is a sign of how tough the market is, making it harder than ever for people reliant on low incomes to afford to rent or move towards home ownership,” he said.

    “The issue is affecting an increasing number of people as availability of affordable housing diminishes in regional areas.”

    ac.care is calling for greater investment in emergency accommodation, including funding to place more people with nowhere else available in short-term arrangements with motels and other providers for longer where necessary, as well as packages to support innovative solutions, such as developments to specifically meet the needs of vulnerable people, including those experiencing homelessness, and address affordable housing shortages.

    The agency is also calling for increased maintenance and expansion of social housing, reduction in stamp duty for property sales and greater funding for drug, alcohol and mental health services, along with increased support for social welfare agencies to help meet growing needs in regional communities.

    “We urge voters to ensure housing affordability and availability is an important issue at the election and consider what the parties and candidates are proposing to address this unprecedented situation,” Mr Maddocks said.

    ac.care Locations

    ac.care is a dynamic organisation servicing the South Australian communities the Limestone Coast, Murraylands, Riverland, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula.

    Our mission is for all country people to have a safe home, enough money to live on and strong, positive relationships.

    Please find our service locations here or use our contact form to request a service.

    Mount Gambier
    Head office and Foster Care

    70-72 White Avenue Mount Gambier, SA 5290
    PO Box 1842 Mount Gambier SA 5290
    Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

    Mount Gambier
    Community Centre

    22-24 Ferrers Street Mount Gambier, SA 5290
    Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

    Mount Gambier
    Family Relationship Centre

    1 Helen Street (cnr Bay Road) Mount Gambier, SA 5290
    Monday
    9am to 5pm
    Tuesday
    10:30am to 5pm
    Wednesday
    9am to 5pm
    Thursday
    9am to 5pm
    Later by appt
    Friday
    9am to 5pm

    Berri Community Centre
    Servicing the Riverland

    5 Kealley Street Street Berri, SA 5343
    PO Box 1345 Berri, SA 5343
    Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

    Murraylands Centre
    Servicing the Murraylands, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula

    29 Bridge Street Murray Bridge, SA 5253
    PO Box 2090 Murray Bridge, SA 5253
    Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm

    Millicent
    Community Centre

    57-59 George Street Millicent, SA 5280
    PO Box 378 Millicent, SA 5280
    Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm
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