CALL FOR ACTION: ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks has called for increases to JobSeeker and related payments to lift vulnerable people out of poverty and rental stress after a study found a lack of affordable properties for country South Australians on low incomes.

A REGIONAL study has found an alarming lack of affordable rental properties for people on low incomes in country South Australia.

The Rental Affordability Snapshot, based on private rentals advertised for rent in March, found no properties available for single adults on Youth Allowance or JobSeeker in the Limestone Coast, Riverland or Murraylands.

In a worrying finding, the study found young adults on Youth Allowance were even locked out of the share house rental market following a housing boom in regional areas over recent months.

Meanwhile, only 2pc of 123 rental properties on the market were affordable to single people on the age and disability support pensions.

ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks said it was concerning to see renters on low incomes continued to be left behind and forgotten in the private rental market.

He said the looming end of eviction moratoriums on May 31, together with removal of the right in South Australia to defer rental payments, would place vulnerable people at risk of homelessness.

“On top of it all, cuts to JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and other payments came into effect at the beginning of April as the coronavirus supplements were wound back,” Mr Maddocks said.

“Renters on low incomes are facing the perfect storm as incomes reduce and protections disappear, while the private rental market continues to fail them.”

He said the shortage of affordable rentals would condemn people to make difficult decisions to keep a roof over their head.

“Some will be turning to ac.care or other services in our region to make the rent.”

Meanwhile, families out of work are facing a difficult situation. The study found an out-of-work couple with two children can afford twenty percent of rentals. Single parents out of work face even tougher odds, with affordability at just ten percent.

“This helps explain why the rate of JobSeeker is such a critical factor in child poverty – one in six children now lives in poverty, with those growing up in households that depend on JobSeeker at much greater risk,” Mr Maddocks said.

Click the image above to download the Rental Affordability Snapshot

“This year’s Rental Affordability Snapshot, conducted nationally by Anglicare Australia and partner agencies, again shows how brutal the rental market is for young and vulnerable people.”

The study found a person on Youth Allowance looking for a sharehouse could not afford any rentals across ac.care’s regions.

“Youth Allowance is the lowest of all government payments, and year after year, we find young people are at the bottom of the affordability ladder.”

The report also found people with disabilities faced unique challenges in the rental market, with Disability Support Pension recipients able to afford just two percent of rentals at the time of the snapshot and even then, some of these properties may not meet their needs.

“All of this is a wake-up call that it is time for action to make housing more affordable,” Mr Maddocks said.

He urged the Federal Government to raise payments for people on the nation’s lowest incomes to lift them out of poverty and housing stress.

“Raising the rate of JobSeeker and related payments above the poverty line will give badly needed relief to the people on the lowest incomes.”

“This year’s Rental Affordability Snapshot, conducted nationally by Anglicare Australia and partner agencies, again shows how brutal the rental market is for young and vulnerable people.”
– ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks

ac.care has also called for greater investment in affordable housing, increases to Commonwealth Rent Assistance to keep pace with the skyrocketing cost of renting and a plan to end homelessness.

“People who are homeless need safe, secure homes to help them get back on their feet,” Mr Maddocks said.

“Being stuck indefinitely in temporary emergency accommodation is not the answer.

“We need a plan to end homelessness that tackles the causes of homelessness, including the lack of affordable housing, poverty, and family violence, together with funding and support to rehouse people who are homeless, helping them keep a roof over their head.

“Nobody should be forced to make impossible sacrifices just to keep a roof over their head. It’s time to take real action, and make sure that everyone can have place to call home.”

Related topics:
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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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