Everybody Deserves a Home

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A word from our Acting CEO, Brad Webb:

What does home mean to you?

For me, my home is my sanctuary. A place to escape the day and to recharge my batteries. A place that keeps me safe and holds the world at bay. A place that holds my memories and where I dream about the future.

But this is not the reality of home for everyone.

Samaritans research released this week shows that locally, more people are being pushed into rental stress and hardship because of the shortage of secure, affordable housing.

This research was undertaken in April as part of Anglicare Australia’s Rental Affordability Snapshot. Nationally, the national snapshot surveyed over 67,000 rental listings across Australia. Samaritans surveyed 11 locations across the Central Coast, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Hunter, and Mid-Coast regions.

Samaritans findings indicate the trend has continued to worsen for people on government benefits who are trying to find a suitable place to live in the private rental market.

For young people on Newstart or Youth Allowance, this is the 7th year there are no private rental properties affordable or appropriate across the total Snapshot region.

The findings also indicate that single parents on Newstart or parenting payments with one child, would be competing over just one affordable or appropriate rental in Newcastle.

At Samaritans, we see the direct impact on people’s lives when they can’t find secure and affordable accommodation. As people go without basic living needs to pay the rent, we see an increased demand for our emergency relief and financial counselling services. These are people in our communities who are trying hard to avoid homelessness, but who are finding the system stacked against them.

I have the privilege to meet these people, and to hear their stories. Stories that remind me that a number of us only have a pay check or two between us and the very real prospect of homelessness.

When and how do we find to a better situation for these people in our community?

At Samaritans, we believe that secure, affordable housing is a fundamental right for all people, and a building block for a strong and happy future.

This is why Samaritans has voiced its support for the Everybody’s Home campaign (http://everybodyshome.com.au/) and calling for state and territory governments to develop a National Housing Strategy to meet Australia’s identified shortfall of 500,000 social and affordable rental homes.

And last Friday we proudly joined other likeminded organisations from our region in becoming a founding signatory on the Newcastle and Hunter Ending Homelessness Pledge.

Without taking strong and deliberate action, it will be some time before the results of the Rental Affordability Snapshot reflect a positive outlook for vulnerable people in our region. There is no further time to wait.

Everyone deserves a place to call home.