New research highlights lack of affordable rentals in region

Local research by Samaritans has highlighted the lack of affordable rentals for some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

Research undertaken in April, as part of Anglicare Australia’s national Rental Affordability Snapshot, has shown that young people in Newcastle who are on Newstart would not be able to find any rentals that are affordable and appropriate, even in a share house.

Samaritans Acting CEO, Brad Webb, said “For young people on Newstart or Youth Allowance, this is the 7th year where there have been no private rental properties affordable or appropriate across the total snapshot region.”

“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,” Mr Webb said.

“In 2017 Samaritans provided 967 young people in Newcastle and the Hunter with accommodation support. These numbers and the recent insights from the Rental Affordability Snapshot highlight a significant level of rental stress, which is pushing some people into homelessness. We need all levels of government to commit to eliminating homelessness and making housing affordable and accessible to every Australian.”

Samaritans 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.

The research was undertaken by analysing the number of rental properties advertised during one day in April and assessing affordability (30% of weekly income on rent) and appropriateness (accessibility and suitability for number of people or family type).

In the lead up to the Federal Budget, Samaritans is voicing 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.

Mr Webb said, “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.”

Download the full report here