Strug­gle streets

Southern Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - Chloe Fraser

About 35 per cent of renters in the Brand elec­torate are in rental stress and strug­gling to keep a roof over their heads new data has re­vealed.

Ac­cord­ing to the Univer­sity of NSW’s anal­y­sis for the na­tional hous­ing cam­paign Ev­ery­body’s Home, Brand is third on the list of top 10 elec­torates in WA ex­pe­ri­enc­ing rental stress, be­hind Burt and Can­ning.

The anal­y­sis mea­sured rents and in­comes to iden­tify the num­ber of house­holds in rental stress.

Data re­vealed the por­tion of renters in the Brand elec­torate suf­fer­ing rental stress had in­creased by 33 per cent since 2011, with the elec­torate’s me­dian rent at $350, a 21 per cent in­crease since 2011.

More than 5200 of the 14,700 rental house­holds in Brand are es­ti­mated to be in rental stress, with renters pay­ing more than 30 per cent of their al­ready low in­comes on hous­ing costs.

Shel­ter WA chief ex­ec­u­tive Michelle Macken­zie said the num­ber of house­holds suf­fer­ing rental stress in WA was alarm­ing.

“For many this means that af­ter pay­ing the rent, they may have to make choices be­tween food, us­ing util­i­ties, pay­ing for medicines or trans­port,” she said.

The data comes af­ter Angli­care re­leased its Rental Af­ford­abil­ity Snapshot for 2019 which sur­veyed more than 69,000 rental list­ings across Aus­tralia, iden­ti­fy­ing a chronic short­age of af­ford­able rentals.

Out of the 69,000 prop­er­ties sur­veyed just one prop­erty was iden­ti­fied as af­ford­able and suit­able for peo­ple re­ceiv­ing Youth Al­lowance, and only two suit­able for a sin­gle per­son on New­start.

Just 554 prop­er­ties, or fewer than 1 per cent, were af­ford­able for a sin­gle per­son on the Aged Pen­sion, and only 317 were af­ford­able for a per­son on the Dis­abil­ity Sup­port Pen­sion.

Ms Macken­zie said a lack of se­cure and af­ford­able pri­vate rentals had pushed an ex­pand­ing amount of peo­ple into rental stress and even home­less­ness.

“A home should not be seen as an op­tional ex­tra in peo­ple’s lives,” she said.

“Liv­ing on the age pen­sion in many cases means liv­ing be­low the poverty line, and as a re­sult, more older renters are in hous­ing stress com­pared to the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion.

“We need an af­ford­able hous­ing strat­egy that en­sures that all peo­ple in WA have hous­ing that en­ables them to thrive.”

Shel­ter WA is call­ing on the win­ner of May 18’s Fed­eral elec­tion to com­mit to, and in­vest in, pro­vid­ing so­cial and af­ford­able hous­ing.

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