Anglicare Southern Queensland’s annual Rental Affordability Snapshot has again illuminated the dire situation facing people on low incomes in Greater Brisbane.
The not-for-profit community services organisation is now calling on the Federal Government to take immediate action in next month’s Budget to tackle housing affordability.
Anglicare SQ Executive Director Karen Crouch said South East Queensland’s tight rental market, combined with COVID-19-related job losses and the recent reduction of government support for job seekers, was sending more people spiralling into poverty and towards homelessness.
“We are seeing a huge increase in the number of people who are doing it really tough, who are on the verge of homelessness and who are having to choose between paying their rent or buying medicine and food,” Mrs Crouch said.
“People are resorting to living in tents in the backyards of their family and friends. It’s honestly just astounding that in a country as wealthy and fortunate as Australia, we have come to this. It just breaks your heart.”
This year’s Greater Brisbane Snapshot found:
- ⇒ A single person earning minimum wage would spend 48% of their income on rent
- ⇒ 0% of rentals are affordable and appropriate for a single parent earning minimum wage or receiving the JobSeeker or Parenting payments
- ⇒ 1% of rentals are affordable and appropriate for a couple with children earning minimum wage
- ⇒ 1% of rentals are affordable and appropriate for a single person on the Disability Support Pension
- ⇒ 3% of rentals are affordable and appropriate for a couple on the Aged Pension
- ⇒ A young person on Youth Allowance would spend 97% of their income on rent, or 65% for a room in a share house.
“We are now hearing stories of people who earn good incomes with strong rental histories struggling to find accommodation due to the fierce competition for rentals,” Mrs Crouch said.
“Our homelessness services are receiving calls from people who have unsuccessfully applied for more than 100 rentals, even though they can afford to rent.
“So people on lower wages and income support don’t stand a chance.
“Some charities are even telling people to consider leaving areas they’ve lived in for many years if they don’t want to end up living on the street.”
Mrs Crouch said it was time for government to take action on two key priorities.
“As a nation, we must make sure every Australian has enough money to pay the rent.
“And we must provide enough affordable rentals for the people who need them.”
“We keep hearing that the economy is bouncing back. But the recovery is leaving too many people behind.
“There aren’t enough affordable homes in any region. And the new ‘increased’ rate of JobSeeker is so low that it hasn’t made a dent in affordability.
“We need to invest in affordable housing. Our shortfall is massive. We need 500,000 new social and affordable rentals across Australia.
“Ensuring people have an adequate income and investing in housing would be the most powerful ways to tackle the rental crisis.”
The 2021 Snapshot is available for download here.
About Anglicare: Anglicare Southern Queensland is one of Queensland’s most trusted community services and health care organisations. Founded in 1870 as the Brisbane Women and Infant’s Refuge, it has grown into an inclusive and diverse not-for-profit charity delivering a broad range of services, including aged care, foster care, homelessness support and mental health and family counselling. More than 50,000 Queenslanders are empowered by Anglicare Southern Queensland every year.