The St Vincent de Paul Society is calling on the Albanese Government to implement “workable solutions” to fix the availability and affordability of rental properties in both urban centres and regional areas.
Responding to this week’s release of the ninth annual National Shelter-SGS Economics and Planning Rental Affordability Index, the society’s national president, Mark Gaetani, said, “This crisis has been going on for much too long and it is getting worse”.
“The most visible impact of a lack of secure rental housing is the high number of people experiencing homelessness, currently at a record level of over 122,000 on any given night. On top of that are the many ‘hidden homeless’, along with the vast number of Australians living in poverty who forego paying for other essentials, including food, in order to cover their rent,’ Mr Gaetani said.
“Currently, some 3.3 million people are living below the poverty line, including 761,000 children. Our members working on the frontline tell us that many of these folk are sacrificing meals and utility bills in order to cover their rents.”
The report showed that rental affordability is hitting all-time lows across the nation, including cities and regional areas, with few exceptions. The situation has been made worse by rent rises coming at a time of stagnant incomes, which in many cases have gone backwards because of inflation.
Mr Gaetani said a range of workable solutions to the rental crisis had been identified by the Government and the society is urging that they be implemented as soon as possible.
“These include increasing social housing stock in accordance with the National Housing and Homelessness Plan, and progressing minimum national rental standards such as limiting rent increases, ending no-grounds evictions and addressing energy efficiency for rental stock.
“It is also vital that people relying on support payments are better able to cover their expenses.”
New report confirms the hardships facing renters (St Vincent de Paul Society)