The Yass housing crisis is shutting almost all people on income support out of the private rental market. Photo: Getty. The Yass housing crisis is shutting almost all people on income support out of the private rental market, according to a snapshot from Anglicare’s annual Rental Affordability survey.
The study, in its seventh year, surveyed 34 properties advertised for rent in the Yass region in terms of affordability, which is up to 30 per cent of disposable income. It also looked at the appropriateness to accommodate the required number of people.
The survey found only 18 properties that were affordable and suitable for couples receiving benefits for two children. Most distressingly, singles and single parents were completely locked out of the private rental market.
Anglicare Manager of Housing and Social Services, Toni Reay, said the undersupply of affordable rentals in Yass was very concerning, particularly as it affected single parents and their children who were struggling with the threat and stress of homelessness.
“The housing affordability crisis is taking a huge toll on individuals and families in our community. It’s a problem that can no longer be ignored,” she said.
“What we are seeing is young people and single parent families severely impacted by the lack of suitable housing options across our region. Our work with single women, single men and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness shows us that appropriate, secure and affordable housing is the basic foundation for their well-being.”
Comparing 2015 data to 2016, there was such a decrease in the affordability for singles on aged pensions and couples on aged pensions that unlike previous years, they are now no longer able to find accommodation.
Ms Reay fears the number of people living in poverty and crisis in the Yass region will continue to rise if the issue is not addressed.
“We continue to see community members – in particular single parents receiving parenting payments and couples with one or two children on low incomes – severely impacted by the lack of suitable housing options. There is an urgent need for an effective approach towards funding affordable housing in Australia,” she said.
Alfred McCarthy from the Rae Burgess Centre in Yass said the housing situation has been the same for many years.
“The cost of housing in Canberra has a huge effect on Yass,” he said.
“The problem is that rental properties cost more because of the proximity to Canberra, which reflects back on people being unable to meet the rental costs because of demand. This then creates challenges for the Rae Burgess Centre.”
The Rae Burgess Centre assists with accommodation options for women, men and families who reside in Yass or the catchment area and have become homeless due to domestic violence or other reasons.
The centre advocates and negotiates on behalf of people facing homelessness due to domestic violence or other issues including representation to Centrelink or landlords, court support and referral to other agencies.
“There are two sources of accommodation options we work with. The Argyle housing is a not-for-profit, which helps to find properties for housing commission. We also work closely with local agents who are really helpful,” he continued.
The Rae Burgess Centre, based in Banjo Paterson Park, operates Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am until 4pm. There is no on-call service outside these hours.
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