NOT-FOR-PROFIT agency ac.care is calling for an increase to JobSeeker in the Federal Budget and urgent boost to the availability of social and affordable housing in country South Australia to ease pressure on the most vulnerable people in regional communities.
This follows the release of the 2023 Anglicare Australia Rental Affordability Snapshot, which provides sobering data showing there are no affordable properties available for many people on low incomes in country regions.
The private rental market is failing people on low incomes with no affordable properties available to single Jobseeker recipients, including those with a child under eight, according to snapshot data for the Limestone Coast, Riverland and Murraylands.
Single people over 18 on Youth Allowance, including those prepared to live in share housing, also had zero affordable housing options.
Meanwhile, there were very limited properties available across these three regions for a range of other low-income earners.
“Locally, we are seeing more people than ever before in need of our homelessness and emergency relief services as an increasing number of country South Australians are at risk of homelessness, struggling to pay the rent with the rising cost of living and lack of affordable housing,” ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks said.
ac.care is urging the government to prioritise building more social housing in the Federal Budget to ensure everyone has a place to call home.
“We can’t wait and hope for limited existing housing on the private market to become more affordable,” Mr Maddocks said.
“Building social and affordable housing is the best way we can provide more options for low-income earners or people on Centrelink payments.”
Mr Maddocks said Centrelink payments remained so low they trapped people in poverty.
“During the pandemic, it was proven that raising government support payments can effectively eliminate poverty and allow people to afford fresh food, fill their prescriptions, pay their bills on time and secure decent homes,” he said.
“By far, the most important change that could be made for renters on income support is to raise the rate of Centrelink payments to a level where people can afford the basic essentials.
“This is the only effective way to help vulnerable families and children on Centrelink payments escape poverty and find a secure and safe place to live.”
For more information visit accare.org.au or call 1300 ACCARE (1300 222 273).