Low-income Australians have fewer affordable rental homes available to them than a year ago, according to new analysis by Anglicare.
The decline in affordable housing has prompted the organisation to declare that housing in Australia is “broken”.
“There is a huge shortage of secure, affordable rentals,” Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said.
“That’s causing record levels of rental stress and even homelessness.”
The advocacy group surveyed private rental properties available across Australia on March 23, more than 69,000 in total.
It found that only one property would be affordable for a single person receiving either the Newstart or Youth Allowance welfare payments.
Only 317 of the homes – or 0.5 per cent – would be affordable for a single person receiving the disability support pension, compared to 0.72 per cent of rental housing being available for the group last year.
For a couple both living on the Newstart Allowance with two children, 777 of the homes would be affordable – or 1.1 per cent – compared to 1.63 per cent of homes being affordable in 2018.
Ms Chambers said the annual survey shows rental affordability is down “across the board” and has appealed to both sides of politics to invest more in social housing.
There is a shortfall of about 300,000 for such dwellings, which are aimed at people on very low incomes.
“People on the lowest incomes are being squeezed out of the rental market,” Ms Chambers said.
“We’re calling on all parties to commit to ending this shortfall – and ensure that everyone has a place to call home.”
The report defines affordable housing as properties where the rent is not more than 30 per cent of a household budget, a nationally-accepted benchmark for many years.
The government said in March that more affordable housing will soon be available to some struggling Australians, with a federal agency offering community housing providers $315 million worth of loans at cheaper-than-average rates.
The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation – an independent government authority established in July – raised the money through its first issue of bonds.
The corporation was set up to provide long-term, low-cost finance to support more affordable rental housing in Australia.