Snapshot highlights rent struggle – The Examiner, April 2016

WELFARE groups say Anglicare’s latest Housing Affordability Snapshot highlights the crisis low-income renters face in trying to find affordable private rental properties.

The snapshot showed 424 of the 1588 properties advertised on the first weekend in April could be lived in by Tasmanian households living on the minimum wage without the occupants experiencing rental stress, classified as spending 30-45 per cent of household income on rent.

It found just 92 properties were affordable for people who relied on income support payments as their main source of income.

Although those figures were a slight improvement on 2015, Anglicare’s Meg Webb said they were inflated by a 15 per cent decrease in the number of available properties compared to last year.

The decrease in available properties was confined to the North and South, with more North-West rentals available than in 2015.

The snapshot showed Youth Allowance recipients and single parents on Newstart were most at risk of spending more than half their income on rent.

Tasmanian Council of Social Services CEO Kym Goodes said critical examination of what caused rentals to be so unaffordable was required.

“What the snapshot proves each year is that if we continue to do things the same way, we will continue to have the same outcomes,” she said.

“Part of the issue is the high level of unemployment in our state coupled with similarly high levels of disadvantage and the inadequacy of allowances such as NewStart.”

Shelter Tasmania Executive Officer Pattie Chugg said she was troubled by the results.

“This year the snapshot confirms what other reports tell us – that the number of affordable properties in Tasmania is declining year on year, and that very few affordable properties are located in regions of economic growth,” she said.

Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma said the results highlighted the importance of the government’s affordable housing strategy.

She said the government had developed strategies designed to make private housing more affordable.

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