Only Nine Rental Houses Across Australia Affordable For Original JobSeeker Recipients
Only nine houses across Australia would be affordable for JobSeeker recipients under its original rate, a dire report into the payment has found.
The 'Rental Affordability Snapshot 2020' released by Anglicare defined "unaffordable" listings as those that require JobSeeker recipients to spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent.
The annual study revealed before payments were boosted, only nine listings were considered affordable for those on JobSeeker payments.
None of these nine listings were in Australia's most populated cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin or Canberra.
Things were even more grim for those on Youth Allowance, with just three properties listed as suitable.
Just 526 properties were affordable for a single person on the Aged Pension and 245 listings were reasonably priced for those on the Disability Support Pension.
The government has since increased JobSeeker payments by $550 a fortnight to provide relief to the mounting number of Australians facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.
But the revealing study showed that even on the new payments, just 1,040 rental listings out of 69,690 were deemed affordable for JobSeeker recipients.
For those on Youth Allowance, just 484 properties were suitable during the pandemic and people receiving Disability Support Pensions could afford just 326 of the listings.
It comes as Anglicare warns up to 1.4 million Australians may require JobSeeker payments as a result of the pandemic.
Anglicare Australia's Executive Director Kasy Chambers said the report highlighted how "the private rental market is failing to provide homes for people on low incomes."
"Our 2020 Rental Affordability Snapshot is released as the reality of Australia’s crash into deep recession is starting to bite," Chambers said.
"Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs as we grapple with the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, its end point unknown," she added.
"It shows social housing is an urgent priority, as are permanent increases to government income payments."
Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi said the report's findings revealed the dire state of housing affordability in Australia.
She is calling for an increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance and an expansion of social housing.
“Renters have really suffered during this pandemic. While facing unemployment, wage losses and enormous instability, many have had to fight to keep a roof over their heads in a housing market that structurally favours property owners and landlords," Faruqi said in a statement on Thursday.
“The system is completely rigged, especially against people on low incomes. It’s time for a complete overhaul of neoliberal housing policies that have led us here and to recognise housing as a human right."
“We need a massive increase in social housing by building 500,000 new publicly-owned homes and a reversal of unfair tax incentives that have contributed to the marketisation of housing over decades."
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