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Latest figures show that it’s time to fix Commonwealth Rent Assistance

2 min read

Anglicare Australia releases Reforming Rent Assistance, a paper showing that rental stress is rife in spite of billions spent on Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

The paper finds that:

  • One in two people who get rent assistance (46%) are still in rental stress
  • Young people fare even worse, with two in three young people on rent assistance (60%) still in rental stress
  • The payment leaves out people on the lowest incomes. Only one in three people on the JobSeeker payment is eligible for the payment (38%), and only one in ten young people is out of work (12%)
  • Almost no rental vacancies are affordable for people who get rent assistance.

The report is released at the same time as the latest numbers from the Productivity Commission, which show that the Government spends more than three times as much on rent assistance ($4.9 billion) than on social housing and homelessness services combined ($1.6 billion).

“Australia’s housing crisis has never been more dire. Rents in our major cities have reached record highs, and people are being priced out of regions and towns,” said Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

Chambers highlighted that a big boost to social housing is necessary to make housing more affordable, stating that they would need 500,000 new social and affordable rentals across Australia.

“Our agencies have told us about families living in tents, people sleeping in their cars, and pensioners living out their retirement in sharehouses because it’s all they can afford.”

“Commonwealth Rent Assistance is supposed to help people cope. But one in two people who get the payment is still in rental stress. Young people fare even worse, with two in three who get the payment still in rental stress,” she added.

Chambers said the crisis won’t be solved with rent assistance alone, and called for a boost to social housing.

“Worse still, the people on the lowest incomes are locked out getting help. Only one in three people on the JobSeeker payment are eligible, and only one in ten looking for work on Youth Allowance.

“We’re calling for an increase to the payment so that it keeps up with soaring rents, and reforms so that more people in sharehouses and on low incomes are eligible.”

“If we don’t end the shortfall, the crisis will keep getting worse and the bill for rent assistance will keep ballooning. It’s time to take real action and end this crisis for good.”

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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