Affordable rentals out of reach for North Coast residents
NOT ONLY are North Coast residents being locked out of the home-ownership market, decent rentals are steadily slipping out of reach of low-income tenants.
Anglicare Australia's 2017 Rental Affordability Snapshot has found a chronic shortage of properties in major regional towns.
Out of 14 household types, ranging from couples with two children on the minimum wage to singles on government benefits, Byron Bay had zero appropriate and affordable options.
Ballina closely followed with two properties out of 68 surveyed found to be suitable for two demographics.
Out of 72 houses Tweed had, there were four appropriate properties for couples with children on the minimum wage.
Twenty three appropriate options were found in Lismore out of a possible 58. All 23 excluded those in the single household bracket.
Casino had the most accessible market with affordability suited to various household types.
Of the 34 properties assessed in the snapshot, 20 houses were found suitable for two-children couples receiving the minimum wage and family tax benefit.
Single person households on Age Pension, Disability Support Pension and Parenting Pension could access housing, but only a tiny percentage, and only in three or four of the areas surveyed.
Out of 67,000 properties surveyed across Australia, less than 1% were affordable for pensioners, people on other Centrelink payments, and those earning the minimum wage.
Anglicare CEO Estelle Graham said many North Coast residents were in a low socio-economic bracket and should be able to choose where they lived.
"It's not good to lock out certain members of the community and it's good to have a mix," Ms Graham said.
"A whole government approach" in developing urgently-needed policy was what Ms Graham said would be a strong start to fix what she described as "a complex problem".
State and Federal governments needed to urgently develop policies and strategies to increase the supply of affordable housing, Ms Graham said.
"Tax reform may be beneficial," she said.
Mental health issues were resulting from financial struggles experienced by those in unaffordable housing situations, Ms Graham said.
"It can lead to people going without meals and it also has a social impact ... people can become very socially isolated," she said.
"If you're worried where every cent is going to come from it's very stressful ."