Low-income earners in Perth are finding it more difficult than ever to find affordable rentals, according to the new Anglicare Affordability Snapshot.
Out of 10,490 properties listed for rent in Perth, none are affordable for single people who rely on Youth Allowance and Newstart.
A rental is considered unaffordable if it is more than 30 per cent of the household income.
Data from the Department of Social Services show nearly half a million Australians on government income pay more than 30 per cent of their income on rent.
One third of those are paying more than half of their income on rent.
Executive Director of Anglicare Kasy Chambers says it’s upsetting to think that housing isn’t seen as important.
“I just find it immensely disappointing that as a country with the kind of money that we’ve got, that we’re going to run a budget with billions of dollars in tax cuts for middle and higher income owners,” she says.
“We desperately need, in the context of this election, both major parties to commit to building a large amount of social housing… that’s subsidised housing where people can live with stability.”
She says that Treasury has put 11.5 billion dollars into the private rental market.
“That is a massive subsidy from all of our pockets into the private rental market, so let’s see that spent on people with low incomes.”
Ms Chambers believes the rates of government benefits also need to be re-examined.
“It’s just inconceivable that Newstart can still be this low,” she says.
Deputy CEO of the WA Council of Social Service Jennie Gray agrees, saying there has not been an increase in Newstart rates in more than 25 years, despite the cost of living continually rising.
“This snapshot highlights just how hard it is for people on low incomes, especially those on Newstart, which amounts to less than $40 a day [for living costs].”
“This keeps people in a poverty trap.”