Single parents can't afford Lismore rents, care agency warns

SINGLE Lismore parents struggling to get by on Newstart cannot afford any property on the private rental market, a new housing report has shown.

Anglicare Australia's third rental affordability snapshot, to be released today, has revealed the hard data behind those on struggle street around the North Coast and Northern Rivers regions.

The report showed no Lismore residents on Newstart, particularly those with children, could afford any of the 77 private rental properties advertised last week.

MORE: Rental snapshot shows grim reality for low income earners

While it revealed couples on the minimum wage fared better, being able to afford 57% of properties advertised, almost all those on government welfare payments simply could not afford to pay rent without forgoing essential goods.

Regional data for the North Coast included Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay, Grafton, Port Macquarie, Casino, Kempsey, Tweed Heads and Ballina and Clarence Valley.

Anglicare North Coast chief executive Estelle Graham said while the report showed the number of affordable rental properties grew across the nation, it shrank on the North Coast.

"The best served of low-income earners were those on the minimum wage, but in all towns we've heard stories of people going without meals, medications and family breakdowns because of the pressure of high rents," she said.

"We've also noticed a trend around the coast particularly that rents went up when major upgrades were underway on the Pacific Hwy, then fell when the work went further north. This study doesn't cover it, but certainly housing affordability has an impact on mental health and things like school."

Ms Graham said while housing was more affordable than capital cities, the floor price for rents was still too much for those on Newstart, Youth Allowance or the minimum wage to afford.

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"We already know we've got five or 10-year-long waiting lists for public housing across the region, but high unemployment, lack of transport and childcare availability all affects it," she said.

"We've also got a much higher proportion of low-income single people households, but the housing is often built for bigger families."

AFFORDABLE HOUSING ACTION PLAN

  • Reform negative gearing policy
  • Reverse plans to axe the National Rental Affordability Scheme
  • Create a national plan to address housing
  • Increase all welfare payments for those in need

SOURCE: Anglicare Australia's 2015 Rental Affordability Snapshot

 


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