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Affordable housing ‘crisis point’

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Sydney’s property boom has left low-income earners very few choices on the private rental market.

A new study has shown less than 1 per cent of private rental properties in the city are affordable for welfare recipients.

Research by Anglicare examined 12,000 rental properties available on April 5-6. Analysis revealed only 33 properties– or 0.3 per cent – were affordable for households on welfare benefits.

Anglicare Sydney director of advocacy and research Sue King told the Sydney Morning Herald the group’s fourth annual rental affordability snapshot revealed housing costs were forcing people to make tough decisions.

“In order for them to get affordable accommodation, they need to do one of two things: they need to move a long way out of the metropolitan area and do an awful lot of travelling if they are trying to get work in the city, or they have to sacrifice more of their income to get shelter,” she said.

Meanwhile, welfare group Samaritans says the lack of affordable housing is at crisis point in the Hunter region.

Research undertaken by the organisation last month found there are no affordable rental properties available in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie for a single working parent earning the minimum wage and raising two children.

It says the majority of available rental properties cost single working parents too much of their income, leaving too little for other expenses like food, transport and medicine.

Researcher Julia Woods says it is a grim outlook.

“To find this year there was nothing was actually quite scary,” she said.

“The numbers of properties had actually increased from previous years.

“In Lake Macquarie for example even though the property numbers went up, those suitable didn’t change that dramatically, where in Newcastle the properties went up dramatically but once again the affordable property number hardly changed.”

Ms Woods says more families will become homeless in the Hunter if the issue is not addressed.

“We’re looking at people like single parents who are working not being able to find accommodation.

“So for those that are unable to find employment or are living on a benefit because of the lack of employment or because their child is under five years old and they’re still caring for them there’s even less chance that they’re going to find something.”

– with the ABC