ROOMING HOUSE SURVEY POINTS TO NEED FOR GOVERNMENT ACTION ON HOUSING STRESS

13 Oct 2016

A survey by Tenants Union of Victoria and the Council to Homeless Persons released today highlights the housing stress that the Turnbull Government’s neglect is causing.

A survey by Tenants Union of Victoria and the Council to Homeless Persons released today highlights the housing stress that the Turnbull Government’s neglect is causing.

The survey found tenants are paying up to 83 per cent of their income on rent. Just two out of 56 rooming houses in Melbourne were offering affordable rent, while tenants in 30 of the 56 houses were paying 50 per cent or more of their income in rent.

A typical tenant, on Newstart and receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance, was paying $200 for a room in Frankston, an hour from Melbourne CBD. That is 61 per cent of their income, leaving them $126 below the poverty line, with just $19 a day to live on.

The Turnbull Government’s indifference and neglect is making the problem worse.

Graham, a former rooming house resident featured on the front page of today’s Age, relies on multiple services including Launch Housing and the Salvation Army, that have a third of their funding provided by the Federal Government under the National Partnership Agreement on Housing (NPAH).

The Federal Government, despite repeated calls from Labor and the homelessness sector, has so far refused to fund a new NPAH agreement beyond June 2017. The services funded by NPAH are threatened by this lack of funding certainty.

Labor’s Shadow Minister Senator Doug Cameron held a roundtable on Housing and Homelessness last week in Sydney. The message from the housing service providers and advocates is that urgent action is needed to provide funding certainty.

The Turnbull Government is doing nothing about the growing housing affordability crisis, the growing number of households in housing stress and the growing rate of homelessness. It is making matters worse by not providing funding certainty through NPAH and by its craven cowardice on generous taxpayer subsidies for negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions.

Since its election in 2013, the Coalition has dropped homelessness as a priority.

  • No Federal Minister for Housing and Homelessness has been appointed, and there is no national housing affordability plan being implemented.
  • The Coalition shut down the National Rental Affordability Scheme that provided over 20,000 new affordable housing units and was on track to achieve its target of 50,000.
  • The Coalition have abolished the National Housing Supply Council and the Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness, as well as cutting funding to Homelessness Australia, National Shelter and the Community Housing Federation of Australia.

The Turnbull Government has no direction, is hopelessly divided and is unwilling and incapable of addressing the urgent housing affordability crisis which is causing hardship across the country.

WEDNESDAY, 12 OCTOBER 2016