Housing report

Anglicare housing report details low-income people’s struggle to find housing | The Daily Advertiser

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Wagga’s most vulnerable residents are struggling to find a roof over their heads as rent and housing prices continue to rise. A new report from charity Anglicare shows that people on low incomes, including pensioners, are increasingly unable to find safe and affordable accommodation in the city. The charity described the housing outlook for Wagga’s most vulnerable residents as “catastrophic”. Single mother Beryl Susurua is currently in the care of Anglicare and has faced extreme difficulty finding accommodation in Wagga to support herself and her young son. Originally from Samoa, she sought asylum in Australia and moved from Griffith to Wagga in 2016 when her son was just a week old, housed by Sisters Housing with no family or support network to fall back on. Ms Susurua now lives in a rental, but her financial difficulties are far from over. “It’s really difficult,” she said. “With a low income, you [can] barely pay the rent, pay the electricity, pay the car, and then [you have to] try to manage the little money to survive to spend. “Sometimes I only have $50 left to last me until the next fortnight.” Ms Susurua was eventually put in touch with Anglicare who helped her find accommodation while supporting her with food, transport and childcare costs. “For me, I’m definitely facing a housing crisis,” she said. “Without the services provided by Anglicare, I would be stuck.” Anglicare’s annual National Rent Affordability Report looked at 78 properties in the Wagga area and found that for a couple with two children on JobSeeker, just 1% of properties were both affordable and suitable. For a single elderly pensioner, only 4% of properties were affordable and suitable, with this figure falling even further for singles on disability pension (3%) and JobSeeker (zero). For single adults on Youth Allowance, there were no properties considered affordable and appropriate. The only outlier was couples with two children on minimum wage receiving family tax benefits, with 22% of properties both affordable and appropriate for these households. Anglicare’s CEO for Southern New South Wales and ACT, Jeremy Halcrow, said in recent years rent and housing prices had risen in traditionally affordable areas such as Wagga. “Many factors have contributed to this, including the movement of families out of metropolitan areas during COVID shutdowns to more spacious regional properties, he said. “It has displaced the local population and made affordable housing even more out of reach for the most vulnerable people.” IN OTHER NEWS: Wagga Councilor Dan Hayes says it’s ‘disgusting’ to see low-income people squeezed out of the rental market. “The owners of the houses are happy, [but] those trying to enter the market or those trying to rent a home that is safe, secure and suitable for their needs and their family, they are not; they find it really difficult,” he said. Cr Hayes said raising wages is key to addressing this growing problem. “We haven’t seen an increase in real wages for many years,” he said. a level that may also correspond to the price increase. “Cr Hayes said the state government has ‘let it down’ when it comes to providing adequate public housing. “They’ve been in government for 10 years now and the actual number of public housing has dropped,” he said. “The ones they have now, we know they don’t provide the funding for them to be fixed, brought up to a certain level, or to provide a certain level of comfort to those in need of social housing.” Our reporters work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content: