20 May 2016
Australia is in the midst of a housing crisis, with house prices and rents rapidly increasing, and people paying so much for housing that they are forced into financial hardship.
In the lead-up to the federal election, a national alliance of housing, homelessness and welfare peak bodies has formed to ensure housing affordability and homelessness are tier one election issues.
The alliance – formed by Homelessness Australia (HA), National Shelter, the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) and the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) – asks all Australians to stand up for change by signing the Vote Home petition calling for a national strategy to end the housing crisis by 2025.
National Shelter Executive Officer Adrian Pisarski explained, “Housing costs are the single biggest expense in household budgets, and affordability keeps getting worse – we’re in a housing crisis. Developing a national plan to end the housing crisis is the most important issue for all parties in this election.”
Homelessness Australia Chair Jenny Smith added, “Every night more than 105,000 Australians are homeless; and 40 per cent of those are under 25. Unless we address the crisis of availability of affordable housing, we cannot solve this completely unacceptable problem.”
CHIA CEO Greg Withers explained, “An important driver of this crisis is a shortage of over 500,000 rental properties that are affordable and available to people on low incomes; and consequently 205,000 people on public and community housing waiting lists. We urgently need a national strategy to deliver the housing that people need.”
“Current tax policy has fuelled Australian housing prices to record and unaffordable levels. Tax settings that encourage speculative investment and inflate house prices – like negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount – must be addressed in the national plan,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.
By signing the Vote Home petition, Australians can ensure their politicians know that a fairer more equitable Australia, where access to a safe and affordable home is achievable for all, is important to them.
Media enquiries: Eddie Staltari, Council to Homeless Persons, 0431 638 113 or [email protected]
Available for interview:
- National Shelter Executive Officer, Adrian Pisarski
- Homelessness Australia Chair, Jenny Smith
- Community Housing Industry Association CEO, Greg Withers
- Australian Council of Social Service CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie
Case studies available for interview (contact Eddie at CHP for more):
Edwina, 25 – young soon-to-be mother
- University educated, currently working in marketing and communications at a not-for-profit
- About to have a baby and be out of work
- Lives with low-income earning partner, household soon to take massive hit to finances
- Currently living in inner-northern suburb of Melbourne, close to hospital and services needed
- Will be in immediate rental stress when no longer working and will struggle to keep up with current housing costs
- Is fearful she will never be able to afford to save for a home while paying rent and supporting child
- Studying at university full-time and working part-time
- Currently living in rental stress, paying $200 a week in rent in Armadale
- Often foregoes things such as internet, phone, food in order to make rental payments
- Needs to live within a 10km radius of the CBD in order to keep employment
- Is contemplating dropping out of university in order to keep up with cost of living
- Low income earner studying at university and supported by Austudy
- Searched for years but struggled to find affordable and available rental accommodation – says he has been knocked back from hundreds of rental applications
- Was forced to sleep in his van while trying to secure a rental (waiting over two years)
- Managed to take the place of a friend who was moving and now lives in a share house in Reservoir with three other people
- Has lived in his rental for nearly three years, is fearful he will not be so lucky in finding another affordable rental