Homes Remain Unaffordable for the Vulnerable
The 2019 Rental Affordability Snapshot, released by Anglicare Australia today, demonstrates that there continues to be a housing affordability crisis across Australia and in the Northern Territory. The annual survey of rental properties, held on 23 March, identified no properties that were affordable and appropriate for Territorians who receive Newstart Allowance, Single Parenting Payment, Disability Support Pension or Youth Allowance.
The situation in the Northern Territory
While the average cost of renting in the Northern Territory has continued to decrease from its peak, it remains higher than the national average at $444 per week (CoreLogic, 2019). The rate of government income support payments like Newstart, however, have not changed significantly in decades. The payment for singles currently stands at $278 per week. When coupled with the competing costs of food, electricity and medicines, it is unsurprising that many Territorians are locked out of the private rental market.
For those locked out, the solution is affordable rentals such as social or public housing. However, the anticipated wait time for public housing in the Northern Territory can be up to 6-8 years. There are approximately 4000 households, equating to around 10,000 people on the NT public housing waitlist (NTCOSS, July 2018).
What happens to those who can’t afford a home?
Many people who can’t afford a home live in overcrowded or unsafe conditions. Some access housing and homelessness services through providers like Anglicare NT.
Last year Anglicare NT assisted over 1200 people who were homeless or at risk of homelessness through our transitional housing and support services. Over 60% of these were women, many with children.
But these services are overstretched and can’t meet the demand. In the Northern Territory, almost half of all people seeking help through housing and homelessness services are unable to be assisted. The per capita rate of demand in the Northern Territory is three times that of other states and territories (AIHW, 2018).
What can be done?
All Territorians need a place to call home. A home is more than bricks and mortar. It’s a special place from which people can build their lives.
The solution – we need more rental homes that Territorians can afford and we must support those in need to ensure they stay in those homes long term.
The read the full NT Rental Affordability Snapshot, please click here.