During National Homeless Persons Week, Australians for Affordable Housing is renewing calls for a National Housing Plan so that all Australians can get housing they can afford.
“Six in ten very low income renters are in housing stress, paying more than 30 per cent of their income on rent. This means they are just one small financial crisis, a car break down or an emergency trip to the dentist, away from homelessness” said Australians for Affordable Housing campaign manager Sarah Toohey.
“After domestic violence, financial difficulties and housing crisis are the most common reasons that people seek assistance from homelessness services. Families with children now make up one in four households seeking assistance from homelessness services.
“It’s great that the Housing and Homelessness Minister is investigating new models to address homelessness internationally, including in Finland and Germany. All these models confirm the need for permanent affordable housing as central to the solution.
“Yet it’s becoming harder and harder for people in Australia to find secure affordable housing.
“With rental vacancy rates below 3 per cent in capital cities and rents rising an average of 49 per cent in the last five years, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for low income households to get and keep a home.
“The Federal Government’s commitment to halving homelessness and the $1.1 billion invested through the National Partnership Agreement should be commended, but this agreement expires in 2013, and as yet there is no word on the amount of funding into the future.
“We need a clear and ongoing commitment to affordable housing, and the services needed to help prevent and end homelessness, if we’re ever going to make a difference.
“You couldn’t get a more fundamental demonstration of the fact that our housing system is failing when we have more than 100,000 people who are homeless on any given night.
Statistics on rates of homelessness: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737422221&tab=2
Media contact: Sarah Toohey, 0427 563 989. Follow AAH on Facebook at www.facebook.com/housingstressed and Twitter: @housingstressed
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