Speaking at an affordable housing forum, ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie called on Federal, State and local Governments to step up to the challenge of improving housing affordability in Australia, warning that we risk sentencing young people and those on low incomes to a life of insecure renting, or worse, if we fail to act now.
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New research released ahead of Youth Homelessness Matters Day shows that young people aged 15 to 24 have twice the risk of housing crisis than the general population, with rates of housing stress higher than any other age group.
The modelling, undertaken by NATSEM for Australians for Affordable Housing shows that one in five young people aged 15 to 24 are in housing stress (66,440), meaning that they’re on a low income, and paying more than 30 per cent of their income on rents or mortgages.
“Housing stress puts thousands of young people on the brink of financial crisis every single week” said Sarah Toohey, Campaign Manager for Australians for Affordable Housing.
“Not only is there a shortage of low cost rental properties for young people, Commonwealth Rent Assistance, designed to help lift people out of housing stress is so low that three in four Youth Allowance recipients receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance are still in housing stress after they get this payment”
“The high cost of rental, and the shortage of available properties all make it harder for young people to break the cycle of homelessness”.
High housing costs, difficulties in the rental market, domestic violence and family breakdown are contributing to high numbers of children and young people accessing homelessness services every year. Data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that 50 per cent of people seeking assistance from homelessness services in the three months between July and September 2011 were under 25 (45,314 people).
“The causes of youth homelessness are complex but for young people living independently, high housing costs can contribute not only to young people becoming homeless, but staying that way.
“With so many young people in housing stress and locked out of the housing market altogether, future generations desperately need State and Federal Government’s to fix our broken housing system,” said Ms Toohey.
Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations working to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia. For more information visitwww.housingstressed.org.au
Spokesperson: Sarah Toohey, 0427 563 989/ Media enquiries: Stephanie De Campo, 0432 828 004
Follow AAH on Facebook and Twitter: @housingstressed
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