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Apr 30, 2012
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Rental snapshot shows households locked out

New research showing that high rents are locking low income households out of Australia’s capital cities has Australians for Affordable Housing calling for an urgent increase in the rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

Anglicare Australia’s Rental Affordability Snapshot surveyed the number of rental properties on the market that were affordable to people on income support payments and the minimum wage with shocking results.

“Anglicare’s Rental Affordability Snapshot shows that not one rental in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin or Adelaide was affordable to a single person receiving Newstart, Youth Allowance or Austudy,” said Australians for Affordable Housing Campaign Manager Sarah Toohey.

“Couples and singles receiving the Aged or Disability Pensions will also struggle to find an affordable rental in any  of these capital cities, where the number of affordable rental properties ranges from zero to two per cent.”

“Across the country one in five renters are in housing stress. Because of high housing costs, tenants will struggle to pay the bills, buy clothes and food, pay for transport, or any school costs for their kids.”

“These households urgently need an increase in the rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance in the upcoming Federal Budget, to help their household budget.”

“The rental market is so dysfunctional that even working households can’t find anything affordable. Anglicare’s Snapshot shows that less than one per cent of rentals in Sydney, and two per cent in Melbourne, were affordable and appropriate for single parents earning the minimum wage.”

“Right across the country our housing system is failing. Australians for Affordable Housing is calling for an immediate increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance as a down payment on a National Housing Plan, to make sure everyone can afford to keep a roof over their head”

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 visit www.housingstressed.org.au


Media contact :  Sarah Toohey, 0427 563 989.  Follow AAH on Facebook  at www.facebook.com/housingstressed and Twitter: @housingstressed

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Apr 23, 2012
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Over 30,000 South Australians need real Rent Assistance

Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH) today revealed that more than 30,000 South Australians who receive Commonwealth Rent Assistance, are in housing stress. That’s 36 per cent of the 83,000 people in South Australia who receive this payment.

AAH Campaign Manager Sarah Toohey said that this shows just how desperately an increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance is needed by South Australians.

“Tens of thousands of South Australians are struggling with high housing costs. Rents in Adelaide have risen 60 per cent more than the rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) in the last five years, which has been hard for low income families struggling to make the rent.

“An increase in Rent Assistance of just $25 per week would lift more than 7,200 South Australians out of housing stress completely.

“Over 1,750 people – or 11 per cent of those receiving Newstart who are currently in housing stress would be able to make ends meet if CRA was increased by this small amount.

“11 per cent of South Australians on the Parenting Payment (single), and 10 per cent of those on the Disability Support Pension – over 3,300 people in total – would be lifted out of housing stress if CRA was boosted.

“Cost of living is a big issue for many Australians, and housing costs are the single biggest household expense. Increasing Rent Assistance is the logical way for the Government to make an immediate difference and take some pressure off households.

“We’ll need further reforms to Rent Assistance to help all of those people, but an immediate increase in CRA is a good place to start,” Ms Toohey said.

AAH has called on the Federal Government to increase CRA by 30 per cent in the Federal Budget, an increase of between $16 to $25 per week, which would help almost 100,000 people nationally.

Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia. For more information visit www.housingstressed.org.au

Spokesperson: Sarah Toohey, 0402 677 566/ Media enquiries: Stephanie De Campo, 0432 828 004

Follow AAH on Facebook and Twitter: @housingstressed


SOUTH AUSTRALIA CURRENT with $25pw increase
Total recipients Number in housing stress %in stress Number no longer in housing stress % reduction in housing stress
Aged Pension 14 613 3 314 23 1233 8
DSP 18 080 5 394 30 1826 10
Carer Payment 1 781 447 25 122 7
Newstart 16 221 9 053 56 1751 11
Austudy 1 504 1 025 68 132 9
Youth Allowance -Student 5 215 3 781 73 232 4
Youth Allowance – other 1 339 934 70 38 3
Parenting payment (single) 13 102 4 237 32 1475 11
Parenting payment (partnered) 1 619 475 29 72 4
Family Tax Benefit only 9 031 906 10 256 3
Other 784 470 60 94 12
All 83 289 30 036 36 7231 9

 

 

AUSTRALIA Current with $25pw increase
Total recipients Number in housing stress %in stress number no longer in housing stress % reduction in housing stress
Aged Pension 201,215 58,802 29 19,854 10
DSP 23,5851 74,054 31 25,373 11
Carer Payment 29,489 8,672 29 2,267 8
Newstart 211,765 135,482 64 21,139 10
Austudy 17,848 12,782 72 1,420 8
Youth Allowance -Student 65,431 50,065 77 3,656 6
Youth Allowance – other 15,050 10,807 72 488 3
Parenting payment (single) 166,160 62,870 38 16,303 10
Parenting payment (partnered) 27,896 12,809 46 1,789 6
Family Tax Benefit only 147,006 26,292 18 5,996 4
Other 12,821 8,235 64 1,472 11
All 1,130,532 460839 41 99,726 9

Source: calculations based on Senate Community Affairs Committee, Answers to estimates questions on notice Families, Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Portfolio 2011-12 Budget Estimates Hearings Question No: 246 and Productivity Commission, Report on Government Services 2012, Table 16A.61

 

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Apr 18, 2012
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High housing costs put one in five young people at risk

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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Apr 17, 2012
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Nearly 5,000 people in the ACT need real Rent Assistance

Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH) today revealed that almost 5,000 people in the ACT who receive Commonwealth Rent Assistance, are in housing stress. That’s 54 per cent, of the 9,000 people in the ACT who receive this payment, higher than any other state or territory in the country.

AAH Campaign Manager Sarah Toohey said that this shows just how desperately an increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance is needed by people in the ACT.

“Thousands of people in the ACT are struggling with high housing costs. Rents in Canberra have risen at more than twice the rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) in the last five years, which has been hard for low income families struggling to make the rent.

“An increase in Rent Assistance of just $25 per week would lift more than 700 ACT residents out of housing stress completely.

“More than 110 people – or 12 per cent of those receiving the Aged Pension who are currently in housing stress would be able to make ends meet if CRA was increased by this small amount.

“Housing costs are the single biggest household expense. Increasing Rent Assistance is the logical way for the Government to make an immediate difference and take some pressure off households.

“We’ll need further reforms to Rent Assistance to help all of those people, but an immediate increase in CRA is a good place to start,” Ms Toohey said.

AAH has called on the Federal Government to increase CRA by 30 per cent in the Federal Budget, an increase of between $16 to $25 per week, which would help almost 100,000 people nationally.

Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia. For more information visit www.housingstressed.org.au 

Spokesperson: Sarah Toohey, 0402 677 566/ Media enquiries: Stephanie De Campo, 0432 828 004

Follow AAH on Facebook and Twitter: @housingstressed

 

ACT CURRENT with $25pw increase
  Total recipients Number in housing stress %in stress Number no longer in housing stress % reduction in housing stress
Aged Pension   969   393 41 116 12
DSP  1 342   415 31 100 7
Carer Payment   85   38 45 6 7
Newstart  1 134   760 67 115 10
Austudy   236   181 77 17 7
Youth Allowance -Student  2 479  2 041 82 175 7
Youth Allowance – other   144   107 74 3 2
Parenting payment (single)   859   379 44 56 7
Parenting payment (partnered)   139   103 74 10 7
Family Tax Benefit only  1 762   472 27 124 7
Other   74   53 72 7 9
All  9 223  4 942 54 729 8

 

AUSTRALIA Current with $25pw increase
   

Total recipients

Number in housing stress  

% in stress

Number no longer in housing stress % reduction in housing stress
Aged Pension 201,215 58,802 29 19,854 10
DSP 23,5851 74,054 31 25,373 11
Carer Payment 29,489 8,672 29 2,267 8
Newstart 211,765 135,482 64 21,139 10
Austudy 17,848 12,782 72 1,420 8
Youth Allowance -Student 65,431 50,065 77 3,656 6
Youth Allowance – other 15,050 10,807 72 488 3
Parenting payment (single) 166,160 62,870 38 16,303 10
Parenting payment (partnered) 27,896 12,809 46 1,789 6
Family Tax Benefit only 147,006 26,292 18 5,996 4
Other 12,821 8,235 64 1,472 11
All 1,130,532 460839 41 99,726 9

Source: calculations based on Senate Community Affairs Committee, Answers to estimates questions on notice Families, Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Portfolio 2011-12 Budget Estimates Hearings Question No: 246 and Productivity Commission, Report on Government Services 2012, Table 16A.61

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Apr 11, 2012
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Victoria’s south-eastern suburbs at housing affordability crisis point

High bankruptcy figures reported in The Age today and linked to mortgage stress are further evidence of the need for State and Federal Governments to immediately act to improve housing affordability in Victoria, and more broadly, across Australia.

The article, South-east worst hit by bankruptcy: Mortgage stress takes heavy tollreveals that Melbourne’s South-Eastern suburbs have the highest tally of bankruptcies in Victoria and can be attributed to ‘strong population growth and the high rate of new mortgages in the area’.

AAH Campaign Manager, Sarah Toohey said these figures were consistent with AAH’s Housing Stressed data and demonstrated that many people in Victoria’s South-Eastern suburbs were at breaking point.

“According to the AAH Housing Stressed data, 21 per cent of mortgage holders in the City of Casey, and 19 per cent in Cardinia and Frankston are in housing stress. High housing costs are taking their toll in these areas.

“While the South-Eastern suburbs have been highlighted as having the highest rate of bankruptcies, our data suggests housing stress is also a major factor in the outer western suburbs.

“Hume recorded the second highest rates with 26 per cent under mortgage stress. Brimbank and Melton were also high on the list with 29 per cent and 21 per cent of mortgage holders respectively in housing stress.

“These are areas where housing is supposedly affordable, but the reality is that costs are still too high for many households, particularly if they’re on a single wage, or have to run two or more cars to get around”

“We can’t keep letting households fall into financial crisis, just to get a roof over their heads. We need a National Housing Plan that is backed by the Commonwealth and every State and Territory Government. With the Federal and State Budgets fast approaching, it is the perfect time for the Government’s to act. Ms Toohey said.

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 visit www.housingstressed.org.au

 

Spokesperson: Sarah Toohey, 0427 563 989 Media enquiries: Stephanie De Campo, 0432 828 004 Follow AAH on Facebook and Twitter: @housingstressed
Housing stress – Australians for Affordable Housing local council league table* 

  Housing Stress Mortgage Stress Private Rent Stress
LGA Name % Number % Number % Number
Greater Dandenong (C) 21 10236 31 4372 38 4868
Hume (C) 19 10872 26 6735 41 3347
Melbourne (C) 19 7629 18 1330 25 5449
Brimbank (C) 18 11484 29 6124 41 4377
Melton (S) 18 6496 21 4179 38 1995
Casey (C) 18 15135 21 9543 35 4711
Frankston (C) 18 9032 19 4050 37 4250
Maribyrnong (C) 17 5175 16 1575 31 2881
Cardinia (S) 16 4117 19 2304 35 1527
Wyndham (C) 16 8240 18 4645 33 3094
Darebin (C) 16 9144 16 2531 33 5264
Whittlesea (C) 16 7897 23 4454 36 2860
Moreland (C) 16 9385 17 2993 32 5303
Mornington Peninsula (S) 15 9107 20 4208 40 3981
Yarra Ranges (S) 14 7786 19 4627 38 2582
Hobsons Bay (C) 14 4789 17 1897 31 2289
Kingston (C) 14 7948 16 3340 32 3853
Glen Eira (C) 13 7386 13 2193 30 4628
Port Phillip (C) 13 6765 8 1062 20 4712
Maroondah (C) 13 5590 15 2412 32 2678
Yarra (C) 13 4805 7 682 20 2945
Monash (C) 13 8319 16 2904 32 4573
Knox (C) 12 7109 16 3896 32 2563
Stonnington (C) 12 5633 9 916 23 4035
Moonee Valley (C) 12 5338 13 1570 26 2586
Whitehorse (C) 12 7134 14 2597 31 3741
Banyule (C) 11 5323 14 2074 28 2415
Manningham (C) 10 4423 16 2108 32 1922
Boroondara (C) 10 6472 10 1776 25 4116
Nillumbik (S) 9 2024 13 1280 33 597
Bayside (C) 9 3385 10 1192 26 1708
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Apr 4, 2012
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McKell report shows the way for Federal Government housing policy: AAH

Australians for Affordable Housing has welcomed the McKell Institute’s report into housing affordability today and called for greater debate at the national level.

The McKell Institute today released their Homes for All – The 40 things we can do to improve supply and affordability report into the state of Sydney’s housing market.


AAH Campaign Manager, Sarah Toohey said the report offered a frank assessment of the housing affordability crisis and provided 40 realistic recommendations to improve rental and housing costs.

 

“The McKell report’s recommendations however should not just be applied to Sydney. Housing affordability is crippling the entire nation, and it’s only logical to have a national housing plan.


“The reality is, only the kind of comprehensive, whole of housing system approach outlined in the McKell report will fix Australia’s housing crisis.

 

“It’s no good cherry picking one or two recommendations, the whole housing system is broken, and we need a comprehensive plan to fix it.


“Refreshingly the report recognises of the role of public housing in a well functioning housing system. Australians for Affordable Housing have called for a $2.5 billion a year Affordable Housing Growth Fund, which would support the innovation in the public housing sector suggested by the McKell institute, and build 100,000 properties over the next five years,” Ms Toohey said.

 

 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 visit www.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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Mar 30, 2012
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“Critical” Public Housing System Demands Immediate Government Attention

Australians for Affordable Housing is urging Federal and State Governments to immediately inject funding into the public housing system and develop a long term strategy, following the release of the Victorian auditor general’s report that labelled the systems situation as “critical”.


The Victorian auditor general’s report says the public housing sector is losing money, with costs 42 per cent higher than revenue. They report forecasts a $115.1 million funding black hole by 2015 and recommends the funding model be changed.

 

AAH Campaign Manager, Sarah Toohey said the report’s results were a wakeup call to the Federal and State Governments whose investment in the sector has declined significantly.

 

“The reality is, you cannot run a system without appropriate funding. The report’s finding that the system is in a “critical” state is not that surprising given the Federal Government’s spending in this area has declined by 41 per cent over the past 15 years.

 

“The Department of Human Services has failed to develop an over-arching strategic management plan to-date and must make this an immediate priority.

“This problem is not isolated to Victoria.  We’ve seen recent reports of a $300 million backlog in public housing maintenance in NSW, with residents reporting incidents of water running down walls, holes in the roof and cracked ceilings.

“We need the Federal Government to commit to an Affordable Housing Growth Fund, with an annual allocation of $2.5 billion a year from the 2013-14 Budget to provide 100,000 affordable homes over five years,” Ms Toohey said.

 

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 visit www.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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Mar 28, 2012
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New Report Rings Alarm Bells on Housing Affordability

Australians for Affordable Housing today welcomed the launch of the Property Council’s  Make my city work campaign today, saying that the Property Council’s nationwide My City: The People’s Verdict report is further evidence of the need for State and Federal Governments to immediately act to improve housing affordability.

The survey of over 5,200 Australians asked respondents to judge their cities performance in 17 areas, including housing affordability.

AAH Campaign Manager, Sarah Toohey said the report’s results were a wakeup call to State and Federal Governments who have to date, failed to fix this worsening crisis.

“The Property Council’s research shows that nation wide, over 65 per cent of respondents believe that their city doesn’t have a good range of quality affordable housing.

“When asked a series of 17 questions on liveability, respondents ranked ‘there is a good range of quality affordable housing’ as the lowest, with just over one third of respondents agreeing to the statement.

“The situation is dire across the country, but particularly in Darwin, Sydney and Canberra where more than three quarters of respondents think that their city doesn’t have a good range of quality affordable housing and the fact is, they’re right. These are 3 of Australia’s most expensive places to buy or rent.

“Housing affordability will not improve unless there is serious Government action. We need a National Housing Plan that includes all levels of government, and everything they can throw at it.

“In this Budget the Federal Government can start by establishing an Affordable Housing Growth Fund, with an annual allocation of $2.5 billion a year to provide 100,000 affordable homes over five years.

“Every day Australians hear about the lack of affordable housing. The Government needs to get started on a solution,” Ms Toohey said.

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 visit www.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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Mar 22, 2012
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Low wages and low wealth: women bear the brunt of high housing costs

Australians for Affordable Housing will today join with Equality Rights Alliance on the lawns of Federal Parliament House to highlight that Australian women are amongst the hardest hit
from a lack of affordable housing.

AAH Campaign Manager Sarah Toohey said one in ten households in Australia are in housing stress and many women are falling through the cracks in our housing system.  

“Women have lower average incomes than men, have less superannuation and take on greater caring responsibilities. This means that their ability to pay high housing costs is much less.

“Research shows that the highest rates of disadvantage are among households who have a low income and low wealth. Most of these households are single parents, and most of them are women.

“With continued high house prices buying a home is difficult for everyone, but for many women, it is now an unrealistic dream.

“A woman on an average full time wage would have to work 8 and a half years to buy a median priced home in Australia. This is more than double what’s considered an affordable ratio of incomes to house prices of between 3 and 4 times average annual earnings.

Our housing market is locking out low and middle income earners, squeezing renters with high rents and the shortage of social housing means it is failing as a safety net. This means that when someone’s in housing crisis, like women and children escaping family violence, they’re often left with nowhere to go.

“We need a national housing plan to address housing affordability, but the Government can act right now to help take the pressure of women in housing stress, with a 30 per cent increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance, and Affordable Housing Growth Fund so we can build more affordable rental housing and make sure that households who need it don’t fall through the gaps,” Ms Toohey said.

 

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 visit www.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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Mar 21, 2012
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Last chance for Queensland Election candidates to act on housing

Tens of thousands of Queenslanders will be the real losers this weekend if election candidates do not make housing affordability a priority and commit to funding affordable rental housing, Australians for Affordable Housing has warned.

AAH Campaign Manager Sarah Toohey said housing affordability was a serious issue facing Queenslanders with over 180,000 households in housing stress – a term used to describe low income households who spend over 30 per cent of their budget on housing costs.

“Housing stress is a major concern for Queenslanders in metropolitan, regional and rural areas. There are over 55,000 households in Brisbane council alone in housing stress, with 34,000 those in rental stress.

“Households in Gympie, Fraser Coast, Gold Coast and Logan are suffering the most with 19 per cent experiencing housing stress, while Fraser Coast has the highest proportion of people under rental stress (46%).

“With the election fast approaching, we urge the candidates to commit to investing in affordable housing and in turn, take steps to relieve tens of thousands of Queenslanders from housing stress.

“The lack of housing policy coming from candidates demonstrates a real lack of understanding on their part of the real issues facing Queenslanders.

“The Queensland Election is an ideal time for candidates to make an immediate commitment to the creation of affordable housing. Policies that increase the supply of affordable housing, like building more public and community housing must be a priority.

“We urge all Queenslanders concerned about housing affordability to join the Housing Stressed campaign and put pressure on Governments to work together to address the housing crisis,” Ms Toohey said.

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 visit www.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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