ON January 25, 2022, the Productivity Commission released a report on federal government services, showcasing the increase of rental stress on low-income households.
Rental Stress is spending more than 30 per cent of gross household income on rent, as defined by the Commission.
The report found three quarters (72.5 per cent) of low-income households would have been susceptible to rental stress at the end of June 2021 without Commonwealth Rental Assistance (CRA).
The Productivity Commission is the Australian Government’s principal review and advisory body on microeconomic policy, regulation, and other social and environmental issues.
Of this, nearly half of CRA recipients (45.7 per cent) continue to experience rental stress.
These statistics have sparked concerns amongst big names in the charity sector who claim government services like the CRA are not enough.
Mission Australia Executive Ben Carblis has red-flagged the efficacy of Australia’s Specialist Homeless Services.
“It is unacceptable that people and families across the country are facing enormous pressures with escalating rental stress and very limited availability of affordable places to rent,” he said.
“Many are heading into 2022 already homeless because there are not enough accommodation options to go around for every who needs it.
The situation has meant people and families have to decide between paying for food, bills, transport, rent or medication and forgoing other essentials.”
Mr Carblis said state and territory governments have a responsibility to address the inefficiencies of CRA for low-income earners and the housing problem in general.
“Everyone knows that social and affordable homes are scarce in our community which means too many people are left high and dry when seeking a safe, secure and affordable home,” he said.
“As we head towards a federal election this year, good policy and investment must include intensive efforts from Federal Government to build more social and affordable housing.”
The charity sector calls on the Government to implement a National Plan to end homelessness.
“[A National Plan will] focus on long-term investments to address the stark shortage of social and affordable homes,” Mr Carblis said.
Homelessness awareness charity, Everybody’s Home, launched a campaign to urge Government for a National Plan in 2018.
The organisation outlines five steps the Government can take to ‘fix’ Australia’s housing system.
To support the campaign and address the rental stress crisis, Everybody’s Home, urges Australians to sign the petition on their website.
“It is time for the federal government to step in, provide leadership on the issue, and fix the broken housing problem,” spokesperson for Everybody’s Home, Kate Colvin said.