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Australians on the aged pension struggling to meet rent

A recently released Rental Affordability Survey from peak social advocacy organisation, Anglicare Australia, has found that a majority of people on the age pension are not only struggling to meet rent but are also only able to afford 0.8 percent of rentals in Australia.

Anglicare Australia believes that if the Government invests in social housing, it would not only tackle the rental crisis but also boost the Australian economy. [Source: iStock]

Anglicare surveyed nearly 77,000 rental listings in Australia, finding that a large portion of available rentals are unaffordable for older people on the Aged Pension.

The peak body is calling on the Government to provide more social housing to protect older people or people with disability from any rental stress, as well as asking for a raise to the Age Pension and Disability Support Pension.

Executive Director of Anglicare Australia, Kasy Chambers, says their recently updated survey shows that the situation has gotten progressively worse since March this year.

"Older people and people with disability are at greater risk during this pandemic. But instead of getting more support, they’ve been left behind," says Ms Chambers.

“Our Rental Affordability Update shows that an age pensioner can afford 0.8% of rental listings across Australia. That’s even fewer than our last snapshot in March. Disability Support Pensioners face an even tougher situation. They can afford just 0.3%.

"Both have been left out of the Government’s payment increases, and now, both are at the bottom of the market."

The last statistics released by Anglicare in March had the rental affordability for a single person on the Age Pension at 1.1 percent, but since has decreased to 0.8 percent as of August.

A couple on the Age Pension can afford 1.7 percent of listings in Australia, which is down from 3.2 percent in March.

Ms Chamber says, "We know why this is happening, and we know how to fix it. In the past thirty years, Australia’s social housing shortfall has gotten worse and worse. 

"We now have a shortfall of over 400,000 social homes. Over the same period, affordability for people on government payments has plummeted.

"We can’t expect the private market to provide for people who are the most vulnerable. And we can’t outsource specialist housing to mum and dad landlords.

"The Federal Government must step in and fund more social housing for people who need it the most. It must also include older people and people with disability in any of its support packages in the next budget. Without action, people on these pensions will simply be left to the mercy of the market."

Ms Chamber adds that rent deferrals and eviction moratoriums will be ending soon, and since many people are in arrears for thousands of dollars, this could result in something disastrous. 

Anglicare Australia believes that if the Government invests in social housing, it would not only tackle the rental crisis but also boost the Australian economy.

To find out more about the survey, head to the Anglicare Australia website.


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