Australian pensioners are being pushed further away from city centres as rental affordability drops in metropolitan areas around the country.
The National Shelter 2017 Rental Affordability Index, released on Wednesday, revealed that pensioners are among the hardest hit when it comes to the housing affordability crisis.
Perth was the only Australian city where rental affordability did not drop during the last quarter.
Chief Executive of Council on the Ageing (COTA) Ian Yates says the report is a stark reminder of just how dire the situation is for many older Australians.
“For a single pensioner, private rentals in our state capital cities are categorised as either extremely unaffordable or severely unaffordable, meaning pensioners are left with less than half their incomes after rent,” Mr Yates says.
“For a pensioner couple, the news is not much better in out metropolitan centres, with most households having to spend between 38 and 68 percent of their income on rent.
“This has a huge impact on the quality of life of older Australians in the rental market.”
The report revealed that the majority of pensioners are spending over 60 percent of their income on accommodation.
Mr Yates says stories of pensioners having to choose between buying food or medication after paying rent and utilities are becoming far too common.
“We know that the fastest growing group of homeless people are older women who just can’t meet the growing costs of rent and other basic needs,” Mr Yates says.
“While we have welcomed the initiatives announced in the recent Federal Budget to alleviate some of the pressure, such as greater investment in community housing, and incentives to increase supply, more needs to be done to support struggling pensioners.
“Increasing the Commonwealth Rent Assistance is a key measure that would make an immediate difference to people in these situations.”
COTA Australia’s upcoming National Policy Forum will be devoted to addressing the housing issues faced by older people.