Anglicare is calling for an increase in Newstart Allowance following the release of its Rental Affordability Snapshot 2019.
Anglicare is calling for an increase in Newstart Allowance following the release of its Rental Affordability Snapshot 2019. AntonioGuillem

Rentals 'alarmingly' scarce for locals living on Centrelink

A NEW report has revealed just three per cent of North Coast rentals are affordable for those living on Centrelink benefits.

Anglicare North Coast has released its latest Rental Affordability Snapshot for 2019, calling for an increased supply of affordable housing, as well as an increase in Newstart payments in the lead up to the May 18 Federal Election.

The organisation claims the North Coast is already plagued with economic disadvantage when compared to both the NSW average and national average, with the unemployment level double the state level and an overall lower median household income.

The Coffs Harbour to Clarence region also has the states highest level of youth unemployment, with one in four unable to find work.

The concerning findings reveal that on the Snapshot weekend, out of the 112 available, there were no affordable rentals in Coffs Harbour for those living on Newstart and Youth Allowances.

Newstart and Youth Allowances are the main income support payments for those who are unemployed and are looking for work.

Overall, the findings in Coffs Harbour shows:

- 1 rental was affordable for a single parent on a parenting payment.

- 1 rental was affordable for a single person on an age pension.

- 1 rental was affordable for a single person on a disability support pension.

- 2 rentals were affordable for a couple on age pensions.

- 0 rentals were affordable for a single person on Newstart.

- 0 rentals were affordable for a single person on Youth Allowance.

- 0 rentals were affordable for a single parent of two children on a parenting payment.

- 0 rentals were affordable for a couple with two kids on Newstart.

Coffs Coast locals on a minimum wage fare better in comparison, with the findings showing around 13 per cent of rentals were affordable for a couple with two kids on minimum wage.

However only 1 percent of rentals were affordable for a single person on minimum wage.

Overall a total of 775 rentals across 9 locations on the North Coast spanning from Port Macquarie to Tweed Heads were analysed in the study, with only three percent suitable for those living on Centrelink payments and 23 per cent suitable for those on a minimum wage.

Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers said there is a need for at least 300,000 new social properties across Australia after more than 69,999 rentals were analysed.

"There is a huge shortage of secure, affordable rentals. That's causing record levels of rental stress and even homelessness,” she said.

"And now we're seeing older Australians getting stuck in expensive and insecure rentals at a time in their life when they need stability more than ever.”

"People on the lowest incomes are being squeezed out of the rental market. That's why it's urgent we invest in social housing.”