Rent prices hit hard


Anglicare WA Y-Shac manager Sarah Brown.Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au d453521
Rent prices hit hard
Anglicare WA Y-Shac manager Sarah Brown.Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au d453521

LOW-INCOME families are struggling to pay for basic necessities because private rentals in Perth are too expensive, says Anglicare WA.

The not-for-profit organisation found fewer than 1 per cent of the 11,000 Perth rental properties surveyed for its recent Rental Affordability Snapshot were attainable for people on lower incomes.

The median weekly rental price across the metropolitan region was $400 in the December quarter, according to the Real Estate Institute of WA.

With financial support, including the Newstart Allowance, Parenting Payment and Age Pension, offering up fortnightly payments of between $528 and $795, Anglicare WA chief executive Ian Carter said people were struggling to survive the private market.

“If you want to rent in Perth as a single parent, or pensioner, or someone searching for work, then you are forced to pay a price that leaves you with virtually nothing left over for most of the basic necessities,” he said.

“We’ve seen single parents coming to our services because they can’t afford school uniforms for their kids after paying their rent.

“Getting their kids involved in local sports, or sending them on excursions, or even taking them to the movies is completely out of the question.”

Mr Carter said federal and state investment was needed.

“Homelessness programs, social housing, and affordable housing all need to be funded,” he said.

State Housing Minister Colin Holt said last week more than 3200 private rental dwellings for low to moderate-income households had been delivered under the National Rental Affordability Scheme since 2008.

The NRAS, a partnership between the State and Federal Governments, provides incentives for developers and investors who build new accommodation and agree to rent it at least 20 per cent below the market rate for up to 10 years.

NRAS is a part of the Federal Government’s Affordable Housing Strategy 2010-2020, with a goal to reach 30,000 new affordable homes by 2020. He said the State Government’s Social Housing Investment Package, together with other Housing Authority initiatives, was on track to halving the number of families with dependent children and seniors on the social housing priority waitlist by mid-2017.

“This will be achieved through a combination of building, buying, redeveloping and leasing homes from mid-2016,” he said.

“With more than 50 per cent of the SHIP being delivered through construction of new homes, most of which are due for completion in late 2016 and early 2017, a significant percentage of seniors and families on the priority waitlist are expected to be housed in the first half of 2017.

Y-Shac:

In 2013, Anglicare opened a Spearwood-based facility offering crisis and transitional accommodation for homeless people aged 15 to 25.

The building was provided by the State Department of Housing under the Crisis Accommodation Program.

The main building has three single bedrooms, staff office spaces, staff bedroom, communal areas and a meeting room.

Stays here cost $105 per week for a maximum of three weeks.

There are also five one-bedroom, one-bathroom units which serve as transitional accommodation between crisis accommodation and entry into private tenancy.

Stays here cost $115 per week, for a maximum of 12 months. Rent here does not include other bills, including food and petrol.

While the figure is lower than what they would pay in a private property, it is a significant percentage of their income.

Y-Shac manager Sarah Brown said medium to long-term help was needed for people leaving Y-Shac to crack the private rental market.

“They come to us for help, but where to after that? They only have a limited time with us,” she said.

“Our service is a kickstart to helping them get into the private sector, but once they leave us, it’s unaffordable.

“They try 15 to 20 (private) properties and get knocked back. It’s tough.”