An urgent investment into social and community housing in the ACT is needed, advocates say, as new data shows there are no affordable rentals in Canberra for people on government welfare payments for the fifth year in a row.
Anglicare's annual rental affordability snapshot showed there were no properties that were considered affordable for those on JobSeeker, the parenting payment, the disability support pension or youth allowance.
The situation was only marginally better for Canberra pensioners. Of 1002 properties, analysed only 2 per cent were considered affordable for both single pensioners and pensioner couples.
As well, only 1 per cent of rentals were affordable for minimum wage families and single parents.
Each year, Anglicare analyses rentals across the nation on various listing sites. This year the organisation looked at more than 74,000 properties nationally listed on March 26. Of those, 1002 were in Canberra.
A rental property is considered affordable if a tenant spends less than 30 per cent of their income on rent.
For the past five years, there have been no properties considered affordable for people in Canberra on JobSeeker or the parenting payment.
Even on the doubled JobSeeker payment, there was only one property in the ACT that was considered affordable.
Anglicare ACT chief executive Jeremy Halcrow said this exposed a "deeply flawed housing system", Anglicare ACT chief executive Jeremy Halcrow said.
"To see the results showing such a concerning lack of housing affordability, both in Canberra and across the country, points to more than a housing crisis," he said.
Mr Halcrow called for governments to invest in more public housing and for a higher increase the JobSeeker income support payment.
"There needs to be significant government commitments to increase public housing, provide greater protections for tenants and make the coronavirus increases to the JobSeeker supplements permanent," he said.
"Housing stress and poverty will become an entrenched and distressingly normalised part of life for a growing number of vulnerable families."
ACT Council of Social Service chief executive Dr Emma Campbell said Canberra was "unliveable" for those on low incomes.
"After more than a decade of seeing these figures, it is no longer reasonable to refer to this as a housing crisis so much as a system that is working as intended - to exclude those facing disadvantage," she said.
"The lack of affordable options means that low income Canberrans are left with no choice but to apply for and accept rental tenancy agreements that place them in rental stress.
"This can lead to situations where they are forced to forgo heating, fresh food, or medical appointments in order to keep up with rent."
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