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Apr 27, 2022
More Western Australians on minimum wage are struggling to afford private rental properties, according to the Anglicare WA 2022 Rental Affordability Snapshot, released today, prompting a call for the next Federal Government to prioritise affordable housing.

The Snapshot, taken each year in March, captures the number of affordable and suitable rentals available for West Australians on low incomes. Last year’s report saw a dramatic drop in available private rentals, and the situation has not recovered in 2022.
This year’s Snapshot found 3,457 available private rentals in the Perth Metro, South-West, Great Southern and North-West regions, less than half the number available in 2020. The sustained low vacancy rate has seen rents rise an average $50 per week; prices rising 12% in Perth, 13.5% in the South-West and Great Southern, and 9% in the North-West.

Anglicare WA CEO Mark Glasson said rising housing costs, together with the increasing cost of living, are making it near impossible for those on minimum wage to make ends meet.

“Across the state, there is not a single property – even a room – affordable to someone on Jobseeker or a Disability Pension. There hasn’t been for several years now – which is shameful for such a wealthy state,” said Mr Glasson.

“In the last 12 months, we’ve seen a growing cohort of so-called ‘working poor’ employed in insecure and casualised jobs, and even those working full-time on minimum wage, are struggling to pay the rent and are facing tough choices, such as deciding between food or fuel.

“Less than 50 properties in WA are affordable for an individual on minimum wage according to this year’s Snapshot. That combined with the increased costs of food, utilities and transport, and stagnant wages, is placing intolerable pressure on West Australian households.“

According to the Emergency Relief and Food Access Service, delivered by Anglicare WA, March recorded a 50% increase in recipients, who were in employment. receiving food handouts and financial assistance.

“Once a family loses their housing, their health, employment and social situation are more at risk, and require greater support. Urgent financial support will enable the most vulnerable West Australians to avoid this fate.” 

With a federal election only weeks away, Mr Glasson said the major parties must work with the State Government to ease housing pressures on our most vulnerable.

“It is time for Canberra to invest in providing genuine support once again to those who can’t afford to rent, let alone buy a home, as well as investing in growing our social housing stock.

While Mr Glasson welcomed the McGowan Government’s investment so far in social housing, however said more immediate support was still required.

“The State Government has driven recent significant investments in this area, such as the Housing Diversity Pipeline recently announced by Housing Minister John Carey.

“However, with many families still struggling to maintain the roof over their heads, the upcoming State Budget must include targeted rent relief for lowest-income households, similar to the Residential Rent Relief Grants scheme. 

“Without immediate action by both Federal and State Governments, more families will be placed in housing stress, more names will be added to the social housing waitlist, and more families will descend into poverty and even homelessness," said Mr Glasson. 

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