Housing affordability bubble to burst for Perth vulnerable

Sep 1, 2020

Maintaining secure and stable housing is set to get much harder this month for Perth families who’ve been unable to regain employment since the impact of COVID-19.

Anglicare WA has today released an update to the 2020 Rental Affordability Snapshot reporting the percentage of private rental properties in Western Australia that are affordable for someone on JobSeeker when the Coronavirus Supplement is cut in three weeks.

The introduction of the Coronavirus supplement, to stimulate the economy and support the sudden surge in Australians joining the unemployment queue earlier this year, resulted in more private rental properties being within the means of recipients.

Currently in Perth, nearly 900 – or 2% - of private rental properties are affordable for a family with both parents receiving JobSeeker, down from 30% in April 2020. Median rent increased in Perth by $20 to $390 since April and the vacancy rate is just 2%.

The 2020 Rental Affordability Snapshot update found affordability will plunge again from 24 September when the Coronavirus supplement is set to be reduced to $250 fortnightly:

  • 340 properties (8%) affordable for a family with two children on JobSeeker
  • 43 properties (1%) affordable for a single parent with two kids on Parenting Payment
  • 4 properties (0%) affordable for a young person on Youth Allowance.

Anglicare WA CEO Mark Glasson said homelessness is a very real possibility for anyone still depending on JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments.

“In three weeks, a significant cohort of JobKeeper recipients will move onto the more miserly JobSeeker. If they’ve been struggling to afford rent, bills and groceries on JobKeeper, the final quarter of the year will be nothing short of dire,” said Mr Glasson.

“Families are already struggling financially, and we know the anticipation of September’s arrival had been impacting their mental health, family relationships and contributing to escalating family violence.”

Mr Glasson said there is a simple solution that will address both the social and economic cliff.

“JobSeeker must be permanently lifted above the poverty line. It ensures families without employment can afford life’s necessities and pay their bills, which benefits the economy. The evidence so far shows that recipients do spend their income locally.

“We must build more social housing. 14,000 people are currently on the wait list in WA; that number will only increase without Coronavirus initiatives. Investing in social housing creates jobs boosting the economy whilst providing a roof over the heads of vulnerable families.”

 

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