Anglicare Australia, social advocacy organisation, has released a long-term plan it hopes Governments will use to fix the housing crisis for people who find it particularly difficult to get affordable, appropriate and secure housing, including people with disability.
Homes for All: A Roadmap to Affordable Housing was released today and sets out what Federal, State, Territory and Local Governments should do over the next 20 years to provide enough low-income housing options.
Anglicare Australia has developed the Roadmap using its annual Rental Affordability Snapshot, done in March, which showed housing affordability is at its lowest point for many people on low incomes or Government payments.
Executive Director of Anglicare Australia, Kasy Chambers, says the Snapshot statistics over the past ten years show people with disability struggle to find affordable housing.
“The private rental market is failing Australians with disability,” explains Ms Chambers.
“At no time in the past decade has a person on the Disability Support Pension been able to afford more than 1 percent of rentals – even with the highest rates of rent assistance.
“Many of these rentals are not accessible, and most are rooms in sharehouses.
“Australia can do better. That’s why we’ve laid out a twenty-year roadmap for affordable, disability-friendly housing.”
The Roadmap outlines several plans that Governments could use to resolve the affordability crisis, including:
- A ten-year regime of tax and policy reform
- A 20-year program to expand social and affordable housing – including 300,000 new social housing properties and 200,000 low-cost rental properties for low and middle-income earners
- A requirement that all new developments include affordable housing
- Protections of the rights of renters in tenancy legislation that are consistent across the country – including stopping unfair rent increases and evictions without cause
- A trial of secure leasing models for mainstream tenancies
- Reforms and increases to Commonwealth Rent Assistance – including indexing the payment according to rental prices rather than general inflation
Ms Chambers explains that tax and policy reforms are critical to other elements of the Roadmap coming together, as well as a policy that requires built homes to be accessible for people with disability.
“We are proposing reforms that will raise billions for a plan to boost social and affordable housing. Those homes must be accessible for people with disabilities, who simply can’t rely on the private rental market,” says Ms Chambers.
“We’re asking all levels of Government to work with us and help people with disabilities find a home.”
The secure leasing models Anglicare Australia wants to trial could also benefit Australians with disability, as long-term rent contracts (for example, for five years) will make it easier for home modifications to be installed with the guarantee the tenant will be living there for a certain amount of time.
Called ‘head leasing’, this form of longer-term rental contract is usually used by Government agencies and not-for-profit organisations.
However, Anglicare Australia says it should be extended across the mainstream rental market as it will reduce the turnover of tenants, ensure more stable agreements, and still allow the property to be sold when the owner wants as the lease is transferred over to the new owner.
To read the Roadmap, visit Anglicare Australia’s website.