Out-of-reach rentals

GRIFFITH’S low-income single parents have next to no chance of finding appropriate and affordable housing for their young families, new statistics have revealed.

An Anglicare study into the Griffith rental market released on Friday suggested single parents and young people were bearing the brunt of a rental affordability crisis. 

Anglicare researchers surveyed 61 properties advertised for rent across Griffith, Bilbul and Yenda on Saturday, April 5, and found no affordable and appropriate rental properties for a single parent household with two children receiving a parenting payment.

Single parents on the same government assistance scheme with just one child have to compete for a 3 per cent slice of the Griffith rental market.

One such mother, 19-year-old Paige Charles, has turned to her grandmother to put a roof over her six-month-old daughter’s head. 

“I’m just trying to be independent for myself and my daughter, but I’ve been searching for a house for the last nine months and I haven’t found anything yet,” Ms Charles said.

“The cheapest places appropriate for me and my baby are in the $250 per week price range, which is out of my price range, but I don’t even look for what I can afford now.

“Even at that price range only three or four per week come up and the competition is fierce and it’s particularly hard for me because I don’t have a rental reference.”

Not being able to rent a home of her own has become an emotional burden on Ms Charles.

“It is so stressful, my life would be perfect if I had my own place, it would be a security blanket for me and my daughter,” she said.

“I’ve been on the list with the Department of Housing since January last year and they keep telling me it’s a three-year wait, so that’s not an option.”

In fact the average waiting time to access housing through Housing NSW was two to five years for one and two bedroom houses and for four-bedroom properties the wait was five to 10 years.

The results didn’t bode well for singles on Youth Allowance or Newstart either, as none of the 61 properties surveyed were classed as suitable.

Anglicare Riverina general manager Brad Addison said the Griffith market was far beyond the price range for young people, forcing some to couch surf or become homeless.

“Benefit payments like Youth Allowance and Newstart need to increase by around $50 per week to keep up with the market,” Mr Addison said.

“New public housing stock also needs to be built to reflect the changing needs of the population and so that tenants aren’t competing for the same properties. 

“There needs to be more investment over the next 10 years if we want to help lift thousands of people out of worsening poverty.”

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