National Shelter media release — 7 December 2012

Housing peak National Shelter is alarmed but not surprised by the most recent figures on housing stress, showing low-income households will suffer more than ever this holiday season.

A report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Housing assistance in Australia 2012, revealed that in 2010, 17% of all households were in housing stress, jumping from 14% in 1995.

The report also revealed that the number of households in severe housing stress (spending more than 50% of household income on housing costs) has increased from 4.6% in 1995 to 5.5% in 2010.

These figures are consistent with the State of Australian Cities 2012 report, which shows households in the lowest income bracket have been particularly at risk of housing stress because the rent-to-income ratio has remained between 28% and 31%.

National Shelter Chairperson, Adrian Pisarski, said because of housing stress, homelessness in Australia is growing: ‘2,265,000 people, or 12.8% of the population, are currently living below the poverty line, including 600,000 children’, Mr Pisarski said.

‘This means that 1 in 8 people overall and 1 in 6 children are living below the poverty line, confirming the need for continued investment in affordable housing. Despite significant investment by the federal government in new affordable housing supply, continued market failure has increased the number of households in housing stress.’

National Shelter believes that state governments around the nation need to meet the federal government’s initiatives on affordable housing to stem the growing number of households in stress.

‘An alarming but not surprising jump in housing stress confirms what tenant advocates and housing providers have been reporting for some years’, Mr Pisarski said.

‘A lack of affordable housing has severe consequences for social and economic productivity’, Mr Pisarski said.

•    Adrian Pisarski, National Shelter Chairperson: 0417 975 270
•    Joanna Carson, Communications Officer: 0418 718 584