Aspect: Rental Affordability Snapshot Edition 2018

Aspect Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Editorial: Rental Affordability in Crisis

Kasy ED 4_pref

This month the Anglicare Australia network completed its ninth Rental affordability Snapshot. It surveyed 67,365 private rental properties that were advertised across the country on the 24th March. Applying the internationally accepted benchmark that states households on low incomes spending more than 30% of their income are in housing stress, we found very few of the surveyed properties to be affordable for households on government benefits or the minimum wage.

The headline data found no properties in any capital city to be affordable for a single person on Newstart or Youth Allowance. In fact, there were only three properties across the country that were affordable for those on Newstart and two for single people on Youth Allowance. The fact that these three properties were all in rural areas does possibly limit the number or variety of work or study opportunities.

The most generous of government benefits is the aged pension. Yet for a couple on the aged pension, only 4.3% of rentals would have been affordable. For a single person working full-ttime on the minimum wage only 2.9% would have been affordable.

The Rental Affordability Snapshot doesn’t tell the whole story of course. We only look at whether a property is suitable and affordable. To be suitable we look at the number of rooms. We make an assumption that a single person can live in a share house, or a one bedroom or studio style rental. We assume that children require their own bedroom. We don’t, however, allow for spare rooms or studies; for a garden necessarily or extra living space.

With 67,365 properties, we can’t assess them all for accessibility for people with disabilities or mobility issues. This means that we can probably assume that the 0.72% that was affordable for a single person on the Disability Support Pension probably wouldn’t all have actually been suitable.

Nor can the Snapshot consider the competition for each of these properties. As Alison in Launceston told Anglicare Tasmania, there are sometimes 40 rental applications for the more affordable properties.

So how on earth do people manage? Obviously a great proportion of Australians living on government benefits, earning the minimum wage, or are under-employed, are living with unaffordable rental costs.

Anglicare Australia members see people making sensible, rational decisions about making the rent. You can’t pay half of the rent, and it would be unusual to be able to negotiate an extension. What you can do is to choose cheaper, less nutritious food. You can go without a meal a couple of times a week. You can keep the kids home on school excursion days, or when you can’t afford to put lunch in the lunch box. You can choose not to fill a prescription (or not to go to the doctors in the first place). You can delay paying other bills like utilities or car insurance.

These decisions make sense at the time. But there is no room in this budget for emergencies or contingencies, let alone even the most simple of treats. And while they make sense at that time they can have long-reaching consequences. They affect the children’s education, the family’s health, the employability of the adults.

In Perth, Anglicare WA spoke to Charles, a single man on an aged pension. If Charles were renting at the median price in Perth, he would be spending 78% of his pension. Our services regularly see people spending 80% of their income on accommodation. In Charles’ case, this would leave him with less than $100 a week for everything other than rent – food, utilities, transport, medication, clothes.

Unfortunately for some, this balancing act can only go on for so long and comes to a crashing end when an unexpected bill comes in or when the rent increases. For these people the car, a friend’s sofa, a homelessness service, or for Alison who we met earlier, a tent in a squat becomes home.

All this matters enormously for the 760,000 people on Newstart, the 95,000 on Youth Allowance and the 760,000 recipients of Disability Support Pension. It also matters to the increasing numbers of aged pensioners living in rental accommodation.

AHURI figures show that more people are living in rental accommodation for longer than ever before in Australia. And this is all households types, including those with children, older people and families.

But there are solutions, and each level of government has a stake in housing.

We believe that targeting the tax concessions given over to rental properties into affordable housing would be a big help. There are various estimates around about how much money is forgone in negative gearing, but there is some reliable agreement to Capital Gains Tax and negative gearing together totaling just over $11 billion. This includes Treasury’s statistics show that $6.15billion went in Capital Gains Tax in 2015-16. Targeting this to social rents to increase affordability; new builds to increase stock; and secure longer term leases for reliable tenants would help.

Rental Tenancy Agreements in Australia are held at the State and Territory government level. These were written at a time when few people lived in rental accommodation and then only for a short time, they don’t offer much security to the tenant. In many States tenants can be evicted without cause, and rents can rise steeply if the market changes as this year’s Snapshot found it had in Tasmania and northern NSW.

As we posited in The Meaning of Home, our State of the Family Report in 2017, home is much more than a house. If tenancy agreements could be longer-term, allow for well-behaved pets and personal touches such as pictures on the wall then they would be much closer to a home for those that live in them.  The rental agreements used by the social and community housing sector could offer us some guidance here.

The private rental market matters because Australia looks to it to provide housing for a large part of the community. We have diminished the amount of public housing, so people that may have been eligible some years ago now must also look to the private market.  With over 100,000 people homeless on census night, we need desperately to increase the amount of public and social housing.

The benefits of housing are simple and fundamental. Without secure and safe housing, the other building blocks of life are difficult to attain. Employment, education, health, well-being and participation are all so much easier when you’re starting from a secure place to call home.

National Office News

National Office News: Rental Affordability Snapshot makes a splash

Rental Affordability Snapshot: Resources
Anglicare Australia has produced infographics to highlight some of the key findings of the Rental Affordability Snapshot. These graphics are available to download and re-post, or to share from Anglicare Australia social media accounts.

Anyone hoping for a detailed understanding of the tax breaks and concessions should also read Greg Jericho’s piece in The Guardian, which uses graphs and interactive local data.

The report has also been turned into an interactive website, available at www.anglicare-ras.com. Each of the regional snapshots is available to download online.

Click here to download the full report from the Anglicare Australia website.

Rental Affordability Snapshot: Media wrap-up
As Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers said in this month’s editorial, the findings in this year’s Rental Affordability Snapshot were stark – and we had strong media interest in this year’s findings.

Kasy was interviewed on ABC News, ABC News 24, and on ABC Radio National. on the morning of the Snapshot release, and continued to be featured throughout the day on ABC News, SBS News, Nine News, and Sky News. The Snapshot was also the subject of discussion on The Drum, and Kasy Chambers published an opinion piece on the day of the release.

The Snapshot was written up by news outlets including The Guardian, The Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Canberra Times, and the Huffington Post, who also featured an opinion piece from Kasy Chambers. The Snapshot was also covered by youth outlets such as Triple J’s Hack, Buzzfeed, and Junkee.

Click here to read Anglicare Australia’s media release.

Opinion: Condemning a generation of renters to years of hardship
In an Opinion Piece that coincided with this year's Snapshot, Executive Director of Anglicare Australia Kasy Chambers calls for urgent action on rental affordability. The piece calls for a reinvestment in social and affordable rental housing for people in need - and new laws to make renting fairer and more secure.

Click here to read our opinion piece.

Anglicare Australia joins calls to increase access to home care
Anglicare Australia has joined a coalition of leading not-for-profit aged care peak bodies is calling for immediate action to tackle the increasing number of older Australians waiting to access appropriate home care.

The coalition includes Anglicare Australia, Baptist Care Australia, UnitingCare Australia, Aged and Community Services Australia, and other leading aged care peak bodies.

“It is important for people to get the care they need at home for their quality of life and also to avoid or defer a move to costlier permanent residential aged care. An inability to access a home care package when it is needed may severely limit the support choices of an older person,” the coalition said. It has recommended increasing investment in home care; a skilled, integrated assessment service; and a plan to reduce waiting times.

Federal Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt has acknowledged the coalition's concerns.

Click here for more information about the coalition, and the Minister’s response.

A secure, affordable home for older Australians
As part of the National Aged Care Alliance, Anglicare Australia has contributed to the development of a position paper on housing for older Australia, A secure, affordable home for older Australians.

A secure and appropriate home is the key to successful ageing and underwrites the delivery of high quality, life affirming aged care: the structure and funding of our aged care system presumes that people own their own home or enjoy living in secure and affordable rental housing, while aged care itself is increasingly focussed on providing that care in the home.

However, a growing number of older Australians live in unaffordable, insecure and inappropriate housing. Taken with the results of this year's Rental Affordability Snapshot, which shows the inadequacy of Australia's rental market for age pensioners, this shows that there is an urgent need for action to improve housing for older people.

Click here to download the paper.

Anglicare Australia joins moves to improve complaint handling
Anglicare Australia has joined eleven leading national peak bodies working in the charity sector - across the arts, emergency relief, fundraising, community organisations, volunteering, philanthropy and governance – to launch a policy to improve how charities handle complaints.

The new policy will ensure that complaints are handled confidentially and safely, enhancing community trust and confidence in the work of charities. In this regard, the sector will also have access to complaint data which will ensure lessons learnt can be applied to their charitable activities.

This initiative has been welcomed by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission’s Commissioner The Hon Dr Gary Johns, and was driven by driven by Sue-Anne Wallace AM, the former chair of the Australian Council for International Development Code of Conduct Committee.

Click here for more information about the initiative.

Anglicare Australia on the Closing the Cap Refresh
Anglicare Australia has made a submission to the Closing the Gap Refresh consultation, drawing on the experience of Anglicare agencies partnering with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations in working for a more just and equal Australia.

In the tenth year into the Closing the Gap strategy, this Refresh process is a crucial moment to reflect honestly as a nation on the continuing deplorable gap in health and wellbeing outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres-Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians, and to re-commit together to addressing the injustices which give rise to this inequality. While the initial commitment of the Close the Gap Statement of Intent to achieve equality in holistic health outcomes must be upheld as an urgent priority, the strategy and approach for delivering this commitment has clearly been failing.

Anglicare Australia calls for the principles of self-determination, genuine listening, co-design and long-term partnerships to take precedence over bureaucratic systems and power structures.

Click here to download the submission.

Anglicare Network News

Anglicare Network News

Call for Papers open for Anglicare Australia National Conference
Applications are invited for papers for the Anglicare Australia National Conference at the Stanford Grand in Glenelg, Adelaide.

Workshops and presentations are an important part of the conference, giving participants an opportunity for members of the Anglicare network to exchange information, showcase successes, promote your organisation’s agenda and make useful connections.

With a focus on the theme Courage in Kindness: Driving Change in Work and Community we welcome workshops and presentations in all service types from member organisations in areas such as:
  - Cutting edge service design
  - Client experience and co-production
  - Communications strategies for advocacy and for service delivery
  - Faith-based engagement
  - Leadership, management and staff development
  - Marketing / fundraising
  - Organisational development
  - Research, evaluation and outcomes measurement

More information on submitting an abstract is available online: http://www.anglicare.asn.au/national-conference.

To find out more, email [email protected].

Culture eats strategy for breakfast: Clinical Care Governance Network forum
23 members of Anglicare Australia’s Clinical and Care Governance network, from 16 different member organisations, met in Melbourne for its annual forum, this year hosted by the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

The Culture eats strategy for breakfast forum began with a dinner at the Fitzroy Town Hall Hotel. Simon Corcoran, Co-CEO of A Human Agency (A-HA), spoke about “The cultural change journey”, arguing that cultural change projects fail if the purpose of the organisation isn’t clear, and the values and the way we work aren’t explicitly tied in to that purpose.

Amanda Davies talked us through REL8, Anglicare Southern Queensland’  initiative to embed a culture of relationships in care governance across all services; and how it’s being supported through reflective practice, the development of  specific tools and processes  and incorporating it in supervision an recruitment at all levels of the organisation.

Following the presentations, everyone rolled their sleeves up in an exploratory conversation about the dignity of risk – in aged care, disability, and out of home care for young people. The risk of dignity of risk was one recurring them.  Given the impact of what might appear to be externalities, such as family members on the one hand and government regulators and media reporting on the other the need to adopt a risk management strategy was flagged as essential if we were to embrace that approach.

The new Anglicare Australia contact for this network is [email protected]

Aged and Community Care Network Forum: The Mission and the Margin
This year’s Aged and Community Care Network Forum is called The Mission and the Margin.

Australia’s fairly new aged care system, with its focus on ‘consumer choice’, runs on very tight margins. And that creates higher expectations of people working in aged care – in terms of both quality of care and efficiency.   And Anglicare agencies are inspired by a mission or a purpose, but that can seem to be more of a challenge now that everybody is feeling the pinch.

This year’s forum is an opportunity to be part of an expert conversation on responding to these challenges: how we can meet our mission and make the margin.

It will be held in Brisbane on May 29 and 30, with an afternoon session and a dinner on Tuesday and the forum on Wednesday.

To RSVP, email [email protected].

St John's Youth Services launches Drop Your Boss from a Plane
St John's Youth Services has launched a new fundraising initiative, Drop Your Boss from a Plane.

To support the initiative, employees at any work place will nominate their boss to drop them out of a plane. They will then be part of a tandem jump with the one of the team at SA Skydiving.

Once a boss is nominated, they then start fundraising. Employees are required to raise a set minimum amount before they can secure a spot for their boss in the plane.

The proceeds from the fundraiser will help St John's Youth Services in their work to lift young people out of homelessness.

Click here for more information about the initiative.

SA Leading the Way with Mobile Wardrobes
AnglicareSA and Thread Together have launched an Australian first – mobile wardrobes delivering brand new clothes directly to people in need. Working with the vulnerable, this joint initiative will support those in our community who need it most.

Thread Together works in conjunction with clothing manufacturers to receive and sort brand new, end-of-line clothes for distribution through its charity partners. In collaboration, AnglicareSA and Thread Together will utilise purpose-fitted mobile wardrobes to bring brand new clothes to communities who need it most.

AnglicareSA CEO Peter Sandeman said new clothing made a huge difference in people’s lives, giving them back their dignity. “New clothing, especially new clothing you choose for yourself, can be quite powerful,” said Mr Sandeman.

The mobile wardrobes have now commenced work, initially delivering clothing to communities in the northern and southern Adelaide suburbs.

Click here for more information on the mobile wardrobes, or watch the launch video.

National Awards Profile

Awards profile: Housing Connect, Anglicare Tasmania

Welcome to our series of profiles on the winners and highly commended of the Anglicare Australia 2017 National Awards for Innovation and Excellence. These profiles are featured in the 2018 Anglicare Australia Review.

Housing Connect provides a one-stop shop for clients to access their housing and support needs. It provides an immediate assistance, assessment and intake service for people who need help with housing or who are homeless. Clients have one housing and support assessment instead of going to numerous different services to get help.

It also offers ongoing support to people with high needs to prevent them experiencing a further housing crisis, and emergency accommodation with more capacity for those that need more help, such as families, men with children, pregnant women and people with high and complex needs.

As well as information, advice and referral to many other services, Housing Connect provides ongoing support to people to establish or maintain long term housing. Housing Connect also provides support to people who are already in housing but having difficulty because of things like too many bills.

Five organisations – Anglicare Tasmania, Centacare, Colony 47, Hobart City Mission and Salvation Army (Tasmania) – deliver this collaborative new system with the Tasmanian Government.

That judges said that this program shows strong how partnerships can grow from sound groundwork between different organisations and government. It is highly commended excellence in partnership with government and community agencies.

Research and Resources

New research and resources: Rental Affordability Snapshot, National Aged Care Alliance, AHURI, and CEDA

Rental Affordability Snapshot
Anglicare Australia
The Rental Affordability Snapshot is designed to highlight the lived experience of looking for housing while on a low income. It focuses on the Australian population who earn the least income – Commonwealth benefit recipients and minimum wage earners. The report is available here.

Rental Affordability Snapshot: Regional Reports
Anglicare Australia member agencies
This report collates each of the regional snapshots which combine to make the national Rental Affordability Snapshot. It includes valuable local insights into rental affordability across every region that Anglicare services. The report is available here.

A secure, affordable home for older Australians
National Aged Care Alliance
The National Aged Care Alliance has developed this paper to highlight the urgent need to provide secure, suitable and affordable homes for older Australians now and into the future. The paper is available here.

Creating ‘choice’ for housing assistance recipients
Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute
This research examined the Australian and international experience with ways individualisation of housing assistance can respond more sensitively to the varied needs of different population groups. The paper is available here.

How unequal? Insights on inequality
CEDA
This report examines intergenerational inequality and potential drivers of increased inequality in the future, from technology advances to changes to traditional employment through the emergence of, for example, the gig economy. The report is available here.

Government Policy and Information

New consultations and grants

Inquiry into the Accessibility and quality of mental health services in rural and remote Australia
The Senate Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry is conducting an inquiry into accessibility and quality of mental health services in rural and remote Australia, covering issues such as workforce capacity and community attitudes.

Submissions are due by 11 May 2018. More information is available here.

Inquiry into the Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2018
The Senate Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry is conducting an inquiry into Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The Committee is due to produce an interim report by 30 July 2018 and a final report by 29 November 2018.

Submissions are due by 11 June 2018. More information is available here.

Inquiry into general issues around the implementation and performance of the NDIS
The Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme is conducting is conducting this inquiry, which aims to identify broad systemic issues relating to the implementation and operation of the Scheme. After 30 June each year, the committee reports to Parliament on recurrent issues that have arisen and offers recommendations intended to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Scheme.

Submissions are open, and no closing date has been nominated. More information is available here.

Sector Events

Sector Events, April-May, 2018

National Families Week
Registration is now open for National Families Week 2018. The Week will be held from 15 May, the United Nations International Day of Families, to 21 May 2018. Organisations, businesses and individuals are encouraged to celebrate National Families Week by planning and holding a National Families Week event. More information is available here.

Anti-Poverty Week
Anti-Poverty Week is a week where all Australians are encouraged to organise or take part in an activity aiming to highlight or overcome issues of poverty and hardship here in Australia or overseas. It was established in Australia as an expansion of the UN's annual International Anti-Poverty Day on October 17. In 2017 Anti-Poverty Week will be held from the 15th to the 21st of October. Anglicare Australia is a principal national sponsor of Anti-Poverty Week, and Anglicare WA’s Ian Carter is a national co-chair.

Family and Relationship Services Australia National Conference
The FRSA National Conference is one of the largest annual gatherings of practitioners, academics and policy makers working to support children, families and communities. It will feature a number of highly acclaimed keynote presenters, as well as federal ministers and sector leaders with a focus on delivering the most effective services to children, families and young people. The Conference will be held on the 20-23 November, 2018 at the Pullman Cairns International Hotel. More information is available here.

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