Urgent action needed on regional housing crisis

Anglicare Australia has called for urgent action to tackle the housing crisis facing regional Australia.

The call coincided with Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers’ address to the National Regional Housing Summit, held in Canberra in February.

“Australia’s housing crisis has reached fever pitch. No part of the country has been spared. Rents are shooting up in towns and regions, putting a final nail in the coffin of the myth that regional Australia can offer a reprieve from the cities,” Ms Chambers said.

“More and more people are being pushed into serious housing stress. They have to choose between keeping a roof over their head and putting food on the table, paying their bills, or taking their children to the doctor. Anglicare Australia member agencies are seeing more people come to them for help as the housing crisis climbs the income ladder.

“Others are being priced out of their own communities because wages in regional areas aren’t enough to pay the rent.”

Ms Chambers said that the best way to tackle regional Australia’s housing crisis is to build social housing.

“The private market is failing regional Australia. Even though Australia has built a record number of homes over the last ten years, costs keep soaring and regional areas continue to miss out.

“The best way to make homes more affordable is to build social housing. Building general homes just isn’t working – affordability does not trickle down, and the homes do not always get built in the right places.

“Our social housing shortfall has now ballooned to 640,000 social homes across Australia. Ending this shortfall will help people in the most severe rental stress, free up the cheapest rentals for everybody else, and provide vital community infrastructure and workforce for regional areas.

“If we do not tackle this shortfall, we do not stand a chance of ending the housing crisis.

“We’re calling on the government to end the social housing shortfall – and make sure everyone has a place to call home,” Ms Chambers said.