High rent creates stress

RELATED COVERAGE: Difficult situation

Almost a third of renters in Latrobe Valley are in housing stress according to data recently analysed by the Council to Homeless Persons.

Housing stress is defined as paying more than 30 per cent of your income on rent when earning less than $640 per week.

In the Morwell electorate 1650 households – 29 per cent of renters – were in housing stress, while in Narracan 1359 were in the same position.

CHP policy manager Sarah Toohey said with so much spent on accommodation, it left these residents with little money for basics such as petrol, food and school costs and no room for unexpected costs such as car breakdowns.

Ms Toohey said these pressures could lead to homelessness, and high renting costs also acted as a barrier for homeless people to re-enter the renting market.

The council has called for candidates across the state to commit to easing housing pressures through measures outlined in the Making Social Housing Work plan, created by seven peak bodies including CHP.

The plan calls for $200 million per annum for the creation of 800 new

social housing dwellings, bringing Victoria’s social housing percentage from 3.4 per cent up to the national average of five per cent by 2020 and for all new housing developments to have a minimum social housing component.

“We’ve talked to both the housing spokespersons in (the major parties) and sent a copy to every candidate in the state,” Ms Toohey said.

“We’re waiting to here some commitments in the lead up to the election.”