Research Reports and Evaluations - Page 44

into the property by providing some peace of mind to the landlord. For those who are unable to obtain bond assistance, deposit bonds through an insurance company guarantee were reported to be an alternative means of raising amounts needed. The bond is then paid off by the tenant but the insurance company provides the upfront guarantee. However, the amount of the bond to be paid back would be higher than the upfront bond due to additional interest. There was critical concern for single people who are unable to be adequately assisted in the private rental market and who are most vulnerable to the experience of homelessness. The inability of tenancy laws to provide adequate security of tenure, particularly for families, remains an ongoing issue in need of reform. Services on the ground have a key advocacy role in ensuring that the specific needs of low income households, particularly those who are ‘falling through the gaps’, continue to inform broader program and policy development. Establishment and maintenance of ongoing housing networks provides a key forum for advancing the concerns emerging in the private rental sector at the local level. A further incentive based program suggested that may help to facilitate greater accessibility was the establishment of a private rental maintenance program. In the program the tenant, or a program on behalf of the tenant would offer to paint the house or fix up the garden in exchange for rent. This could be a joint program across a number of agencies, which could also provide the opportunity for employment based work experience. Being able to offer the landlord something in terms of tangible maintenance can improve the property for the tenant and also provide some leverage in getting in the door. This was reported to provide a selling point beyond a reference. It also could provide direct employment experience for those looking for work if established as a form of social enterprise. Single people are now effectively locked out of the private rental market. They cannot afford to pay 55% rent and the real estate agent and the landlord look at the income and determine that it is too much of a risk. The doors are locked for this group [External stakeholder]. Recommendation 7: Explore the viability of subsidising rental insurance premiums for landlords as a last resort practice for tenants that do not have a rental history or have a poor rental history with several unsuccessful applications. Recommendation 8: Continue to be proactive in raising the needs of low income households through ongoing coordination and engagement in local and regional forums for affordable housing and contributing to policy reviews based on the lessons learned from the Housing Brokerage and Support Project. 7.7 7.8 Housing affordability Both internal and external stakeholders discussed the structural affordability and security concerns that extend beyond the capacity of the program to address but were considered important to note as part of a broader response in the provision of adequate housing for all. The magnitude of the housing affordability problem in the Whittlesea and surrounding areas extends beyond the capacity of any one program to address. The supply of affordable housing remains the subject 3 of a Senate Inquiry and needs to be fully resourced through national strategic effort. Assistance to sustain tenancies The capacity and primary focus of the project has been to facilitate rental access. However, the extent to which the brokerage program moves beyond access to a more proactive role in sustaining [