Research Reports and Evaluations - Page 14

Housing 40.3% of respondents spent between 50-75% of their total weekly family income on housing costs, with a further 22% of respondents contributing more than 75% of their weekly family income towards housing. Respondents living in private rental were more likely to be spending more than 75% of their income on housing. A recent study by Anglicare explored the availability of appropriate housing for any household type in various municipalities. Appropriate housing was defined as not taking up more than 30% of family income, and as having an appropriate number of bedrooms for children according to age and gender. The study found that of all available private rental accommodation in Whittlesea, there was only one appropriate house available for any household type14. The most common housing type for 2014 was private rental (60.2%), a significant increase from 2010 with a decrease in the number of people living in public or community housing. Current public housing wait lists continue to grow without an increase in public housing vacancies to accommodate demand. This forces people on low incomes into unsuitable or unsafe accommodation options such as rooming houses, caravan parks, over crowded housing and for some, into homelessness. Furthermore, community housing wait lists in Whittlesea are currently closed, with no current prospects for increased community housing stock in the municipality. The vast majority of affordable and appropriate rentals in the municipality are located in the growth areas which are typically associated with poorer access to services, public transport, infrastructure, employment, educational training and institutions, and higher levels of socioeconomic disadvantage. Over half of the 2014 survey respondents (54.3%) indicated they were always able to pay their accommodation expenses on time. However, 42% said that after paying these expenses they were frequently unable to meet their household’s other basic needs and a further 50.6% said they were sometimes unable to meet these basic needs. Respondents living in private rental were more likely to be spending more than 75% of their income on housing 80 70 60 50 Public 40 Private 30 20 10 0 2006 2010 2014 Percentage of respondents living in public/private rental “This place is wonderful…. I would not be eating dinner tonight if I didn’t get help at WCC” On average, 1 in 5 survey participants had moved nearly once every year. 53.1% indicated that at least one of these moves had been as a result of being unable to meet their housing costs, highlighting the impact that financial vulnerability has on housing security and stability for families including, increased vulnerability to homelessness and the uprooting of children from schools and neighbourhoods. 14 Anglicare Victoria (2015); Rental Affordability Snapshot, 15