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March 8, 2021

Housing affordability crucial for job seekers

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The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) last Wednesday welcomed the release of the Australians for Affordable Housing report Opening Doors to Employment: Is housing affordability hindering jobseekers?

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said that the report sheds a new light on the challenges facing unemployment people looking for work.

‘This report shows that jobseekers cannot live in areas where jobs are available without being in housing stress,’ said Dr Goldie. ‘These jobseekers face a catch 22 – they either live in poverty on low income support payments, or they move to areas with jobs available and live in housing related poverty.’

For jobseekers prepared to move in order to secure employment, inability to obtain affordable housing acts as a hindrance to employment. Having to pay over 50 per cent of income in some areas means that these jobseekers are working but their circumstances are not improving.

‘It’s time housing cost was recognised as a key barrier for unemployed people finding work, particularly when there are calls for unemployed people to move to areas of available work,’ said Dr Goldie. ‘The findings of this report echo those of ACOSS’s recent Community Sector Survey, which identified housing as they highest unmet need for clients of community services. It is essential that governments commit to policies to increase the supply of affordable housing to ensure that unemployed people can find a pathway into paid work.

‘ACOSS supports the recommendations of the report and calls on all parties to commit to some immediate practical measures such as guaranteeing the future of the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), establishing an Affordable Housing Growth Fund and increasing and indexing Commonwealth Rent Assistance to support the most financially vulnerable in the community.’

The report can be downloaded here http://housingstressed.org.au/resources/

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