Brimbank rental crisis hurts most vulnerable residents

By Laura Michell

Vulnerable Brimbank residents are facing a housing crisis.

A new report highlighting the municipality’s lack of affordable rentals for households receiving income support payments paints a grim picture.

Anglicare Victoria’s Rental Affordability Snapshot, which surveyed more than 1203 rental listings across Brimbank during the weekend of March 23, reveals there are almost no affordable rental properties in Brimbank for people relying on Centrelink payments.

The analysis found just nine properties that were affordable for families on welfare, while none were affordable for single parents on Newstart, single people on Youth Allowance or Newstart or singles receiving youth allowance who live in a share house.

Households receiving the minimum wage were better off, with 666 affordable listings found.

Anglicare considers a rental property as affordable if it has enough bedrooms for the household and costs less than 30 per cent of the household’s total income.

Anglicare Victoria western regional director Claire Nyblom said that while nine properties were found to be affordable for families on welfare payments, the reality was that those properties would be rented to the applicant most equipped to pay the rent.

“There are still no affordable housing options for people receiving full Centrelink benefits, including Newstart, aged pensions and disability pensions. This leaves our most vulnerable community members in a state of housing crisis,” she said.

“This creates a cycle of people needing to access services for support with rent, to access food and to seek support with utilities which may be overdue. Many people go without food or other essential items to avoid eviction from rental arrears.”

Ms Nyblom said the shortage of affordable rental properties was putting low income earners at risk of homelessness.