Friday, 19 June 2015

The first time homeless - Sydney rents bite


With Sydney's insane rents and property markets, people who have never been homeless before are finding themselves homeless. Forget young people locked out of the property market as that's just the tip of the iceberg. People on low incomes are increasingly finding themselves suddenly homeless. All that's needed is some sort of major life happening and rental arrears and the tipping point is reached.

Indeed, if not for the credit card it's very likely that David and I would have found ourselves homeless last year. He lost his job through discrimination (going to arbitration BTW) and without warning had absolutely no income for 4 months. It would have been really bad as we don't even have a car to sleep in.

People who are unfortunate enough not to have a $30,000 limit credit card for emergencies however like we did, have to go into debt in other ways. When one's income is reduced to Newstart, the requirement to eat takes precedence over paying the rent. Again, Australian's living below the poverty line are now at 14% of the population, according to the latest OECD figures.
"We are seeing a much greater increase in first-time homelessness," he said. 

"We're seeing a lot of people on low incomes who have a life event which causes financial difficulty and suddenly they are in arrears with their rent with no hope of catching up. This is the group slipping into homelessness. As prices continue to increase inevitably we will see more people flow into homelessness." 

According to ABS figures, almost 30,000 people in NSW are homeless, a number which has increased by 20 per cent since 2006. 

Mr Perusco said living in insecure housing can affect a person's mental and physical health and impede their ability to get back on their feet. 

"The price increases we have seen over the past few years in Sydney have driven people into homelessness and kept them homeless for longer," he said. 

"What's missing in the debate about the affordability crisis is the human impact. The sharp end is not young people missing out on mortgages, it's families and individuals who are locked out of any sort of housing." more