The Eastern Affordable Housing Alliance (EAHA) is calling upon our next federal government to address the housing crisis, as one of its first priorities in office.
EAHA’s call for action follows a federal election campaign heavily focused around issues like taxation, health and education – all important priorities – but with little emphasis on the housing crisis and the impact this has on individuals and society as a whole.
Increasingly, outer metropolitan councils, including Knox, are seeing and experiencing increases in the numbers of people sleeping rough or seeking other forms of emergency accommodation.
For many others, including recent retiree, Christina, from Croydon, the reality of the housing crisis means renting a run-down and dilapidated house, with little in the way of heating, and only one tap with running water.
Christina has worked hard all her life, contributing to society through her work as a carer, before undergoing a hip replacement in February 2018. In spite of a lifetime of hard work and saving, rising house prices meant that Christina was unable to afford a home for herself.
She now contributes around $150 a week in rent, with ongoing health issues making it near impossible to find more suitable rental accommodation.
Christina is far from alone, with many hundreds of thousands of other Australians facing similar, if not worse, housing situations. Continued inaction and under-funding will potentially consign future generations to a future where buying your own home is an impossibility – with all the associated impacts that will bring.
Now, more than ever, we need support and direction from governments at a federal and state level to address the housing crisis. For more information about EAHA’s ‘Zone In: A FAIR HOUSING SYSTEM FOR ALL’ advocacy campaign visit zonein.net.au
In the eastern suburbs of Melbourne:
- Only 55% of social housing need is met by existing supply.
- 18,780 households in the lowest 10% of Australia-wide incomes do not own their own homes.
- We will need an extra 526 dwellings every year for 22 years to meet current and future demand to 2036, as quantified in the Knox City Council research ‘Minimum supply of social housing, Eastern Metropolitan Region (2014-2036).’
As stated by Christina:
I had hoped that when I retired I would have enough with my superannuation to afford a small place – however the increase in house prices means I am unable to afford a home for myself.
Constant rent increases means more and more of a person’s pension is eroded and so, you keep moving to try to be able to afford to live.
This means there is no stability or quality of life, and don’t feel part of a community or establish lasting friendships.
House prices have skyrocketed in the past few years, nearly tripling in price. Salaries and pensions have certainly not increased like this.
I have been a taxpayer and contributed to the economy all my working life and yet, I am now at the mercy of friends putting me up whilst I continue to search for something both affordable and liveable.
As stated by EAHA Chair, Cr Peter Lockwood:
Christina’s story is all too familiar to many people, including in Knox and the outer eastern metropolitan region, where demand for social and affordable housing far outstrips supply.
Access to a roof over your head is a fundamental human right and yet, governments seem willing to leave people like Christina and so many others stuck in housing limbo.
At a bare minimum, we need a dedicated Federal Housing Minister, as well as the development of a Federal Housing Strategy in consultation with the States and Territories. The Strategy should identify and commit to minimum national targets for the supply of social housing.
Additionally, we need to change current tax policy settings that adversely impact the supply of affordable housing, and commit to providing additional funding for social housing.
People like Christina have contributed so much over the course of their working life – isn’t it time we gave a little back by helping her and many others to have a safe and secure place to call home?
For more information about EAHA’s Zone In: A FAIR HOUSING SYSTEM FOR ALL campaign, visit zonein.net.au