Rental crisis hits Melbourne’s COVID-essential workforce

Everybody's Home

COVID-essential workers in the care and services sector are facing a rental affordability crisis, with new figures showing rent on an apartment would cost at least one third of their weekly income across Melbourne.

Everybody’s Home, the national campaign against homelessness, cross-referenced SQM rent data with the basic hourly wage of workers in disability support, aged care, childcare, hospitality and supermarkets. The research is being launched to mark the start of national Homelessness Week.

The analysis found essential care or service workers would need to spend between one third and two-thirds of normal working week’s wages to rent an apartment in the following areas:

  • Bayside, Melbourne City, Eastern Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula, Inner East Melbourne, North West Melbourne, South East Melbourne, Melbourne North, South West Melbourne and Western Melbourne

The full results can be found here.

Everybody’s Home national spokesperson, Kate Colvin, said Australia’s housing system wasn’t working for normal Australians.

“The pandemic has reminded us how critically important our carers and service workers are. Yet these pandemic heroes are being badly let down by the housing system and are often priced out of the communities they serve.

“While eye-watering rents are worse in our major cities, essential workers are increasingly priced out of coastal and bush communities too. People with big city incomes are moving to the regions and totally warping the rental markets. It’s astonishing that a care or service worker simply could not afford a modest apartment in the overwhelming majority of our suburbs and regions.

“We must expand social and affordable housing. This will relieve the pressure on our rental market and give Australians on low and modest incomes more options. All over the country, our caring and service workers simply can’t compete for rental properties.

“These are the people who got us through the pandemic. We must find a way to let them live close to their work.

“Expecting an exhausted aged care or supermarket worker to commute 90 minutes to and from work just to afford the rent is totally unfair and unsustainable. Australia can do better.”

Nick Lucchinelli 0422 229 032 or Levi Joule 0481 112 074

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