Figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare have revealed a 30% rise in the demands for homelessness services in Victoria over the last year.
The institute said 30,000 private renters and mortgagees asked for assistance from service providers in 2013 to 2014. Records show it is a jump of 7,000 on the previous year.
According to the Council to Homeless Persons, the lack of affordable housing is the major problem. The group urges an affordable housing strategy for Victoria that would “both improve the private rental market and boost social housing stock to the national average of 5%”.
To date, only 3.4% of Victoria’s housing stock is attributed to social housing.
“The rising cost of rent is putting the pressure on the average person, but it’s suffocating people on a low income. We need to increase the level of social housing in Victoria so that vulnerable people aren’t forced to pay high rent at the expense of groceries and bills, or worse yet, find themselves on the brink of homelessness,” chief executive Jenny Smith said.
“Median rent in Melbourne has just tipped to $400 per week, and only 8-in-100 rentals are affordable to someone on a low income. We also need to make sure the homelessness sector is equipped to intervene early to help vulnerable renters avoid eviction and homelessness.”