Working poor struggle to afford housing



That is the findings of a recent forum held by St George and Sutherland Housing Interagency on housing affordability in the region.

The so-called “working poor” were among those hardest hit by a lack of affordable housing, said Orana (Shire Community Services) manager Elizabeth O’Neil.

She said many workers could not afford housing anywhere near their place of employment, which added to stress.

Mrs O’Neill said 59,500 people eligible for social housing were on the NSW waiting list.

“We know as workers that there are many more eligible people who have not applied for housing. These include key workers and the working poor who are not able to afford to pay the huge rents in St George and Sutherland, and this figure could easily be doubled,” she said. “In June 2014 only 1.3 per cent of rentals were affordable to people on a very low income, 6.9 per cent were affordable for people on a low income and 59.7 per cent were affordable for people on a moderate income.”

St George and Sutherland Housing Interagency convener Serena Yam said increasing property prices and rents were leading towards an “imminent housing crisis”.

Ms Yam wanted federal, state and local leaders to act to increase affordable housing, and pointed to the City of Sydney’s policy of asking developers in Green Square to provide low-cost housing or a monetary contribution.