How do you solve the housing crisis in Australia?
A place to call home is one of the necessities an individual should and must be able to have. It is a right to have a safe place to stay. However, the Australian dream of having that has turned into a nightmare. Many individuals who couldn’t afford to purchase their own property had to settle for a rental property to be able to find shelter. Unfortunately, a picture from Anglicare shows that even the rental affordability situation is at a crisis point.
The snapshot from Anglicare analyzed over 69,000 rental listings across the nation of Australia. The study garnered troubling results in terms of how the current housing situation made things worse for the population. According to the study, people who are living on Newstart (The Newstart allowance is Australia’s income support system, primarily to aid those who are unemployed and looking for work) or the youth allowance is only able to afford two properties, which are both located in regional Australia. As if single parents haven’t had enough things to think about, the study also shows that only 75 rental properties are affordable for single parents carrying one child.
As for the working class, a stable job doesn’t mean that it’s easier for them to afford or explore rental options. The study revealed that a full-time worker who is earning a minimum wage can only afford about 2 percent of the rental properties included in the study. These figures just show how “broken” the housing market is and housing affordability is something the nation should strive to achieve before things get out of hand.
We have previously talked about the negative effects of wage stagnation and how it has become such a huge contributor to the housing crisis.
So, how do you really solve a tough problem like the housing crisis?
According to experts, the number one solution is to invest more in social housing.
Social housing by definition “is any rental housing which may be owned and managed by the state, by non-profit organizations, or by a combination of the two, usually to provide affordable housing. Social housing can also be seen as a potential remedy for housing inequality.” The goal of social housing is to provide affordable housing to the public, which makes the two concepts fairly similar to each other. However, there are differences between the two in terms of details and criterion.
How is social housing different from affordable housing?
Actually, the two concepts, except for its goals to provide a less expensive home to individuals are quite different. Affordable housing is much more open to different household incomes than social housing. Unlike social housing, households do not need to be eligible for it to be able to acquire affordable housing properties because they are normally managed just like private rental property—only, it’s meant to be under or based on an eligibility criterion and the rental fees are calculated differently. Affordable housing managers are not necessarily part of the profit community housing provider. Social housing is normally under the jurisdiction of the government, while affordable housing is operated independently.
The truth of the matter is; Australia still has a long way to go in terms of defeating the housing crisis. But to be fair, so many rich countries also have this problem. Like many public issues, there’s also a political side to this. More than a third of people’s income in Australia goes to rent, and for low-income earners, this is not the kind of news that they want to hear. This means that the government should make projects intended to combat this crisis a priority.
Apart from investing in social housing, raising wages and making rent less expensive should be prioritized as well. If wages remain the same while rental prices continue to go up, the situation won’t get any better anytime soon. In the meantime, Xotel as one of the many affordable housing options will continue to provide safe and inexpensive accommodation for all.