Census shows increasing struggles for those already doing it tough

The 2016 Census results paint a fairly bleak picture for those struggling to make ends meet, particularly as they arrive in the middle of winter with electricity price hikes looming. The Winter Appeal of the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW is still only half way to reaching its target.

Vinnies NSW CEO Jack de Groot said: “The statistics on homelessness haven’t been released yet but given the sobering statistics we are already seeing on rental costs and incomes, along with reports from our own Vinnies services, our expectations are that these numbers will also be climbing and our assistance will be required by more and more people across the state this year.”

The percentage of people affected by housing stress, where their rent takes up more than 30% of their income, has gone up from 11.6% in 2011 to 12.9% in 2016. However this experience is not the same for mortage payers: those paying 30% of their income dropped from 10.5% in 2011 down to 7.4% last year.

“What this shows is how government policies are skewed towards supporting home ownership instead of creating affordable housing,” said Mr de Groot.

Those who are paying a mortage are still far better off than those facing ever-increasing rental prices, especially when the median weekly income for NSW ($664) has been shown to be very similar to Queensland ($660) and Victoria ($644) despite rental prices in Sydney being the highest in Australia, and some of the highest in the world.

“Our services always see a spike in demand during the cold winter months. This winter people on or below the poverty line are being hit with a significant electricity price increase on top of the usual higher costs from heating homes. The impact is yet to be seen but we are preparing for a tougher than usual winter.

“Organisations like Vinnies are doing everything they can to help those facing homelessness but it is the government who have the ability to create significant change across the State, especially on the back of a substantial budget surplus. Our Right to Home campaign is calling for the State Government to ensure 15% social and affordable housing in all new developments, a proposal backed by the Oppostition.”

Please consider donating to the Vinnies 2017 Winter Appeal to help us continue to support ordinary heroes struggling through the cold. Your tax refund for all donations made before 30 June will be allocated to the 2016-17 financial year. The campaign runs until the end of August.

Visit vinnies.org.au or call 13 18 12 to make your donation.


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Media contact:  Phyllis Sakinofsky | phyllis.sakinofsky@vinnies.org.au | 0417 446 430