A report released by the Welfare Rights Centre (NSW) and Shelter NSW has unveiled that whilst the Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) helps improve the affordability of housing, it has not alleviated housing stress.
There were still some 173,000 CRA recipients in housing stress, even after receiving a CRA payment. There were 10,000 more recipients in this situation in 2013 compared with 2012 as a result of soaring rental rents in the Sydney basin.
Of the 420,000 people in NSW receiving Rental Assistance payments from Centrelink, Disability Support Pensioners were the largest group receiving assistance. A quarter of CRA recipients were over the age of 60 (105,000) and persons under the age of 25 are also doing it tough (47,000).
Another key finding was the 60,000 NSW recipients paying more than 50 percent of their income in rent even after receiving CRA.
The report concludes that the proportion of CRA recipients receiving the maximum payment has increased from less than two-thirds of the total to more than three-quarters of the total in the last decade; a clear indication of the rental stress and the affordable housing difficulties NSW is facing.
Whilst the CRA significantly reduces the numbers and proportion of recipients in housing stress, it does not reduce housing stress for all recipients with around 40 percent still experiencing housing stress even with the payment.
Maree O’Halloran, Director of the Welfare Rights Centre states the findings put an extra spotlight on how the Commonwealth budget should include measures to relieve some of the most vulnerable Australians from distress.