TAMWORTH has been named as one of the most affordable rental markets in regional NSW, but financial pressures are the leading cause of homelessness in the city.
A new report has listed Tamworth’s median rents at $315 a week, but that wasn’t low enough to keep more than 1000 people from needing homeless support in the last year.
More than 48 per cent of people presenting to Tamworth Family Support Service (TFSS) cited financial difficulties as their main reason for seeking help to avoid homelessness.
Money woes outranked domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness.
- Upper Hunter local government area has been deemed the state’s most affordable for renters in a new report
- Low income earners and income support recipients are getting priced out of the rental market, with a recent snapshot of the region finding only 79 properties suitable for the less well off.
- The drought has not only parched the Tamworth region, but also the housing market
Matched with a median household income figure of $1163, the report by Compass said Tamworth renters only needed 27 per cent of their income for housing.
TFSS spokesperson Leigh Smith said there needed to be more investment in social housing with people waiting up to 10 years for a three-bedroom property.
The Compass report said Tamworth renters were just below the “housing stress” tipping point of spending more than 30 per cent of household income on rent.
Spokesperson Martin Kennedy said the report found regional rents were lower, but so were incomes, making it difficult for aspiring home-buyers to get out of the private rental market.
“Those on below the median income are very likely to be in housing stress,” he said.
Mr Kennedy said a national strategy on housing was needed to fix a broken system.
He said 500,000 extra affordable and social housing dwellings would be needed in the next decade with 60,000 households currently on a wait list.
Local Government NSW president Linda Scott was in Tamworth on Tuesday and said housing affordability was an issue across regional and metro areas and it was up to all levels of government to find a solution.
But she said it wasn’t just “a question of supply”. “It’s a question of wage growth,” Cr Scott said. “We need to work with the state and federal governments on how to address and create more affordable housing.”