Subgroups that were also at high risk of extreme housing stress included: the part-time/casual workers (81%), couples without children (78%) and with children (77%), 25 to 34-year-olds (73%) and Newstart recipients (71%). Some of these subgroups were also present in other measures of deprivation and disadvantage. Given that respondents paid 59% of income towards accommodation expenses, this has caused respondents to experience financial hardships, with many doing without essential items, including cutting down on basic necessities and regular meals.
This suggested the increasing costs of accommodation posed financial strain on individuals, due to a greater proportion of income spent on the cost of accommodation. As a result this subgroup experienced high levels of financial stress and needed to access community services for emergency relief and material aid.
Housing costs for the public/government/state or community housing averaged $119 per week, compared to more than double ($305 per week) for households in private rental.37 This obviously varies depending on housing type, state, metropolitan and rural areas.
As private rental costs rise and public housing stocks diminish, homelessness and housing affordability remain the most significant challenge impacting clients, The Salvation Army's work and the sector as a whole. More affordable housing is critical to ensure more sustainable accommodation options to relieve housing stress, financial strain of accommodation costs and causes of homelessness.
Respondents indicated that they had $125 per week38 to live on after accommodation expenses were paid ($17.86 per day).
Given already limited financial resources, individuals and families have less than adequate money to live on each week, leading to further disadvantage, poverty and higher levels of deprivation.
NB: Total income includes all income support entitlements, including Rental Assistance.
"I live week by week paying rent and bills with no money left over for much else…I have no money to do any fun activities with my daughter and feel bad to always have to say no."
Across all households, Newstart allowance recipients had the least money to live on after accommodation expenses were paid (approximately $27-$50 less per week). Consequently, Newstart recipients had to live on as little as $9.57 per day and still had to pay for utilities, food, transport, health, medical, pharmaceuticals, education, clothing, and basic entertainment. These figures demonstrate the inadequacy of Newstart allowances for individuals and families to afford basic living costs in Australia. Furthermore, this demonstrates that without sufficient financial resources to adequately live on, disadvantaged individuals and their families are likely to remain trapped in long-term in poverty.
“ …We are left with $50 for the fortnight. We find it really hard but we seem to manage with the help of The Salvation Army. Without them we would be on the street…I take it day by day.”
Overall, 67% of respondents experienced extreme housing stress,39 paying more than 50% of their income for accommodation.