MEDIA RELEASE: South Australia’s Generation Rent bears brunt of housing costs

National Housing campaign, Everybody’s Home, will join student unions from around the country in Adelaide today, July 3, to highlight the impact of housing costs and rental insecurity on students in Australia.

Everybody’s Home spokesperson, Kate Colvin will address the National Union of Students Annual Conference at Flinders University at 10.30am.

Ms Colvin said the lack of affordable rents, particularly near universities, low rent assistance, and competition for properties is causing serious housing stress, overcrowding and increasing homelessness among students.

She said young Australians should be angry.

According to the latest national Census:

  • 10,813 university or TAFE students were homeless;
  • 1,117 were living in facilities for the homeless;
  • 1,073 were couch surfing and 1765 were in boarding houses;
  • 81 were sleeping rough or in car; and
  • close to 7,000 were living in “severely overcrowded” homes.

“In Adelaide where affordability is better than in Sydney and Melbourne, students are struggling to find anywhere to rent, with one and two bedroom properties unaffordable in every suburb,” Ms Colvin said.

“National Shelter’s Rental Affordability Index* shows that no suburb is affordable for two students with a combined income of $35,000. Homelessness in South Australia for university age people has also increased by 22% over the past 10 years.

“We need to fix the housing system so finding a place you can afford doesn’t mean commuting over an hour to Uni or work; or agreeing to rent a shed in someone’s backyard because it’s all you can afford; or a house that is so dilapidated it should be condemned.

“And we need to make sure that having a month’s gap between contracts, or losing some shifts, or getting sick, doesn’t mean tipping into homelessness.“

Everybody’s Home is calling for fairer rental laws to stop no grounds evictions and poor behaviour by landlords in all states and territories; an increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance, and tax reform to level the playing field for a generation of young people who will one day want to become homeowners.

It is also calling for a national strategy to address the shortfall of 500,000 social and affordable homes Australia wide.

NUS Welfare Officer Jordon O’Reilly said students were bearing the brunt of a broken housing system – with unfair rental laws and little chance of homeownership or saving for a deposit or financial security.

“Right now a generation of young people are being locked out of the housing market. Our politicians are failing young people by their inability to deal with this crisis and will have a flow on affect for the years to come,” Mr O’Reilly said.

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