MEDIA RELEASE: Young renters hardest hit by COVID-19 job losses

News | Oct 19, 2020

New Australian Housing and Urban Research (AHURI) research[1] reveals 22% of young renters lost income during COVID-19, and 12% lost all of their income, with the impact on renters aged 18-29 years more severe than for older renters.

The report further revealed that almost 40% of Australian tenant households can’t afford essentials such as bills, clothing, transport and food, after paying rent, because their incomes reduced significantly during the COVID-19.

“This highlights how Australia’s housing system is failing young people, who were already struggling in the rental market before the impact of the pandemic, because they tend to have lower wages and more precarious employment than older renters” said Kate Colvin, spokesperson for national housing and homelessness campaign Everybody’s Home.

“Young renters who were already doing it tough will now be in despair because the Federal Government’s cuts to Youth Allowance payments from $552 a week to $402 a week on the 25 September will make it impossible for many to pay rent.

“The Report findings revealed that already around half of survey respondents indicated that their mental health had been negatively affected by COVID-19 lockdowns.

“Cuts to Youth Allowance payments mean many young renters will be losing their tenancies over the coming weeks as they can no longer afford rent with reduced income support.

“When Youth Allowance payments are cut back to $277 a week from 31 December, Australia will see even more young people becoming homeless.

“The findings highlight the importance of increasing income support payments, like Youth Allowance and JobSeeker, so people can cover basic costs like rent.

“Young people’s struggle to find rentals they can afford also highlights the need for Federal investment to build social housing, so young people unable to rent in the private market can find a home they can afford.”

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