An affordable housing shortage has low-income households at a greater disadvantage, with reports of single parents having as little as $50 a week to buy food and pay bills.
Anglicare released its annual Rental Affordability Snapshot on Monday, with the worst declines for singles on the age pension or the minimum wage.
A year ago, there were 15 properties on offer, which were affordable for single elderly people - this year, there was only one.
In 2018, a single person on the minimum wage could afford 20 properties on the market - this year, it came down to five.
One lady I know, after she's paid her rent, only has $50 a week to buy food and pay bills, that's for herself and her child.Anglicare Orange community development officer Barry Porter
The snapshot, in its 10th year, was formulated based on the 121 rental properties on the market on March 23, evaluating affordability for singles and couple on the Newstart allowance, parenting payment, age pension, disability support pension, youth allowance and minimum wage.
They were also assessed on their suitability to house the correct number of people.
Most categories had fewer properties available - the only rise was for single people with a child younger than five on the parenting payment, who could not find a property in 2018 but had one affordable option this year.
Housing remained unaffordable for singles on Newstart, singles with two children on the parenting payment, and singles on youth allowance, both on their own and in a share house.
Anglicare Orange community development officer Barry Porter said the landscape looked worse than a year ago.
"We've got the tree-changers from Sydney because of the high unaffordability and because they're prepared to pay much lower rents than Sydney, but much higher than people here can afford, how can people compete?" he said.
He said even if those on lower incomes or on government support did secure a house, rent created significant financial pressure.
"One lady I know, after she's paid her rent, only has $50 a week to buy food and pay bills, that's for herself and her child," he said.
"You can't buy food for $50 a week, you can't pay bills for $50 a week."
As a result, Mr Porter said many skipped meals and even missed work if they had no petrol money.
"Often they're not able to register, insure or maintain a vehicle," he said.
Mr Porter said some were able to couch surf or stay with family, but people without those connections were most vulnerable, especially if they were fleeing violence.
He said serious housing reforms were needed, including ensuring more housing was located close to public transport and providing greater protection for tenants by ensuring they could access crisis services and employment programs.
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