Affordable CQ properties crucial to combat housing crisis
Youth homelessness is skyrocketing in Central Queensland, with a 11.2 per cent increase in rent and no affordable housing construction resulting in calls to combat a serious social issue.
On National Youth Homelessness Matters Day, campaign Everybody's Home has joined ongoing calls from charity organisations for the federal government to make housing easier for young Australians to access.
Spikes in rental costs and youth unemployment are leading young people to seek support from homelessness services due to issues with housing or finance.
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show 24 per cent of homeless people were aged 12 to 14.
A Productivity Commission study found more than half of young people under 24 who got government rent assistance were in housing stress.
In the first few months of the COVID pandemic, 38 per cent of young people aged 15 to 24 became unemployed.
Everybody's Home spokeswoman Kate Colvin said Queensland youth faced significant rental cost increases, with jumps of more than 20 per cent in 12 months.
"Young people who are forced to leave their homes, or are left without homes through no fault of their own, cannot simply get a job that pays them enough to afford adequate accommodation," Ms Colvin said.
"The rising cost of rental properties pushes stable housing further out of reach for young workers who are increasingly in housing stress."
The desperate lack of affordable housing has created a dire existence for Youth Allowance recipients, who can afford less than one per cent of rentals.
"The housing affordability crisis is even more dire for those on Youth Allowance," Ms Colvin said.
"A person on Youth Allowance looking for a share house can afford less than one per cent of rentals.
"Across all of Australia, just four rental listings out of 77,000 in December last year were affordable to someone on Youth Allowance."
On the back of a global pandemic, with youth unemployment rates in double figures, just 'getting a job' isn't easy.
"With youth unemployment at 12.9 per cent, many have no choice but to rely on welfare, but it is clearly not enough to secure housing," Ms Colvin said.
"Further, the costs to the Australian economy of health services associated with young people experiencing homelessness is an average of $8,505 per person per year or $355 million across all young people aged 15-24 accessing Special Homelessness Services.
"Building social and affordable housing is crucial to ending youth homelessness and would be a major long-term cost-saving measure."