A new report released today confirms that Australian pensioners have to leave the city to find affordable rent or pay more than 60 per cent of their income just to put a roof over their heads.

Chief Executive of Australia’s leading seniors’ advocacy body, COTA Australia, said National Shelter’s latest Rental Affordability Index is a stark reminder of just how dire the housing situation is for too many older Australians.

“For a single pensioner, private rentals in our state capital cities are categorised as either extremely unaffordable or severely unaffordable – meaning pensioners are left with less than half their incomes after rent.

“For a pensioner couple the news is not much better in our metropolitan centres, with most households having to spend between 38 and 68 per cent of their income on rent.

“This has a huge impact on the quality of life of older Australians in the rental market.

“Too often we hear stories of age pensioners who are left to choose between using the last of their income to buy food or medication once they have met their obligations for rent and utilities.

“And we know that the fastest growing group of homeless people are older women who just can’t meet the growing costs of rent and other basic needs.

“While we have welcomed the initiatives announced in the recent Federal Budget to alleviate some of the pressure, such as greater investment in community housing, and incentives to increase supply, more needs to be done to support struggling pensioners.

“Increasing the Commonwealth Rent Assistance is a key measure that would make an immediate difference to people in these situations.”

COTA Australia’s upcoming National Policy Forum is being devoted to housing issues facing older people. More information http://www.cota.org.au/australia/Events/2017/national-policy-forum.aspx

You can see Shelter’s full report at: http://www.shelter.org.au/may-2017-release-rental-affordability-index

SOURCE: COTA Australia

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