Only one in five Brimbank residents can afford to rent privately in the municipality.
The startling statistic has been revealed by the Council to Homelessness Persons (CHP) as part of Homelessness Week.
The peak body for homelessness in Victoria said that at March this year, 19 per cent of private rental properties were considered affordable, which is defined as when rent consumes 30 per cent or less of incomes.
At March 2007, 73 per cent of private rental in Brimbank was considered to be affordable. The figures make Brimbank the least affordable private rental local government area in the inner west and the fourth least affordable in Victoria.
CHP spokesperson Kate Colvin said the figures represented a housing affordability crisis for low-income earners.
“It’s a grim situation for low-income earners, who find that there is nowhere to escape high rents, and that there’s not enough social housing to prevent them becoming homeless,” Ms Colvin said.
“Moving further out is no longer the silver bullet to reducing rent stress.
“Our housing system is failing the most vulnerable and the result is rising homelessness.
“Victoria’s public housing levels are the lowest in history and 35,000 people are waiting for social housing.”
Ms Colvin said that while the state government announced plans to deliver 6000 new social housing properties over five years in its 2017-18 budget, given the scale of the problem federal government action was needed.
“Providing housing that people can afford is the single most important way to reduce homelessness,” she said.
“The private market is simply failing to do that. We need federal government action to prevent thousands of households living in rent stress or being pushed into homelessness.”
Western Homelessness Network co-ordinator Sarah Langmore said that in Sunshine alone, there was a daily queue of up to 50 people outside The Salvation Army Social Housing and Support Network (SASHS) in need of housing and social support.
“People are queuing up because they are homeless and are hoping SASHS will be able to assist them to find accommodation,” Ms Langmore said.
She said those in need were almost all on low-incomes, with 30 per cent experiencing homelessness due to family violence. Many were unemployed.
Ages ranged from 25 to 40. Most families were single-parent families.
Ms Langmore said SASHS relied on “cheap hotels, caravan parks and private hostels” as accommodation options for those in crisis because of a lack of housing options in Brimbank.
She said there were about 4000 households awaiting homelessness assistance across Melbourne’s north and west.