Experts have expressed alarm at the shrinking number of affordable rental properties in Wyndham.

To mark Homeless Week (August 7-13), the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) has launched a petition calling for 100,000 new social housing properties to be built in Australia across the next five years.

According to a CHP report, there are 35,000 people waiting for public housing in Victoria – more than 3670 of them are in Melbourne’s west. The high demand for public housing comes on top of data from Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) which shows a decreasing number of affordable rental properties listed in Wyndham.

In March 2007, almost 75 per cent of rental properties in Wyndham were classified as “affordable” to people on a Centrelink income.

In March of this year, only 31.8 per cent (595) of rental properties in Wyndham were considered as affordable to people on a Centrelink income. A property is deemed “affordable” when rent consumes 30 per cent or less of incomes.

In the 10-year period since March 2007, the median rent in Wyndham rose from $220 to $360.

CHP’s policy and communications manager Kate Colvin said the state’s housing system was “failing the most vulnerable” and leading to rising homelessness.

“It’s a grim situation for low income earners who find that there is nowhere to escape high rents, and that the social housing safety net is inadequate,” she said. “Providing housing that people can afford is the single most important way to reduce homelessness.”

Ms Colvin said out of the 100,000 social housing properties that CHP was campaigning to have built across the next five years, 30,000 should be in Victoria.

Star Weekly contacted a spokeswoman for Housing, Disability and Ageing minister Martin Foley for comment but did not receive a response.

View the CHP petition at: www.endthehousingcrisis.org.au