Rental affordability is in decline in Whittlesea and Hume with less than 20 per cent of private rentals affordable to low income earners, new data reveals.

An analysis of the private rental market by support service, Council to Homeless Persons (CHP), found that in March this year, just 16 per cent of rental properties were affordable for people receiving Centrelink payments.

Ten years ago, 52 per cent of the municipality’s private rentals were considered to be affordable.

In Hume, the number of affordable rentals has fallen from 68 per cent in 2007 to 14 per cent in March.

A property is considered affordable if its rent accounts for less than 30 per cent of a person’s income.

CHP policy and communications manager Kate Colvin said the data painted a grim picture for low income earners who traditionally moved to fringe suburbs in search of cheaper accommodation and were now finding rents to be unaffordable.

“Moving further out is no longer the silver bullet to reducing rent stress,” she said. “Our housing system is failing the most vulnerable, and the result is rising homelessness.”

CHP is calling for 100,000 new social housing to be built across the country over the next five years to ease the burden on people facing homelessness.

Plenty Valley Community Health homelessness services co-ordinator Nickie Toulakis said it was becoming increasingly difficult to find private rentals for people facing homelessness, with the average wait for a property between three and four months.

Ms Toulakis said that in recent years, the demographic of people facing homelessness had changed.

“They are not the ‘traditional’ stereotype of people who would find themselves homeless. We are seeing families and adults who historically haven’t faced homelessness,” she said.

Ms Toulakis said there needed to be greater investment in affordable housing, including public and community housing, saying there was little available in Whittlesea’s newer suburbs.