Women are facing increasing housing insecurity in Sydney, according to a report from Anglicare Sydney.
Anglicare Sydney’s annual State of Sydney
report found that women are the highest users of homelessness services. Stable, safe housing is becoming less affordable for low income households, and rental stress – defined as rent which takes up more than 30% of household income – is a significant problem for many women.
The report, titled Home truths: Impacts of housing insecurity on women across the life course
, focused on three groups of women: young single mothers, single women over 50, and older women caring for a child with a disability.
In the first group, the report found that 87% of single parent families with children under 15 are headed by women, while 40% of all parents under 24 are single mothers. The average income for single parent families is $520 per week, and 45% of these households rely on Government benefits.
Single women over 50 are emerging as a new group vulnerable to housing insecurity, due in part to relationship breakdown. While they are more likely to be in stable accommodation, they are also likely to have low incomes and rental stress, with over half of single older women living on $300 per week.
A third vulnerable group studied in the report are older parent carers, who are usually mothers. Housing insecurity arises for this group when they are no longer able to care for their child and must find alternative accommodation. This transition is a major cause of stress and anxiety and is the most pressing issue for this group.
The report recommended increased assistance such as Commonwealth Rental Assistance and also increased assistance for Non Government Organisations such as Anglicare Sydney that assist people in finding affordable housing. Other recommendations included more public housing suitable for families, rather than 1 or 2 bedroom units, an increased range of accommodation options for young people with a disability, and an increase in Newstart payments for people over 50.
The report is available here