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Affordable Rentals for welfare recipients - Article based on Anglicare report

Anglicare Finds Chronic Shortage of Affordable Rentals for Welfare Recipients

A new report has revealed a chronic shortage of affordable rentals across Australia, with less than 0.01 per cent of rental properties found to be affordable for a single person on Newstart.

Monday, 30th April 2018
at 1:38 pm
Luke Michael, Journalist


Anglicare Australia’s latest Rental Affordability Snapshot was released on Monday, surveying more than 67,000 rental listings across the country.

The charity examined all the properties listed for rent on realestate.com.au on a particular day and assessed whether each property was affordable and suitable for 14 types of households on low income.

When examining affordability, rent needed to be no more than 30 per cent of a household budget – a nationally accepted standard for rent not to cause financial stress.

Out the 67,365 rental properties surveyed, only 485 were affordable for a single person on the Disability Support Pension (0.72 per cent).

For those on Newstart, 180 were affordable for a single parent with one child (0.27 per cent), and only three rentals were affordable for a single person (less than 0.01 per cent).

Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers, told Pro Bono News these figures painted a bleak picture of the country’s rental market.

“This matters because the private rental market in Australia is the segment that is looked to provide appropriate and affordable housing for people on low incomes,” Chambers said.

“We are spending less and less on public housing and we haven’t got the level of social housing that we feel we ought to have.

“So we are relying as a country on the private rental market and that’s why this is such a problem. And that’s why we choose to do a rental affordability snapshot every year to highlight this issue.”

This is the ninth annual affordability snapshot Anglicare has released, and Chambers said affordability in the major cities was “getting so much worse”.

“For example, if you were single on the minimum wage with two kids, just two of the 17,500 properties available in Sydney would have been affordable using this tool,” she said.

“The trend in the capital cities is very much that there is less and less affordability. The other thing that we see in terms of data is that the rental market adapts very quickly to local quirks and local changes.

“So where we’re seeing rapid gentrification in places like Hobart, or where you’re seeing different tourism patterns in say the north coast of New South Wales… Airbnb is coming up and taking rental properties out of the market.”

Of the 67,365 rental properties surveyed, zero were found to be affordable for a single person on Newstart or Youth Allowance in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin or Perth.

But while some politicians have previously argued that those struggling to find affordable housing in metro areas should move regional, Chambers noted that rent prices in regional areas were not that much cheaper.

She added that in regional towns, “rental prices are only part of the story”.

“If a rental price has dropped it usually means that there’s not going to be a lot of work there for people,” Chambers said.

“So that might not be a concern if you’re an aged pensioner looking to rent, but if you’re going to be looking for work, the general reason that rents have dropped is because employers have moved out of town.

“The cheapest rents are where the least opportunities for work tends to be.”

Chambers said this lack of affordability was creating rental stress and impacting Anglicare’s frontline services.

“We see it in our emergency relief services, we see it in our homelessness services. We see that people are stretching budgets way further than any of us could and should,” she said.

“There are dire consequences to missing the rent, whereas people make a judgment about not paying insurance on their car, not going to the dentist and having children going to school with an empty lunchbox once a week.

“These kinds of choices are not the kind of choices that people should be having to make in a rich country like Australia.”

Anglicare Victoria also expressed dismay at the findings, which showed that only 1 per cent of private rentals in Melbourne, and 3 per cent statewide, were affordable for people on welfare benefits.

CEO Paul McDonald said: “Private rental affordability in Victoria has hit rock bottom and is flatlining, delivering a great big zero for people on the lowest incomes.

“Everyone deserves a safe, affordable place to call home. Paying for the roof over your head should not leave you so out of pocket that you can’t put food in the fridge or pay your power bill.’’

McDonald said the difficult rental market was forcing many people into homelessness and into overcrowded, insecure housing.

“Young people forced out of foster care at 18 are becoming homeless or moving back into unsafe family situations,’’ he said.

“Sole parents and struggling families have no choice but to move into overcrowded share houses and many women and children remain in violent homes because they have nowhere else to go.’’

The report noted that Australia needed to fix its “broken” housing system.

It recommended changes to the tax system, to target negative gearing and capital gains tax exemptions.

“The federal government currently invests just $1.7 billion per year in public and social housing, and homelessness services,” the report said.

“Limiting negative gearing and capital gains tax exemptions would provide significant and immediate funds for homes for people on low incomes who are struggling to survive in the private rental market or more are homeless.”

Anglicare Australia also called for the immediate development and implementation of a single tenancy system to deliver fair and consistent renting rights.

Chambers said Australia needed a national conversation about rent and what rental contracts should look like.

“We’re not historically a renting country and [renting] always used to be a temporary thing so it didn’t really matter as much,” she said.

“Nowadays we’ve got more people of more different household types staying for longer in rental accommodation. So we need to ensure that rental accommodation is appropriate.

“The other thing is we desperately need to ensure that government payments and even minimum wage reflects the price of renting. Because while rents have gone up, incomes haven’t.”

Labor’s shadow minister for housing and homelessness, Senator Doug Cameron, said Anglicare’s report was a “damning indictment of the failure of Malcolm Turnbull to address the housing affordability crisis”.

“With less than two weeks to go before [Treasurer Scott] Morrison delivers this year’s budget, Anglicare’s report should serve as a wake-up call to a self-obsessed government that has its priorities wrong,” Cameron said.

“Turnbull and Morrison should put the essential needs of Australians above their proposed $65 billion tax cut gift to multinational corporations and banks.

“Turnbull should act on Anglicare Australia’s call for a fair tax system by limiting negative gearing and capital gains tax exemptions, investing in social and affordable rental housing and working with the states to reform tenancy laws.”


Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.



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A poem on homelessness as seen through the eyes of 13 year old Elise

Homelessness and homeless people


I wish homeless people were treated well.

I wish they got food and a place to sleep,

I wish they didn’t have to sleep in the cold or the heat.


I wish homeless people had a place to eat,

I wish they didn’t have to sleep in the streets.

I wish they could have a house,

I wish there were no homeless people.


Homeless people 


SBS Article- Migrants and Indigenous Australians are amoung some of this nation's poorest people

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SBS Article- Migrants and Indigenous Australians are amoung some of this nation's poorest people

Migrants and Indigenous Australians are among some of this nation's poorest peoples

  • Homelessness Australia say that migrants make up 30 per cent of the homeless population.

Migrants and Indigenous Australians experience the greatest rates of poverty, compared to any other group in Australia. Jo Hartley asks why.

By Jo Hartley 17 OCT 2016

Australia is ranked as one of the most expensive places to live in the world, and, consequently, much of the population is struggling to keep from falling below the poverty line.

However, it seems that our culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities are struggling more than Australian-born residents.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, CALD communities are disproportionately disadvantaged in areas such as employment and access to government services. 

Migrants' earning potentials are lower, and those who arrive in the country with little or no English are particularly susceptible to poverty.

Figures show that the unemployment rate of recent migrants is 8.5 per cent, in comparison to 4.6 per cent among Australian-born residents.

Similarly, migrants' earning potentials are lower, and those who arrive in the country with little or no English are particularly susceptible to poverty.

A report, conducted by the Australian Council of Social Services, found that poverty rates amongst migrants whose first language isn’t English is 18.8 per cent, compared to 11.6 per cent of those who are Australian born.

The rate of poverty amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is 19.3 per cent.

“Homelessness is a big problem across the whole country,” says Digby Hughes, acting CEO at Homelessness NSW.

While New South Wales has a current rate of 40 homeless people per 100,00 of the population, the worst area is the Northern Territory, with 730 homeless people per 100,00 of the population.

“The biggest growth in homelessness is severely overcrowded dwellings, where there are four or more bedrooms short of what is needed,” says Hughes.

In Sydney itself, the worst affected areas are the Indigenous communities within Blacktown and Mount Druitt.  This then extends in an arc from Bankstown, Liverpool and Campbelltown.

“This is mainly first generation migrants and is predominantly due to housing unaffordability,” says Hughes.

National figures from Homelessness Australia show there are currently 105,237 people in Australia who are homeless: 25 per cent of these are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and 30 per cent are born overseas.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, CALD communities are disproportionately disadvantaged in areas such as employment and access to government services. (Image: AAP)


Homes for the homeless: where are all the shelters?

But with homeless shelters already fit to bust, the future doesn’t look very bright. State and federal governments spent more than $700 million in the last financial year on specialist homelessness services. 

However, a Productivity Commission report released earlier this year found that one in four people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness are turned away from accommodation services each day because they are already full.

With limited places already available, some CALD people are further disadvantaged because of language barriers and cultural or religious beliefs.

For example, Hughes says Muslim women can struggle to find shelters because their religion prohibits them from sharing with men.

“While CALD communities experience the same issues as the general population, their situation can be exacerbated by language issues, family and domestic violence, problem gambling and alcohol and drug use,” says Hughes.

“We’re also seeing some increase in numbers of women on spousal visas becoming homeless as the relationship falls over.”

A lack of funding also means that homelessness services aren’t always able to provide culturally appropriate support such as translation or bi-lingual services. 

Similarly, a lack of awareness or access to support services increases the difficulty of the situation for CALD people.

Dr Mark Glazebrook is the CEO of Project New Dawn, a national homelessness organisation that provides a unique wraparound solution to homelessness through housing and employment.

He says that refugees, migrants and Indigenous people are at a greater disadvantage when it comes to understanding how the ‘system’ works. 

“Traditionally support for people from CALD communities has extended to interpreting, translation services and staff awareness,” he says. 

“However, whilst this is important, we believe that greater attention should be focused on helping people navigate the often-confusing array of services and processes dedicated to homelessness.”

“We sometimes forget that migrants may have had traumatic experiences with government or authority and it’s up to us, the support agencies, to appreciate and adjust to these sensitivities and provide them with knowledge and confidence,” he says.

“While CALD communities experience the same issues as the general population, their situation can be exacerbated by language issues, family and domestic violence, problem gambling and alcohol and drug use.”

Dr Glazebrook admits that housing will continue to be a challenge for people from culturally diverse backgrounds in the future. 

However, he’s optimistic that many more options will become available if we start becoming more innovative about how housing is sourced.

“We need to think about continuing to repurpose commercial property for housing or, as in Project New Dawn’s case, access private housing for homeless people through the generous support of employer partners,” he says.

“Focusing on a more innovative wraparound model, such as ours, seeks to reduce much of the complexity surrounding access to housing and employment.

“In turn, this enables people to put their efforts into what’s important - doing well in their new job and setting up their new home."

October 17 marks the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Find out more about what this day means and how you can help the fight against global poverty.

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End of an Era

Danielle and Sue.

Danielle and Sue.

The following is an email from Danielle in Brisbane. Danielle and Sue tirelessly worked for Project New Dawn for the past ten years. As Operations Manager Danielle and Sue were my first interstate visit where I met two very passionate ladies. I was happy to meet them and this proved invaluable when I first started with Project New Dawn. Their insight into the programme, their passion for working with homeless individuals and determination to give people a chance in life filled me with hope that Project New Dawn is a unique model which offers jobs, housing and support, different from other models I experienced in the past.

We had our sandwiches and tea and they treated me to a truthful account of what has happened and what needed to happen. Me with my note book writing busily as they spoke. I could hear their frustration, however they were not negative in anyway, very constructive and it was an eye opener, which I was happy to listen and learn from.

I think I have thanked them as much as possible as I know the PND Board appreciates their work and diligence. Danielle and Sue you are fantastic and with all the hours you put in to Project New Dawn everyone is thankful to you both. You went above and beyond your call of duty for the participants, the cause, homelessness and without you, the programme would not have lasted as long in Queensland.

One day in the future hopefully we can work together again.

End of an Era, however the new direction the company is taking is also very exciting with the introduction of Project New Dawn's Indigenous Employment Initiative, partnering with AFL SportsReady.

    "The final pieces have now been completed with the wind down of Project New Dawn in Brisbane.

The house has been handed back.

Sue and I had our final catch up at BP Bowen Bridge for coffee and goodbye’s last Wednesday where I presented Sue with some flowers and chocolates, which was also her birthday as it turned out. Sue and I will remain in touch and photo is attached.

Thanks again for the opportunity to be involved, and for all the help along the way. This program has done just as much for me as I have put into it….well almost :) The most important thing is that we got to make a real difference in some people’s lives and we can all be proud of that."

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Project New Dawn, making a difference to people's lives!

The following is a great, heart warming story from one of employment partners at Project New Dawn! Read and enjoy.

If you'd like to support us please click on the Donate Link..

*Mary, one of our new team members from the Project New Dawn programme, received her first pay in 4 years. She was crying, and we couldn’t work out why, she commented that she was so lucky so have a job, and be in a caring and wonderful workplace. Since she joined a few weeks ago, she has already received her first service award. Such a wonderful feeling to know that we have assisted someone back on their way. We are all helping her move her belongings to her new house this weekend


2015 Gallery Night

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2015 Gallery Night

In October 2015, PND held its second Gallery Night, with the generous support of Clayton Utz, Eugene and staff, Radio Rentals, Pizzini Wines, Darren Henry Photography, ACSO, Mission Australia and all who donated gifts for the auction.

In attendance were over 100 guests, including David MacKenzie, Associate Professor at Swinburne University as our key note speaker and David McGettigan, an inspirational artist with a lived experience of homelessness.

On display were around 40 pieces of artwork by homeless artists from Mission Australia (Sydney) and ACSO (Melbourne).  We are pleased to say that over 80% of the artwork was sold, needless to say the artists received sales proceeds for their efforts.

Thank you for a live entertaining auction which was conducted by Auctioneers from Nelson Anderson Real Estate on the evening, to raise much needed funds for PND to sustain its activities. Great fun was had by all!

Project New Dawn would like to thank all the guests, supporting partner organisations as well our working volunteers for their marvellous help on the night, pre night and post night. Without this input it would be very difficult to have everything running as smoothly as witnessed on the evening.

Major thank you to the Board who as always done an amazing job with organising, planning, marketing, commitment and post event tasks.



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Project New Dawn Nominated for Victorian Homelessness Award

Project New Dawn attracts deserved recognition from the Prestigious Victorian Homelessness Achievement Awards!

A big thank you to Paul S from ACSO for the encouragement and assistance during the process! 

Thanks to Council for Homeless Persons (CHP) who have done a great service to the community by acknowledging the work of the Agencies within the homelessness sector!




Abdi's Story

This is a story about Abdi who lives in Melbourne. Abdi came to Australia from Somalia...

Prior to Project New Dawn

Abdi lived a very unsettled life. He lived in his car and travelled around different locations in Melbourne to find a safe place to park overnight to sleep. He would frequently use community facilities such as public toilets in order to make sure he was maintaining appropriate levels of personal hygiene. As a result of this stage in his life, Abdi experienced low self-esteem and confidence. He had no stability in housing or employment for a long time. 

Recently Abdi was given an opportunity to take part in Project New Dawn. We arranged for Abdi to be interviewed by Bunnings at Mill Park, where he demonstrated to the Store Manager he had the commitment and perseverance to successfully make changes in his life. He was selected to begin his exciting journey, commencing employment and residing in a privately leased rental property arranged through Project New Dawn.

Being Involved in Project New Dawn

Since joining Project New Dawn, Abdi has continually proven he is committed to changing his life. He has successfully managed to maintain his tenancy, sharing with 2 fellow housemates. In addition, he has accomplished some milestones which he is proud of, which may have once only have been a dream prior to joining Project New Dawn:

1.      He has been able to afford braces for his teeth

2.      He has purchased a TV for his bedroom

3.      He is saving money to make a trip back to his home country Somalia in order to visit his family, particularly his mother who is unwell. 

Beyond his personal life, Abdi has continually strives hard at work. To date he has been awarded 9 customer service awards for his commitment to serving customers!

Project New Dawn has been recognized by its social welfare partner (ACSO) as providing once in a lifetime opportunities for individuals of disadvantaged backgrounds to turn their life around and create positive outcomes. ACSO staff have noticed a very successful change in Abdis lifestyle, he has grown as a person and presents much more confident in his ability to communicate. He now has direction about what he wishes to achieve in his life. 

(this story was written by Abdi’s case worker and published with his consent)




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Melbourne Business School celebrates with Project New Dawn

After a very exciting and enjoyable two weeks, students from Melbourne Business School along with their Academic Mentor, Andrew Zur, invite founder of Project New Dawn, Albert Li to MBS Celebrations.  

Project New Dawn appreciate all the hard work they put in to their Final Report. Thanks to Paul, Kathy, Chen and Linda who worked tirelessly during the fortnight with us.


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Project New Dawn Welcomes Brooke Miller

A BIG Welcome to Brooke Miller who comes with a wealth of knowledge and business acumen. Project New Dawn are proud to have Brooke as part of the PND Team, now consisting of eight hard working individuals with the same goal to make  a difference in a homeless person's life.

Brooke Miller is the Chief Financial Officer for BP Asia Pacific. After receiving an MBA from Melbourne Business School, Brooke joined BP and has held a variety of roles including General Manager for Elite Customer Solutions – the BP Business Service Centre which provides services across finance, sales and marketing and logistics with a staff of ~400 employees; Regional Director for BP Solar Australasia responsible for the deployment of the solar photovoltaics throughout the Asia Pacific; and  General Manager of BP Bitumen Australia, a national manufacturing and sales operation. 

Brooke's career started in landscape architecture and town planning, and she holds a Bachelor of Planning & Design and a Master of Landscape Architecture. Following university she was involved in the design and construction of commercial scale projects for the best part of a decade. 

Brooke is passionate about supporting organizations focused on creating a caring and equal Australia.






21st July 2015


People who are homeless now have a powerful ally when trying to rebuild their lives.

Findings from independent research released today, from the Melbourne Business School, has found that Project New Dawn, a small homelessness agency creates $11 worth of social benefit for people receiving its assistance, for every $1 spent.

This $11 benefit is achieved by offering every participant something unique only to Project New Dawn: a job, a place to live and ongoing support. Evaluated against the internationally recognised SROI Social Return on Investment methodology, Project New Dawn is able to achieve significant social and financial benefit to both individual participants as well as to governments and society generally.

Despite being a relatively new organisation, Project New Dawn’s effectiveness compares favourably with other homelessness agencies such as The Lighthouse Foundation.

Commenting on the release of the University study, Project New Dawn Chair, Rebecca McGrath, said, ‘I am delighted that our mission to help people stand on their own two feet is not only providing real jobs and a real home but is also demonstrating real value for money. Our grant funders and supporters are achieving a great return on their social investment.

Mark, one of Project New Dawn’s 45 successful participants describes his experience with Project New Dawn...’before Christmas I couldn’t save up or plan for anything, but now I have stable accommodation and a job and am saving up to buy a car...it’s definitely been life changing.’

Image provided by MBS

Image provided by MBS


More information www.projectnewdawn.com.au



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Grill'd Burgers Donating Cheque to Project New Dawn

Project New Dawn Operations Manager receiving the much appreciated cheque from Grill'd Burgers Lt Bourke Street Melbourne Restaurant.

THANK YOU all at Grill'd for your amazing support!

Fantastic to have had this much recognition from people who have read and respected what PND are all about! Thanks to all your customer's who took the time to Vote PND No 1!

Grill'd with PND

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