Rising rent prices are pushing vulnerable families into government or community housing
Rising rent prices are pushing vulnerable families into government or community housing KentWeakley

Rising rents forcing Mackay families into public housing

WHILE some are celebrating the renewed strength of the region's property market, rising rents are taking their toll on region's most vulnerable residents.

Community groups like Community Accommodation & Support Agency (CASA) and Anglicare have confirmed an increasing number of people are trying to access their services as a direct result of rising rents.

Anglicare Mackay Whitsunday director John Langford said rental increases are pushing some residents into poverty, saying "people who used to be coping are now not".

He said this was a significant social problem, as improvements in some sectors of the economy end up hurting "the average Joe blow and his wife and children".

Data released by the Department of Housing and Public Works has revealed a dramatic rise in applications for social housing across Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday, with 890 people applying for social housing in the 2017-2018 financial year. This is an increase of 252 people compared to 2016-2017.

The most significant increase was for families with children seeking help in Mackay, which rose by 74 per cent to 131 family applications. More than two in five of these families were classified as a high risk for homelessness.

CASA manager Lorraine Wirth said she is concerned that this spike in applications is straining services and will result in many people facing homelessness due to a lack of affordable housing.

Ms Wirth said community services are being stretched, saying "We can't pull houses out of a hat".

A spokesperson for the Department said the region's nearly 2500 social housing properties were experiencing increased demand due to "considerable growth in the resources sector".

The State Government was investing $35.5 million into 60 social homes in the CQ region over the next 10 years.