FOR many single parents, finding a home is an almost insurmountable challenge.
That’s what Upper Murray Family Care finds with its clients both sides of the border.
Put simply, private rental is out of reach.
The agency does not compile statistics on how many have the capacity to pay the going rate of rental properties.
Its community financial services manager, Sharon Campbell said anecdotally “we find any client on Newstart or a single parent with only one child will never be able to afford private rental”.
Such clients were especially hard to assist, she said.
Long wait times made government housing inaccessible, finding a job was often not easy and getting a housemate to share the rent could be very difficult.
“Most people, particularly a single mum, would not want to share with a stranger,” Ms Campbell said.
Anyone on Centrelink payments — especially Newstart and the single parent pension — and in private rental was disadvantaged.
“Often we will see clients who are on a Centrelink benefit paying 50 per cent to 75 per cent of their household income on private rental,” she said.
“The high rental is often the only issue that is creating their financial hardship.”
Albury’s St David’s Care financial counsellor Kaily Goodsell said the agency referred many to the Homelessness Action Program, which has an outlet on the Border.
“You also have people in established rentals who can’t afford to pay their rent,” she said.
“They’ve got no alternative because what can they do?
“Go on to the streets with their kids?”
It was ludicrous that more than half their income went on rent, she said.
Mrs Goodsell said these clients — people who had no choice but to pay $300 a week in rent — were being seen every day.
“You then have your working families who are still faced with $350 a week for rent, but then they are hit because they don’t get any subsidies.
“They have to pay full-price for medications and have to pay full price for electricity.”