Snapshot a wake-up call on affordable, accessible housing

30 April 2015

The 2015 Rental Affordability Snapshot, released today by Anglicare Australia confirms that the doors to affordable, accessible housing are closed for people with disability.

According to the Snapshot, less than two per-cent of Australian rental properties are affordable for people with disability and in metropolitan areas the situation is even worse, with just 51 of 51,357 properties affordable for people on the Disability Support Pension (DSP).

“The housing affordability crisis is further exacerbated for people with disability because housing that is affordable is often inaccessible or located in areas that further isolates people with disability”, said Ms Therese Sands, Co-Chief Executive Officer at People with Disability Australia (PWDA).

“Properties may have steps, narrow hallways, inaccessible bathrooms and kitchens; and be located in areas that are too far away from accessible transport services, employment opportunities, disability and community support services or family and friends. In addition, people with disability face discrimination in the private rental market from landlords and real estate agents, which makes it harder to access housing when the competition for affordable housing is so great.”

PWDA supports Anglicare Australia’s recommendation for the creation of a National Affordable Housing Plan to address the housing affordability crisis. “We argue that a National Affordable Housing Plan must include key targets to increase accessible housing stock”, Ms Sands said.

“We also support calls from the Australian Network on Universal Housing Design (ANUHD) for minimum access features to be included in the National Construction Code for all new and extensively modified housing. This should be supported by a robust educational strategy for the housing industry.”

“We urge governments to develop innovative incentives that will stimulate growth in the development of universal housing design. This could include the use of tax levers to support investors who sink money into universally designed housing developments. A national universal housing design information and awareness campaign could stimulate partnerships with industry; showcase universally designed display homes; provide awards for architects who excel in universal housing design and support scholarships to industry that encourage further growth.”

Ms Sands said a National Affordable Housing Plan is also critical to the success of the National Disability Strategy (NDS), the action plan to achieve the inclusion and full participation of people with disability in all areas of community life. The NDS is a commitment of all Australian Governments.

“People with disability should no longer be forced to live in unsuitable properties or segregated in specialist disability housing”, Ms Sands said.

Therese Sands, PWDA 0412 935 128
Margaret Ward, ANUHD 0409 898 498

For more information:
Anglicare’s 2015 Rental Affordability Snapshot
Australian Network of Universal Housing Design
National Disability Strategy

People with Disability Australia Incorporated (PWDA) is a national disability rights and advocacy, non-profit, non-government organisation. We have a cross-disability focus, representing the interests of people with all kinds of disability and our membership is made up of people with disability and organisations mainly constituted by people with disability.

Our vision is of a socially just, accessible and inclusive community, in which the human rights, citizenship, contribution, potential and diversity of all people with disability are respected and celebrated.