Affordable housing ‘needle in a haystack stuff’ for the state’s most vulnerable: new report

Two pairs of hands hold a child's drawing of a home together. Anglicare Victoria’s 2024 Rental Affordability Snapshot (RAS) shows affordable housing prospects for Victorians on low income and income support are bleak – and getting worse.

The report shows that of the 12,845 rentals available on the day the snapshot was taken, just 176 (1.4 per cent) were suitable for those on income support without putting them immediately into housing stress.

Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald said for those on low incomes, finding an affordable place to rent was “needle-in-a-haystack stuff”.

“For some of our clients, finding and keeping a roof over their family’s heads at a reasonable price is almost impossible. There is a very real connection between a lack of affordable housing and homelessness. We are seeing many people living in their cars or in temporary constructs in the backyards of homes,” Mr McDonald said.

“Young adults are left in precarious and unstable temporary housing arrangements as they become more desperate to find affordable housing, and we’re seeing the flow on affect in our homeless services and help centres.

“It’s a terrible situation with winter just around the corner and it is time the federal government recognises this national housing crisis, and turbo-charged commitments to prevent further calamity for families and individuals searching to find affordable housing.”

The survey found the proportion of properties affordable for Victorians on the minimum wage had fallen from 25.7 per cent in 2023 to 21.6 per cent this year.

Across the state, just one property was affordable for a single person receiving the Disability Support Pension, and none for a single person on Youth Allowance or JobSeeker.

Mr McDonald called for state and federal governments to do more to support young people leaving state care arrangements to ensure they don’t become homeless.

“The government’s role as the legal guardian of these young people also extends to ensuring they have a pathway to housing post their care. Currently, there are zero commitments by federal, state and territory governments. They’re serving up donuts, zeros, to helping the young care leaver into a home post their care,Mr McDonald said.

“The majority of this group aren’t able to compete with the clamour for private rentals. We need a national strategy that tackles housing for care leavers. It is no wonder that they make up more than half of Australia’s youth homeless population. Ministers have to see these young people like they see their own children. That is needing the support of the parent, in this case the state and federal governments, to transition them into housing.

“The only way that can be done is for governments in this country to name this group as a priority for housing. Do this and we will halve the youth homeless population in this country over night.”

While there was an uptick in available affordable properties in the regions, the numbers – and chances for vulnerable Victorians to find suitable housing – continue to reflect an expensive and competitive housing market which stretches household budgets past breaking point.

“This year’s snapshot showed an overall 10 per cent increase in rental prices from last year. No matter if you’re in the city or the country, rents are going up faster than wages, and those in our community on income support and minimum wage are being left behind,” Mr McDonald said.

“Victoria’s population is growing faster than any other state. As demand for housing outpaces supply, the squeeze will get worse and continue to push rental prices higher.”

Along with a dedicated national strategy to address youth homelessness, some of the solutions in the 2024 RAS include a meaningful increase to income support payments, more social and affordable housing and reforms to Commonwealth rent assistance.

 Fast facts on youth homelessness outcomes for state care leavers:

  • 9 per cent of social housing is leased to people under 24.
  • Despite this, young people aged 12 to 24 make up around a quarter of Australia’s homeless population.
  • More than half of the young people leaving state care will become homeless within the first 12 months.

Anglicare Victoria’s 2024 Rental Affordability Snapshot found:

  • Lower chances for low-income workers. For Victorians on minimum wage, properties that were available without placing them in housing stress dropped to 21.63 per cent, with 2778 available properties, from 25.65 per cent in 2023, when there was 2998 available properties.
  • Affordability has declined in metro Melbourne, where 1455 of the 10,069 available properties, or 14.5 per cent, were affordable for at least one household type living on minimum wage without placing them in housing stress. This figure was 20.9 per cent in 2023.
  • Country living offers more options. Affordability in regional Victoria fared better in 2024, as 1333 out of 2776 suitable properties were found to be affordable for households earning minimum wage, and 148 of those were affordable for people on income support payments – up from 943 and 42 respectively from 2023.
  • While there was an increase in the total number of properties available for rent, affordability continues to be an issue in metropolitan Melbourne, as 1.4 per cent (176 properties) of the 12,845 private rentals available across Victoria suitable for households living on income support payments – a minor improvement on the 100 properties (0.9 per cent) affordable in 2023.
  • But in regional areas there was a notable increase in affordability for households on income support, increasing from 42 properties in 2023 to 148 properties in 2024.
  • Private rentals dry up for the most vulnerable. There were no properties that met the affordability criteria for singles on Youth Allowance or JobSeeker, and just one property across all of Victoria which was affordable for someone reliant on the Disability Support Pension.
  • Median weekly rents have risen sharply in both metro and regional areas,3 per cent and 7 per cent respectively. Median rent in metropolitan Melbourne was $600 per week, regional Victoria was $470 per week.

Anglicare Victoria’s 2024 Rental Affordability Snapshot (RAS), conducted as part of the national snapshot undertaken by Anglicare Australia, examined 12,845 rental listings advertised on Saturday 16 March 2024 across 32 local government areas (LGAs) in metropolitan Melbourne and 45 LGAs in regional Victoria.

Read the full report here.

For an interview or photo opportunity with an Anglicare Victoria spokesperson, or to discuss a possible case study, please contact Anglicare Media on 0419 035 117 or email

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