Permanently increasing the Jobseeker payment would make up to three times the number of rental properties affordable for people on low incomes, a new report reveals.
Prior to the payment's increase, almost no properties across the state were affordable for those looking for work or earning the minimum wage.
Anglicare Victoria's Rental Affordability Snapshot surveyed almost 20,000 rental listings across the state on March 21, including 438 rental properties listed in Ballarat.
It showed only 24 of those properties in Ballarat were considered affordable for people on regular income support.
The number of properties considered affordable in Ballarat rose to 262 for people who received income support with the additional coronavirus supplement.
Tough times are ahead post-coronavirus, and we must ensure our most vulnerable aren't hit the hardest.Paul McDonald, Anglicare Victoria
The income support payment for a single person with no children is $565.70 a fortnight.
The coronavirus supplement is an additional $550 a fortnight, available from late April for six months for those without a job due to COVID-19.
Anglicare Victoria chief executive Paul McDonald said the Jobseeker payment rise must be made permanent and available to everyone on government payments.
"Our most vulnerable Victorians have lived through a decade of disadvantage," he said.
"The COVID-19 crisis shows us now, more than ever, that everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home - especially during a health emergency."
The Rental Affordability Snapshot showed couples with two children on the Jobseeker payment in Ballarat had much great access to affordable housing while receiving the coronavirus supplement - the percentage of houses considered affordable for that group rose from zero to 52 per cent.
However only one or two properties out of the 438 in Ballarat were considered affordable for singles on income support, even with the additional coronavirus supplement.
Mr McDonald said the small increase in the number of properties available to people on income support was a good start, but more needed to be done to improve rental affordability long-term.
"Tough times are ahead post-coronavirus, and we must ensure our most vulnerable aren't hit the hardest," he said.
The report also calls for greater government investment in social and public housing, work to make more public housing available for parents and children leaving family violence and for state-funded out of home care to be made available to young people up to 21 years of age.
Across Victoria, just 94 rentals out of 19,435, less than one per cent, are affordable for a person on the coronavirus Jobseeker payment.
Without the coronavirus supplement, zero rental properties out of a possible 19,435 would be affordable for a single person household.
The report shows pensioners and people with a disability have been left behind, with no increase to their support payments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Rental Affordability Snapshot defines an affordable rental as one which costs less than 30 per cent of the household's total income.
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