With Perth’s median house price now at $540,000 and an average rental cost of $430 per week (REIWA market update, June 2015), finding affordable accommodation has become increasingly difficult. This has meant that people on low incomes, the elderly, single parent families and people with disabilities often struggle to pay their rent and have enough money left to live on.
Anglicare WA’s Community Perceptions Report 2015: Public Housing and Homelessness was based on a survey of 1,031 Western Australians located across the State to investigate Western Australian’s attitudes and experiences of public housing and homelessness.
Misperceptions about public housing can be attributed in part to media attention on the small number of problematic tenants in the community, along with a lack of understanding about the kind of people who live in public housing. In fact, approximately 60% of public housing tenants are seniors and people with disabilities.
The proportion of public housing in Western Australia is relatively small at 4% of all housing and the vast majority of public housing tenants are everyday people just trying to get on with their lives. Some people may be surprised to learn that a massive 97% of tenants living in public housing in FY2015-16 didn’t have a single disruptive behaviour strike issued against them.
When you consider this statistic, it is clear that the amount of people who abuse the system and become disruptive is small. The vast majority of people in social housing are grateful for the housing assistance they receive during their time of need, and treat the homes with respect and care.