Angelina (fake name for privacy reasons) is currently a UNSW Student suffering from rental stress, meaning that she spends more than 25 per cent of her income on rent.
Describe your current situation. Do you work/study? Are you an international or local student?
I am currently a local student and I work part-time and study full-time. I am renting a unit in the South-West and I currently reside with my mum and sister who all contribute to help pay for the rent.
Do you currently spend majority of your income on rent? If your parents help you out, do you think you would have been able to rent a property without their assistance?
I currently spend all my Youth Allowance to help my mother out on rent. Without the contribution of my Youth Allowance, we would not be able to afford daily necessities as all of our income would be directed towards paying rent for the week
How often do you have to sacrifice daily necessities in order to meet the weekly rent requirement?
As our rent remains a fixed amount, we have to budget on how we spend on our necessities based around our rent. However, working part-time allows me to be able to afford and cover any extra costs on daily necessities if needed.
Do you have to work and study at the same time in order to be able to afford renting a home in Sydney.
Yes, I do have to work and study at the same time in order to afford renting as renting is quite expensive in Sydney and that working allows me to cover any extra expenses such as water, electricity, gas and phone bills. Additionally, we spend about 70% of our budget to pay for rent and the rest of our budget is to pay for other expenses.
Does the Government currently provide you with any rent assistance?
Government provides us with rent assistance under the Family Tax Benefit Scheme. However, the rent assistance only subsidies about 15% of our fortnightly rent payment and the rest we pay from our own income.
If you had a few words for the Government, what would they be?
I would definitely say to them that the Rent Assistance rates, I believe do not reflect upon the current rising rent rates in Sydney. I believe that they should help provide us with further assistance or modify the rent assistance rates as currently you receive a maximum payment rate only if your fortnightly rent is MORE than $357.38. That is about $180 per week on rent which I don’t believe reflect the current rates in the rental market. To rent a unit/house $180 is quite rare as only houses like that are found out of the city suburbs and living in those suburbs that would decrease our opportunity for work and study due to the long distance. So definitely working on the Rent Assistance Scheme to provide assistance to those who need it should definitely looked into in and modifying rates to reflect upon the current rental market.
Let us know your thoughts on Angelina’s story! Do you think the Government should do something?
-Roof Us First