EXTRACT from an article by Jenny Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Council to Homeless Persons
Overwhelmingly, people resort to marginal housing for two reasons. Firstly, because they do not have the financial means to access suitable forms of housing, and secondly because sufficient affordable private rental or accessible social housing is not available.
The first of these reasons results from the inadequacy of Australia’s social security payments, and changes in our labour market. These labour market changes have created a growing population of people who are ‘working poor’ and who receive inadequate and/or irregular wages. The viability of marginal housing is only made possible by structural poverty.
The second of these reasons is due to the failure of the housing market to provide sufficient affordable housing and the failure of government policy to provide adequate levels of accessible social housing.
Essentially the demand for marginal housing exists because of the failure of government policy. Unfortunately, however, people living in substandard housing with insecure tenancies has become a normalised and embedded part of the Australian housing landscape.
Equally unfortunately, Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) are forced to access marginal housing because much more often than not, they have nowhere else to refer people who are homeless or in housing crisis.
This editorial originally appeared in the September 2018 edition of Parity: Marginal Housing: Where to From Here?
SOURCE: Smith, Jenny. “Marginal Housing: Substandard, insecure and increasingly normalised.” Council to Homeless Persons, September 2018.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia