Public housing list eases

WHILE Bendigo's public housing waiting list has dropped, St Luke’s say emergency housing services remain strained due to a lack of affordable housing in the region. 

Just over 1000 people applied for public housing in Bendigo in the December 2013 quarter - 51 less than the September quarter. 

The statewide public housing waiting list has fallen to its lowest level since June 2007, with an overall reduction of 492 to 33,916 in the December quarter compared with 34,408 in the September quarter.

St Luke’s client services director Grant Gibson said there was a clear lack of affordable and available housing in the greater Bendigo region. 

"This is especially for people who are on Newstart, Youth Allowance and Single Parenting Payments," he said. 

“The fact remains that low-income households are still unable to afford housing in our real estate market, and this situation impacts on the availability of emergency housing offered to people in our community impacted by disadvantage.

"While suitable housing remains out of reach for many people in the Bendigo community, for those currently living in sub-standard dwellings, the pressure will have increasing impact on other areas of their lives."

St Luke’s called on the federal government to commission a high level review into rental affordability for low income households across regional Australia.

Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said there was a lot of work going on in Bendigo to address the issue. 

"The community organisations are to be commended on providing for the most vulnerable in our community," she said. 

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards could not be reached last night. 

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