MORE government action is needed to boost the number of rental properties in the region, a leading support service says.
While the median vacancy rate for Melbourne last month was 2.2 per cent, the latest data from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria showed Bendigo had a rental vacancy rate of 1.4 per cent.
A sustainable vacancy rate should be around the four or five per cent mark.
"We just need more housing," Haven; Home, Safe chief executive Ken Marchingo AM said. "At the end of the day, we do not have enough housing. The situation is getting worse."
Haven; Home, Safe provides housing support to more than 9000 people across the state each year.
But Mr Marchingo said there was not enough long-term accommodation available to those who needed it.
"We will house in short-term housing, perhaps 4000 to 5000 people over the year," Mr Marchingo said.
"In any given day or any given week, we're probably housing more than 100 people - often for a few days or a week.
"We will house about 1000 families permanently over the course of the year and that's a good thing."
The Real Estate Institute of Victoria is also pushing for change in the rental market.
"With the average vacancy rate across regional Victoria on just 1.6 per cent, we are urgently in need of more rental properties on the market to keep up with the rising demand," REIV chief executive Gil King said.
"We have received many reports of homes being taken off the market, which has increased housing demand further."
Mr Marchingo said more people were also struggling around this time of year as the festive season, bills, and school holidays added to the financial strain.
"Everybody who feels outraged by this; everybody who has children moving out for the first time and suddenly discovers there are no rental properties out there; everybody who has grown up families who are struggling to find somewhere to rent - it's not just them," he said.
"This is endemic across Australia at the moment and our governments - state and federal - are all to blame."
Mr Marchingo urged residents to petition politicians at all levels of government.
"Our governments, regardless of political persuasion, have been largely negligent in this space," he said. "People are now seeing their children who can't find somewhere to rent.
"We're seeing people who are living in the most appalling circumstances because there is just not enough rental properties."
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