There were no rental properties available in Bendigo that were affordable for a single person on JobSeeker payments, an annual survey has found.
For its affordability snapshot, Anglicare Victoria analysed the number and cost of rental properties advertised online.
It then measures whether the homes would be affordable for various groups of people on low incomes.
The results for Greater Bendigo were stark - the number of affordable properties for households on the minimum wage was down 53 per cent on last year.
That downward trend was apparent across country Victoria and Anglicare attributed much of the shift to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This is almost certainly attributable to the extended COVID-19 lockdown in the Melbourne metro areas during July-October 2020 that forced people to avoid the CBD for work and stay at home most of the time," the agency said in its report.
"It appears to have resulted in many people re-locating to regional locations which were subject to more relaxed restrictions on movement, gatherings and commerce."
Homelessness support agency Haven; Home, Safe said it was seeing the effects of that migration in regional areas.
"Affordable properties are [available] in Mildura and Geelong and Bendigo and all areas in which we operate, and that may be so, but the issue we're seeing is that this doesn't actually appease the 40,50 or 60 people that are all vying for that one property of affordability," Haven's deputy chief executive Trudi Ray said.
There were 151 properties advertised in Greater Bendigo and of those just six were "affordable and appropriate for households receiving welfare payments".
Even so, that was enough for the municipality to rank the city ninth in the list of most affordable local government areas in country Victoria.
But Bendigo was facing a range of concerns, Ms Ray said, including tight housing supply, a lack of new land and increasing rents - Anglicare found that average rents in the region were now almost on par with those in Melbourne.
The state government has promised $85 million for new social housing in Greater Bendigo and Ms Ray said that would help ease the problems.
"We've started working with local governments, partners, etc to start working through plans," she said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.