A new report has revealed almost half of all Bendigo renters are experiencing financial stress.
The report, from Everybody's Home, provides a breakdown of financial and housing stress by federal electorate.
It found that 43.1 per cent of renters in the Bendigo electorate were in financial stress.
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Since the beginning of the pandemic the issue of housing affordability has dominated headlines across the region, however a solution has not been found.
Despite local refuge's filling up, Bendigo council continues to attempt to pass legislation to move on rough sleepers.
But why are there no houses?
Research from last year indicated housing affordability challenges in regional Australia have been exacerbated by the pandemic as 'normalised remote work trends' and 'appealing tree change settings' became pull factors to the regions.
A report released in December by CoreLogic showed between March 2020 and March 2021, relocation from cities to regions increased by 5.9 per cent, while it decreased by 3.5 per cent from regions to cities.
Bendigo housing service Haven Home Safe (HHS) said it experienced nearly double the number of people (680) contacting the service for rental support in the first three months of this year, compared with the same period pre-COVID (360 in 2019).
As rental markets tighten across the region, HHS manager Rachel Gellatly said the service has seen a sharp increase in demand from people who wouldn't normally access their services.
"We've definitely seen an increase in people who are employed coming to us," she said.
"That's been pretty consistent over the last four years, but particularly since the beginning of the pandemic as we've seen a move to the regions."
HHS also provides affordable social housing to clients across Victoria and Ms Gellatly said the service had seen a sharp increase in demand for immediate housing too.
In November 2020, the Victorian government committed $5.3 billion to building 12,000 new affordable housing dwellings - the biggest spend on social housing in the state's history.
A quarter of the funding will be spent in regional areas, including Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong.
"This is a really fantastic investment," Ms Gellatly said, "what we really need to see is more into regional affordable housing."
At a national level, the federal opposition is pushing for housing affordability issues to be addressed in the upcoming federal budget, and housing services are calling for a national housing strategy.
"That type of strategy is really needed," said Ms Gellatly, "we need something that sets out a long term view on investment in social affordable housing."
To view housing statistics in your electorate or to read the report head here.
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