More help needed to pay for a home

By Contributor

Homes Out West’s housing services manager Matt Boxell has echoed calls for the Federal Government to increase the NewStart payment.

Deniliquin St Vincent de Paul volunteer Daphne Greaves highlighted earlier this week that the payment — which for most people is $540 a fortnight — means there’s not much left after paying for rent or accommodation.

She also said of the 76 requests for assistance received by St Vincent de Paul in April, 10 were from people officially considered homeless.

‘‘What is evident in the social housing sector is that when welfare payments fall short of the basic standard of living cost, pressure is put on families to make difficult decisions during times of hardship, such as whether to pay the rent, electricity bill or car registration,’’ Mr Boxell said.

‘‘Not paying rent, even in social housing, puts a person’s sustainability of housing at risk.

‘‘Providing affordable, safe and sustainable housing options is at the heart of what we do as a community housing provider.

‘‘Affordable social housing has been demonstrated to benefit not only the individual, but the family and community as well. We provide these options in Deniliquin and other communities including Albury, Moulamein, Finley, Tocumwal, Jerilderie, Berrigan, Dareton, Balranald, Wentworth and Moama.’’

Mr Boxell encouraged those interested in exploring their options in social housing or the private market to have a discussion with the Homes Out West team.

‘‘To be eligible for social housing, you must first be registered on the New South Wales Housing Register and our client services officers can guide an applicant through this process,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a sad truth that there is just not enough social housing stock or crisis accommodation spaces in New South Wales to meet the current demand.

‘‘The social housing sector is pushing our message to the government that more needs to be done to meet the housing crisis.’’

Mr Boxell said client services officers work to be as proactive as possible in identifying where a tenant may be struggling financially, as debt can quickly accumulate when rent payments stop.

Homes Out West does not provide financial assistance, but can act as a referral service with a tenant’s permission.

‘‘We make referrals to Vinnies Services and Link2Home where homelessness is an issue, and locally there are a range of support programs that are administered by Intereach,’’ Mr Boxell said.

For those eligible for social housing, an application process ensures those in need are placed on the Housing NSW Register. But with limited stock available locally, wait times could be several months.

Homes Out West is located at 139 End St, Deniliquin and is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. You can make an appointment to speak with a client services officer by calling 58814182.

Vinnies Services is located at 74 Wellington St, Deniliquin and can be contacted on 58817411 and Intereach is located in Trickett St, Deniliquin and can be contacted on 1300488226.