A Submission
to the Queensland Government
in the Lead-up to the 1999 State Budget

 

Housing-related Poverty
in Queensland
at a Time of Growing Need

(Policy and Budget Allocation Implications)

Prepared by:
A Coalition of Direct Service Providers
and Community Development Agencies
associated with the Social Action Office
(Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes, Queensland)

February 1999

 

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures
Introduction
Executive Summary
Summary of Suggested Outcomes

  1. Exploring Housing-related Poverty
  2. Housing Costs in Relation to Income - Focus on Queensland
  3. Housing Suitability
  4. Housing Insecurity
  5. Housing Support Issues
  6. Regional Case Study - Housing Needs in the Mackay and Whitsunday Region
  7. Conclusion

Appendix
List of References

 

 

List of Tables and Figures

TABLES

Table 2.1 The Incidence and Rate of Poverty in Queensland, by Income Unit Type, 'Before Housing' and 'After Housing', 1990 and 1995

Table 2.2 Poverty in Queensland - Total of Income Units, Adults and Children, 1990 and 1995

Table 2.3 The Incidence and Rate of Poverty in Australia, by State, 'Before Housing' and 'After Housing', 1990 and 1995

Table 2.4 The Structure of Poverty in Queensland, 1995, 'Before Housing' and 'After Housing”

FIGURES

Figure 2.1 Increase in the Poverty Rate of Single People Under 25, 1990 to 1995 (Before and After Housing)

Figure 2.2 Increase in the Poverty Rate of Single People, 25-44, 1990 to 1995 (Before and After Housing)

Figure 2.3 Increase in the Poverty Rate of Aged Singles in Queensland 1990 to 1995 (Before and After Housing)

Figure 2.4 Increase in the Poverty Rate of Aged Couples in Queensland 1990 to 1995 (Before and After Housing)

Figure 2.5 'After Housing' Poverty Rates for Family Types in 1995

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Introduction

This submission is focused on the fact that there are a significant number of Queenslanders who are living in material circumstances below the poverty line and that this situation is unacceptably low in comparison to general community standards. The estimates presented in this submission put this at nearly a half million Queenslanders, of which around one-third are children. Further, the incidence and rate of poverty in Queensland are continuing to increase.

A government's annual budget is an indicator of the priorities of that government. It is our contention that people who are at an economic and social disadvantage in a society are special stakeholders in any government's budget and that their concerns should be clearly highlighted in budget priorities. For many years in Queensland we have witnessed State budgets which have placed a low priority on the less advantaged. Expenditure on key areas of social welfare and social housing continues to fall well below national benchmarks. For example, Queensland Shelter (1998) has noted that Queensland has less than 4% of public housing stock as a proportion of the State's total housing stock. This compares with the national average of 6% public housing stock. We therefore seek a turn around in budget priorities to remedy this situation.

While we support strongly the Beattie Government's emphasis on jobs and job creation, we hold to the view that jobs alone will not overcome the difficulties faced by many in the Queensland community who are on the economic and social margins. In particular, we have identified suitable, secure and affordable housing, along with jobs that provide a living wage, as essential ingredients in overcoming socio-economic disadvantage in this State. This was a central message arising from the 1995 report Drawing the Line on Poverty: An Assessment of Poverty and Disadvantage in Queensland (QCOSS).

This submission, therefore, focuses on housing-related poverty as a factor needing urgent attention in Queensland.

We recognise the pressures on State Governments at a time of growing social need. We especially acknowledge the demands of providing services in a large, decentralised State and of having to 'make up' for many decades of under-resourcing of regions.

We also acknowledge that State-Commonwealth relationships are facing a time of change, notably with the advent of major taxation reform and the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). We know that there are many unknowns in this regard. Of particular concern to us is the future of the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement (CSHA) and what becomes of 'tied' grants for social housing.

While acknowledging that this complex environment poses constraints and uncertainty for the State Government, we ask that this not deter the Government from taking account of the issues raised here and from working with us to find ways of addressing these.

Principally, the policy issues we are raising here come from those in our networks who are working in direct service and community development at the grassroots local level with many vulnerable people who are struggling against difficult odds. The content and suggested outcomes of this submission largely reflect the stories and experience of these people. Given this, the submission does not canvass issues for all population groups who experience housing-related poverty. Notwithstanding this, it is our belief that many of the issues raised here reflect the reality of all socially and economically vulnerable groups in this State.

Finally, the vision of society that informs this submission is influenced by our Christian beliefs. In particular, we take account of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. These principles can be summarised as:

In this decade when dry economics dominates the public policy discourse it is not fashionable to promote such principles. However, knowing that the Beattie Government's stated pre-election policy framework is to bring 'social rationalism' into balance with 'economic rationalism' we feel confident about bringing these principles into play with current policy formulation, program development, implementation and evaluation.

Our central request is that the State Budget in 1999:

 

Marlette Black PBVM, Coralie Kingston, Michele Bourke, Cathy O'Keeffe PBVM
Social Action Office (Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes, Queensland)

Karyn Walsh Project Micah Inc
(Saint Mary's, South Brisbane)

Margaret Skehan PBVM
Presentation Family Support Centre (Presentation Sisters)

Mary Sayer
Onsite, Edmund Rice Social Ministries (Christian Brothers)

Catherine Hefferan RSM
Anawim Communities (Sisters of Mercy)

Pat Wood RSM
Mackay Mercy May Day Group

Anne Manning RGS
Good Shepherd Sisters, Goodna

Annette Arnold RSJ
Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (Brisbane Archdiocese)

Rosemary Grundy PBVM
Presentation Sister, Elorac House, Carole Park

Denise Foley
Catholic Prison Ministry

February 1999

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Executive Summary

This submission reflects the concerns of a coalition of grassroots organisations who, on a day-to-day basis, serve many vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Queensland. The concerns raised here are, therefore, grounded in daily experience, and the suggested outcomes included here are the result of reflection on this.

The leadership of the Beattie Government in working to reduce unemployment across Queensland is admirable. However, of itself, this policy orientation will not lift the socio-economic stress experienced by many low-income Queenslanders. Access to secure, suitable and affordable housing must be addressed in efforts to reduce poverty and disadvantage.

Housing-related poverty is a multi-faceted phenomenon facing many Queenslanders because:

The efforts made by State Government Departments, especially the Department of Housing and the Department of Families, Youth and Community Care, to provide housing and housing support services in Queensland are applauded. However, we are in a time of growing need and more is needed to begin to address this adequately.

The incidence and rate of poverty in Queensland has increased in the period 1990 to 1995 so that, on the basis of the most recent figures, the 'before housing' poverty rate is 22.3% and the 'after housing' poverty rate is 20.2%.

Statistics used in this submission reveal a decline in the rate of poverty among Queensland's children. Partly, this can be attributed to targeted family support initiatives. This demonstrates that, with political will, poverty can be alleviated.

An increasing number of Queenslanders experience 'housing stress' because a high proportion of their disposable incomes goes towards paying housing costs. For example, young people under 25 years of age are one population group vulnerable to 'housing stress' - in 1995 the 'after housing' poverty rate for this income unit group was 37.3%, much higher than the 'before housing' poverty rate of 32.6%. This means that housing costs are a significant factor forcing young people into poverty.

The regional case study (Mackay and Whitsunday) included here raises important regional issues about housing-related poverty.

Department of Housing social housing programs are vital in providing secure and affordable housing for people on low incomes.

There is a growing need for more affordable housing, suitably designed and targeted for specific population groups.

While the expansion of social housing programs is advocated here, it is acknowledged that rental subsidies may become, increasingly, an effective part of a mixed-model of housing assistance to low-income groups. This option is not canvassed directly in this submission but its importance in meeting housing assistance needs is not under question.

There are a growing number of vulnerable people with high support needs who are struggling to secure and maintain their housing - with flexible, individually-focused planned support the vulnerability of such people would be lessened; depending upon the need, this support can be categorised as (i) housing support and (ii) planned specialist support.

Much more inter-departmental cooperation is needed to address the complex needs of a growing number of vulnerable people in the Queensland community.

Many people on low incomes have no other option but to find housing in the private rental market and this often has the effect of trapping them in poverty because private rents are high.

This submission outlines a number of suggested outcomes, which, if considered and adopted by the State Government, would go a fair way in alleviating housing-related poverty in Queensland.

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Summary of Suggested Outcomes

 

Housing Costs in Relation to Income - Focus on Queensland

1. That the Queensland Government continue its role in the provision of social housing for the most vulnerable low-income earners in the State.

2. That the Queensland Government through the Department of Housing continue to expand public housing stock to bring it up to the national average of 6% of housing stock. This should be projected in budget spending to reach this target no later than the end of 2000.

3. That the range of services provided through the Private Housing Assistance Program in the Department of Housing be continued and extended to meet growing socio-economic needs in Queensland.

4. That the socio-economic circumstances facing older people in Queensland be monitored by the Office of Ageing to ensure that effective policies, especially in relation to affordable and secure housing, are implemented to mitigate against poverty, especially as the population ages.

 

Housing Suitability

1. That the Department of Housing continue to give priority to housing programs targeted at vulnerable people and that the development of such programs be done in such a way as to engage the views and perceptions of client groups, such as people suffering mental illness, so that the housing provided is suitable for their circumstances.

2. That the Boarding House Program (BHP) be continued and expanded through Community Housing Programs.

3. That the new Department of Corrective Services liaise with the Department of Housing to ensure that adequate assistance regarding the availability and suitability of housing and related support be given to people coming out of prison. This could be a cost-effective priority in crime prevention strategies being developed by the Beattie Government.

4. That circumstances of elderly people living in caravan parks be investigated by the Office of Ageing in the Department of Families, Youth and Community Care.

5. That an integrated package of support services be provided to families with children living in caravan parks. This would involve a cross-departmental approach such as that developed by the Onsite Project.

6. That more social housing options be made available for single young people.

7. That the principle of 'social mix' continues to inform public housing policy and program development.

 

Housing Insecurity

1. That separate residential tenancies legislation be enacted to cover tenancies in boarding houses.

2. That the Residential Tenancies Authority continue to resource education programs for caravan park tenants regarding their tenancy rights and, as well, monitor relationships between owners and tenants to assess if legislative change is required to enhance tenants' rights.

3. That personal safety considerations be incorporated into all social housing design and construction undertaken by the Department of Housing.

4. That the Department of Housing allocate funds to undertake a Queensland-wide study of low-income earners who have to rely on the private rental market to meet their housing needs, and that this study be used to inform policy interventions which would alleviate the housing stress many low-income earners experience in the private rental market because of their vulnerable financial circumstances. This could be designed to inform policy debate on the effectiveness of rental subsidies to meet the needs of low-income groups.

 

Housing Support Issues

1. That the Department of Families, Youth and Community Care fund more CISP and FSW positions in local community agencies to provide support to vulnerable families in flexible, client-focused ways.

2. That the inter-departmental support model proposed in 5.4 be taken up by the respective departments and piloted in five regions of Queensland.

3. That SAAP services be extended to encompass support for families and individuals living in caravan parks and that this be linked into an integrated service model such as the one developed by the Onsite Project.

4. That the model of support developed by Micah Inc for people with high needs living in boarding houses be developed jointly by the Department of Families, Youth and Community Care, the Department of Housing and the Department of Health.

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1. Exploring Housing-related Poverty

Overview

This part of the submission explores what is meant by housing-related poverty. This is an essential precursor for the discussion that will follow and for the suggested outcomes that flow from this. The relationship between poverty and housing is complex and encompasses a number of critical factors, namely housing costs in relation to income, housing suitability, housing insecurity and housing support issues. These factors are considered in this exploration of housing-related poverty.

 

1.1 Housing Costs in Relation to Income

In 1995, the data analysis undertaken as part of the Queensland Poverty Research Project affirmed the link between poverty and housing. The final report, Drawing the Line on Poverty: An Assessment of Poverty and Disadvantage in Queensland, stated:

This study affirms the critical importance of low-cost housing to assist those who are materially disadvantaged. It is often said that 'the best form of welfare is a job'. To this could be added 'the best form of welfare is a job and access to affordable housing'. (1995:81)

Of course, in making the link between poverty and housing, this report was only stating what had been assumed in social policy circles for decades. In particular, the Commission of Inquiry into Poverty, initiated by the McMahon Government in 1972 and continued by the Whitlam Government, included housing, along with employment and income security, as one of the three 'social goods' needed to overcome poverty.

Housing is the largest single consumption item faced by most households. Consequently, there is no question that housing costs impact on the material circumstances of people and, depending upon the ratio of housing costs to income, can contribute to either housing-related poverty or relative material well-being. In recognition of this, the assessment of poverty and disadvantage in Queensland undertaken by the Queensland Poverty Research Project in 1994-95 used the Henderson Poverty Line (HPL)(1), which incorporates 'before housing' and 'after housing' costs in poverty line calculations. These 'before housing' and 'after housing' poverty line figures are designed to demonstrate the impact of housing costs, notably rental, mortgage and local government rate costs, on disposable incomes.

This distinction is described more fully below (King, 1998:74):

(i) an income unit is said to be in 'before housing' poverty if its after-tax income is below the 'before housing' poverty line which applies to it;

(ii) an income unit is said to be in 'after housing' poverty when both tax and housing costs are deducted and income falls below the applicable 'after housing' poverty line.

The following illustrates the significance of this distinction. When the total income of an income unit is considered, a single aged pensioner for example, it may fall below the 'before housing' poverty line. However, when housing costs are deducted and the income is then measured against the 'after housing' poverty line it may not fall below the poverty line. Housing costs, therefore, are central in determining whether or not the income unit is in poverty. If housing is affordable it reduces the likelihood of poverty for many. Conversely, if housing costs are excessive, in relation to income, the opposite applies. The HPL takes this into account.

A generally accepted benchmark for housing costs is 25 percent of disposable income (Brotherhood of St Laurence, 1995:1). If housing costs move significantly beyond this, up to 30 percent of disposable income and above, economic stress and poverty are likely to be the consequence. Policy discourse names this as 'housing stress'. The economic stress associated with excessively high housing costs is one critical factor in housing-related poverty. It is generally accepted that low-income households in private rental housing are more likely than others to experience 'housing stress'.

The Private Rental Trap

Brisbane battlers are paying among the highest private rents among low-income earners along Australia's east coast. About seven in ten families with an average net weekly income of $283 are caught in the private rental trap and struggling to meet payments of up to $258 a fortnight in Brisbane. This housing situation has become so dire for some that one in three move once or more a year in search of cheaper, more suitable accommodation. The move incurs additional costs such as bond payments, advance rent, removalists and phone and electricity reconnections.

Taken from: The Courier-Mail report on a Smith Family Study - 2 June 1998

The relationship between income and housing costs will be explored more fully in the following section of this submission, setting a socio-economic context for considering policy issues surrounding housing-related poverty in Queensland.

 

1.2 Housing Suitability

Housing-related poverty is multi-dimensional and encompasses housing suitability. This includes consideration of matters such as the appropriateness of housing for specific population groups, substandard housing, and overcrowding (Burke, 1998:166). While data on this aspect of housing-related poverty are not easy to access, it is acknowledged that some of the most vulnerable people in society are having to contend with housing-related poverty in terms of both (i) insufficient income to purchase housing and (ii) unsuitable and inadequate, poor quality housing. For many, these factors are exacerbated by the fact that housing security is often not assured in such circumstances.

Housing Suitability

In Queensland, 12.8% of caravan residents are sole parents with dependent children compared with 10.1% of the general population. While some may choose this type of housing, many such families have no other choice. Caravan parks are emerging as a form of social housing for people 'who have nowhere else to go'. This housing option leaves a lot to be desired for family living and raising children - for example, overcrowding, poor lighting and lack of privacy are an inadequate environment for study and homework and this can contribute to children truanting and missing out on important educational opportunities. Further, caravan park residents can be evicted with forty-eight hours' notice.

Taken from: Onsite-Caravan Park Communities, Volume 1 Key Policy Issues

These aspects of housing-related poverty will be raised later in the submission when particular consideration is given to specific population groups, especially those living in caravan parks and boarding houses.

 

1.3 Housing Insecurity

Housing insecurity is an ingredient in housing-related poverty and encompasses a number of inter-connected factors: (i) the capacity to sustain an adequate income to pay housing costs, (ii) job security, (iii) limited length of tenure for those in private rental, (iv) tenancy laws, and (v) issues of personal safety.

Secure Tenure

(i) Currently, the standard tenure of private rental housing is 6-12 months, which does not allow people to build stability and security into their lives. Longer tenure also reduces the costs associated with moving frequently.

Taken from: Council for Homeless Persons - 1997-98
Budget Submission to the Federal Government

(ii) When a good long-term tenant who has been paying the same rent for a period of a year or more gives notice, the landlord will reconsider the amount he or she is charging against market rents that are being advertised in the paper. Generally the landlord will test the market by advertising the property at a higher rent - unless there are high rental vacancy rates. Given that many people who have run out of time to find new accommodation may be willing to accept a higher rent in preference to temporary homelessness, the landlord will generally be able to raise the rent for each new letting.

Taken from: The Housing Factor - tough choices for low-income earners,
The Smith Family, June 1998, pp 19-20.

1.4 Housing Support Issues

While physical shelter is absolutely critical it is a truism that 'a home is more than a house'. In other words, people need basic social supports and access to supportive networks to augment their physical housing. This requires policy-makers to make a deeper assessment of what a home means. One definition states that:

it is a matter of space and place, which involves a sense of belonging within a sustainable community. (Burke, 1998:296)

This is apparent when considering the social needs of many population groups in the community. The elderly, for example, are an obvious group who require specific support systems to maintain that 'sense of belonging to a sustainable community'. Many other population groups also have specific support needs without which it would be difficult, if not impossible, for them to function autonomously.

It is critical to distinguish between long-term support needs and immediate and/or short-term support needs. The recent Queensland Crisis Accommodation Program Review (1998) reaffirmed the desirability of working towards a client-focused 'housing assistance continuum' capable of responding to the individual needs of vulnerable people, either homeless for one reason or another or at risk of homelessness. This continuum would encompass (i) crisis housing assistance, (ii) transitional housing assistance, and (iii) ongoing housing assistance. While acknowledging administrative impediments, the report proposed a repackaging of current support programs combined with greater flexibility to meet this policy objective, and, therefore, to meet more effectively the housing support needs of many vulnerable people in the community.

Housing Support

It is estimated that between 33% and 50% of boarding house and hostel tenants have high support needs at any one time.

Taken from: Report of Inner-City Boarding House Project, Micah Inc

Support issues will constitute a central part of the suggested outcomes of this submission.

 

1.5 Conclusion

As explored here, housing-related poverty is not just about the relationship of housing costs to income. As well as adequacy of income it also encompasses other inter-related factors: housing suitability, housing insecurity and important housing support issues. This submission will address these facets of housing-related poverty in the sequence followed in this section, namely:

Endnote

(1) The Henderson Poverty Line (HPL) is generally referred to simply as 'the poverty line'. This was used in the first main report to the Commission of Enquiry into Poverty (1975) and has been updated regularly by the Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (IAESR) at the University of Melbourne ever since. The updated estimates are calculated quarterly and, since 1981, have been based on increases in seasonally adjusted household disposable income per capita. In short, poverty lines are income levels calculated to provide benchmarks for an adequate standard of living for various income units or household groups. If the income of an income unit is less than the poverty line applicable to it, then the income unit is considered to be in poverty. The basic 'reference family' for calculating the poverty line is a couple with two children with one adult only in the workforce. Once the poverty line for the 'reference family' is established, equivalence scales are used to estimate poverty lines for other income units.

In this context, an income unit is defined as the unit within which income is shared so as to meet the collective needs of the individuals who constitute that unit. This encompasses family types and individuals living alone.

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2. Housing Costs in Relation to Income - Focus on Queensland

Overview

This part of the submission analyses the most recent Queensland-based poverty line statistics from the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC), University of New South Wales and compares them with the findings in the report Drawing the Line on Poverty: An Assessment of Poverty and Disadvantage in Queensland (QCOSS, 1995). The SPRC provided the recent data for the express purpose of comparison(1). This assessment and comparative analysis of 'before housing' and 'after housing' poverty in Queensland is a central part of this submission. These statistics provide a basis for assessing the extent to which housing costs are a factor in the incidence and rate of poverty in Queensland. The findings are supplemented with references to other relevant studies.

 

2.1 Introduction

A recent, though yet unpublished, Issues Paper (1999) by the Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) and the Social Action Office (SAO) has revealed that levels of poverty in Queensland have been increasing steadily for fourteen years (1999). In fact the most recent statistics from the SPRC (see Table 2.3) reveal that Queensland is the 'poverty' State of the nation, having the highest 'after housing' poverty rate of all the States in Australia (20.2%), above the national average (17.9%). The 'before housing' poverty rate (22.3%) is also above the national average (19.6%). This is an indication that many Queenslanders struggle to make ends meet and, in particular, to meet the cost of housing. This indicator alone points to extensive housing-related poverty in this State. This section of the submission explores this proposition.

 

2.2 Terminology

Before considering the tables employed for this State-based analysis, the following terms need to be defined (King, 1998:74):

 

2.3 Poverty in Queensland 1990-1995

2.3.1 The Increasing Incidence and Rate of Poverty, 1990 to 1995, in Both the 'Before Housing ' and 'After Housing' Poverty Categories

Table 2.1 provides a snapshot of poverty in Queensland by outlining the incidence and rate of poverty by income unit type. This encompasses both 'before housing' and 'after housing' poverty line figures and also allows for comparison with the earlier Queensland study, Drawing the Line on Poverty (QCOSS, 1995).

Overall, these figures reveal that 22.3% of income units in Queensland are living in 'before housing' poverty and 20.2% in 'after housing' poverty. This is a marked increase on the 1990 figures of 18.5% and 16.3% respectively.

Table 2.1: The Incidence and Rate of Poverty in Queensland, by Income Unit Type, 'Before Housing' and 'After Housing', 1990 and 1995

Source: ABS 1990 Survey of Income and Housing Costs and Amenities unit record file. Unpublished estimates by SPRC, revised April 1995; ABS 1995-96 Survey of Income and Housing Costs unit record files. Unpublished estimates by the SPRC, September 1998.

 

So, these figures show a clear increase in both 'before housing' and 'after housing' poverty across the State from 1990 to 1995. This Statewide increase in both poverty line categories is reflected in particular population groups as well. Table 2.1 identifies these as follows:

The situation facing these income unit groups is explored more fully in what follows.

Single people under 25

Figure 2.1 below shows the incidence and rate of poverty for this population group have increased in the period between 1990 and 1995. This is a very disturbing trend.

Figure 2.1: Increase in the Poverty Rate of Single People Under 25, 1990 to 1995 (Before and After Housing)

Source: Based on ABS 1990 Survey of Income and Housing Costs and Amenities unit record file. Unpublished estimates by SPRC, revised April 1995; ABS 1995-96 Survey of Income and Housing Costs unit record files. Unpublished estimates by the SPRC, September 1998.

 

Young single people are clearly highly vulnerable to poverty, having, in 1995, an 'after housing' poverty rate of 37.3%. The increase from 1990 (24.6%) more than suggests the growing socio-economic vulnerability of this population group. This is not surprising when considering that they figure significantly in unemployment figures and, even when in employment, are often in casual employment and on so-called 'youth wages'.

Moreover, in both 1990 and 1995 the 'after housing' figures were higher than the 'before housing' figures showing that housing costs figure prominently as a 'poverty' factor. Research indicates that their housing options are limited and that many are forced to rely on the private rental market to secure housing. (This is discussed in more detail in sections 3.5 and 4.3 of this submission). While a number of gains have been made in recent years to improve social housing options for this group a lot more need to be done. The regional case study included here in section 6 confirms this observation.

In short, housing is a key determinant in increasing poverty among single young people.

Single people under 25 are, increasingly, a 'high risk' poverty group,
with over one third living in 'after housing' poverty in Queensland in 1995.

Single people, 25-44

The rate and incidence of poverty has also increased for this aged category of single people over the period under consideration. Figure 2.2 demonstrates this.

Figure 2.2: Increase in the Poverty Rate of Single People, 25-44, 1990 to 1995 (Before and After Housing)

Source: Based on ABS 1990 Survey of Income and Housing Costs and Amenities unit record file. Unpublished estimates by SPRC, revised April 1995; ABS 1995-96 Survey of Income and Housing Costs unit record files. Unpublished estimates by the SPRC, September 1998.

 

Arguably, this category of people would include many vulnerable individuals. Again, as the 'after housing' poverty rate is higher than the 'before housing' poverty rate, the need for affordable housing emerges as a factor in alleviating and reducing poverty.

The aged

Table 2.1 reveals a surprising rise in the rate and incidence of poverty among the two aged categories in both 'before housing' and 'after housing'. Figure 2.3 and Figure 2.4 below highlight the increased poverty rate for both groups.

Figure 2.3: Increase in the Poverty Rate of Aged Singles in Queensland 1990 to 1995 (Before and After Housing)

Source: Based on ABS 1990 Survey of Income and Housing Costs and Amenities unit record file. Unpublished estimates by SPRC, revised April 1995; ABS 1995-96 Survey of Income and Housing Costs unit record files. Unpublished estimates by the SPRC, September 1998.

Figure 2.4: Increase in the Poverty Rate of Aged Couples in Queensland 1990 to 1995 (Before and After Housing)

Source: Based on ABS 1990 Survey of Income and Housing Costs and Amenities unit record file. Unpublished estimates by SPRC, revised April 1995; ABS 1995-96 Survey of Income and Housing Costs unit record files. Unpublished estimates by the SPRC, September 1998.

 

This sudden increase in poverty rates among the aged in Queensland is a concern that requires more scrutiny. Such a sharp increase goes against recent trends and, while not ignoring what has emerged here, must be investigated further to grasp its full significance.

Notwithstanding this, both Figure 2.3 and Figure 2.4 show the importance of access to affordable housing for the aged. The 'after housing' poverty rates for both aged singles and couples, in 1990 and 1995, is lower than the 'before housing' poverty rates; in some instances, considerably lower. Access to affordable housing has been a consistent factor in alleviating poverty among the aged. As the Queensland population ages this must continue to be monitored by policy-makers to avoid the risk of the aged becoming more susceptible to poverty.

Non-aged childless couples

This is another population group where the incidence and rate of poverty have increased quite significantly in both the 'before housing' and 'after housing' poverty categories in the designated period. Despite this, the positive feature here is that in both 1990 and 1995 the 'after housing' poverty rate is lower than the 'before housing' rate, highlighting again that housing costs impact, either positively or negatively, on levels of poverty.

2.3.2 The Incidence and Rate of Poverty for Families with Children, 1990 to 1995

Table 2.1 shows that while the incidence and rate of poverty for family groups has improved in five years the vulnerability of families to poverty, especially sole parent families, remains. It is surmised that this improvement can be credited largely to family payments and, possibly, greater rigor in ensuring maintenance payments in cases of family separation. However, it is interesting to note that in almost all instances, in 1990 and 1995, couple family types show an increase in the 'after housing' poverty rate. The exception is in 1990 in the 'couple, one child' category. Again, one explanation for this is the impact on families of housing costs, both rental and mortgage.

Figure 2.5 compares the 'after housing' poverty rate for family types in 1995. It shows that sole parent families are more likely to be in poverty than other family types.

Figure 2.5: 'After Housing' Poverty Rates for Family Types in 1995

Source: Based on ABS 1995-96 Survey of Income and Housing Costs unit record files. Unpublished estimates by the SPRC, September 1998.

 

2.3.3 Actual Population Numbers in Poverty

Table 2.2 adds a further dimension to the figures in Table 2.1, identifying actual numbers of adults and children living below the poverty line in Queensland with respective poverty rates. This table shows the total number of Queensland adults and children who are living in poverty, based on these statistics and compared with those used in Drawing the Line on Poverty.

Table 2.2: Poverty in Queensland - Total of Income Units, Adults and Children, 1990 and 1995(3)

Source: ABS 1990 Survey of Income and Housing Costs and Amenities unit record file. Unpublished estimates by SPRC, revised April 1995; ABS 1995-96 Survey of Income and Housing Costs unit record files. Unpublished estimates by the SPRC, September 1998.

 

While poverty rates for adults have increased in both 'before housing' and 'after housing', this table has some good news. The poverty rate and actual numbers of Queensland children living in households below the poverty line has decreased. In Drawing the Line on Poverty (1995) an alarming figure emerged - over 25% of all Queensland children were living in households below the poverty line 'after housing'. This appears to have been reduced to 18.9% - which is a significant decrease - around 7%. This probably reflects the improvement in the position of families with children through increases in the level of family support, demonstrating that poverty can be reduced if there is the political will! It may also reflect a shift in the population composition away from people with children. While this reduction in child poverty is heartening, there is still more to be done to relieve children from the indignity of poverty.

It is conjectured that the increase in adult rates is likely to reflect, in part, the increase in poverty for the single population of Queensland, especially young singles.

2.3.4 State Comparisons

Table 2.3 outlines the incidence and rate of poverty by State, incorporating 'before housing' and 'after housing', and again comparing the most recent SPRC statistics with those used in the 1995 report Drawing the Line on Poverty.

These figures for Queensland affirm a key finding of the 1995 report, namely, that Queensland continues to be a high poverty State - apart from Tasmania it still has the highest 'before housing' poverty rate in the country. In fact, the most recent 'after housing' figures reveal that Queensland has the highest poverty rate in Australia. This means that 'before housing' 22.3% of Queenslanders are likely to be living below the poverty line and 'after housing' 20.2% of Queenslanders are likely to be living below the poverty line. Both these poverty rates have increased, by almost 4%, since 1990.

This table reaffirms that the cost of housing is one of the most significant factors impacting on levels of poverty.

Table 2.3: The Incidence and Rate of Poverty in Australia, by State, 'Before Housing' and 'After Housing', 1990 and 1995

Source: ABS 1990 Survey of Income and Housing Costs and Amenities unit record file. Unpublished estimates by SPRC, revised April 1995; ABS 1995-96 Survey of Income and Housing Costs unit record files. Unpublished estimates by the SPRC, September 1998.

 

Both 'before housing' and 'after housing' poverty in Queensland continue to rise, with some population groups increasingly vulnerable. Access to affordable housing continues to be an essential ingredient in alleviating and arresting this upward trend.

 

2.4 The Structure of Poverty in Queensland - 1995

Table 2.4 outlines the structure of poverty in Queensland in 1995. It shows the proportion of various income unit types found in the composition of those living below the poverty line.

Table 2.4: The Structure of Poverty in Queensland, 1995, 'Before Housing' and 'After Housing'

Source: Based on ABS 1995-96 Survey of Income and Housing Costs unit record files. Unpublished estimates by the SPRC, September 1998.

 

The vulnerability of single people is highlighted here again. Overall, they constitute well over half the poor. Further, the proportion of single people under 25 and between 25 and 44 increases in the 'after housing' poverty category.

The aged, both singles and couples, make up 26.3% of the poor in 'before housing' poverty and 18.9% in 'after housing' poverty.

Various family units compose 21.7% and 24.7% of the poor in the 'before housing' and 'after housing' categories respectively.

 

2.5 Findings from Other Relevant Research

2.5.1 QCOSS Emergency Relief Findings

The financial stress under which many Queenslanders find themselves has been document-ed by the Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) in the 1998 report Queensland Battlers - Losing the Battle. This contains the results of a survey of agencies that distribute emergency relief in Queensland. The report demonstrated that many welfare agencies are experiencing an overwhelming demand for emergency relief assistance. For example:

58% of agencies surveyed reported increases for emergency relief of between 25% and 75%. One agency reported an increase of 300%. Another stated that over a thirteen-year period requests for support have risen from 80 to over 1000 requests per month.

Excessive accommodation costs featured strongly among the reasons for people seeking emergency relief. Over 10% of agencies cited accommodation costs as a reason for the increase in demand for assistance. This demonstrates how housing costs contribute to the financial crisis in which many in Queensland find themselves and the struggle they have to make ends meet on limited incomes.

2.5.2 Smith Family Findings

Last year the Smith Family undertook a study of housing costs and housing choices facing its many clients - whose numbers have doubled between 1990-91 and 1996-97. This study, entitled The Housing Factor - tough choices for low-income earners, included Brisbane. The findings of the Smith Family (1998:4) affirm the SPRC statistics and the QCOSS emergency relief findings:

2.5.3 Department of Housing (Queensland) Research

The findings of the Smith Family study are consistent with the Department of Housing's own conclusions about housing stress. In its most recent State Budget Statement (1998:2-1) the Department cites Department of Social Security (DSS) figures on low-income clients, namely that:

The Department also acknowledges the greater vulnerability of some population groups in being able to access affordable housing. The same document highlights that:

 

2.6 Conclusion

This section of the submission has sought to demonstrate that there are many low-income groups in Queensland who experience 'housing stress' because their incomes are inadequate. Housing costs reduce their disposable incomes and they are caught up in poverty, trapped in poverty. While the Department of Housing is making an important contribution to assisting this situation, the need is growing. Much more needs to be done.

Further, the incidence and rate of poverty continues to increase in Queensland. This State now has the highest 'after housing' poverty rate of all the States and Territories in Australia. If this trend continues into the next century, Queensland faces the prospect of an increasing social divide.

We call on the Queensland Government to give a lead in addressing this situation. We have noted the admirable policy objective of reducing unemployment. We also note the Government's efforts at crime prevention. We believe that what we have raised here is relevant to both:

We acknowledge that the current policy debate on support for low-income groups is canvassing the benefits of rental subsidies versus the development and expansion of public housing. We acknowledge the merits and constraints of both forms of housing assistance. However, here we advocate for more public housing provided by the Government. We have taken this position because Queensland still lags behind the national average in the provision of public housing. It is our view that this deficit should be addressed.

Suggested Outcomes

1. That the Queensland Government continue its role in the provision of social housing for the most vulnerable low-income earners in the State.

2. That the Queensland Government through the Department of Housing continue to expand public housing stock to bring it up to the national average of 6% of housing stock. This should be projected in budget spending to reach this target no later than the end of 2000.

3. That the range of services provided through the Private Housing Assistance Program in the Department of Housing be continued and extended to meet growing socio-economic needs in Queensland.

4. That the socio-economic circumstances facing older people in Queensland be monitored by the Office of Ageing to ensure that effective policies, especially in relation to affordable and secure housing, are implemented to mitigate against poverty, especially as the population ages.

Endnotes

(1) Published ABS poverty statistics differ slightly from the SPRC statistics because in calculating the Henderson equivalence scale they only give points for being in the work force to those who are in full-time work, or unemployed and looking for full-time work. This is consistent with the practice established by Henderson in 1974. The SPRC has tended to give points to all those in the work force regardless of full-time or part-time status, on the grounds that this reflects a more contemporary reality. The SPRC provided the Social Action Office with both sets of tables and the choice was made to use the SPRC tables so that comparisons can be made with data used in Drawing the Line on Poverty: An Assessment of Poverty and Disadvantage in Queensland (QCOSS, 1995). The ABS tables are attached in the Appendix. These have the effect of reducing poverty numbers and rates, but not by an enormous amount.

Both sets of figures reveal a disturbing level of poverty in Queensland. They also both show Queensland with the highest 'after housing' poverty rate in Australia.

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(2) Re SPRC Tables (1995) used here.
Notes:

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1995-96 Survey of Income and Housing Costs, unit record files. Unpublished estimates by the Social Policy Research Centre, September 1998.

Re SPRC Tables (1990) used here - taken from Drawing the Line on Poverty (QCOSS, 1995).

Applying the Henderson equivalence scale for the different household types and sizes produces a different poverty line for each. However, the annualised poverty line for 'the reference family' (a couple plus two dependent children with the head only in the work force) was estimated for the 1995 tables to be $410.40 per week and for the 1990 tables to be $343.20 per week.

(3) The survey sample is not the whole Queensland population. However, it provides a reliable basis for the poverty rate figures presented here.

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3. Housing Suitability

Overview

The issue of housing suitability emerged as a facet of housing-related poverty in the stories that came from the day-to-day experience of the direct service providers who co-authored this submission. This section is based largely on their experiences and stories.

3.1 Families in Caravan Parks

Caravan parks are now playing an important role in the provision of housing. However, while some people may choose to live in caravan parks there are many for whom this is the most affordable housing option open to them. In one study, 42% of caravan park residents cited financial reasons as the reason for being there.

Further, the Onsite study (1998) identified that:

Homeless and at risk groups constitute a market segment in housing provision. Caravan parks have been the suppliers of that segment. Youth, women and women with children escaping domestic violence, families, singles are the 'social housing' clients in caravan parks. Parks are venues for both temporary and long term accommodation for people in these groups WHO HAVE NOWHERE ELSE TO GO.

This observation about caravan parks underpins the link between economic hardship and the fact that many have no choice about the suitability of their housing.

In Queensland 12.8% of caravan residents are sole parents with dependent children - all up this roughly approximates 7,732 persons, adults and children. While recognising that some may choose to live in a caravan park it is assumed that many in this group must do so by necessity and would choose another option, more suitable for raising children, if they were able to do so.

Some obvious disadvantages in raising children in this type of housing are (Onsite:37)

 

3.2 Elderly People in Caravan Parks

Recent ABS statistics (Onsite:20) reveal a significant aged population living in caravan parks:

Many would be living in mobile home estates by choice. However, this would not be the case for all and many would be in this situation out of financial necessity. One service provider has observed:

(Older people) live here who can't afford to go to a retirement village. These are people who are looking at being permanent residents for a time in a park and then moving to a nursing home... caravan parks were never built for senior citizens. There is no security and no safety like lighting at night and amenities are not built for elderly people.

This International Year of Older Persons is an obvious time to consider the housing needs of a group of elderly people living in caravan parks because they have no other affordable option.

 

3.3 People with and Recovering from Mental Illness

In 1993 the report of the National Inquiry into the Human Rights of People with Mental Illness noted:

One of the biggest obstacles in the lives of people with mental illness is the absence of adequate, affordable and secure accommodation. Living with a mental illness - or recovering from it - is difficult even in the best of circumstances. Without a decent place to live it is virtually impossible. (Volume 2:337)

This report documented comprehensively the housing and accommodation issues facing people with a mental illness. Specifically, the plight of people with mental illnesses in boarding houses and hostels was identified. These people were seen as highly vulnerable, living in poor quality housing, in social isolation and on the financial edge.

Since 1993, governments, private providers and charitable organisations have sought to improve conditions in boarding houses and hostels in the interests of tenants, including people with mental illness who gravitate to this form of shelter because of their financial circumstances. For example, to its credit the Queensland Government has implemented the Boarding House Program (BHP) and in the last State Budget increased the allocation for this program by $6 million. This allocation of resources for the BHP needs to continue.

However, more innovation needs to be explored in addressing the housing needs of this group of people. It is not sufficient to lock people with mental illness into limited housing options.

 

3.4 People Coming out of Prison

Release from custody poses a critical housing problem for many. Today we are seeing a rapid increase in the prison population in Queensland. Micah Inc (1998) has highlighted the fact that many in our prison system are (i) young, (ii) likely to have substance abuse problems that lead to violent criminal behaviour, and (iii) vulnerable to mental illness.

Micah Inc also documents that upon release people without family support:

gravitate to boarding houses and universally experience difficulties paying rent and feeding themselves because their first or second benefit's cheque is usually only a half payment until they align with the fortnightly payment system. They usually possess few belongings and no cutlery or furniture. (1998)

Under these circumstances, post-release is a time of extraordinary economic and social hardship for such people. The odds are against them.

Affordable, suitable housing along with appropriate support strategies is needed to accommodate people exiting prison, especially those who have a history of mental illness and who wish to address problems they may have with substance abuse. Pre-release programs need to be designed to assist this group of people. This is an issue of justice for highly vulnerable people.

Catholic Prison Ministry advocates for inter-departmental collaboration between the Department of Housing and the Corrective Services Commission to ensure a range of options is available for people post-release. Currently there is limited allocation for such people and no specific program that targets their post-release housing and related support issues. This is an issue that could be considered a priority in the Beattie Government's crime prevention strategy.

 

3.5 Young People on Low Incomes Forced into Unaffordable Housing

It is evident from the poverty line figures that housing costs are a key component of youth poverty - consistently, the 'after housing' poverty rate increases for the under 25 population group.

Large sections of this population group experience:

Affordable and suitable housing options for this population group are limited. Many find themselves forced into private rental housing where a high proportion of their incomes have to be devoted to meeting housing costs.

The 1998 QCOSS study of emergency relief noted the increasing incidence of young people presenting for assistance. This reflected the findings of a 1997 national survey which showed an over representation of young people among emergency relief applicants - 'this representation is double that of the representation of this age group in the census' (QCOSS, 1998). The inability for young people to access housing is one reason for this phenomenon.

The vulnerability of this age group is further highlighted in Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) data from 1996-97 which revealed that, in Queensland, the single largest age grouping of SAAP clients were the 15-19 year age group. Further, the SAAP data also revealed that, upon receiving support, 50% of all clients, including young people, were living in private rental accommodation. This follows from the SAAP figure that only 5% of clients of youth agencies were in public housing (SAAP National Data Collection Annual Report, 1997:79).

It is important to note that access to suitable and affordable housing is imperative to finding a job and keeping a job. For example, even the most mundane tasks, like being able to iron clothes and having access to a shower and telephone, are generally taken for granted - if a person has a home. If not, this severely disadvantages a person in seeking a job. Young people need housing as a base for securing employment.

 

3.6 Social Mix

For the purposes of this submission 'social mix' is understood to encompass both:

Poor planning practices and a corresponding lack of consideration of social mix issues have impacted most significantly on people living in the poorest socio-economic communities throughout the State. Recent research findings from the Department of Housing affirm this:

problems with high concentrations of public housing or high concentrations of people living in poverty or experiencing other forms of disadvantage are often interrelated with problems such as poor design, inadequate social and physical infrastructure (such as public transport, schools).

This reflects the views and experiences of contributors to this submission who are working in communities with high concentrations of public housing and growing numbers of people living in poverty.

Avoiding the mistakes of the past is clearly an imperative in addressing the issue of housing suitability for low-income groups in Queensland.

 

3.7 Conclusion

These few examples illustrate that housing suitability is a real factor in housing-related poverty. Many people in the community simply do not have access to housing that is suitable to their life's circumstances. In many, many cases this equates to 'not having a choice' because of economic hardship. Housing suitability is, in such cases, a real factor in housing-related poverty.

Suggested Outcomes

1. That the Department of Housing continue to give priority to housing programs targeted at vulnerable people and that the development of such programs be done in such a way as to engage the views and perceptions of client groups, such as people suffering mental illness, so that the housing provided is suitable for their circumstances.

2. That the Boarding House Program (BHP) be continued and expanded through Community Housing Programs.

3. That the new Department of Corrective Services liaise with the Department of Housing to ensure that adequate assistance regarding the availability and suitability of housing and related support be given to people coming out of prison. This could be a cost-effective priority in crime prevention strategies being developed by the Beattie Government.

4. That circumstances of elderly people living in caravan parks be investigated by the Office of Ageing in the Department of Families, Youth and Community Care.

5. That an integrated package of support services be provided to families with children living in caravan parks. This would involve a cross-departmental approach such as that developed by the Onsite Project.

6. That more social housing options be made available for single young people.

7. That the principle of 'social mix' continues to inform public housing policy and program development.

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4. Housing Insecurity

Overview

Getting a house to live in is one thing. It is another thing to retain that house and live in it with some degree of security, knowing that your tenure will not be under threat and that personal security is as assured as possible. For an increasing number of people having security about their housing is a major issue. Key issues surrounding housing security have emerged from the work and association of our direct service and community development networks. Housing insecurity is multi-faceted, encompassing issues of tenure, adequacy of income, affordability and issues of personal safety.

4.1 Tenancy Protection for Boarding House Residents

The Residential Tenancies Act 1994 (RTA) does not provide for the tenancy rights of boarding house residents. They can be evicted at any time. Given that the residents of boarding houses are among the most economically and socially vulnerable this situation needs to be addressed. Appropriate tenancy legislation is needed to uphold the rights of this group of tenants.

 

4.2 Tenure Security for People Residing in Caravan Parks

Onsite (1998:29) has noted the advances made for residents in caravan parks with the amendments to the RTA. In particular, the current education program for residents and management is applauded. Among other objectives, this program aims to acquaint tenants with their legal rights.

Notwithstanding this, Onsite points to the fact that the RTA needs to go further. For example, as the legislation now stands, tenancy agreements can be terminated without grounds, to take effect within forty-eight hours, providing that the proper procedures are followed. This has the impact of intimidating tenants and leaving them without means of redress if an injustice occurs. As one worker has noted:

The security of tenure issue affects those people who are seeing caravan parks as a long term housing option - like older people and men who have had a marriage break-up. One of the direct results of no security of tenure is that people don't complain about anything. Fear is a real thing. Fear and disempowerment keep people silent. That's an impact on permanents.

4.3 Issues for Low-Income People in the Private Rental Market

It is acknowledged that the private rental market is highly complex, delivering variable outcomes to consumers that are largely determined by their socio-economic status (National Shelter, 1997)(1). The demand for this type of housing tenure is generally from:

Queensland has a significant number of low-income earners who fall into the last category and who are forced to rely on the private rental market for their housing. For example, the 1996-97 SAAP Annual Report states that, after receiving support, 50% of clients find themselves living in private rental accommodation. The involuntary reliance of low-income households on this housing tenure poses important issues of housing security. Among these, in our experience are the following three concerns:

(i) Price and Supply

The price and supply of private rental housing are related concerns. Both factors impact on low-income households, notably in terms of (i) affordability and (ii) access. For example, low-income people can be squeezed out of local housing markets when the demand for rental housing exceeds supply. Landlords, logically, tailor rents to meet the market's demand. They are not in the business of providing low cost housing. Further, if a low-income household has no other option but to stay in a high-rent market their level of disposable income is dramatically reduced - this is generally not sustainable and the household is forced to relocate. More money has to be found for relocation, often some-where else in the private rental market. Housing insecurity prevails. The Smith Family study (1998) referred to earlier (2.5.2) has demonstrated this beyond question. This found that the mobility rates of clients who rented privately were twice that of the wider population. For example, 20% had been forced to move six or more times in five years. This places immense pressure on low-income families and individuals.

(ii) Tensions between Landlords and Tenants

Related to the above is the ongoing tension between landlords and tenants. This is complex because two competing agendas operate here. The private rental market is largely the province of small investors who see this as a long-term investment. They want to protect their investment, minimise costs and secure reliable rental income in order to maximise the benefit of their investment. On the other hand, tenants want good quality, secure and affordable housing. Tension can arise out of these two agendas. In our experience this can take shape in the following ways:

(a) Tenants expect good quality housing, especially if they pay market rents. This is not always provided. Recent data (cited in National Shelter Paper) on the private rental market reveals:

Tenants' demands can cause tension with landlords and make them vulnerable. Many, especially the elderly, are not assertive about their rights in this regard and can continue to live in sub-standard housing.

(b) The standard tenure of most private rental housing is between 6 and 12 months which does not give a great deal of long-term security to a tenant. Low-income households are often vulnerable in these situations, especially if market circumstances change and higher rents become a possibility. Landlords will tend to try to raise rents when a contract period ends.

(c) A further tension can come into play when landlords require one or more references from potential tenants. In the experience of our service providers, some people are genuinely unable to obtain these references because of their disadvantage. They are thus further disadvantaged in their attempt to obtain secure housing.

(iii) Discrimination

Anecdotal evidence abounds of discrimination in the private rental market. This takes shape in perceptions about who are 'desirable' and 'undesirable' tenants by real estate agents and landlords. For example, our direct service providers have indicated that:

Discrimination against private renters can also come directly from neighbours.

This kind of discrimination adds disadvantage to disadvantage, contributing to the housing-related poverty which an increasing number in our community experience.

 

4.4 Sex Discrimination in Boarding Houses

The Micah Inc study (1998) of inner-city boarding houses in Brisbane identified discrimination against women by caretakers who blame them for problems that arise:

Everything was fine until we allowed women to stay - they are too much trouble!

This leads to a reluctance to offer rooms to females - many of whom have no other option than homelessness.

 

4.5 Safety

Housing insecurity can be exacerbated by issues of personal safety, making an economically viable housing option untenable for people on low incomes. The following are examples, taken from the stories of direct service providers, of how personal safety issues undermine housing security.

(a) Women in Boarding Houses

The Micah Inc boarding house study has highlighted the vulnerability of women's safety. Women can feel unsafe in a boarding house environment; they fear harassment when they use communal amenities like bathrooms, kitchens and toilets. Where such matters are not addressed, these safety factors can have the effect of closing off an affordable housing option to them.

(b) Women in Public Housing

A recent spate of attacks on women in public housing dwellings in metropolitan Brisbane has highlighted the need to address issues of personal safety for tenants in public housing.

(c) Young People

Young people have also indicated anxiety about personal safety when their economic circumstances dictate that they have to share accommodation.

(d) Women Suffering Mental Illness

Women in the community recovering from episodes of mental illness can be exploited. One service provider described such situations as follows:

Some of the women will sit outside the shops on pension day and they'll meet a guy and he will ask them to move in. They are very vulnerable because guys take their money and charge them $280 a fortnight or something like that to live with them ... and then they don't give them any food.

 

4.6 Conclusion

Housing insecurity is undoubtedly an aspect of housing-related poverty. The issues raised here have important policy and resource implications. A number of these are itemised in the outcomes suggested below.

Suggested Outcomes

1. That separate residential tenancies legislation be enacted to cover tenancies in boarding houses.

2. That the Residential Tenancies Authority continue to resource education programs for caravan park tenants regarding their tenancy rights and, as well, monitor relationships between owners and tenants to assess if legislative change is required to enhance tenants' rights.

3. That personal safety considerations be incorporated into all social housing design and construction undertaken by the Department of Housing.

4. That the Department of Housing allocate funds to undertake a Queensland-wide study of low-income earners who have to rely on the private rental market to meet their housing needs, and that this study be used to inform policy interventions which would alleviate the housing stress many low-income earners experience in the private rental market because of their vulnerable financial circumstances. This could be designed to inform the policy debate on the effectiveness of rental subsidies to meet the needs of low-income groups.

Endnotes

(1) National Shelter has written an excellent paper - Low Income Households and the Private Rental Market (June 1997)

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5. Housing Support Issues

Overview

The experience of many direct service providers suggests that housing support is needed to ensure that many vulnerable people in the community are able to sustain the housing choices they make or are forced to make because they have no other option - due to their financial circumstances. This need goes beyond what the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) is designed to address, although the continuation and extension of SAAP services is absolutely essential for many (see 5.3 below).

What is meant by housing support here is support for people which will maximise their chances of maintaining affordable housing.

This section of this submission again explores issues that have arisen from the grassroots, reflecting the lived experience of direct service providers who support vulnerable families and individuals in our community.

 

5.1 Housing Support for People with Mental Illness

People who live with mental illness are among the most vulnerable in society. The groundbreaking 1993 report of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC), Human Rights and Mental Illness, brought the vulnerability of this group into the forefront of public awareness and heralded many policy changes aimed at breaking down barriers that prevent this group of people from living as full a life as is possible for them.

The social and economic vulnerability of people with mental illness was highlighted in the HREOC report. This showed that poverty and housing insecurity are just two areas where such people are highly vulnerable. The Micah Inc report on hostels and boarding houses in inner Brisbane (1998) reaffirmed the HREOC findings. Micah Inc expressed the following concerns about people with mental illness and psychiatric disabilities in these two housing options thus:

(a) Hostels

There appears to be a misconception by government that all the support needs of (these) hostel residents are adequately met. The evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary.... Supported and homeless accommodation hostels are not resourced to provide anything more than a model of minimum care. (1998:21)

Micah Inc identified basic support services that are needed to ensure that people with high needs can live and find their way in the community and sustain their chosen housing option. Among these services are:

(b) Boarding Houses

The needs of people in hostels are much the same as those of people living in boarding houses. The social isolation is expressed thus:

There is very little communication between boarding house residents and people in the 'outside world'.

 

A Model of Response - Micah Inc

The Micah Inc project not only researched and identified the complex support needs of a highly vulnerable group in the community, which especially included people with mental illness, but it also piloted responses. The details of one response are outlined briefly below.

A Model of Support for People in Boarding Houses

Two support service models were tested by Micah Inc. The one that focused on boarding houses was an outreach, referral and support service to people with high needs. This involved such things as:

  • contact with boarding houses to build rapport and relationships with residents and proprietors in order to identify needs;
  • linking residents and proprietors with appropriate services, support networks and social activities;
  • advocacy with and on behalf of residents with landlords, parole officers, Centrelink and emergency housing service providers;
  • strengthening residents' informal support networks;
  • providing planned support that was accessible, flexible and non-intrusive;
  • educating the community about the needs of vulnerable people.

The pilot was sustained for twelve months only. Client feedback was positive. All clients expressed the invaluable nature of the support they received and the fact that it went beyond just assisting with accommodation needs. The willingness of the two workers to 'walk people through' rough patches and assist them to negotiate day-to-day needs was invaluable. One client put it this way:

You could go to the social worker at DSS but you'd just get a bunch of numbers and some advice, they can't take you around and help you do things. This might've been the boarding house project but it was much bigger than that. It ran on bigger terms. It worked with whatever came up. Just by having one person who you could go to for anything meant that I sorted out a lot of stuff.

This pilot has demonstrated how a model of support service for people with high needs can operate efficiently and effectively from a local community-based agency.

This contrasts with the observation of a worker who commented on the Project 300:

The issue is to find suitable housing that gives (people) both their dignity and the support that they need... I don't know with this Project 300 with people coming out of Wolston Park, they talk about how they're putting people out on their own and the therapist will visit them two hours a week or something like that but that's the only time of the week that people are getting contact with the outside world.

 

5.2 Support for Families and Individuals Residing in Caravan Parks

Many people living in caravan parks experience housing-related poverty in its multi-dimensional form, in this instance in the lack of housing support they are able to access. As noted earlier, people need more than just 'a physical house' to create a home. They require supports which contribute to their overall well-being and which enable them to participate in sustainable community life.

The Onsite report (1998) identified that residents with high needs in caravan parks are often disadvantaged because they do not have easy access to the support services they require to sustain their choice of housing. In response to high socio-economic need the report specifies the following supports:

The project report calls for “an integrated service model strategy to be developed based on collaboration and coordination between local government, community organisations, residents and State Government Departments”. In other words, a response model for meeting the needs of caravan park residents must be flexible and adaptable to meet a variety of needs. Onsite provides that model.

Examples of the program flexibility required are articulated thus:

(i) New South Wales actually funds SAAP workers to work in caravan parks but not in Queensland. We need SAAP workers in parks. If we can't get SAAP workers into park communities, well then, who supports them?

(ii) Services need to be delivered in ways that meet people where they are - we need to work this together (residents and workers) and not come in as the 'fix-it' kids. If we don't do it together then nothing changes.

 

5.3 The Adequacy of SAAP Services in Queensland

The SAAP National Data Collection (Queensland) Annual Report 1996-97 revealed that SAAP services in Queensland are struggling to meet growing need. The report revealed (xviii):

Over the year, SAAP services were unable to provide supported accommodation or support to an estimated 20,150 people requesting assistance at the time they made their request for assistance. In relation to the estimated number of SAAP clients this figure indicates that an estimated 52% of people seeking support or supported accommodation from SAAP services in 1996-97 were turned away. There were more women (66%) among the potential client group than men (34%) and almost half (46%) of the potential clients were aged under 25 years. Some 66% of potential clients sought crisis or short-term accommodation and 18% requested medium to long-term accommodation. Overall, the most frequent reasons recorded by agencies for not meeting requests were that insufficient accommodation was available (59% of all unmet requests) and that the type of assistance requested was not provided by the agency (18%).

In relation to growing need, this highlights the inadequacy of SAAP services in Queensland. It is worth noting the age of almost half this potential client group.

Added to this, the Annual Report reveals that, after receiving support, SAAP clients in 50% of cases were living in private rental accommodation and 13% in public housing (xvii).

The struggle of low-income people to sustain housing in the private rental market has already been documented here. The fact that so many SAAP clients, arguably facing socio-economic hardship, have no option but to move into the private rental market, would not seem to be an adequate response to their support needs. This reinforces the need for more social housing.

 

5.4 Housing Support for Low-income Families and Families with High Support Needs

The poverty line statistics presented in the earlier part of this submission reveal that many family groupings constitute the poor in Queensland. It has also been shown that many low- income families endure 'housing stress', having to pay a high proportion of their low incomes to secure suitable housing, especially in the private rental market. Further, the quest for affordable and suitable housing can lead many into a cycle of mobility, frequently being on the move to keep ahead of housing costs. This mobility can often be associated with debt.

So, there is growing evidence that even where access to secure, affordable and suitable housing is possible this is not sufficient to ensure that low-income families maintain their tenancy. It is clear that people require extra support. However, where responsibility lies for the provision of such support is a much more complex issue to address. What is proposed here are two ways in which this can be addressed.

(i) Expansion of Existing Support Programs in the Department of Families, Youth and Community Care (DFYCC)

One way to provide more support for low-income families facing 'housing stress' is for the DFYCC to expand existing programs into local neighbourhoods such as the Community and Individual Support Program (CISP) and the Family Support Worker (FSW) Program.

(ii) An Inter-Departmental Model of Support

It is acknowledged that the complex needs of many vulnerable people should not be the sole responsibility of the DFYCC and the Department of Housing. What is outlined here is an inter-departmental approach to the support of low-income families. This model has much in common with the model of 'planned support' which was a key part of the Micah Inc. Boarding House Pilot Project. It also contains elements in common with the 'integrated model' of support developed by the Onsite Project for families and individuals living in caravan parks.

A Proposed Model of Support for Low-Income Families

It is useful to break down the nature of housing support for low-income families into two main categories that is (i) housing support and (ii) planned specialist support.

Housing Support

The need for housing support is often demonstrated in the request by families for advocacy support to assist them in negotiating debt, so as to enable them to maintain their payments of rent and therefore their tenancy.

Such support would need to be clearly focused on advocating and negotiating with the various agencies where debt has been incurred, for example the Department of Housing, Centrelink, Drug and Alcohol Services for methadone payments, the Department of Justice for payment of fines. The objective would be to negotiate arrangements that would enable rent to continue to be paid while still dealing with their debt issues. Support intervention requires both advocacy skills and access to a financial pool that can assist in achieving this dual outcome.

Planned Specialist Support

Major specialist support issues for socio-economically, vulnerable families may be focused around:

These need to be addressed alongside housing support issues in order to achieve the outcome of enabling families to maintain a tenancy. However, this kind of support will, in many instances, require some level of trained professional expertise so it is necessary to be able to access this when the need arises.

The experience of the direct service providers in our network proposes greater and more intentional collaboration between the Department of Housing, the Department of Health, the Department of Families, Youth and Community Care and the Corrective Services Commission to pilot models of support, which clearly distinguish (i) housing and (ii) planned specialist support, which specifically assist those families whose socio-economic vulnerability impacts their capacity to maintain access to suitable and affordable housing.

It is the contention of the groups involved in the submission that any model of support should be based on a teamwork and/or brokerage approach where maximum flexibility is possible to meet family requirements.

 

5.5 Housing Support for Young Parents

The issues outlined above apply also to young parents but age and gender need to be specifically accommodated in program design. Young parents currently fall through many of the youth, women and family specific programs.

Young women, their children and their partners, often require extra support in negotiating housing and their relationship. Debt to Centrelink and the Department of Housing that has resulted from dysfunctional relationships, which mostly disadvantage women and their children, require special attention.

Ensuring a proactive gender analysis and prevention of violence framework is critical for this population in protecting their vulnerability and sometimes the lives of women and children. Both access and suitability of housing need attention.

Head-leasing and the ability to broker support require more exploration in relation to service provision. Again piloting and evaluating innovative and collaborative service provision is necessary.

 

5.6 Conclusion

The lack of housing support for many vulnerable groups in the community is, undoubtedly, a critical aspect of housing-related poverty. The support issues raised here require attention if vulnerable population groups are to attain sustainable housing to meet their particular needs. The following suggested outcomes seek, in part, to address this.

Suggested Outcomes

1. That the Department of Families, Youth and Community Care fund more CISP and FSW positions in local community agencies to provide support to vulnerable families in flexible, client-focused ways.

2. That the inter-departmental support model proposed in 5.4 be taken up by the respective departments and piloted in five regions of Queensland.

3. That SAAP services be extended to encompass support for families and individuals living in caravan parks and that this be linked into an integrated service model such as the one developed by the Onsite Project.

4. That the model of support developed by Micah Inc for people with high needs living in boarding houses be developed jointly by the Department of Families, Youth and Community Care, the Department of Housing and the Department of Health.

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6. Regional Case Study
- Housing Needs in the Mackay and Whitsunday Region

Demographic Overview of the Region

Between the Census in 1986 and that in 1996, the Whitsunday, Hinterland and Mackay region grew from a resident population of 117,511 to 133,405. Approximately 46% of the 1996 resident population resided in the closer settled part of Mackay City with some 20% recorded in the Bowen/Whitsunday area.

The publication Population Projections for Queensland - 1996 edition provides estimates as to the projected population to the year 2011 for the region. This data indicates that the population will increase to somewhere between 149,850 and 165,750 (i.e. low to high series projection) by the year 2011. The above figures equate to up to a further 32,300 people potentially residing in the region in the next 15 years and needing homes, jobs, services and facilities.

Relative to the State average of 22% of the population below 15 years of age and 11% older than 64, the region exhibits more emphasis toward a youthful population with figures running at 24.8% and 7.9% respectively.

Relative to Queensland's average annual growth rate (aagr) of 2.4% for the period 1991-1996, Mackay City mirrored this figure whilst Whitsunday and Sarina Shires exhibited positive growth of 4.0% and 2.8% respectively.

Indigenous populations have high representations in Mackay and Sarina at 3.7% (approx.) with overall statistics for the region mirroring that for the State at 2.9%. The community is very youthful with resultant implications for the type and delivery of services.

(From WHAM 2015 Issue Sheet No.2 - Population Overview - Whitsunday, Hinterland and Mackay 2015 Regional Planning Project prepared by Gutteridge, Haskins & Davey for the purposes of the WHAM 2015 Issues, Visions and Goals workshop)

6.1 Introduction

Queensland is highly decentralised with a very high proportion of the population living outside the greater Brisbane area. The state of Queensland's regions is an important policy matter, having major implications for public sector resource allocation. Consequently, this submission has incorporated a regional case study of housing needs. This focuses on the Mackay and Whitsunday Region because of the links between the Social Action Office and the Mackay Mercy May Day Group.

The data presented here was collected in October 1998 through interviews with housing organisations and workers in the region who have connections with the Mercy May Day Group.

 

6.2 A Survey of Crisis Accommodation Needs in the Mackay City Area

In mid-1998 a survey of community service agencies in the Mackay City area was under-taken to record requests for crisis accommodation that could not be met by those agencies. This covered requests made over two weeks, the first from 26 April to 3 May and then from 21 June to 27 June. All up, 37 requests for crisis accommodation had to be turned away by the agencies because they had no way of meeting the requests. The agencies were already stretched to the limit. Those whose needs could not be met included single men and women, couples with children, male and female sole parents, couples with no children and a pregnant mother.

The following figures provide more detail on this survey of housing need:

These results of this local survey confirm the results of Statewide SAAP data, namely that the need for crisis accommodation far exceeds the capacity of agencies to respond (SAAP Annual Report, 1996-97).

 

6.3 The Lack of Affordable Rental Housing

In the Whitsunday area, housing, community development and welfare workers have expressed concern about increasing demand for affordable and appropriate housing for people on low incomes. They report that the average rental price for a three-bedroom dwelling is approximately $200 per week. Two bedroom unit rental costs average from between $130 and $140 per week.

Families with children report that unit accommodation is an unsuitable option for them as it offers limited space to adequately meet the needs of children.

This situation reflects the issues raised earlier in this submission, namely the relationship between housing costs and poverty and housing suitability as a feature of housing-related poverty.

Community, housing and crisis accommodation workers in Mackay City report that the lack of affordable rental housing is a major issue of concern in the area. Lack of affordable and appropriate rental housing as well as public and community housing options is having a significant impact on a number of groups in particular:

Representatives of the South Sea Islander Community express particular concerns about access to affordable and appropriate housing due to their ineligibility for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing and discrimination by real estate agents when seeking private rental housing.

Workers also report that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as well as refugee and migrant residents in Mackay and Sarina face this same discrimination by real estate agency staff.

This local situation relates to issues of housing insecurity raised earlier in this submission. Some population groups have to endure more discrimination in the private rental market than others. This, combined with lack of affordability, brings the element of housing insecurity into sharp relief.

6.4 Regional Issues that Impact on Housing-related Poverty in the Whitsunday Area

(i) Casualised Employment

Increased casualisation of work and a growth in part-time and casual jobs with a corresponding decrease in permanent full-time jobs is having a big impact in the area. There is clearly a link between employment availability and type and people's ability to afford appropriate housing.

(ii) Impacts of Tourism

There is a strongly held view that the social impacts of tourism in the area need to be analysed and addressed. For example, caravan park accommodation prices tend to be pitched at the tourist market, some at around $160.00 per week. This price is out of reach for many single people and families on low incomes.

(iii) Supported Accommodation

In the crisis accommodation area no services exist for single men, male sole parents and couples with children. A Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) funded service provides for women escaping domestic violence and single women. There are about 200 women and children accessing this refuge accommodation per year - approximately 80% escaping domestic violence and approximately 20% single women. Lack of appropriate and affordable exit options for women wanting to move out of crisis accommodation is a major cause for concern.

The St Vincent de Paul Society receives numerous requests from men seeking crisis accommodation. The Society assists these men to travel to the closest emergency shelter that is in Mackay City.

(iv) Youth Housing and the Results of 1996 University Survey

Many young men and women come into the area and some secure casual or part-time work. These young people are unable to afford unit or housing rental on their low part-time/casual incomes. There is a view that the provision of a low-cost and appropriate boarding house or hostel accommodation option could provide for the needs of this group. Backpacker accommodation is only accessible to those people who have a foreign passport with most residents only able to stay for a maximum of 3-4 days.

Research into the needs of youth conducted in the Whitsunday Shire by James Cook University in 1996 showed an overwhelming need by young people for affordable rental accommodation. Participants in the research suggested a number of responses to addressing their housing needs, namely 'more suitable housing', more public housing, housing information services, a youth shelter, easier access to housing assistance benefits through, for example, bond and rental assistance, and the availability of alternatives to apartments and unit-style accommodation. Overall, these young people were focussed on the need for secure long-term housing rather than hostel-style emergency accommodation.

Many respondents felt that they were discriminated against either in the rental sector or by the State Department of Housing simply because of their age. As one respondent put it:

If you're under eighteen they just throw away the application because they think you're going to party all the time.

Another believed that a feeling of 'community spirit' was not being extended to youth and that young people received little or no support in seeking suitable accommodation. Others pointed to the fact that multiple occupancy was necessary to obtain suitable accommodation. Indeed, as a local welfare worker pointed out, multiple occupancy in small, cramped units at Airlie Beach and Cannonvale was a common practice. Finally, respondents commented that as a result of the lack of affordable accommodation and discrimination in the housing market, many young people were compelled to live with their parents and this, in turn, generated the likelihood of conflict within their families. As one youth put it:

Lots and lots of young people are forced to live with their parents - they'd choose not to if they could.

Discussions with community and housing workers in October 1998 reinforced this concern. There is an increasing number of young people wanting to live away from the family home (due to family stresses and conflict) and remain at school. There is a need for supervised supported accommodation to respond to this issue.

(v) Male Sole Parents

There is an increasing number of men who are sole parents coming into the area seeking work and are not eligible for bond loans. There are added parenting difficulties for those men with small female children who are accommodated in caravan parks and can't access female toilet and shower amenities.

 

6.5 Summary

This snapshot of housing needs in the Mackay-Whitsunday region confirms that many low-income individuals and families are vulnerable to housing-related poverty. It reveals that:

This region is among the fastest growing rural regions in the country. It is also a major tourist destination and lifestyle region. The impression of rural prosperity and tourism glamour can disguise the reality of the economic struggle facing many people in the region.

 

6.6 Conclusion

This case study highlights the importance of a regional perspective in policy-making and resource allocation in Queensland. It is contended that all of the suggested outcomes made in the earlier sections of the submission have regional implications. In other words, they apply in this context.

During January and February 1999 there has been an increase in requests for housing from larger families. A total of ten families with 5 to 8 children presented as homeless. They are either relocating to Rockhampton, have been evicted from private and public housing, are unable to access the private rental market due to black listing, or have housing Queensland debts that prevent them from accessing the bond loan or accessing public housing. The debts were of a large amount up to $2,000 or more. Most are currently staying with friends or relatives in overcrowded premises; for example one family consisting of a single parent with six children was sharing with relatives in a two-bedroom unit. 70% are of Aboriginal and Islander descent and their options are extremely limited. Caravan parks will not accept families with large numbers of children. The vacancy rate at the Neville Bonner Hostel is very minimal as these families require two units. This leaves them the options of private rental or SAAP services. SAAP services in some cases are not the option as the exit points will not change in the short term.

(Extract from Minutes of a Community Service Agency, Rockhampton, February 1999)

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7. Conclusion

This submission has focused on housing-related poverty in Queensland. It has looked at the various facets of this socio-economic phenomenon and demonstrated that the life circumstances of many vulnerable individuals and families in Queensland are impacted by this.

Based on the experience of direct service providers working with vulnerable people in local communities, a number of suggested outcomes are made in this submission which, the authors hold, would address the adverse circumstances many Queenslanders face living with the reality of housing-related poverty. These suggested outcomes are made in good faith and, it is hoped, they will be the basis of ongoing discussion and action in the lead-up to the State Budget.

The incidence of poverty revealed in the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) statistics used here and the difficulties experienced by many in trying to stretch meager incomes to provide a decent livelihood and secure a basic necessity such as housing, would indicate a serious social problem is emerging in Queensland. Whether considering either actual population numbers or income units, we are now faced with the fact of a growing incidence and rate of poverty in this State.

Further, while the SPRC figures provide an important measure of poverty, they do not tell a complete story about the material circumstances of many Queenslanders. For example, the emerging reality of the 'working poor' has not figured at all in this submission. This is an important and closely related policy matter that needs to be considered alongside housing-related poverty. This is especially relevant in the Queensland context where the major policy focus is on job creation. This policy emphasis is applauded but it must be complemented by State-based strategies that confront the reality of the 'working poor'. This would include a just, living wage policy and guaranteed on job security.

The Beattie Government faces the challenge of playing its part in alleviating poverty in Queensland and improving the material circumstances of its citizens. Its pre-election commitment to 'social rationalism' as an important policy orientation has been noted. We have also noted the commitment to crime prevention and reducing unemployment. It is our contention that these times call for such commitments. The stark statistics and the stories of many people living on socio-economic margins of Queensland society indicate the urgency of such a policy orientation.

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Appendix

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Tables
(see explanation Endnote (1) Chapter 2)

Table A: Poverty in Queensland, 1995, Before and After Housing, By Income Unit Type (with ABS allocation of work costs)

Note: Population and poverty definition as in Table A, with equivalence scale consistent with ABS estimates

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1995-96 Survey of Income and Housing Costs, unit record files. Unpublished estimates by the Social Policy Research Centre, September 1998.

 

Table B: Poverty in Australia, By State, Before and After Housing, 1995 (with ABS allocation of work costs)

Note: Population and poverty definition as in Table A, with equivalence scale consistent with ABS estimates

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1995-96 Survey of Income and Housing Costs, unit record files. Unpublished estimates by the Social Policy Research Centre, September 1998.

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List of References

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (1997)
SAAP National Data Collection Annual Report 1996-97, Commonwealth of Australia

Brotherhood of St Laurence (1995)
Housing Update, Webpage

Burke, P (1998)
'The Poverty of Homelessness', in Fincher, R and Nieuwenhuysen, J, Australian Poverty - Then and Now, Melbourne University Press, pp 293-313

Burke, T (1998)
'Housing and Poverty' in Fincher, R and Nieuwenhuysen, J, Australian Poverty - Then and Now, Melbourne University Press, pp 165-184

Council for Homeless Persons (1998)
Submission to the Federal Budget 1998-99 - A National Response to Homelessness, CHP Webpage

Fincher, R and Nieuwenhuysen, J (1998)
Australian Poverty - Then and Now, Melbourne University Press

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (1993)
Human Rights and Mental Illness (Volume 2), AGPS, Canberra

King, A (1998)
'Income poverty since the early 1970s' in Fincher, R and Nieuwenhuysen, J, Australian Poverty - Then and Now, Melbourne University Press, pp 71-102

Logan Regional Housing Planning Group (1996)
Cradle to Grave (Appropriate, affordable homes for the people of Gold Coast A and Logan City now and into the future), Logan Regional Resource Centre

Micah Inc (1998)
Inner-City Boarding House Project Report, Micah Inc, Brisbane

National Shelter (1997)
Low Income Households and the Private Rental Market, National Shelter Webpage

Onsite (1998)
Caravan Park Communities - Building Commitment (Volume 1), Onsite, Brisbane

Queensland Council of Social Service (1998)
Queensland Battlers - Losing the Battle, QCOSS

Queensland Council of Social Service and Social Action Office (1999)
Issues Paper: Poverty in Queensland (unpublished)

Queensland Shelter (1998)
A Call to the Parties for a Vision on Housing, Queensland Shelter

Queensland Shelter (1998)
Newsletter, September 1998

Queensland Shelter and Ecumenical Housing (1998)
1998 Queensland Crisis Accommodation Program Review - Volume 1

Saunders, P (1998)
'Setting the poverty agenda' in Fincher, R and Nieuwenhuysen, J, Australian Poverty - Then and Now, Melbourne University Press, pp 52 -70

Social Policy Research Centre (1998)
Various Unpublished Estimates (referenced under all tables), September 1998

State Budget Papers 1998-99 - Ministerial Portfolio Statements:

The Smith Family (1998)
The Housing Factor - tough choices for low-income earners, The Smith Family, Camperdown

Thornthwaite, T, Kingston, C and Walsh, P (1995)
Drawing the Line: An Assessment of Poverty and Disadvantage in Queensland, QCOSS, Brisbane

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