LESS than seven per-cent of rental housing in Canberra is affordable, according to a Anglicare report that was released last week to the Canberra Times.

”Housing costs have increased 63 per cent in Canberra over the last six years, and the ACT now has the highest private rental market of all states and territories,” Anglicare ACT general manager Jenny Kitchen said to The Canberra Times.

The report defined affordable housing as any property requiring rent equal to less than 30% of total household income.

”There is no other major urban centre in Australia that is unable to supply any affordable housing for families on a minimum-wage income,” she said.

Of the 2,000 rental properties surveyed, the study failed to find a single property that was affordable for unmarried individuals receiving NewStart, Youth Allowance or AusStudy support.

For some demographics, the only affordable accommodation available for renters was located in Harden, Marulan and Goulbourn, over an hour’s drive from Canberra.

High rates in Canberra have been less difficult on renters employed in the public service. But rates have also forced some to choose between paying rent and affording basic necessities, according to the report.

A separate ACT Shelter report, also released last week, cited high rent as a primary cause of prolonged homelessness in Canberra, “both as an underlying driver of housing poverty and an immediate ‘trigger’ for eviction into homelessness.”

Once homeless, the report found that Canberrans spend on average 112 days in crisis accommodation, compared to an average of 54 days in Queensland.

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