Jess Storey always planned to live on her own, but the cost of the private rental market left her needing a more affordable arrangement.
“I’ve always had a permanent, stable job in retail, but I still couldn’t afford to live on my own,” says the 38-year-old. “I ended up renting a townhouse with another lady because the cost of rent is so high in the private market. I really had no choice but to share.”
Fortunately, in recent years there has been an increased effort by not-for-profit organisations, utilising government funding programs, to provide more affordable housing options for low-income earners.
The Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle signed up for the federal and state government-backed national rental affordability scheme in 2014. The program enabled the Diocese to construct new affordable housing complexes at Mayfield, Booragul and Mount Hutton resulting in 65 units. Tenants receive a 20 per cent discount on the market rent and each complex currently has a 100 per cent occupancy rate.
Ms Storey has been a tenant of the Mayfield complex for almost three years and says life has become much easier since she moved in.
A life made easier
“I now pay the same amount for my own unit as I paid to share with someone else in the private market,” she said. “I never worry about the cost of rent anymore and it’s a really great place to live with a lovely community of people.”
Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle CEO Sean Scanlon said the prohibitive cost of housing had become an obvious problem in the community and it was important the Church did something substantial to respond to the issue.
“Housing is about protecting people’s dignity,” he said. “Secure and appropriate shelter allows people to live a life where they can go to work, their children can be safe, and they are integrated with society and not marginalised.”
“The subsidised rent provided by the Diocese means people have more money to feed their children, pay for education, and address their health needs.”
As outlined in Laudato si’, Pope Francis, has long advocated for all nations to prioritise providing inexpensive and suitable housing for the world’s poorest people.
The Diocese plays a significant role in the provision of safe, secure and affordable housing across the Hunter in regional NSW. Learn more about them here.