May 28, 2014

Affordable Living in Australia

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Australia is a significant recipient of immigrants, especially when compared with other developed economies of the world.  The immigrants bring many benefits to the economies but they also impose a direct fiscal burden on governments through the provision of housing and other services. Securing suitable and affordable housing is an important part of the settlement process for immigrants. A latest survey shows that Sydney and the Sunshine Coast are the unaffordable place to live and Latrobe Valley and Mildura are the most affordable. The nature of the housing and living arrangements of recent immigrants is largely dependent on their current resources and prospects for the immediate future.

The circumstances of immigrants on arrival in Australia vary widely, particularly between visa categories.  Immigrants tend to lack assets, social networks, English language proficiency and prearranged employment or housing. Skill visaed immigrants usually arrive with more assets, assured employment and more marketable skills. Family visaed immigrants have family already resident in Australia and are likely to have accommodation organised prior to arrival. On arrival, most immigrants share accommodation with family or friends already living in Australia. This could be because they have not yet been able to form decisions about where they will eventually settle. Others may not yet be able to afford their own accommodation.

Australia aims at ensuring the immigrants to have access to affordable, safe and sustainable housing that contributes social and economic participation. It is an obvious fact that the people who migrate to Australia hunt for affordable housing so as to manage their finance. Affordable housing is available to immigrants and to their families on low to moderate incomes who are having difficulty securing housing in the private rental market. It is designed for working households. The public housing facility provides secure, stable and economical housing to the immigrants. The immigrants are benefited with low cost rental housing and a reduced mental pressure.

The affordable housing programs are managed and funded by the federal and state government including the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) and the Social Housing Growth Fund (SHGF). The NRAS is an Australian Government initiative, in partnership with the states and territories, to invest in affordable housing. It offers financial incentives to individuals, businesses and community organisations to build and rent affordable homes. These homes are targeted towards low to moderate-income households and the rent charged for these dwellings is up to a maximum of 80% of the market rate. The applicants for affordable housing are assessed on the basis of program guideline criteria. Each affordable housing program has specific criteria depending on the program and funding source.