WARRNAMBOOL’S Lachlan Campbell knows what it’s like to face the prospect of being homeless.
The 24-year-old disability worker tried to find an affordable place to live - without success - for eight months.
He said there were limited rental options in Warrnambool for less than $300 a week.
“I had to move back home near Hamilton with my mum for a while because I couldn’t find anywhere to stay,” Mr Campbell said.
He said he only recently found a rental for $250 a week, which he shares with a housemate, who had previously couch surfed to attend TAFE in Warrnambool.
He said he loved living in Warrnambool but had seriously considered moving elsewhere due to his battle to find accommodation.
“The south-west has always been a huge part of my life and I love it here but it was nearly impossible to find accommodation here and the same goes for finding full-time work,” he said.
Mr Campbell said the council wanted to boost its population, but the high cost of rentals made this unachievable for many.
His comments come after the Council to Homeless Persons revealed only in 10 one-bedroom rentals were affordable to a low income earner in the first three months of 2018.
Jenny Smith, chief executive officer of the Council to Homeless Persons, said competition was high for properties in regional areas, including Warrnambool.
In addition to that, the cost of one and two bedroom flats has increased by 15 per cent in the past 12 months.
“Low income earners are increasingly being overlooked in favour of people on higher incomes, pushing thousands of Victorians out of the private rental market and to the doors of homelessness services,” Ms Smith said.
“Others find themselves stuck in a poverty trap, paying exorbitant rent, but with no option but to move somewhere cheaper.”
South West Coast MP Roma Britnell said supporting vulnerable people in the community was a priority.
“I’m confident our team is working on policies that will address the short and long term issues we face as a community,” Ms Britnell said.
Opposition leader Matthew Guy announced a plan to tackle the state’s affordable housing crisis last week, including releasing almost 300,000 extra housing lots on Melbourne’s fringe.
“This announcement is the beginning of the Liberal Nationals commitment to tackling the housing crisis looming across Victoria,” Mr Davis said. “This fast track will happen alongside our long-term strategic work to decentralise population growth to regional Victoria.”