More than 8,000 Queensland families face eviction as the Federal Government phases out its National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) in the middle of the housing crisis.

By December this year, 2,273 Queensland properties will be phased out of the NRAS scheme, leaving renters to either pay hundreds of dollars extra in rent or be evicted by their landlords. Overall, 8,219 Queensland households will lose NRAS funding by 2026.

Key Queensland federal electorates which will experience the greatest impact include Brisbane, Flynn, Forde, Herbert and Capricornia, according to QCOSS analysis.

QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh said community services organisations fear the vast majority of the 8,219 Queensland households renting a property through the scheme could be made homeless when their rents increase. They may also join Queensland’s over-burdened social housing register.

“8,219 households renting their properties through NRAS face eviction into homelessness,” said McVeigh.

“We’ve seen approximately 2,000 Queensland households exit the scheme already, with community organisations reporting that people have been asked to pay $200 extra per week in rent or else vacate the property. Others say when their property exits the scheme, they’ll be expected to pay rents that are up to 90% of their income.

“With rental vacancy rates at record lows across the state and 50,301 people already on the social housing register, the end of the Federal Government’s scheme spells disaster.

“Neither side of politics have committed to extending or replacing NRAS this federal election. This is a Federal Government choice that will make families homeless. It’s simply unacceptable.”

Anglicare Central Queensland CEO Carol Godwin said:
“2023 sees NRAS move to the cliff’s edge, with more than 400 properties exiting the scheme across the Capricornia and Flynn electorates.”

“Each one of these properties reflects a household – individuals and families stressed about the reality of becoming homeless.  There simply are no exit points in Central Queensland, with vacancy rates below 1% and rental affordability at an all-time low.

“This is an emergency – affordable housing options are needed now.”

Footprints Community CEO Cherylee Treloar said:
“Since the introduction of NRAS, Footprints has supported many vulnerable people to access sustainable long-term private rental housing under this program. NRAS provided a safety net for many people, preventing homelessness and giving them secure housing.”

“The discontinuation of NRAS contributes to the current housing crisis as properties are removed from the scheme. Our concern is that a large housing safety net has now been removed, placing more people into homelessness.

“Continuing NRAS, through a partnership between the Federal and State Governments would make a big difference to many vulnerable people and prevent them being homeless.”

Low and middle-income households can rent a property through NRAS and pay 20 per cent less than market rates through the scheme. In the Abbott Government’s 2014 Budget, the program was abolished and the Coalition Government has not yet replaced it. To date, the Federal Labor Party have not committed to reinstating the scheme or introducing an alternative.

QCOSS and 11 community organisations are running the Town of Nowhere campaign, calling all political parties to address Queensland’s housing crisis.

5 May 2022