Rental crisis adding to perfect storm for mental health
The rental crisis is forcing many people with existing mental health concerns into emergency accommodation or worse – onto the streets, according to community mental health services in Queensland.
The Queensland Alliance for Mental Health, which represents more than 100 community mental health services, is calling for fairer rental laws and more affordable rental homes to support population-wide wellbeing and avert a housing and mental health disaster.
“Having the security of safe and affordable housing is a major factor in supporting individual mental health and wellbeing, particularly at a time when we see high rates of mental distress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” QAMH Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Black said.
“People are already experiencing higher rates of anxiety and stress, pressure on relationships, workplace changes and job losses since the onset of COVID-19 and, housing instability is adding to a brewing mental health crisis that needs the urgent attention of our policy makers.
“Increasing protections for Queensland renters means that they have the opportunity to build relationships within their community and to connect with mental health supports which is so important at this time.”
QAMH is part of the Make Renting Fair alliance of community organisations, calling for amendments to proposed new rental laws, https://makerentingfairqld.org.au/ including preventing tenants from being evicted for no good reason.
QAMH member organisations help thousands of Queenslanders experiencing mental distress and mental illness and many of these services say a lack of affordable private rental homes is pushing people into emergency accommodation or into sleeping rough. This is particularly apparent in some regional areas of Queensland where a greater level of homelessness is emerging.
“Of 253 clients who needed help keeping their tenancies last year, more than half needed help with rental arrears.,” said Kelly Sciacca, from not-for-profit community organisation, Communify, which supports people in Brisbane’s inner-north. “Many of our clients have experienced complex trauma, mental health issues, drug and alcohol dependency issues,”
Emma Griffiths QAMH Director Advocacy and Communications
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