In 2016, I was employed as the Employment Opportunities Manager (EOM) for SGCH. My role is to identify, motivate and support tenants and household members to identify goals and access and engage in education, training and employment opportunities. The aim is to help tenants maintain secure tenancies, foster a sense of belonging in their communities, and where appropriate, transition them through and out of social or affordable housing into long term sustainable accommodation.
One of the issues that impacts on housing security and whether a tenant may be at risk of losing their tenancy is underemployment. This means someone may not necessarily be unemployed – they may have a job – but do not have enough hours of paid work. This can have a range of social, economic and emotional impacts.
In 2014, the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) examined this issue and found that ‘underemployed households have the highest odds of rental payment arrears compared with all other household types’. They also found that ‘underemployed single-earner households are especially vulnerable, with their odds of payment arrears nearly three times higher than a comparable adequately employed multiple-earning household’.
In addition, the study found that underemployed households ‘tended to be concentrated in private rental, social rental and purchaser housing tenure’.
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