A $25 million rent support program to help people escape domestic and family violence will be available to those on “moderate” incomes for the first time, the NSW government has announced.
The Rent Choice Start Safely program provides a private rental subsidy for an initial three months and up to three years.
Applicants must be escaping domestic or family violence and homeless or at risk of being homeless. Until now it has been restricted to those eligible for social housing.
Minister for the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault Pru Goward said under an expansion of the program people on “moderate” incomes would now be able to apply.
A moderate income household is defined as one that earns between 80 per cent and 120 per cent of the relevant median household income for their location in Sydney or rest of NSW.
In Sydney a person could earn up to $59,900 a year and still be eligible. The maximum income to qualify for someone living in the rest of NSW would be $52,900.
“Stable housing is a key part of ensuring women leaving domestic violence stay safe and can rebuild their lives and break the cycle of violence,” Ms Goward said.
The government is also establishing a new link between the Start Safely program and specialist homelessness services in the Illawarra Shoalhaven and South West Sydney.
This would “ensure those escaping violence in the home have integrated access to accommodation and support when and where they need it most,” Ms Goward said.
In a separate announcement Ms Goward said up to $4 million would be committed to increasing the capacity of women’s refuges in up to four areas in regional NSW.
This article was originally published by the Sydney Morning Herald.