For many, the luxury of living at home until they can afford a place of their own is not an option, but the cost of rent is becoming increasingly less affordable according to new figures released by Anglicare.
In the annual Rental Affordability Snapshot, there is a clear decline in the number of affordable homes, meaning the choices for those living on government assisted income or other low incomes is limited.
The report also indicates there are no properties available in the Riverina within the price range of young people relying on youth allowance or Newstart.
Anglicare Manager Kristy Daley said the ongoing decline was critical for families in the region.
"These rental affordability trends in Wagga show a downward spiral which is devastating news for people on low incomes," Ms Daley said.
"This situation is also affecting a growing number of working families, not simply those relying on government support."
Forced to leave her family home at a young age, 18-year-old Wagga girl Alexia Muir is all too familiar with the struggle associated with finding affordable housing.
"I was 16 when I needed to start looking for my own place after couch surfing for two years and finding myself homeless again," she said.
Miss Muir sought help from Housing Assistance, who offered three nights accommodation in a hotel.
"The only places I could afford were in Ashmont and Tolland, but when I got a job in central, I had no way other than walking to get there which wasn't safe," she said.
"Even with working it's beyond affordable. I have $30 left over a fortnight for food and transport.
Miss Muir said she was thankful for services like Anglicare who helped with more than just money.
"A lot of my friends find it hard at this age to find a place because it's almost impossible to be taken seriously, so Anglicare helped with that and also finding furniture and food," she said.
According to Miss Muir, the demand for assistance far exceeds the resources available.
"A majority of people I went to school with have asked me two or three times if I know of somewhere they can stay because they have faced hardship, so there's a lot more in need than what is available to help with," she said.
"I think there is only one youth refuge in Wagga which can fit eight kids, and you can only stay for three month anyway until you turn 18. There's no long term fix."
Ms Daley suggested a need for more options available in Wagga to lower the risk of people ending up homeless.
"More public housing is needed and tenants, especially those who are vulnerable, need greater protection," she said.
"The report indicates that serious housing reforms are needed."
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