Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) joins civil society call to protect NSW renters, including people seeking asylum

05 March 2021

Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia has joined thirty-nine other civil society organisations endorsing an open letter to the NSW Government on the rights of renters, as the Evictions Moratorium draws to an end.

The letter welcomes the State Government’s announcement of a transition plan to support renters over the next six months, but calls for stronger protections and additional financial support to assist low-income households and individuals, including those seeking asylum and on temporary visas.

“Temporary visa holders, including people seeking asylum, who lost jobs during the pandemic have had no access to the JobKeeper or JobSeeker programs. They have had to rely on emergency assistance from parishes, schools, diaspora groups, NGOs such as Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), and state governments to survive,” said Nishadh Rego, Policy, Advocacy and Communications Manager at JRS.

“Although rent arrears have skyrocketed, the Evictions Moratorium has ensured that many people seeking asylum have been able to maintain a roof over their heads. Extending the Evictions Moratorium will help give people the stability to look for jobs post-pandemic, and also prevent a likely avalanche of rough sleeping,” he continued.

Endorsing organisations include Tenants’ Union of NSW, Vinnies NSW, Mission Australia, Community Industry Group, People with Disability Australia, Uniting NSW, Community Legal Centres NSW, Older Women’s Network, Better Renting, GetUp, House of Welcome and a wide range of other community and faith-based groups and unions.

The open letter calls for the NSW government to:

  • Extend the eviction restrictions and rent reduction provisions for impacted tenants
  • Provide additional financial supports via for example, No Interest Loan Schemes for tenants struggling with rent or targeted COVID rent relief payments
  • Provide additional funding for services supporting tenants

Read the full version of the open letter here.

Read the media release here.