Make home loans criteria more inclusive of Australian women

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I’m a divorced, single mum with six beautiful children. I work full-time and have a good income, a good credit rating and I pay my debts religiously. Financially, I’m doing fine but I still can’t get a home loan to put a roof over my kids because of discriminatory home loan policies. This is why I’m calling on banks to change their restrictive lending criteria.

I’ve just sold my house, but can’t finance another one which is why I’m forced to try my luck in a very sparse rental market which is known to discriminate against single mums like myself. My children and I could be facing homelessness this Christmas - which can be avoided if banks transform their outdated lending policies.

There are two main reasons why women are losing out. First, most lenders in Australia refuse to accept the full amount of Centrelink benefits like Family Tax Benefit (FTB) as a valid source of income. Often, they only recognise a percentage of it. Second, child support is valid only if it is received through ‘Agency Collect,’ not through private agreements.

This second requirement goes against basic instincts of co-parenting. Child Support Australia itself encourages parents to maintain private agreements as it means less conflict. This in turn benefits children who are less likely to be caught in money wars. Why can’t private agreements be accepted as valid income streams?

Women are the most likely cohort to be in receipt of Centrelink benefits and Child support as more often than not, they are the primary carer. These restrictive policies have disastrous impacts on housing for single mums and their families, just like mine. 

Banks refuse to recognise FTB and child support as valid income streams without making us jump through enormous hoops, causing unnecessary trauma and conflict for families.

And it’s not just young women who feel the impact. Older women are affected by the pressure that this puts back upon the rental market and are therefore more likely to find themselves without a home! It is well known that older women are the fastest growing cohort of homeless people in Australia.

These policies rob women of independence, forcing them to rely on their (often) male partners and act as a deterrent to women who desperately want to leave domestic violence situations. 

Please sign my petition calling on banks to change their outdated and patriarchal policies that penalise honest women.