Greens MP Jan Barham says thousands of people living in regional areas are just one step away from being homeless.
Ms Barham said the latest data showed 71,000 low income regional households were paying more than 30% of their income on rent.
She said while about 10% of dwellings in Coffs Harbour were considered affordable for a low income household, the figure in Byron was less than four%.
“People are living in cars, overcrowded situations, many have retreated to caravan parks,” Ms Barham said.
“But we’re seeing [the caravan parks] gentrified as well, so there’s an enormous need to do something about this before it gets worse.”
The Byron Bay-based MLC said high rents were bleaching communities of their local colour.
“I know in my own home town there are people who have been community activists for years who are now moving away because they can’t afford to stay here,” she said.
“They’re the ones that did so much work to protect and preserve this area, and are now having to leave because they can’t afford to stay here.
“People are taking advantage of Air B’n‘B, the greater return that’s available through being a tourism area and a very popular and beautiful area.”
Source: ABC News