Public housing

After “years of neglect”, a movement towards social housing

CEO of ACTCOSS, Dr Emma Campbell. Photo: Holly Treadaway.

THE ACT government is spending $30 million to deliver promised social housing and $57.3 million to undertake social housing repairs in this Emma Campbell, CEO of ACT Social Services Council (ACTCOSS), describes as “a long-awaited and desperately needed response to the ACT housing crisis”.

“The ACT has an immediate shortfall of 3,100 social housing units and 2,400 affordable housing units. Every day 2,000 people in Canberran are made homeless,” she says.

“This investment is expected to help deliver the 400 social housing units already pledged by the ACT government and provide the resources needed to improve existing social housing after years of neglect.”

The spending pledges will be formalized when the ACT budget is presented on Tuesday 2 August.

This includes $30 million to support the Public Housing Growth and Renewal Program to provide the additional 400 social housing units, $57.3 million to undertake additional public housing repairs and maintenance in addition to the $80 million dollars previously allocated in the 2021-2022 budget, funding to explore new policy directions to address housing affordability for low to middle income Canberrans, a focus on supporting community housing providers to participate in projects of construction for rent in order to offer affordable rentals and research to provide new proposals and new models of affordable housing.

Dr Campbell said the announced spending “recognizes the advocacy of ACTCOSS, ACT Shelter and the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) calling for major investment and commitment on the issue of housing affordability and of homelessness in Canberra”.

ACTCOSS also welcomed the announcement of additional land releases and a partnership with the Commonwealth to develop the CSIRO Ginninderra site and renew the AIS compound. However, Dr Campbell said these initiatives must benefit those who have the least.

“ACTCOSS and other stakeholders will work closely with the ACT Government to ensure that any new development includes significant proportions of social and affordable housing.”

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Ian Meikle, editor