ACT Election 2020: fixing Canberra’s housing crisis

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) today released its second 2020 ACT Election issue brief, naming the lack of affordable housing as the biggest single challenge confronting people on low incomes.

The issue brief Fixing Canberra’s housing crisis calls for an incoming ACT Government to address the chronic shortage of affordable housing in Canberra through policies including a commitment to delivery and proper oversight of the ACT Housing Strategy, additional investment in public housing, empowering community housing providers to build more homes, a youth homelessness service and an Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander Housing Strategy.

The launch of the issue brief coincides with an ACT Election forum hosted by ACT Shelter and CHIA ACT this afternoon with ACT Minister for Housing Yvette Berry MLA, Shadow Minister for Housing Mark Parton MLA and ACT Greens Leader Shane Rattenbury MLA.

Dr Emma Campbell, ACTCOSS CEO, said: “Figures from Homelessness Australia and Everybody’s Home have shown that the ACT has a shortfall of 3,000 social housing dwellings in the ACT, while almost 1,600 Canberrans are homeless.

“The Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot has consistently found that there are almost no private rentals available to people on low incomes, even after increases in Commonwealth income support following COVID-19.

“This is why ACTCOSS is calling on every party in the 2020 ACT Election to make housing a priority and to ensure that every Canberran has a safe and secure home,” Dr Campbell said.

You can register to attend the online ACT Election housing forum, hosted by ACT Shelter and CHIA ACT.

Find ACTCOSS’s 2020 ACT Election issue brief Fixing Canberra’s housing crisis here.

Other quotes from the ACT community sector are as follows:

“Although the ACT government has implemented a number of initiatives to address homelessness, long term solutions are urgently needed to address this housing crisis. A substantial investment needs to be made into increasing the number of social and public housing properties to meet the long waiting list and the increased demand that the economic impact of COVID-19 will have on many ACT households. Private rental is not an option for individuals and families on low incomes, and without housing options people will be left with choices such as rough sleeping, couch surfing or camping out. These options are not acceptable for any one and will only further disadvantage those who are already vulnerable” – Nicole Wiggins, Early Morning Centre, 2020.

“… ACT Shelter supports the affordable and social housing election asks of the ACT Council of Social Service. We are particularly supportive of strengthening the target for affordable and social rental housing in greenfields, in-fill and urban renewal sites to 15% and using land release, planning and zoning levers to achieve it. Economic modelling shows when affordable and social housing is well located, every $1 of public money invested generates $6 – $7 in economic activity elsewhere (Source: KPMG Evaluation Social Housing Initiative 2012). The ACTCOSS proposal would deliver a solid economic and social return on investment at a time when our construction industry, local economy and Canberrans on low – moderate incomes need it most. It’s a win-win for Canberra…” – Travis Gilbert, ACT Shelter, 2020.

ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations.

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