Delivering better public housing across Canberra

The 2020 Report on Government Services shows the results of increasing ACT Government support for people experiencing homelessness and improved housing outcomes through the ACT Housing Strategy and public housing Growth and Renewal Program.

The ACT Government is committed to strengthening social housing assistance by delivering better public housing across Canberra. At a time when other state and territories public housing is stagnating, the ACT Government continues to invest in the growth and renewal of our public housing.

Through the Growing and Renewing Public Housing Program, the ACT is investing $100 million – the highest investment per capita of any jurisdiction – to deliver 1000 renewed properties and 200 additional homes.

The government is conscious that there remains unmet need for accommodation in the ACT which is why we have directed such a large investment towards building more homes for public housing.

A key priority of the Growth and Renewal Program is to ensure that tenants are in housing that better suit their individual needs and circumstances. These 1,200 new homes will be delivered over the next 5 years and provides tenants with a home that meet their changing needs, are adaptable and suitable for people with a disability or to age in place, and cheaper to heat and cool with an energy efficient design and new appliances.

In 2018-19, 100 per cent of new public housing allocations (compared to 76.4 per cent nationally) and 90 per cent of community housing allocations (compared to 65.7 per cent nationally) were made to households in greatest need.

These results reflect our continued focus of providing social housing to those who need it most. This includes people experiencing homelessness and domestic violence, people in unhealthy and inappropriate living conditions and those struggling with housing costs in the private market.

Corresponding with growth in the number of low-income households in rental stress and a rise in the number of people on the public housing waiting list, the ACT Government’s Housing Strategy responds through initiatives to strengthen social housing assistance.

The Growing and Renewing Public Housing Program is complemented by more than $24 million a year in funding for homelessness support services, including an additional $6.5 million for new programs for older women and migrants and refugees. As a result, we’re seeing more people housed in better and more suitable accommodation and a reduction in homelessness in the last census across the city.

In 2018-19, 3,808 people in the ACT received specialist accommodation and non-accommodation homelessness support services. These include case management, assistance with access to education and employment opportunities, financial counselling and referral to specialist services such as drug and alcohol support.

The ACT is a leading jurisdiction in helping those in need of housing assistance to sustain their tenancy after receiving support. Sixty-seven per cent of people who needed assistance with housing achieved independent housing at the end of their support period.

The ACT Government’s early intervention and prevention approach to homelessness has reduced the number of people needing support over time, reduced repeat homelessness and helped people achieve stable, independent housing and sustain tenancies.

A secure home is a foundation for people’s lives and wellbeing. We will continue to invest in public housing and support services to deliver better outcomes for tenants and the wider Canberra community.

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