ACTCOSS today has welcomed an announcement today by the Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury MLA that the ACT Government is introducing a rent relief scheme to respond to challenges facing low income renters during COVID-19.
The Scheme will provide a $1000 payment for people in rental hardship. According to Government guidelines eligible tenants must pay more than 30 per cent of their income in rent and have savings of less than $5000, or if they pay less than 30 per cent of income in rent and have less than $3000 of savings (not including Super). They must also meet income limits.
ACTCOSS A/g CEO, Craig Wallace said: “We welcome the announcement that Canberra tenants who struggled to pay their rent during the ACT’s lockdown will be able to access a one-off $1000 payment through a new ACT government fund designed to support people through the summer holiday period.
“A number of organisations, including ACTCOSS, have been advocating for more support to vulnerable tenants and have called for rent relief in advocacy to government. We will be looking at the details of these measures over the next few days, but they are welcome and it’s great government is listening. We also acknowledge the work of Care Financial Counselling Service who are administering the payments.
“Action is timely given the eviction moratorium in the ACT was lifted on Thursday and we need to assist people who may have fallen behind on their rental payments to ensure they do not join the ranks of people in housing crisis or in situations of homelessness.
“Going forward we need action on housing affordability, especially for renters, through the provision of increased levels of public housing and more community controlled build-to-rent housing. This requires financial assistance and planning reform to assist providers to build community housing. As this weeks rental Index figures show renters are being smashed in our city and the ACT needs at least 3,000 additional affordable dwellings for people in housing stress,” Mr Wallace concluded.
Applications for the grant can be made through Care Financial Counselling Service. To make an application or obtain an application form contact Care Financial Counselling Service by phone on 6257 1788 or 0466 814 390 and by email at [email protected].
ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations.