One year on: ACT Housing Strategy

The ACT Government has today released a report card on the progress of the ACT Housing Strategy implementation one year on. 15 of the 16 targeted actions identified for delivery in

2018-19 are completed or progressing with a further 39 actions are underway or completed.

The ACT Housing Strategy recognises that a secure home is fundamental to people’s lives and wellbeing. It acknowledges the unique and complex challenges within the housing market and sets out a strong direction to meet the Territory’s diverse and changing needs.

Since its release, the ACT Government has made significant progress on the actions to progress over the next 10 years.

In May the ACT Government released the Growing and Renewing Public Housing 2019-24 plan which will see $100 million invested in new public housing in Canberra, to renew 1000 homes and add 200 homes to the public housing stock over 5 years.

In this first year of the Strategy the government’s Affordable Home Purchase Program was developed to assist low to moderate income earners enter the home ownership market. The program has received approximately 135 eligible applicants and five developments with an affordable dwelling requirement on offer to the eligible applicants.

To help more people into rental properties, the government has invested in an Affordable Rental Real Estate Management model to encourage landlords to rent their investment properties at 75 per cent of market rate.

The government has also commenced a Land Tax Exemption pilot for properties rented at 75 per cent of market rate and introduced a 25% Lease Variation Charge remission for registered community housing providers to encourage the development of more affordable rental housing.

The ACT Government also launched the digital application process for ACT Government’s Rental Bond Help making it easier for individuals and families to access interest free loans for their rental bond in the ACT. This was the first part of a commitment to digitise ACT Housing services and is one of the first digitised client services currently being rolled out across ACT Government.

Last week, I announced a further six organisations that will receive funding through the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund to provide more affordable housing and support options for Canberra.

Earlier this month, the government announced a new partnership with CatholicCare and St Vincent De Paul to support 20 individuals with high and complex needs who are sleeping rough into permanent housing.

The ACT Government invested $1.9 million for a new homelessness service for older women in the ACT being delivered by the YWCA called Next Door, and $1.8 million for a new homelessness service for asylum seeker and migrant women and families to be delivered by Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services (MARSS).

In July the government released a report from the University of Queensland to provide advice on the support requirements and accommodation options for people in the ACT with high and complex service needs.

This report supported a second Common Ground in Canberra which was announced in September and will provide long-term housing for people facing chronic homelessness, focusing on supporting women and children, families and single parents, and older women—growing cohorts in need of assistance.

Under the ACT Housing Strategy the ACT Government has also:

  • Dedicated at least 15% of the Indicative Land Release Program residential for 2019-2020 for affordable, community and public housing
  • Established the National Capital Design Review Panel
  • Provided additional funding for Karinya Mothers and Babies accommodation and support services
  • Expanded services for the Human Services Gateway
  • Amended the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 to focus more on fairness and security for vulnerable people
  • Invested $6.5m to support new programs for older women and asylum seekers at risk of homelessness
  • Opened the first of four long-term houses for people with enduring mental health issues.
  • Progressed the delivery of trauma informed training for the specialist homelessness sector for 2019-20
  • Committed $45 million to extend existing investment for the 28 organisations that make up the ACT Specialist Homelessness Sector, for two years from 1 July 2019 until 30 June 2021.

The ACT Government will continue to increase the supply of and access to affordable homes through growing and diversifying the community housing sector and investigating new mechanisms to encourage more affordable rentals.

Minister Statement – 1 year Housing Strategy

Housing Strategy – 1 Year Report Card

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