ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Media release: ACTCOSS welcomes extra funding for homelessness services

29 January 2021

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has welcomed today’s announcement by the ACT Government of an additional $2.6 million for the ACT’s homelessness sector.

The funding over the next four years will:

  • Expand the Early Morning Centre to a seven day per week service
  • Increase emergency support and accommodation to OneLink to provide tenancy and client support services for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness
  • Provide additional funding to ACT Shelter to provide systemic advocacy in the housing sector following cuts by the Commonwealth Government
  • Provide funding to Mackillop House and Winter Lodge services and expand the Axial Housing service.

Dr Emma Campbell, CEO of ACTCOSS, said: “We warmly welcome this additional funding to implement some of the commitments in the ACT Parliamentary and Governing Agreement. For many years, ACTCOSS and its partners have been calling for additional funding for homelessness organisations as demand for these services increases.

“The recent Report on Government Services revealed that in 2019-20 there was a 22% increase in unmet need among clients presenting to ACT homelessness services for accommodation support. We are also seeing growing numbers of people on the public housing waiting list, including the addition of nearly 200 people assessed as being in the greatest need.

“The Report on Government Services also shows that the number of public housing dwellings in the ACT has decreased over the last ten years from 11,063 in 2011 to 10,985 in 2021. On average, applicants for standard public housing wait 3.5 years for a home.”

Dr Campbell said: “While additional funding for homelessness services is welcomed, the ACT Government needs to address the acute shortage of housing in the ACT.

“We know that the ACT is one of the most expensive jurisdictions for private renters. The 2020 Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot found that no private rentals in Canberra and Queanbeyan were affordable for a person on the Disability Support Pension, JobSeeker, Youth Allowance or Parenting Payment Single without the Coronavirus Supplement.

“We call on the ACT Government to: make further investments in public and community housing and the renewal of old housing stock; achieve the 15% target for land release for social and affordable housing; make effective land transfers to community housing providers; and build more accessible homes for older Canberrans and people with a disability.

“Growing numbers of young people in the ACT are experiencing homelessness and adult homelessness services are not appropriate places to support them. We need urgent investment in a specialist youth homelessness service,” Dr Campbell concluded.

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

For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617 or 02 6202 7200.