ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Media release: Innovation funding welcomed, but greater investment needed in affordable housing

22 August 2018

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) today welcomed the ACT Government’s announcement of three projects to be funded through the first round of the $1 million Affordable Housing Innovation Fund. This delivers on existing commitments, but ACTCOSS looks forward to seeing significantly bigger commitments when the ACT Government releases its Affordable Housing Strategy later in the year.

ACTCOSS Director Susan Helyar said, “The announcement by Deputy Chief Minister Yvette Berry of $280,000 funding to support the establishment of a new affordable rental real estate management model by Community Housing Canberra ($230,000), and to contribute to two co-housing projects ($15,000 and $35,000) is welcome. As Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Ms Berry MLA is delivering on the existing $1 million commitment. But with over one quarter of the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund now allocated, we can clearly see that the scale of investment currently committed to falls well short of that needed to adequately address the chronic shortage of affordable housing in the ACT.

“What we need to see is the whole of the ACT Government Cabinet backing the Deputy Chief Minister’s commitment to an ACT Affordable Housing Strategy with a $100 million investment to grow community and public housing. This significant government investment is vital because the private rental market has consistently failed to address the housing needs of low income households in the ACT.

“A $100 million investment is needed because this is the scale of investment that will grow the supply of affordable housing for low income households in the ACT. This is what ACTCOSS has consistently called for in our recommendations to ACT Government in relation to affordable housing, including in our submission responding to the Housing Choices Discussion Paper.”

Ms Helyar concluded, “The latest Rental Affordability Index found that low income households in the ACT face particularly unaffordable rents. Canberra was only second to Greater Sydney in terms of rental unaffordability. With cost of living increasing, wages and income support stagnant, and rents rising in Canberra, the need for more affordable housing is urgent and growing. Significant investment is needed so that we can properly meet existing need and also keep up with our growing population to ensure that Canberra is a liveable city for all of its residents well into the future.”

For more information or comment please contact
Susan Helyar, Director, on 0448 791 987 or 02 6202 7200.