Canberra’s not immune to housing stress

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Susan Helyar.
THE ACT government has confirmed that 17,000 households in Canberra are struggling with housing due to income, insecure tenancies or homelessness, says director of the ACT Council of Social Service, Susan Helyar. 

The Affordable Housing Discussion Paper, released by the ACT government last week is inviting people who experience housing stress, landlords, community advocates for affordable housing and the property industry to share their views on actions that can be taken to improve the supply of affordable housing in Canberra.

“ACTCOSS analysis has found that people also struggle to find housing because of discrimination against people living on a low income, racism, ageism and ableism,” Ms Helyar says.

“The ACT government has recognised there are almost 20,000 households who experience extreme housing stress, and within this number around 1800 people have no place to call home.

“ACTCOSS has argued that the current Affordable Housing Action Plan, and other measures such as stamp duty and land tax reform, cannot deliver the changes needed in the supply of housing at the lower cost end of the market. Certainly not at the scale needed to address the needs of up to 20,000 households.

“We know that Aboriginal and/Torres Strait Islander peoples, people seeking asylum and humanitarian entrants, women, children and young people leaving violent relationships, and single income households (minimum wage or income support) experience extreme housing shortages and barriers to accessing affordable housing.

“We know that the numbers of young people and older people who are locked out of the Canberra housing market is growing every year. We know people living with disability have almost no options to rent in the private market and lamentably few houses in which they could live comfortably in the purchase market.

“It is these households who need to be front and centre of the discussion about improving housing affordability and reducing homelessness in the ACT.”

Responses to the Discussion Paper can be provided at:yoursay.act.gov.au/affordablehousing 

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