Sixty dwellings will barely help severe social housing shortage

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Havelock Housing CEO Andrew Rowe

FOLLOWING, what the ACT government labelled as a “nation-leading investment in public housing”, community housing provider Havelock Housing say it will have a very minimal impact on Canberra’s severe social housing shortage.

Today (August 5), Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced 60 new public housing dwellings will be built as part of an expansion to its public housing investment, but Havelock Housing CEO Andrew Rowe says it’s not enough.

“It’s disappointing that these decisions will have very minimal impact on Canberra’s severe social housing shortage,” he says.

“The investment announced today will not address the core problem of ACT’s shortage of 3000 social housing dwellings. The addition of 60 new dwellings only addresses 2 per cent of this need, while also neglecting significant areas of demand for homes in the community.”

In the announcement, the ACT government boasted about it being the largest per capita investment in public housing in Australia, but Mr Rowe says the ACT has the highest level of public housing per capita because every other state has moved towards supporting community housing providers to deliver social housing, saying it’s a more cost-effective, high quality service and they can leverage their stock to grow.

Plans to build 60 new public housing dwellings

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  1. Andrew Rowe, CEO of Havelock Housing, says the recent announcement by Andrew Barr and Yvette Berry of a ” nation-leading investment in public housing” will in fact have “minimal impact” on the availability of social housing in Canberra.

    While admirably restrained in his critique Mr Rowe is, of course, perfectly correct.

    The Government has done little more than re-announce the “commitment” it made two years ago to build an extra 200 units of public housing over five years.

    The newly announced “nation leading investment” will now extend that to 260 units (and we can be sure they will be units and not houses) over six years.

    The announcement does not specify if the six years have commenced or indeed if they will be consecutive.

    The practical effect of the “nation-leading investment” is, however, that rather than building 40 units of public housing a year for five years the ACT Government will now build 43.3 units of public housing for six years.

    By way of comparison Community Housing Canberra (CHC) had, until its access to affordable finance and land was inexplicably terminated by Labor and the Greens, been delivering 120 units of community housing for purchase and rent each and every year. There is no earthly reason why the arrangements that enabled CHC to deliver a regular and guaranteed supply of affordable and social housing could not be re-instated and indeed extended to other community housing providers including Havelock House.

    To provide further perspective on just how “minimal” the impact of this risible announcement is, the population of the ACT will, over the six years that the mooted housing is dribbling out at 43.3 houses a year, increase by around 8,000 people a year or by 50,000 people in total.

  2. With the demolition of the ABC Flats, hundreds of mostly two-bedroom air-conditioned public-housing apartments, with lots of trees and five playgrounds, are being be replaced with hundreds of expensive, mostly one-bedroom private apartments that will probably not be waterproof. Where are the replacement public housing apartments suitable for families?

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