Chronic housing shortage gets financial boost
Catholic organisations have welcomed the news that the ACT will receive $50 million from the federal government to boost social housing.
The funding, which will be delivered within two weeks, is the ACT’s share of a $2 billion social housing spend announced by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese last weekend.
The money can be used for new social housing, spot purchasing or renovations to make affordable homes liveable – but it must be spent or committed to be spent over the next two years.
Marymead CatholicCare CEO Anne Kirwan said the government’s response to the housing crisis and terrible under-supply of housing properties for people with low incomes was a fantastic first step.
“The sector has been calling for years, and it is great to see the government step up,” she said.
“The money will deliver more homes for people on low incomes in the ACT and NSW, which will begin to help those who have been on the waiting list for years.”
Ms Kirwan said she hoped the organisation would partner with the Commonwealth to do more in the space.
“Need is absolutely increasing,” she explained.
“In the ACT, there are over 3000 individuals on the waiting list, with an average wait of over two years and over four years for a family.”
Ms Kirwan said the increased cost of living pressure was not only having an impact on low-income families.
“More and more working families are struggling to make ends meet and are seeking the support of charities like Marymead CatholicCare and St Vincent de Paul to meet living costs,” she said.
“We encourage the Commonwealth to pass the Housing Australia Future Fund to do more to address the chronic undersupply of housing in this wealthy country.”
MacKillop House Executive Director of Service Delivery Erin MacArthur, said the funding offered a great opportunity to collaborate to meet the needs of women (with or without children) experiencing homelessness through increased housing and support services.
MacKillop House currently offers self-contained shared living arrangements for up to 20-25 single women and six independent townhouses for women with children.
“Support for the services continues to grow with a commitment from the ACT Government to provide ongoing funding, which has allowed for a dedicated House Manager, Case Manager and onsite support staff seven days a week,” she said.
“As a lead Specialised Community Housing provider, we believe that access to safe and secure housing is the right of every Australian and that many of our social challenges can be addressed through the provision of appropriate, affordable housing.”