Page 1070 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 3 May 2022

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At the moment, attending Housing ACT in Belconnen in person or sending in forms and supporting documents by email are the only way to apply for public and community housing. Attending Housing ACT in Belconnen in person can be difficult for some people, particularly those with mobility issues or who live in other parts of Canberra. Currently, throughout the application process, gathering all of the required documentation and providing it in person can result in multiple visits or multiple emails to Housing ACT.

This project will transform the Housing ACT application process. It will provide the option of applying online, including being able to upload the necessary documents. Housing ACT’s research to identify the value of this change was affirmed through the pandemic, which demonstrated the importance of offering people more ways to apply for public and community housing, including a fully online process. We know that about a third of people who apply for housing would benefit from the option of being able to fully apply online.

Having an online application process will therefore significantly help some people to apply for public housing more easily. But I want to be really clear that Housing ACT will continue to provide its normal face-to-face services, because they are vital for many people who are not in a position to use online application processes. By providing the online application process, it will help to reduce the number of people who need to travel to Belconnen, which will, in turn, help Housing ACT staff to service those who do come to see them so that they can apply more easily and efficiently in person.

For those people able to use the online application process, it will allow them to be able to tell their story once and update their circumstances relevant to their application as they change, online. For example, this might include when they have a change in employment or the number of people in their household needing public housing.

The online application process will also assist Housing ACT to free up capacity to assist those still needing to keep their application up to date via phone, email and face-to-face contact. Together, these changes will help Housing ACT to have the most up-to-date information from people applying for housing assistance, and be able to identify and respond to a person’s circumstances and needs more quickly.

The changes to the application process for housing are also being matched by work behind the scenes to improve digital record keeping. Together, these changes will improve the transparency of the application, assessment, and the allocation process for public housing. This project will therefore support Housing ACT staff to deliver services which are trauma informed so that clients only have to tell their story once throughout the application and the assessment process.

I am pleased to inform the Assembly about the importance of this re-imagining gateway services project. It is a core component of this government delivering two of the strategic goals of the 2018 Housing Strategy. Firstly, it helps to achieve part of goal number 3, strengthening social housing assistance, as this includes developing a new service delivery approach, client portal and online services.

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