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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3215 ..

commitment to public housing actually means and the time frame in which it will be delivered. That is certainly significant from the taxpayers’ point of view, from a budget point of view and from a policy point of view.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Women) (11.37): I believe the provision of social housing and responsive services to the homeless are key marks of a healthy society. That is why this government is pleased to be working alongside the commonwealth to achieve two long-term goals—halving the number of homeless people and offering supported accommodation to rough sleepers. This budget contains a number of commitments focused on achieving these two long-term goals, which I would like to outline.

In 2009-10, the ACT achieved a substantial injection of funds, which has been commented on here, through the stimulus funding. There was $87 million for the construction of new properties and $6.4 million for repairs and maintenance. As I reported to the Assembly last week, work is now well advanced on the construction of 297 two and three-bedroom properties for older Canberrans. The first development of 12 units in Curtin is due for completion in August, and 13 properties in Macquarie are due for completion in September. The vast majority of the remaining properties will be completed by the end of December this year.

As older tenants downsize and move into their new homes, the properties they vacate will become available for housing families on the waiting list. This significant increase in the supply of social housing properties will facilitate an increase in new allocations during the coming year. Under the homelessness national partnership agreement, capital funding of $10 million over five years commenced in 2008-09 to provide new longer term housing solutions for homeless families.

The place to call home program provides accommodation to homeless tenants, who are given tailored support to sustain their tenancies. Eight properties have already been completed under this initiative, and a further two properties will come online in August 2010. The remaining 10 dwellings will be provided over the next two years, and half of the properties under this scheme will be made available to Indigenous families.

Many in the Assembly would be aware of the excellent work done by staff at the Pilgrim House early morning drop-in centre on Northbourne Avenue. This budget provides $750,000 for the refurbishment of the centre and will enable Pilgrim House to provide showers, a laundry and storage facilities for their clients. This service will also link mainstream services with specialist homelessness services. This government is committed to supporting the most vulnerable members of the community, and the expanded Pilgrim House service will help address social exclusion issues by offering recreational facilities in a non-threatening environment for those people.

I am pleased to report that we have also made considerable progress in bringing new services online delivered by the St Vincent de Paul Society. Our streets to home program commenced in February this year. This service is designed to achieve long-term stable housing for rough sleepers through an assertive outreach service.

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