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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2021) . . Page.. 347 ..

organisations through Housing ACT’s housing assistance asset program to provide assistance to the community housing sector and its tenants. In addition, the government provided funding to CatholicCare and Argyle Housing to establish and operate MacKillop House and the Winter Lodge to provide supported accommodation for men, women and children experiencing homelessness. Over the last year, over 350 individuals and families got help through these new and expanded programs and funding, including extra support for OneLink services.

The 2020-21 budget extends funding for a further two years to these services that have been so critical during the pandemic. The $2.6 million investment from the budget will keep the doors of Mackillop House and the Winter Lodge open and expand the Axial Housing program to provide up to 40 homes for chronic rough sleepers and support them to sustain permanent housing. This funding will also extend the operation of the Early Morning Centre in Civic to seven days a week, boost funding for services and accommodation support through OneLink and provide funding to ACT Shelter for ongoing systemic advocacy for the sector.

It was great to stand a few weeks ago with the Chief Minister, Minister Vassarotti and these fantastic services to make these funding commitments. I look forward to continuing the work with Minister Vassarotti in her new role as Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services. I know that she is passionate about these issues and I know that there is a lot that we can achieve as a government under the ACT Housing Strategy for people in need of secure and affordable housing.

These are only a few of the many examples of targeted housing assistance which this government has provided to people in our community who needed it during this difficult time. The year 2 report card details many other measures which have been progressed. Given the challenging past year, the sector and community responses, particularly around people sleeping rough and experiencing homelessness, have been remarkable.

Another action that is progressing, which was announced last year, is looking into build to rent, shared equity and alternative housing models that aim to reduce the costs of renting or buying a home, and the suitability of these models for the ACT.

Measures to reduce the up-front cost and finance by Canberrans looking to purchase their first home are key to addressing long-term housing affordability. I am proud to be part of a government, led by the Chief Minister, which has seen the elimination of these costs, like stamp duty, for first homebuyers. As set out in the parliamentary and governing agreement, the ACT government has a number of initiatives to continue under the ACT Housing Strategy to create more affordable housing for Canberrans who need it.

The most significant action in reducing homelessness and increasing social housing assistance is the government’s ongoing commitment to grow and renew public housing. To achieve this continued growth, the government will deliver a total of 400 additional public housing dwellings by 2025, while renewing a further 1,000 properties that better suit the diverse and accessibility needs of public housing tenants.

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