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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 19 March 2015) . . Page.. 902 ..

A central component of the suite of homelessness services is case management, the tool through which support is provided to help people identify and achieve goals and address the issues that cause their homelessness. This can include connecting or reconnecting to education, training and employment. In the ACT in 2013-14 there were 125 more people in employment and 196 people engaged in education and training after receiving case management support from homelessness services. The government also works to ensure that people with disabilities and older people have access to services.

We know the importance of ageing in place. For older persons who have been in their home for a number of years it is central to their networks and lifestyle. We want to help older public housing tenants maintain those networks by supporting them to stay in their home with community support and out of the aged-care and health systems. We seek to support these preferences through modifications to properties and responding to changing tenants’ needs, such as disability requirements. In 2013-14 Housing ACT carried out disability modifications to 680 homes based on the advice of occupational therapists. This included $1.2 million on major disability modifications such as wheelchair ramps or major bathroom modifications and $300,000 on minor modifications such as grab rails, lever taps and hand-held showers.

By way of just one example, one of our tenants is an 81-year-old woman who has lived in her current home since the door was first opened 60 years ago. She has many fond memories in her home, including raising her family of six children. She was referred to Housing ACT occupational therapy service to assess difficulties she had been having with accessibility. She had reported recent falls. She was met by an occupational therapist, and multiple improvements to the home were subsequently made to enable her to age in place: a rear landing, handrails on both sides of her steps, a concrete path to the clothesline, safety improvements to her bathroom and a ramp to the front entrance. These modifications have made it possible for this woman to remain in her home. She is able to remain in her community, among friends and family and the familiarity of the local services, shops and her doctor. She is able to maintain her independence in meaningful occupations at home and to continue to have a voice and control as she ages. This example is repeated many times over.

We continue to invest in maintenance and upgrade of the ACT’s public housing stock because of the quality of life which relies upon it. Yet maintenance alone for our public housing stock is not the only thing. We must look to renewal, and we are. The government recently announced a renewal program for public housing in the ACT. This program will replace our stock roof for roof, initially involving the replacement of 1,288 properties. It is the largest renewal of public housing in the history of self-government, replacing stock which has reached the end of its useful life with modern homes far more suited to the needs of our tenants.

As an investment in renewal and equality, this process will also reduce concentrations of disadvantage in the larger multi-unit complexes and improve safety and amenity. It will be a staged and consultative process. As buildings are sold we are talking with tenants and responding to their wishes about their future homes. The linking into new communities task force, LINCT, a reference group of peak bodies and service

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