ACT Housing Strategy Growing and Renewing Public Housing 2019-2024

ACT Housing Strategy Growing and Renewing Public Housing 2019-2024

Growing and Renewing Public Housing 2019-24 is a plan to manage the public housing portfolio over the next five years. The plan has targets to grow and renew public housing so that our portfolio meets current and future tenant needs.

It aims to improve tenant experience, provide more public housing and build a progressive and inclusive city that supports vibrant local communities.

What will be Delivered?

The Government will spend $100 million on the plan over the next five years. This new investment will be complemented by the money reinvested in public housing from the sale of properties that are no longer suitable for the portfolio. This means spending more than $600 million in local industry and delivering 1,200 new homes.

Key challenges

The plan responds to three key challenges facing the delivery of a strong and sustainable public housing program for future Canberrans:

  • A growing population and increasing demand for more affordable housing options, which is reflected in the number of people on the register for public housing.
  • An ageing portfolio that can be expensive and inefficient for tenants to maintain.
  • A mismatch between current housing stock and the needs of current and future tenants, which is seen in higher rates of underutilisation and overcrowding, as well as the number of tenants waiting for transfers.

Housing Fact

Renewal refers to the knock down and rebuild, or sale and replacement, of older, less energy efficient homes to make way for homes that are better suited to the needs of our tenants and are more energy efficient.

Grow public housing

The size of the public housing portfolio will increase by at least 200 homes for households in need during the life of the plan.

Continue our accelerated program of public housing renewal.

More than 1,000 homes will be renewed during the life of the plan.

Program Snapshot

  • 11,700 properties in the public housing portfolio*
  • 1,000 houses to be renewed
  • 300 houses to be demolished
  • 1,060 new houses to be constructed
  • 700 houses to be sold
  • More than 23,500 people housed at 30 June 2024**
  • 11,900 properties in the public housing portfolio by 30 June 2024**
  • 140 homes to be purchased
  • 200 more houses in the portfolio

* Projected number of properties as at 30 June 2019
** Estimated

Demographic Snapshot

  • 51% of households include someone living with disability
  • 49% of households have a single resident
  • 28% of households include an older person
  • 24% of households are single parent families
Making it easier for tenants to move as their needs change will help us to deliver housing to more people who need it.

A key deliverable is a digital platform that will allow tenants to view and apply for their preferred home; similar to the private market.

This will empower our tenants to have more choice and control over where and how they live.

Renewal refers to the knock down and rebuild, or sale and replacement, of older, less energy efficient homes to make way for homes that are better suited to the needs of our tenants and are more energy efficient.

Realign public housing to better meet tenant needs

The program of growth and renewal will enable a diverse portfolio that meets the future needs of tenants.

There will be changes to our housing model to support greater tenant choice.

The plan will improve the utilisation of homes by working with our tenants so they can move into more appropriately sized homes as their life circumstances change.

More homes will be built to adaptable building standards. Adaptable housing means people from a broader range of ages and abilities can live within the home and it can be easily adapted to meet most changing household needs without requiring costly or substantial modifications.

Continue the salt and pepper approach

The salt and pepper approach informs decisions around the location of public housing. It serves as a keystone for tenant choice, social inclusion and building stronger communities. The approach is subject to a range of planning and financial considerations and is guided by seven key principles.

Public housing will be:

  • included in as many suburbs as possible
  • well located close to transport, jobs and services
  • of good quality and design
  • indistinguishable from private homes
  • acquired through construction and purchase
  • available in a mix of diverse building types
  • co-located with a range of tenancy types in higher density areas e.g. social, affordable and market rentals.

Regional Distribution of Current Social Housing Stock (Percentage of public housing to all houses)

  • 5% Gungahlin
  • 7% Belconnen
  • 8% Molonglo Valley
  • 7% Tuggeranong
  • 10% Weston Creek
  • 10% North Canberra
  • 6% South Canberra
  • 6% Wocen
Building better homes for our tenants

The renewal program will target initiatives that improve the energy efficiency and adaptability of our homes, so that households can reap the benefits of reduced living costs, greater comfort and ageing in place.

To achieve this, it will:

  • target renewal to older inefficient homes across the portfolio
  • invest in technology and robust materials that reduce our tenants’ energy costs and ongoing building maintenance needs
  • invest in Class C adaptable and Gold liveable design standards to better meet the needs of tenants living with disability.

The 2018-19 Budget identified more than $5.5 million over three years to improve the energy efficiency of more than 2,000 public housing properties. This will assist tenants to reduce their power bills, and improve the year-round comfort of their homes.

This energy efficiency improvement program will complement the growth and renewal of the portfolio, to ensure even more housing is cheaper to operate and more comfortable to live in.

Strengthen the public housing business model

Housing ACT will broaden the business model to support the ACT Housing Strategy, to promote flexibility and a tailored response to changing household need by:

  • making it easier for people to transition into and out of public housing as their needs change
  • increasing the range of public housing options available across the Territory so tenants can exercise more choice and control about what sort of homes they live in and where
  • promoting better tenant outcomes through innovative planning, building and service design
  • promoting better community outcomes through integrated mixed tenure developments that combine public, community, affordable and private housing
  • responding to the specific needs of key cohorts, including people with a disability, people at risk or experiencing homelessness, people exiting the justice system, and those at risk or experiencing domestic violence.

ACT Housing Strategy
The 2018-19 Budget invested more than $2 million to build a digital service channel to ensure our tenants and members of the community are able to access essential housing and homelessness services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We’re dedicating 15% of all new land release sites to new public, community and affordable housing.

A five-year capital works program

An indicative five year capital works program has been developed which details the scale of the program of growth and renewal. It focuses on lower density redevelopments, such as single houses, dual and tri-occupancies, and small groups of units.

Housing ACT uses a multi-criteria assessment to work out which homes to renew, sell and retain, and how much to invest in the growth and renewal of the portfolio.

This program focuses on the more efficient use of land assets, and selling or redeveloping older, inefficient houses that no longer meet the needs of tenants or that have reached the end of their useful life. It will seek to increase the amount of public housing where there are currently low holdings and decrease the amount of public housing where there are high holdings.

Preliminary consultation, planning and feasibility studies will start for our remaining multi-unit sites that have high concentrations of public housing and sites that are strategically located and suitable for integration with broader urban renewal priorities. This builds on the successful renewal of Northbourne Avenue, Red Hill and other large multi-unit complexes under the Asset Recycling Initiative.

Housing Fact
The Public Housing Renewal Program focused on replacing some of Canberra’s oldest multi-unit properties. Many were located along the Northbourne Corridor.

This plan has a different focus.

It will deliver smaller scale public housing projects that are salt and peppered throughout Canberra’s suburbs and town centres.

Our objective is to deliver:

  • homes that better match tenants’ needs; and
  • a range of housing options in well-established and new communities right across the Territory.